China’s JD.com deepens SE Asia footprint, co-leads funding round in Vietnam’s Tiki

REUTERS/Aly Song

China’s second-largest e-commerce firm JD.com on Tuesday announced that it has led a strategic investment in Tiki, Vietnam’s B2C e-commerce platform.

The investment will give the Chinese retailer a greater foothold in the Southeast Asian market as it takes on fierce competition from rivals Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Amazon.com.

“JD has signed the share subscription agreement as co-lead investor in Tiki’s recent Series C round of financing,” JD.com said in a statement.  Upon completion of this investment, JD.com will become one of Tiki’s largest shareholders.

DEALSTREETASIA has learnt that the total funding round, led by JD.com, is in the region of VND 1 trillion ($44 million). Other investors, who remain undisclosed, also participated in the round. This portal could not immediately ascertain the quantum of funding that JD.com invested in the round.

“With JD’s expertise in leveraging social media for e-commerce, Tiki’s partnership with VNG in social network and mobile payments is a natural fit as we aim to provide differentiated services to suppliers and consumers in Vietnam. We look forward to working with Tiki to deliver a truly world class e-commerce experience to Vietnamese consumers,” said Winston Cheng, President of International at JD.com.

Founded in 2010 and based in Ho Chi Minh City, Tiki started as an online retailer for books. It currently also offers other products including phone, digital equipment and accessories, electrical appliances, life house products, beauty and health products, among others.

It raised its first round of funding in 2012 from Cyberagent Ventures before securing a Series B investment from Sumitomo Corporation. In May 2016, Southeast Asia’s VNG Corporation injected $17 million in Tiki, picking up a 38 per cent stake in it, which valued the company at $45 million.

JD strengthening foothold in SE Asia

JD.com already has an established e-commerce platform in Indonesia that it launched in 2015. Last year, it also partnered with Thai conglomerate Central Group to use Thailand as a hub for servicing other regional countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia. In October, JD.com had also led a $19 million investment in Bangkok-headquartered online fashion brand Pomelo.

As part of the latest deal, JD.com will partner with Tiki in a range of areas including merchandising, cross-border trade, logistics and fulfilment, it said. The two companies will cooperate to deliver a wider selection of global brands to consumers while helping Vietnamese local brands expand internationally via JD’s global platform, a statement said.

Son Tran, Tiki’s Founder and CEO, said, “JD and Tiki share the same business philosophy: to win market share by winning consumers’ heart. Since inception, Tiki has always focused on best-in-class, authentic shopping experience and amazingly fast delivery. We believe JD.com, with its proven track record in superior user experience, procurement, logistics, and technology will be an invaluable asset for Tiki as we work to become Vietnam’s top e-commerce platform.”

Other big deals in the region include Alibaba’s $1-billion investment in Lazada, the e-commerce service originally founded by Rocket Internet, and a $1.1-billion round in Tokopedia led by Alibaba.

Amazon, too, has entered the region with the introduction of a Prime-like membership service in partnership with Uber and Netflix.

Also Read: 

Top events that marked Vietnam’s startup ecosystem in 2017

E-commerce in Vietnam is still attractive: Tiki CEO

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.