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Thailand’s first unicorn Flash Express expands to the Philippines

Written by Stephanie Pearl Li Published on     2 mins read

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The Philippines’ logistics market is set to reach over PHP 1 trillion (USD 19.8 billion) in value by 2024, according to data by Ken Research.

Bangkok-based courier Flash Express is expanding its footprint in Southeast Asia by stepping into the Philippines.

The logistics unicorn, which offers express delivery services alongside warehouse and fulfilment solutions for businesses, first entered the Philippines in August, and then officially launched its full services on November 29. It claims to have over 138 logistics hubs and outlets across the archipelagic nation.

So far, the firm has already assembled a team of 3,000 staff in the country, with a plan to hire more than 10,000 by the end of 2022. It also signed a partnership with “one of the biggest Philippine e-commerce giants” two months ago, according to Reginald Rex Pumihic, public relations and partners manager of Flash Express Philippines.

The Philippines’ logistics sector has bounced back from a pandemic-induced slump that disrupted the global supply chain due to lockdowns and stringent border controls. The amount of pledged capital in the logistics sector surged 900% in 2020 to USD 740 million, according to a report by KMC Savills.

Currently, the sector has an array of notable regional unicorns, including Grab, Ninja Van, and J&T Express, as well as corporate-backed startups such as Entrego and Quad. At least ten new logistics firms were established in 2020 and the first half of 2021, accounting for 4.3% of new startups over the past year and a half, according to a report by the Gobi-Core Philippine Fund.

But Flash Express remains unfazed. “Competition will always be there. It will be super stiff and tough, and will always continue. But that is not our main focus as a brand or as a company. Our main focus is to deliver our promises,” said Dave Khodr, marketing director at Flash Express Philippines during a press conference.

Flash’s full Philippine rollout is taking place after the firm inked a deal with Lao conglomerate AIF Group on September 8 to launch Flash Lao, a joint venture that will offer logistics services via land and air between Thailand and Laos. Customers will be able to courier parcels from Thailand to Laos by booking in advance on Flash Express’ app.

In June, the firm landed USD 150 million in its extended Series D round led by SCB10X, the CVC arm of Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank, and its Series E round, led by China-based VC Buer Capital. The investments took the firm’s total raised capital to USD 550 million.

Founded in 2017, the firm is Thailand’s top private courier in terms of daily parcel volume, boasting the capacity to deliver up to 2 million parcels per day across the country.

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