Thailand has a burgeoning e-commerce sector that is expected to grow by 14% from THB 3.1 trillion in 2018 to THB 3.3 trillion this year, the country’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) predicts. The landscape, however, is largely dominated by foreign players. In particular, local fashion e-commerce Pomelo is backed by Chinese tech giant JD.com, and Thailand’s top two e-commerce companies Lazada and Shopee are backed by Alibaba and Sea Group, respectively. This leaves little space for growth for native startups to grow independently.
In response to this phenomenon, ETDA intends to invest THB 1 billion to build a local e-commerce platform to compete with the various foreign-backed incumbents, Bangkok Post reports.
Thailand wants to unravel a reliance on global giants with the creation of this uniquely Thai e-commerce platform, which ETDA for now calls Durian.
In the first stage of its development, Durian will begin with a THB 10 million investment from ETDA, which hopes to raise THB 1 billion within the next six months through an initial coin offering, crowdfunding, and private investors.
The Thai government agency intends to collaborate with two of Thailand’s largest e-commerce marketplaces, Tarad.com and LNWshop.com, to build Durian. However, Tarad recently announced that it will be transforming its business model from retail to e-commerce enablement, a move that could lead to Tarad working with former competitors Lazada and Shopee.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad