Alibaba buys South Asian ecommerce platform Daraz

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Rocket Internet has revealed that the Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba has acquired the entire share capital of South Asian ecommerce platform Daraz for an undisclosed amount. It’s a move that signals Alibaba’s ever continuing mission to dominate Asian ecommerce.

And it’s also the second time that Alibaba has bought a Rocket Internet company. The first was Lazada just two years ago.

Daraz was founded in Pakistan in 2012 and has since grown into the most popular online shopping destination in the country. Today, Daraz also operates online marketplaces in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Nepal. The five South Asian markets in which Daraz is operating have a combined population of over 460 million, 60% of which are under the age of 35. Daraz will continue to operate under the same brand following the transaction.

Alibaba has confirmed the transaction but hasn’t made a comment at this time.

The sale of Daraz to Alibaba is another testament to Rocket Internet´s ability to successfully scale and exit market-leading companies. Leading technology and a strong logistics network have helped creating one of the fastest growing companies in the region. The acquisition by Alibaba is a tremendous success for the entire team working at Daraz.
– Oliver Samwer, CEO of Rocket Internet

And whilst the acquisition by Alibaba may be the second by Alibaba in Asia, it’s not the first time that Rocket has been involved in such a transaction. More precisely, the people behind Rocket. The German Samwer brothers are ecommerce veterans with a history of selling their ecommerce concerns very successfully to bigger players.

Indeed, their first is very close to home for this writer. Back in 1999, the three Samwer brothers founded a German ecommerce marketplace modelled on eBay. It was such a success that within a few months it was acquired by eBay and formed the strong foundations for eBay Germany.

Why is it close to home? Back in July 1999, when I was a wet-behind-the-ears student at the LSE, I applied for, and won, a job at an unheard of online auction company called eBay. My task was to recruit stamps and coins merchants and the man who gave me the job was one Alexander Samwer. Those lads, though, would seems to be considerably richer than me twenty years on. And good luck to them.


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