Alibaba acquires Pakistani online shopping platform, expanding reach in South Asia

15/05/2018

Alibaba has purchased Pakistan’s online shopping platform Daraz, expanding its reach into the fast-growing South Asia market.

Alibaba has expanded into Pakistan with the acquisition of the region’s largest e-commerce platform, Daraz, for an undisclosed amount.

The deal makes Rocket Internet-backed Daraz a wholly owned unit of Alibaba, which is China’s biggest e-commerce provider and operator.

For Jack Ma-helmed-Alibaba, the acquisition spreads its e-commerce reach further outside of China. In addition to Pakistan, Daraz operates in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Founded in 2012, Daraz reported it has 30,000 sellers and 500 brands on its platform, which offers consumer electronics, household goods, beauty, fashion, sports equipment and groceries. It also offers multiple payment options, including cash-on-delivery.

It’s a strategic investment: With Pakistan’s youth population increasing, Pakistan is now a considered a fast-growing consumer market, Bloomberg reported. Its population is estimated at around 190 million.

 

 

“With hard work and dedication, we have started the e-commerce journey in our markets, but we have still only scratched the surface of the potential,” Daraz co-CEO Bjarke Mikkelsen said.

 

 

That means there’s significant growth potential for Daraz, with the South Asian market forecast to expand 8.2 percent per year through 2021 amid rising disposable incomes, according to Euromonitor International.

The acquisition of Daraz follows a fintech investment from Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, which runs Alipay and other Alibaba financial services.

The company had previously focused its sights on India, where it has backed Paytm. It also picked up Southeast Asia’s leading online shopping center Lazada, another Rocket company, two years ago.

“With hard work and dedication, we have started the e-commerce journey in our markets, but we have still only scratched the surface of the potential,” Daraz co-CEO Bjarke Mikkelsen said in a statement.

Daraz will retain its current brand name following the sale.

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