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Daily Digest | A tight race

Written by The Uptake Published on     2 mins read

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Buying a used car is easier than ever.

Hi there. It’s Brady again.

If you’re in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, or Thailand, and you’re in the market for a new car, chances are you have no shortage of choice. Car lots and dealerships aside, listings are aplenty online—and this is a huge business, as the past weeks have shown us.

The company that made headlines yesterday was Carsome, a Malaysia-based firm with unicorn status in its sights—the country’s first. In short, it is linking up with Catcha Group to absorb iCar Asia, another online classifieds business in Malaysia, pending regulatory approval. This comes just a week after Carsome took a stake in PT Universal Collection, an Indonesian automobile auction house.

Last year, on separate occasions, my colleague Stephanie spoke with Carsome CEO Eric Cheng as well as CFO Juliet Zhu. They painted a rosy picture about their sector, and indicated plans to introduce their services in Vietnam and the Philippines.

There is little doubt that platforms like Carsome make the process of buying and selling used cars easier, from dealing with paperwork and financing to ensuring quality control. Even though there are some differences between the services offered by Carsome and Carro—a Singapore-based company that also facilitates the sales of pre-owned vehicles—I do wonder how much buyers are able to differentiate between the two.

In any case, both companies plan to go public in the United States in the foreseeable future. It’s a testament to the pace at which startups in Southeast Asia are maturing.

Daily Roundup

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