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Shopee launches mobile platform

Released at: 09:48, 11/08/2016

Shopee launches mobile platform

Photo: Khanh Chi

Mobile commerce platform and social network officially introduced on August 8 after 15-month pilot.

by Hong Nhung

Shopee Vietnam officially launched its e-commerce platform and social network on mobile devices at www.shopee.vn on August 8.

Starting with a pilot version in June last year, Shopee allows users to buy and sell in just 30 seconds on a user-friendly customer-to-customer (C2C) platform with convenient payment and delivery options.

The Shopee app is available in seven countries: Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Taiwan and has over 16 million downloads and 46 million items for sale, according to Shopee Vietnam.

“Vietnam is a key e-commerce market of Shopee in Southeast Asia,” Mr. Pine Kyaw, Shopee’s Managing Director, told local media.

According to a survey by WeAreSocial, 93 per cent of Vietnamese people have access to mobile devices, at least 55 per cent of which use smartphones. Around 23 per cent of users perform online trading activities via smartphone. The figures present Vietnam as a market of some potential for e-commerce, especially e-commerce on mobile platforms.

Mr. Kyaw also said that the company piloted the website for 15 months before launch and results were impressive. As at July, the Shopee app in Vietnam had more than 1.8 million downloads and more than 3 million items for sale. “This is why Shopee chose this moment to launch,” he explained.

Shopee has not revealed who its investor is but it’s believed to be Singapore’s Garena Group.

According to an e-commerce analyst, Shopee’s profits can come from two sources: integrating and holding personal and payment data of both buyers and sellers, and retaining payment costs for a product for three days. The amounts are tiny but the sale of millions of items soon adds up in its bank account, from which the company earns interest payments.

Shopee has been launched in a period of increasingly fierce competition in e-commerce in Vietnam, with the domestic market recently witnessing the closure of Lingo.vn on August 2. It quietly departed with no announcement. The website is believed to have closed after its investment sources were discontinued following ineffective operations.

VET has been unable to contact Lingo over the last few days. Its closure sends a warning to foreign and local players in the domestic e-commerce market.

Vietnam’s e-commerce market has also seen the recent closure of mobile platforms such as Beyeu.com, Deca.vn, and Foodpanda.vn. However, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hung, Chairman of the Vietnam E-commerce Association (Vecom) told VET that “some cases of failure do not represent the situation in the e-commerce market as a whole,” and “we have seen growth in Vietnam’s m-commerce over recent years.”

“The closure of some e-commerce platforms is to be expected, and competitiveness will help to filter and push up development,” he added.

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