More Exits For Asian E-commerce Firms, But Valuations Still Small

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There has been a growing rate of exits happening for Asian e-commerce companies, but valuations remain small on average. Most are under the $50 million mark, according to CB Insights’ latest report.

The report, which provides a broad sweep of the past three years of activity in the region, showed that most activity—unsurprisingly—was happening in the large markets of India and China.

But while India had the most exit deals done so far, China completely dominated in terms of investment volume. India had 154 exits since 2010, and China had 83. Russia had 61, Singapore 35 and Japan 11, in the time.

But those 83 exits in China were worth $4.8 billion collectively. India trails at $978 million in second place. Russia had $731 million, followed by Singapore at $328 million and Japan at just $58 million.

Asian e-commerce investment volume

China’s activity saw a particularly big spike in Q2 of 2011, thanks to three mega-deals there: 360buy ($1.5 billion), 55tuan ($200 million) and Lashou ($110 million).

Asian ecommerce deal volume

Besides exits, large e-tailers also IPOed in the US in recent years, such as China’s DangDang and VIPshop, and India’s MakeMyTrip. DangDang specializes in selling books (although it’s recently been trying to broaden across products) and raised $272 million in its NYSE IPO in 2010. VIPshop IPOed in 2012 and raised $71.5 million. MakeMyTrip shares surged 89 percent in its 2010 Nasdaq debut, raising $70 million.

But apart from the activity in China, the rest of Asia has a ways to go. On average, 60 percent of exits were valued at less than $50 million, with about half of that being less than $25 million. The result of the poor valuation outcomes may contribute to the sector being exit-challenged for the time being, said CB.

Furthermore, post-IPO performance has been lackluster. DangDang, VIPshop and MakeMyTrip saw their share prices tumble after IPO.

The fashion vertical receives the most interest from investors, with more than a quarter of overall e-commerce deals coming from apparel sites consistently each year.

Rocket Internet’s Singapore-based fashion site, Zalora, has been doing particularly well in the past year. In March, scooped up $26 million from German retail conglomerate Tengelmann Group, following a “significant double digit million” dollar investment from JP Morgan in September last year.

Tiger Global Management is the most active investor in the region’s e-commerce sector, and appears to be focusing mostly on India, with 16 deals so far. It’s joined by Accel Partners, Intel Capital, Sequoia Capital and IDG in the top five.