Philippines e-commerce market teeming with prospects
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Growth prospects remain for the Philippine e-commerce market despite its slower take-off compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, a regional e-commerce aggregator said.

“I haven’t cracked it yet, but in my idea, it’s the most overlooked market of Southeast Asia,” iPriceGroup CEO and co-founder David Chmelar said.

He said a lot of tech startups have been setting sights on other countries in the SEA region, particularly Indonesia.

Based on a Google study, the Indonesia internet economy is estimated at $40 billion in 2019, quadrupling in size since 2015 at an average growth rate of 49 percent a year.

In contrast, the Philippine internet economy grew 32 percent since 2015, registering at $7 billion in 2019.

“But when you look at the economics, the geography, the complexity of the islands in the Philippines. It’s still more than 100 million people, that’s a huge population,” Chmelar said.

Chmelar, however, pointed out there might be a delay in the growth of the e-commerce market in the Philippines.

“It has not come yet, but I believe at some point it will come and we will see the same trajectory as Indonesia,” he added.

Meanwhile, ACA Investments Pte Ltd Principal Hajime Adachi said the Philippine e-commerce market is still in the growth stage.

“There are still problems of the logistics and also the payments. I think most of the transactions are still done by the cash on delivery basis,”

“But if the e-commerce in the Philippines will be more convenient for the consumers, I think it can grow even more faster,” he added.

ACA, along with a group of other investors, recently made a $10 million investment in iPrice Group, driven by optimism on the growth of the Southeast Asia e-commerce market.

The bulk of the $10 million Series B investment was made by ACA, with participation by Daiwa PI Partners, while the remaining was funded by returning investors Line Ventures and Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund.

“With this funding round in place, iPrice is set to become the region’s best online shopping companion platform and the key e-commerce enabler for super apps,” iPrice Group said.

Chmelar said funding would help the firm improve user experience as well as grow the number of its partner merchants.

iPriceGroup is the leading e-commerce aggregator in Southeast Asia, specifically in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, with 1.5 billion products available from more than 1,500 merchant partners.

In 2019,the company registered five million transactions made on the iPrice platform and recorded more than 20 million monthly visitors.

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