Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek


Filed under: News


Rocket Internet's Asian Adventures

Dec 31 2013, 3:41pm CST | by

10 Updates
Rocket Internet's Asian Adventures
Photo Credit: Forbes


Recommend Your Tweet as Top Tweet:

Full Story

Rocket Internet's Asian Adventures

Entering with fashion site Zalora in the Philippines in late 2011, Germany’s Rocket Internet has since been hatching dozens of copycat e-commerce sites in Southeast Asia and the general vicinity–and quickly shutting down some of them. It’s invested at least $200 million already in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam–perhaps up to $300 or $400 million if Rocket start-ups are spending tens of million of marketing dollars in each country, as rumored.

(As for the general vicinity: Rocket start-ups seems to be more successful in Australia and India than in Korea, Taiwan or, most especially, China.)

Rocket’s founders, the three German title="forbes billionaires in the future">Samwer brothers , still have a reputation as cloners, flippers and operators of grueling, ruthless workplaces with high staff churn . Rocket executives readily acknowledge that their sites are copycats, usually of sites pioneered in the U.S., but nowadays Rocket’s buildup and execution abilities are always central to the media message

Rocket may well assume the exit door is a long way off for sprawling, logistics heavy Amazon-like Lazada and Zappos-like Zalora. After all, the Samwer brothers don’t seem in any hurry to offload five-year-old Zalando , the Zappos lookalike with sites throughout western Europe. (Asia’s Zalora is thus more accurately described as a clone of a clone.). First, Zalora and Lazado need to make a profit, which might not be until 2015 for Zalora .

Rocket’s lighter weight Southeast Asian start-ups, such as Wimdu, Easy Taxi and Foodpanda, however, don’t require the same intensive capital investment in inventory, warehouses and staff training. If they aren’t meeting their KPIs, they can be shut down with no formal announcements and, apparently, little warning to staff. That’s what happened this year to OfficeFab’s f our office supply sites after a year of operations and Home24’s two furnishings sites after a mere few months.

Somewhere in between the demise of OfficeFab and Home24, Rocket gave up on a Square-ish mobile payments service called Payleven in the region.(For that matter, Zalora sites didn’t survive even a year in China and Taiwan, where competition is more intense and online shopping consumes a much greater share of retail sales than in Southeast Asian countries.)

Unlike multi-product Zalora and Lazado, the lightweight platforms in Southeast Asia are entering national or city markets where head-to-head clones usually already exist. They also differ from Zalora and Lazado in that  may even be headed by a local MBA instead of a foreigner imported fresh from McKinsey. But they still might emulate the model the Samwer brothers pioneers with their clones of eBay, Groupon and Facebook in Europe: if a site wins a substantial market share, the competition or potential competition may quickly buy it out.

AirBnb already exists in the countries were Rocket’s copy, Wimdu, has set up homes.  Pinspire, a blatant ripoff of Pinterest, but maybe Rocket has disavowed it already since Pinspire isn’t even listed on the main Rocket Site

Easy Taxi Coming to Singapore

It’s the taxi apps and food delivery wars where competition is more interesting and marketing spending may make the difference:

Easy Taxi is Rocket’s newest foray in the region. The taxi-booking-via-smartphone app arrived late in 2013 in Bangkok and Hong Kong, having launched mid-year in Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Johor Bahru and Seoul. All the cities already had at least one online booking servicing, usually GrabTaxi, formerly called MyTaxi and still known as MyTeksi in Malaysia. Singapore, next up for an Easy Taxi entry early in 2014, already has SMS-a-Taxi.

Can there really be that much profit to be made from a percentage of a taxi booking? Guess so. Rocket has Easy Taxi ventures all over Latin America, although the original, MyTaxi, began in San Francisco in 2009.

Starting up such an app company boils down to intensive marketing on two fronts. First, the potential customers, maybe companies as well as individuals, must be persuaded to download the free app to a smartphone. Then the taxi company or taxi drivers—that would be tens of thousands in Bangkok and Manila–have to be persuaded to sign on to accept booking messages. Why would they choose one app over another? For Easy Taxi, the drivers are receiving the entire booking fee (about 60 US cents in Bangkok) the passenger pays. Eventually, the fee will go to the company.


After success in Latin America and eastern and western Europe, Foodpanda entered urban markets in Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and

Source: Forbes


You Might Also Like


Sponsored Update

Update: 10

MRCB, Nusa Gapurna and PKNS settle suit over RM3 billion PJ Sentral project

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), Nusa Gapurna Development Sdn Bhd (NGD) and PKNS Holdings Sdn Bhd have reached an out-of-court settlement over the ownership of the. ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 21 2014, 2:53am CDT


Update: 9

Story behind Syed Mokhtar’s ‘RM2.25 billion tax-exempt’ Bernas deal revealed, says PKR MP

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – An innocuous written reply in Parliament has provided a peek into the cosy relationship between the Najib administration and Malaysia’s best-known businessman, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar... READ MORE ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 15 2014, 12:56pm CDT

More From the Web

Update: 8

Constitutional monarchy still murky concept

Source: Malaysia Today

After the RM4.5 billion land sale, the Sultan of Johor secured a 15% stake in MOL Access Portal (MOL) for RM396 million and took a 20% s ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 14 2014, 12:37am CDT

Update: 7

Sultan of Johor’s RM4.5 bil backlash?

Source: Malaysia Today

49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Has Sultan Ibrahim of Johor’s succession of big money deals over the last six months caused the tide of public opinion to turn against Johor’s royal palace? KiniBiz examines the... READ MORE ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 8:49am CDT

Update: 6

Putrajaya denies carpet dealer given interest-free loan

Source: Malaysia Today

Eileen Ng, The Malaysian Insider Putrajaya today refuted allegations that Bank Rakyat had allowed carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan to repay a RM32 million loan without interest following interventi ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 5:44am CDT

Update: 5

Malaysia Spends Over $9 million on MH370 Hunt: Report

Source: NDTV

49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Malaysia has so far spent about RM27.6 million (over $9 million) on search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an official said ...
Source: NDTV   Full article at: NDTV Jun 9 2014, 3:12am CDT

Update: 4

Bill for Kidex likely to soar to RM3.4b

Source: Malaysia Today

The original RM2.4 billion tag on the proposed highway did not take into account the cost of acquiring the land mostly in the urban areas, claims an assemblywoman Fabian Comelius,. ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 9 2014, 2:51am CDT

Update: 3

MACC: No elements of graft in Bank Rakyat’s loan to businessman

Source: Malaysia Today

BET AWARDS '14 - Red Carpet
(Bernama) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) found no elements of corruption in Bank Rakyat’s RM32 million interest free loan to a businessman. MACC in a statement today said initial... READ ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today May 31 2014, 9:33am CDT

Update: 2

IHH Healthcare posts 25% rise in 1Q earnings to $62 mil

Source: The Edge Singapore

IHH Healthcare Berhad announced that revenue grew by 8% y-o-y to RM1.8 billion ($703 million) for 1Q2014 ended March, as earnings grew 25% YoY to RM159.1 million. Re ...
Source: The Edge Singapore   Full article at: The Edge Singapore May 29 2014, 11:29am CDT

Update: 1

Hasan Malek evades media over RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan scandal

Source: Malaysia Today

Elizabeth Zachariah, The Malaysian Insider The minister embroiled in the RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan scandal refused to take questions from the press today at an event in Kuala ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today May 28 2014, 11:42pm CDT

Shopping Deals


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Aereo becomes a Cable Company
Aereo becomes a Cable Company
It turns out that Aereo does have a plan B after all: it wants to be classified as a cable company. After the Supreme Court sided with broadcasters CBS and ABC last month, ruling that the company was infringing their...
Axelle Despiegelaere already in Controversy over Safari Hunting Photo
Axelle Despiegelaere already in Controversy over Safari Hunting Photo
As reported Axelle Despiegelaere, the young Belgian Supporter who suddenly became famous during the World Cup scored a modeling contract with L'Oreal. Now a photo she shared on Facebook next to an Antilope with a rifle raises a discussion.
MindRDR app for controlling Google Glass through mind
MindRDR app for controlling Google Glass through mind
Neurosky biosensor picks up on brainwaves that correlate to your ability to focus to get things done
.blackfriday Domain Extension launched ahead of Black Friday 2014
.blackfriday Domain Extension launched ahead of Black Friday 2014
The new domain extensions .Blackfriday and .Christmas just have launched this week. Will these domain extension change the Black Friday SEO game?