Matahari Mall launches in Indonesia, with $500M funding from Lippo Group, Aims to be "Alibaba of Indonesia"

By MoneyTimes

Sep 13, 2015 10:25 PM EDT

With an ambition to be the next eCommerce giant in Southeast Asia, Matahari Mall officially launched Wednesday with $500 million funding from giant Indonesian real estate development company Lippo Group.

Venture Beat reported that Matahari aims to become like the other eCommerce giants in the Asia-Pacific regions, such as China's Alibaba and Japan's Rakuten. Matahari will serve the 250-million Indonesian market. During the company's soft launching in June, its chief executive Hadi Wenas said, it will sell anything "from cars to smartphones, and dresses to groceries."  

Wenas said, "It's been an excellent start for us during the soft-launch period. We have sellers telling us that most of their sales already come from Matahari Mall, even when we have not yet started our marketing."

According to Jakarta Globe, has gained almost 200,00 customers with 200,000 various products from 1,2000 vendors since its soft launch earlier in 2015. The company set up 10,000-square-meter warehouse close to Halim Perdanakusuma airport in East Jakarta. The company hopes to be a driving force of eCommerce in Indonesia.

Forbes contributor Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry is optimistic that Matahari Mall can indeed pull off its ambitions to be "the Alibaba of Indonesia." He said there are a lot of reasons to be pessimistic about a major conglomerate trying to create a website, but Gorby said having $500 million in funding to attract buyers and sellers, then it just might be a success.

Wenas said there are sellers telling them that most of their sales came from Matahari even before the company official launched. This is very encouraging to the company as they build a strong market ecosystem that would bring together sellers and consumers from all over Indonesia. Besides Matahari, there are other giant tech companies out there that are eyeing Indonesia as a growth opportunity. Singapore-based logistics firm SingPost expects eCommerce sales in Indonesia to increase to almost $4.5 billion in 2016.

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