India’s biggest ecommerce site Flipkart is often benchmarked against Amazon. People ask: Can it be the Amazon of India? But today, Sachin Bansal, cofounder and CEO of Flipkart, set the record straight. With US$1 billion of fresh funding under its belt, Flipkart, he pointed out, is in the same position as Alibaba was in 2005. “We want to shape the ecommerce ecosystem in India. We want to be India’s first US$100 billion technology company,” he added.
India’s ecommerce poster-boy Flipkart has raised over US$1 billion. According to The Economic Times, Flipkart will make the official announcement next week. Half of the fresh funds are expected to come from existing investors: Tiger Global, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST, and Accel Partners. This is not only the biggest ever funding round by an Indian e-commerce company, but comes close to global taxi services company Uber’s US$1.2 billion round last month.
Thai shoppers, rejoice – popular Japanese chat app Line, which has 24 million registered users in the Land of Smiles, just rolled out a standalone ecommerce app specifically for its fans in Thailand. The move follows the company’s release of a similar app for Japan last March. We took that app for a test drive but couldn’t really get more than a superficial understanding of what it was about due to this writer’s inability to read Japanese. Luckily, however, Thailand’s Line Shop is partially in English, so it’s time to jump iTunes’ fence again and go for a spin.
Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank empire has been getting a lot attention in recent months, with a US$20 million splash of venture funding for the Phillipines, the debut of Pepper, the family friendly robot, and, the impending financial windfall from Alibaba’s IPO. Today, at the SoftBank World 2014 event, Alibaba’s founder and executive chairman, Jack Ma, talked about Alibaba’s business philosophy and the coming shift of Customer to Business (C2B) corporate strategies.
Amazon announced that Doug Gurr will replace Steve Frazier as the new president of Amazon China. Meanwhile, Frazier will be transferred back to the Seattle headquarters and continues to work as global vice president of the international business unit. Frazier was leading Amazon’s Chinese Internet retailing business in the past two and half years. In the future, he will be responsible for business expansion in international markets, including supporting the Chinese business.
The budget smartphone market in India keeps getting more crowded by the day. Just a week ago, Google announced plans to build and sell affordable Android One smartphones in India in partnership with local phone makers. But before Google’s phone could arrive, Indian ecommerce leader Flipkart has pressed ahead by launching a range of budget smartphones, starting at INR 2,699 (about US$45), in partnership with smartphone maker Karbonn.
As Alibaba prepares for its IPO and Tencent aggressively pushes its WeChat messenger all over the world, it’s easy for folks in the west to forget that there’s another Asian internet giant gunning for a broader global presence – Japan’s Rakuten. Founded in 1997, the Tokyo-based firm earned a name for itself domestically with Rakuten Ichiba, a marketplace that sells virtual store space for vendors looking to reach online customers. Rakuten Ichiba’s success helped it gain the reputation as “Japan’s Amazon,” the firm quickly proved to be about more than ecommerce – it successfully branched into the banking, securities, and travel industries. It even created a juggernaut baseball team in northern Japan.
Perhaps inspired by arch-rival Amazon, India’s top ecommerce store today unveiled its own-brand tablet. The Flipkart Digiflip Pro XT712, despite the awful, convoluted name, is a simple and affordable gadget that seems designed to help people spend more money on Flipkart from their mobile device. The new Flipkart Digiflip – let’s stick with that abbreviated name for now – costs Rs 9,999 (US$160) and is now on sale exclusively from the Flipkart estore. It comes, the company says, with “shopping benefits” worth over Rs. 5,000 (US$83) and complementary ebooks worth over Rs. 2,000 (US$33).
SINGAPORE — (Marketwired) — 06/23/14 — iBuy Group, the parent company of DEAL.com.sg, has emerged as the number one e-commerce player in Southeast Asia, based on turnover, according to a ranking by Business Insider Singapore, the Singaporean edition of a leading business and technology news website. iBuy Group, topped four other ecommerce sites to emerge as the winner in the ranking, with a turnover of S$153 million.
SINGAPORE — (Marketwired) — 06/22/14 — Euromonitor International and Retail Asia are pleased to announce the launch of the eleventh edition of the Retail Asia Top 500 Retailers Ranking, listing the largest retailers in the region. The retailers on the Retail Asia Top 500 Ranking had total combined revenue of $1.035 trillion, down nearly 3 percent from the previous year, due to a weakening yen. The decline in combined sales primarily was caused by the weakening exchange rate of major Asian currencies against the US dollar, which was the common denominator used for the Top 500 ranking.
Walmart (NYSE:WMT) will launch a business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce site in Lucknow and Hyderabad in the first week of July, Reuters reports today. Krish Iyer, India Walmart president, told Reuters that sales through the firm’s ecommerce service will be available only to its trader members, who are owners of small businesses that purchase from the company’s Best Price Modern Wholesale stores across India. That could change later once India relaxes regulations on foreign firms involved in ecommerce, allowing Walmart to open its estore to all consumers.
SAN FRANCISCO: China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba has launched an American shopping website as the company continues a deal binge ahead of a widely anticipated US listing. The online shopping site, called 11 Main opened on a beta, or test, basis for consumers and is invitation-only in terms of the merchants it features, the site said in a statement.
TAIPEI–The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), the country’s major trade promotion body, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Monday with Amazon.com Inc., the world’s largest online retailer, to forge a partnership agreement. Following cooperation with eBay Inc. and Newegg.com Inc. of the United States, along with Japan’s IPROS Corp., the signing of the MOU marks TAITRA’s latest efforts to promote e-commerce platforms, expand overseas markets and boost exports.
Alibaba’s Tmall, China’s largest online retail marketplace, beat all traditional retail giants to head a new list of China’s top retailers. It was compiled for the 9th China Retailer Conference. Compared to the list’s rankings for 2012, Tmall surpasses electronics retail chain Suning (SHE:002024) for the first time and leaps to first place with a turnover of RMB 347 billion (US$55.5 billion) in 2013. Suning is one of the largest traditional retailers in the country, covering brick-and-mortar stores in over 700 cities in China as well as a fast-growing ecommerce site.
About two months after Tencent (HKG: 0700) purchased an 18 percent stake in it, Chinese ecommerce site JD (NASDAQ: JD) has finally been integrated into WeChat (or Weixin, as it’s known domestically), Tencent’s monster messaging app. Technode reports that a new “Shopping” tab appears under the app’s “Discover” page.
Just one week after acquiring India’s biggest fashion and apparel estore Myntra, the country’s biggest online marketplace Flipkart has raised US$210 million in funding. The investment is led by Russia’s DST Global, followed by existing investors Tiger Global, Naspers, and Iconiq Capital, according toNextBigWhat. This bring’s Flipkart’s total funding to date to US$750 million, the highest of any Indian startup. It’s previous round closed out at US$360 million in October.
Stock market speculators are salivating over Alibaba’s eventual IPO later this summer, but it’s far from the first appearance China’s ecommerce leader has made in the US. Alibaba has invested almost US$1 billion into American tech firms, both within the ecommerce sector and outside of it. The company even has a special investment office based in San Francisco, where it scouts out promising startups to support.
With Indian ecommerce leader Flipkart and the country’s number one online apparel shop Myntra on the verge of announcing their merger, the former’s biggest rival is upping the ante. EBay-backed Snapdeal yesterday revealed another US$100 million funding round from five new investors: Premji Invest, Temasek, BlackRock Inc, Myriad, and Tybourne, according to NextBigWhat.
Another week, another Chinese tech IPO. The latest one lined up to hit US markets is JD, the estore that’s a close rival to Alibaba’s Tmall and other general ecommerce sites such as Amazon China. JD goes public today upon opening of Thursday’s trading. The company has just priced its shares at $19 each, which is above the initial $16 to $18 range it advised a few days ago, reports CNN Fortune. If it debuts at that price, JD will raise $1.78 billion from its listing.
The world is waiting for Alibaba to hit Wall Street this summer as its IPO will likely be bigger than Facebook’s. That means China’s ecommerce market matters more than ever. New figures out today show that spending on China’s ecommerce sites keeps growing, hitting a grand total of RMB 446.44 billion (US$74.03 billion) in Q1 2014 – which is up 27.6 percent on the same time a year ago.