Indonesia: Alibaba leads $1.1b round in e-commerce major Tokopedia

Employees walk down the corridor at the Tokopedia headquarters. Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese giant Alibaba Group has led a $1.1 billion (Rp 14 trillion) investment round into Indonesian unicorn Tokopedia to become a minority shareholder.

A number of undisclosed existing Tokopedia backers also participated in the round, the company said.

This portal had in July reported that Alibaba was in talks to lead a funding round in Tokopedia. Alibaba’s funding in Tokopedia is one of its largest investments after its infusion of over $2 billion (in total) in Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce firm, Lazada Group SA.

“We have always thought of Alibaba as our teacher and role model. Today, we are excited to welcome them as a shareholder and we believe that our partnership will further accelerate Tokopedia’s mission, to democratize commerce through technology,” Tokopedia CEO and co-founder William Tanuwijaya said in a statement.

“The partnership with Alibaba will enhance the scale and quality of Tokopedia’s offerings to its customers and make it easier for merchants and partners to do business across the archipelago and beyond,” he added.

Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, commented: “Alibaba and Tokopedia have a shared mission of helping small and medium enterprises in achieving success in its business. We are very delighted to partner with Tokopedia in serving Indonesian customers.”

Tencent-backed JD.com was also reportedly in talks with the marketplace platform but failed to reach an agreement.

Tokopedia last raised $147 million in an undisclosed round from several venture capital firms including Amasia in 2016. That funding round, which valued the company at well over a a billion dollars, brought the total amount raised by SoftBank-backed Tokopedia to $247 million. The startup first announced an investment round in 2014, where it received $100 million from SoftBank and Sequoia.

Tokopedia recently announced a partnership with state-owned Telkom to allow customers pay their monthly subscription fees to Indihome – Telkom’s pay TV, broadband internet and landlines in one package – through the platform. Tokopedia was founded by William Tanuwijaya, the son of a factory worker, during an internet boom in Southeast Asia’s largest economy in 2009. The company now has more than 7.5 million transactions per month with a 10-20 per cent monthly growth rate. About 69 per cent users access the company’s site using mobile phones. But the vast majority of transactions still happen through the desktop version of the site.

SimilarWeb ranks Tokopedia the eighth most popular website in Indonesia, beating Twitter and Wikipedia. App Annie had named Tokopedia as the top shopping Android app based on its monthly active user count in February 2016. It is also the most visited local site in Indonesia.

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Alibaba in talks to pick up stake in Indonesia’s ecommerce major PT Tokopedia

Tokopedia confirms it is fund raising, does not reveal if talks are on with China’s JD.com