Ramping up its presence in the southeast Asian markets, DHL eCommerce has forged a partnership with Shopee Malaysia to extend its next-day delivery service following a similar deal with Shopee Thailand three months ago.
According to DHL eCommerce managing director for Southeast Asia, Kiattichai Pitpreecha, DHL eCommerce, a unit of Deutsche Post DHL Group, is in a ramp-up period for the Southeast Asian markets that it is present in.
Currently, DHL eCommerce is operational in Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. All three markets in terms of e-commerce are growing at about 20 to 25 per cent, year-on-year, he added.
When asked if DHL eCommerce plans to expand its partnership to other e-commerce players in Malaysia, Pitpreecha said: “We’ll continually expand our customer base and we have been in the region for less than three years, starting from Thailand.”
DHL eCommerce is aiming to grow its service points in Malaysia from 500 to 1,000 by the end of this year. For Thailand, it aims to have at least 2,000 service points by next year.
However, Pitpreecha declined to comment on the investments made into the region and plans of entering new market. He added, “We’re here for the long haul, so we want to make sure we capture a good share of the market.”
The logistics sector is growing increasingly competitive, along with the e-commerce sector. The region has seen large funding rounds raised by logistics startup Thailand-based aCommerce and Singapore-based Ninja Van.
Even ride-hailing majors such as Grab and Go-Jek are tapping on the last-mile delivery segment. While Hong Kong-based Lalamove had recently launched in Malaysia with the promise of one-hour delivery, Thailand-based Sokochan is also set to enter Malaysia through a joint venture with a local partner in October.
DHL eCommerce is unfazed by the competition due to its global presence and expertise, despite having entered Southeast Asia in January 2016.
“If you look around the Southeast Asian market, you seldom see any 3PL (third-party logistics) that has the regional or even global scope like DHL. This is where we see ourselves having a very significant advantage over other players because of our ability to draw upon the expertise and experience as well as know-how from all the markets we operate in, bringing that to new markets, localise it and to meet the requirements of our customers,” he added.
Shopee, the e-commerce unit of Nasdaq-listed Sea Ltd, has reportedly posted larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss this February. Singapore-based Sea had raised $575 million in convertible notes this June where part of the proceeds include supporting the growth of Shopee.
Speaking on the Malaysian market, head of operations for Shopee Malaysia, Esten Mok said there is currently no timeline for Shopee Malaysia to focus on profitability, as the e-commerce culture is rather nascent.
“Currently our business model does not fully focus on monetisation, we’re still focusing on making our platform the go-to platform for our users when it comes to e-commerce. For us, Malaysia is still a developing market so we’re still catching up on a lot of things including infrastructure and buyers’ behaviours. We will consider monetisation when the market here is matured and well developed enough,” he added.
The startup would look at three monetisation routes: listing and commission fees and paid ads.
On the regional front, Mok noted that for the first quarter of 2018, Shopee has recorded $1.9 billion gross merchandise value and 111.4 million of gross orders, as compared to $600 million and 31.5 million, respectively, in the first quarter of 2017.
Sea expects the e-commerce GMV for the full year of 2018 to range between $8.2 billion and $8.7 billion, a 99.4 per cent to 111.5 per cent growth from 2017.