A recent week-long vacation combined with subsequent general busyness means I’ve been delayed in pointing out a couple of recent stories.
The first is a story my colleague and I put together on the rise of Asia-focused consumer-to-conumser shopping apps. Think eBay, but for the smartphone age.
Instead of listening to music or playing videogames during his daily train commute in Singapore, Jay Pang uses the down time for something different: selling rare sets of Legos via his smartphone.
Mr. Pang frequently manages listings for his online business using a new e-commerce app called Shopee. The app was created by a unit of Garena Online, a fast-growing Internet startup in Singapore valued at $2.5 billion. Mr. Pang frequently taps away on his Samsung Galaxy smartphone during his ride, haggling over prices with customers in real time.
The 29-year-old engineer’s on-the-go business offers a look at the changing face of commerce in the era of the smartphone and is a blueprint for how mobile shopping could evolve elsewhere.
Consumers in the U.S. use their mobile devices more for getting directions or listening to music than for making purchases, according to a 2015 survey by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center.
But a handful of Asian startups are starting to change the commercial landscape by offering apps that let individuals buy and sell goods directly from one another more easily than on traditional Web-based sites like eBay. The so-called peer-to-peer commerce market is attracting funding from international investors and some companies have valuations of $1 billion or more despite the global economic slowdown.
There’s also a video, narrated by yours truly, embedded at the top of the post and online here.
The second story, out Thursday, is an exclusive: Singapore-based startup Garena has has raised a new round of funding at a valuation of about $3.75 billion.
The piece begins:
Investors are plowing fresh funds into a fast-growing Internet company focused on populous Southeast Asia despite falling valuations for some less-successful startups in the U.S.
Garena Interactive Holding Ltd. has raised $170 million in fresh capital in a fundraising round led by Malaysia’s state investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Bhd., valuing the Singapore-based online entertainment and e-commerce startup at about $3.75 billion, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Garena has now raised more than $500 million, including a round of fundraising in March 2015 that valued the firm at more than $2.5 billion, the person said. The company didn’t disclose other investors in the new round. Earlier investors include the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, one of Canada’s biggest pension funds, and U.S.-based private-equity fund General Atlantic LLC, though neither participated in the new round.
There’s a video for this one, too, embedded above and online here.
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- By Me Yesterday: Microsoft, eBay, Tencent Pour $1.4 Billion into India’s Flipkart
- Exclusive by Me and a Colleague Yesterday: GrabTaxi Raises New Funds
- Walmart Looks to Scale Back in U.K. and Brazil, With an Eye on India