Tokopedia, one of southeast Asia’s leading e-commerce companies, has received a $1.1 billion funding round led by China’s Alibaba, which will see the latter become a minority stakeholder.
The round, which follows a $100m injection led by Alibaba and Silicon Valley investing giant Sequoia in 2014, will allow Tokopedia to quickly scale its business across the region from its home in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, southeast Asia’s largest market.
“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,” read a joint Tokopedia and Alibaba statement.
2009-founded Tokopedia provides a platform, and discount coupons, for retailers to target Indonesia’s 261m population–only 18% of whom are connected to the Internet, but who are coming online at a rapid rate. It is one in a line of southeast Asian investments by Alibaba, which also poured $2bn into Singapore-headquartered web retailer Lazada, which was founded by Berlin’s Rocket Internet in 2011.
“We have always thought of Alibaba as our teacher and role model,” wrote Tokopedia CEO and co-founder William Tanuwijaya. 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.”
Southeast Asia has become one of the world’s hottest startup markets in the past couple of years, as e-commerce and software solution firms flock to reap the rewards offered by a huge regional population that is quickly coming online.
Alibaba’s activity is evidence of Chinese brands’ eagerness to succeed in a close regional neighbor. Last month DiDi Chuxing and Japan’s SoftBank invested $2bn into ride-hailing company Grab, southeast Asia’s leading taxi app.