Alibaba’s eWTP Fund invests $10m in Vietnam’s Ficus Asia

Dinh Anh Huan, founder and chairman of Seedcom.

Alibaba’s eWTP Technology and Innovation Fund has topped up $10 million into Vietnamese retail firm Ficus Asia Investment, according to recent filings on Acra.

The eWTP Fund had invested $50 million into Ficus just last year. Both investments were made via ReDefine Capital Fund, a Singapore-registered investment entity controlled by eWTP.

The latest injection pushes Alibaba’s eWTP Fund holding in Ficus close to 21%, making it the second-largest shareholder in the firm. The largest shareholder is Aurora Global with a majority 58.5% stake. Other investors include Mizuho ASEAN Investment, Virgin Islands-domiciled The Quaternary Group, and Cayman Islands-domiciled Aurora Global Inc.

Ficus Asia is a Vietnamese retail firm with businesses across retail, logistics and technology ventures.

It is the parent company of Seedcom, which in turn is the parent firm of several companies including Scommerce, the operator of Temasek-backed logistics companies GHN and AhaMove; The Coffee House, one of the most popular café chains in Vietnam; e-commerce software firm Haravan; Cau Dat Farm, which produces tea, coffee, and other agricultural products; supermarket chain KingFood; and two fashion units.

Ficus was founded by Vietnamese entrepreneur Dinh Anh Huan, a Mobile World veteran who collectively spent nearly 10 years as vice president of operations and e-commerce in Ho Chi Minh. He founded Ficus and Seedcom after leaving Mobile World.

Alibaba’s eWTP Fund has made a number of investments in Southeast Asia apart from Ficus Asia.

Most recently, it invested $2 million in Vietnam’s Educa Corporation that runs edtech startup Edupia. eWTP Fund has also invested in online-to-offline marketplace KKGroup and fintech XTransfer in China, logistics startup Flash Express (Thailand), and foodtech Box8 (India).

The $600-million eWTP Technology and Innovation Fund was set up in 2018 with Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba and Ant Group as cornerstone investors. It aims to tap into startup opportunities in emerging markets as well as Chinese startups that target emerging markets.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.