Jack Ma’s Alibaba has led a US$1.1 billion investment in Indonesia’s Tokopedia, further accelerating the Chinese giant’s expansion into Southeast Asia.
Alibaba now holds a minor stake in Tokopedia, the latter said in a statement.
Founded by William Tanuwijaya in 2009, Tokopedia has been dubbed Indonesia’s Taobao – Alibaba’s consumer-to-consumer marketplace. It lets sellers and buyers connect directly through its platform, with Bukalapak as its closest competitor in the archipelago.
The company raised US$100 million from SoftBank and Sequoia in 2014. Beenos, East Ventures, and CyberAgent Ventures are among its early backers.
This marks Alibaba’s first direct investment in an Indonesian #startup, though it’s no stranger to the country.
Its payments affiliate, Ant Financial, earlier established a joint venture with Indonesian media firm Emtek to launch a mobile payments and financial services product for Blackberry Messenger, which is operated by Emtek. Emtek happens to own a significant stake in Bukalapak.
Alibaba is also present in Indonesia through its browser and news aggregation business, UC Web, and plans to open a data center in the country via its cloud computing arm next year.
In Southeast Asia, Alibaba has taken over Lazada, investing another US$1 billion in the Singapore-based ecommerce company to boost its stake to 83 percent. Lazada is a leader in the six markets it operates in across the region.
The investment in Tokopedia gives Alibaba a foothold in Indonesia’s ecommerce landscape and is expected to turn Tokopedia and Lazada into allies.