Alibaba invests $750m in Turkey’s Trendyol to compete against Amazon

Alibaba flexes its muscles on its commitment to its international expansion plans.

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China’s e-commerce major Alibaba Group has paid $750m to become a major shareholder of Turkish e-commerce startup Trendyol, according to an account by Axios. The Turkish fashion sales firm counts the likes of Tiger Global, Kleiner Perkins, and Earlybird Venture Capital as backers.

Prior to this, Trendyol had secured close to $36m in funding. This development comes amidst rumours of Amazon launching operations in Turkey. Established in 2010 by Demet Mutlu, Trendyol has emerged as one of the most popular shopping sites for women in Turkey, serving up to more than 16 million customers.

Commenting on the partnership with Alibaba, Demet Mutlu, Founder and CEO of Trendyol, said, “The two companies share a very similar culture, values and both have huge ambitions for the digital economy. We are very excited about this partnership.”

He adds, “We began our journey eight years ago with a team of five people and we have built the largest and fastest growing mobile e-commerce platform in Turkey.”

This deal will see Alibaba providing its technology, e-commerce, mobile payment, and logistics expertise, as part of this strategic alliance. Turkey,  a relatively young market with 80 million people, see’s e-commerce account for an estimated 3.5% of its retail sector.

The country has been identified as a promising region with significant potential for growth by global e-commerce players.  According to information from ETID and the E-commerce Foundation, e-commerce in Turkey was worth 8.5 billion euros in 2015. In 2016, the Turkish Industry and Business Association reported the country’s e-commerce industry was worth 7.95 billion euros.

Turkey’s internet usage for those in the 16 to 74  age group grew from 61.2% in 2016 to 66.8% in 2017, according to a Turkish Statistical Institute survey on the household use of information and communication tech in 2017.

In 2017, according to Ecommerce News Europe, Turkey has an internet penetration rate of 51%, lower than many European peers. 40% of Turkish Internet users frequently use a smartphone to access the Internet, while data from a survey by the Turkish Statistical Institute iindicates24.8% of all internet users aged 16-74 in Turkey bought goods and services online.

Amazon is also exploring the launch of business operations in Turkey, with one media report indicating that the US e-commerce major began serving Turkish customers via its German website and had established an Istanbul office in 2017.

eBay, the US auction website, counts Turkish marketplace GittiGidiyor as a wholly-owned subsidiary, signalling its belief in Turkey’s growing internet market.

Editor: Shiwen Yap