JD.com co-leads investment in Vietnam’s B2C ecommerce platform Tiki

FILE PHOTO - A sign of China's e-commerce company JD.com is seen at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2016 in Shanghai, China, May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

China’s second-biggest e-commerce firm JD.com on Tuesday announced that it has led a strategic investment in Tiki, Vietnam’s B2C e-commerce platform.

The investment will give the Chinese retailer a greater foothold in Southeast Asian market as it takes on fierce competition from rivals Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Amazon.com.

“JD has signed the share subscription agreement as co-lead investor in Tiki’s recent Series C round of financing,” JD.com said in a statement.  Upon completion of this investment, JD.com will become one of Tiki’s largest shareholders.

A Tiki spokesperson told DEALSTREETASIA that the total funding round, led by JD.com, amounted to $44 million. Other investors, who remain undisclosed, also participated in the round. However, the spokesperson declined to disclose the exact sum that JD.com invested in the current round.

“With JD’s expertise in leveraging social media for e-commerce, Tiki’s partnership with VNG in social network and mobile payments is a natural fit as we aim to provide differentiated services to suppliers and consumers in Vietnam. We look forward to working with Tiki to deliver a truly world class e-commerce experience to Vietnamese consumers,” said Winston Cheng, President of International at JD.com.

Founded in 2010 and based in Ho Chi Minh City, Tiki started as an online retailer for books. It currently also offers other products including phone, digital equipment and accessories, electrical appliances, life house products, beauty and health products, among others.

It raised its first round of funding in 2012 from Cyberagent Ventures before securing a series B investment from Sumitomo Corporation. In May 2016, Southeast Asia’s VNG Corporation had injected $17 million in Tiki, picking up a 38 per cent equity in it, which valued the company at $45 million.

JD strengthening foothold in SE Asia

As far as presence in Southeast Asia is concerned, JD.com already has an established e-commerce platform in Indonesia that it launched in 2015, and it also partnered with Thai conglomerate Central Group last year in September to use Thailand as a hub for servicing other regional countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia.  In October, JD.com had led a $19 million investment in Bangkok-headquartered online fashion brand Pomelo.

Among other big deals in the region include Alibaba’s $1 billion deal with Lazada, the e-commerce service originally founded by Rocket Internet that marked its entry in the region, and a $1.1 billion round in Tokopedia led by Alibaba. Amazon, too, has entered the region with the acquisition of Singapore-based e-grocery company Redmart, and the introduction of a Prime-like membership service in partnership with Uber and Netflix.

As part of the latest deal, JD.com will partner with Tiki in a range of areas including merchandising, cross-border trade, logistics and fulfillment, technology, financing, and operational capabilities, it said. Tiki and JD will cooperate to deliver a wider authentic selection from global brands to consumers, while helping Vietnamese local brands in expanding internationally via JD’s global platform.

Son Tran, Tiki’s Founder and CEO, said, “JD and Tiki share the same business philosophy: to win market share by winning consumers’ heart. Since inception, Tiki has always focused on best-in-class, authentic shopping experience and amazingly fast delivery. We believe JD.com, with its proven track record in superior user experience, procurement, logistics, and technology will be an invaluable asset for Tiki as we work to become Vietnam’s top e-commerce platform.”

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