Giosis, the eBay-backed company behind e-commerce platform Qoo10, will boost its operations in Asia after landing an $82.1 million Series A led by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). Ebay (which owns a stake in Giosis as a joint venture with Korean shopping site Gmarket), Saban Capital Group, UVM 2 Venture Investments, Brookside Capital, and Oak Investment Partners also participated in the round.
Singapore Press Holdings, the country’s largest newspaper in the country, plans to partner with Qoo10 on verticals like advertising and classifieds.
In a statement, Singapore Press Holdings chief executive officer Alan Chan said, “Qoo10 is the number one ranked e-commerce website in Singapore and its parent company Giosis has established itself as a market leader in the region’s e-commerce space. The investment in Qoo10 will enhance our portfolio of digital assets and open up opportunities for future marketing collaborations. With the region’s e-commerce market poised to grow, this investment puts us in a good position to tap into the industry’s growth and be an active player in this e-commerce space.”
Qoo10 was founded in 2010 as a joint venture between Gmarket founder Ku Young Bae and eBay after the latter struggled to enter Japan and China. It represents a chance for eBay, which is dealing with slowing growth, to tackle Asian markets where there are less entrenched competitors.
Giosis’ B2C site Qoo10 already runs marketplaces in Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and China, and is targeting expansion in Southeast Asia. Qoo10 currently claims to have 17.6 million registered users and made a total of $408 million in gross merchandise volume last year.
Qoo10’s Singapore country manager Hyun Wook Cho says the capital will be used on marketing; deploying more platforms for merchants, including independent storefronts that allow them to maintain their own brand identity apart from the main Qoo10 site; and improving mobile apps like messenger QTalk, which lets users earn shopping points.
Qoo10 will also expand in Indonesia to tap into the country’s rapidly-growing e-commerce market.
A major priority for Qoo10 is migrating more of its web traffic to mobile devices, by developing faster-performing apps. This is especially important for fashion listings that need zoomable photos and other data-heavy features in order to attract buyers.
While Rocket Internet is investing aggressively in sites like B2C marketplace Lazada and fashion site Zalora that also serve Southeast Asian shoppers, Cho says Qoo10 is less concerned about potential competition and instead more focused on bringing brick-and-mortar merchants online and solving issues like an underdeveloped logistics network.
“Next day delivery is the norm in other countries. In Southeast Asia shoppers are used to three to four-day delivery, but that is not the way we should deliver to customers, so we will be investing in more logistic partners to make it much faster,” says Cho.
Other options include expanding in-store pickups, which is frequently used in markets like Singapore and can be a potential opportunity for Qoo10 to develop its online-to-offline strategy.