Rocket Internet’s Asia Price Comparison Venture, Pricepanda, Continues Its Regional March

Pricepanda, the Rocket Internet-fuelled South East Asian online price comparison venture founded in May this year and rumoured to be backed by less than €10 million (<$12.8 million), has added Indonesia to its nascent family of sites — having kicked off with launches in Malaysia and Singapore earlier this autumn.

Pricepanda is currently focused on consumer electronics including mobile phones, software and TV and audio kits, and says that in its first few weeks of operations in Malaysia and Singapore it has signed up a swathe of notable local online electronic retailers (name-checking Shashinki, Challenger, Fotokem, Mobile Megamall, Youbeli, Mobile88, Lazada and Cresdo). The number of products listed on the Malaysia Pricepanda site has risen to nearly 3,000 items, it added.

Even more regional expansion is on the cards for Pricepanda — it wants to be “the leading price comparison website for the emerging markets” — with co-founder Matti Rönkkö, noting in a statement: “We are heavily focused on internationalization parallel with expansion of categories and verticals in our existing markets. We aim to be the leading portal for saving money in all emerging e-commerce markets.”

What’s attracting the Samwar brothers’ investment vehicle to region in this latest price comparison guise is ostensibly significant growth in the number of online shops there — an obvious pre-requisite for a price comparison website. But Rocket Internet has other, much larger e-commerce ventures in Asia which are at the very least complementary to Pricepanda — and could offer potential for cross-leveraging their products in future.

Rocket Internet confirms there are “close relations” between Pricepanda and two of its regional e-commerce ventures: Lazada (an ‘ clone‘) and JP Morgan-backed fashion site Zalora. Pricepanda’s Rönkkö tells TechCrunch the site has been sharing office space with Zalora in Malaysia, as well as generally sharing market information with other regional Rocket Internet ventures, to help speed Pricepanda’s entrance into Asia.

Even closer tie-ins — such as featuring Lazada products on Pricepanda, for example — are not currently on the cards. Rönkkö says: “We do have close relationship in a way that we get help and tips from them on the market. However, when it comes to actually co-operation with them, as in [featuring] their products on Pricepanda, the negotiation is similar to any other merchant on the market.”