Thai e-commerce company Tarad.com transforms business model to await partnerships with former competitors

If you can’t beat them, join them.

As in some of its neighbors, several e-commerce platforms operate in Thailand. There are homegrown firms like Pomelo and JD-Central—a joint venture between China’s JD.com and Central Group, the largest retail conglomerate in Thailand. Foreign companies with deep pockets, such as the Alibaba-owned Lazada and Sea Group’s Shopee, have made significant headway in the country too.

Tarad.com, the oldest online marketplace in Thailand, and the country’s third largest company in this space, is abandoning its retail business. But it isn’t exactly throwing in the towel. Instead, Tarad.com is transforming its business model to become an e-commerce enabler, as reported by the Bangkok Post. That means other e-commerce platforms could soon be gaining a local partner—one that is majority-owned by Thai beverage and retail conglomerate TCC Group.

Referring to this sea change, Tarad.com said that it is open to partnering with Lazada and Shopee, the top two e-commerce companies in the country.

Tarad.com has undergone several changes in the past decade to stay afloat. In 2009, Japanese e-commerce Rakuten acquired a 67% stake in Tarad.com for USD 3.35 million, and attempted to remodel the Thai marketplace’s business model. Seven years later, as Rakuten shifted its focus away from Southeast Asia, that share was spun off. Then, in 2018, TCC Group bought 51% of Tarad.com for THB 250 million, offering the platform a lifeline.

Editor: Brady Ng