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This week has seen two of the world’s biggest ecommerce giants from China continue their push into Southeast Asia, the latest frontier in the battle for ecommerce dominance.

JD.com In Talks To Launch Joint Venture With Central Group

JD.com is now in advanced talks with the Central Group who are based in Thailand to launch a joint venture in the country. JD.com are looking at making a total investment of $500 million a source told international news agency Reuters.

The new company will help JD.com expand its overseas business holdings beyond Indonesia and boost its presence in the region where both Alibaba and Amazon already have a strong presence. The investment in Central Group would enable them to enter into the Thai market which would also allow them to use this as a hub to serve other countries nearby such as Malaysia and Vietnam.

Thailand is one of the major ecommerce growth areas with the market being said to be worth $900 million. It is expected to grow by 29% over the next 10 years and major players who have invested into the market include the Alibaba backed Lazada and South Korea’s 11 Street.

Alibaba Invests In Tokopedia

It was also revealed this week that Alibaba has invested in Indonesia’s largest ecommerce platform Tokopedia in a bd to strengthen its presence in Southeast Asia. The investment totals $1.1 billion and has been done with a number of partners.

Alibaba has been making major inroads into the Southeast Asian region and it already holds an 83% stake in Lazada, the Singapore based ecommerce company that gives it key access to markets in Southeast Asia. It has also launched Tmall World to the Chinese speaking consumers in markets such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. One of Alibaba’s affiliate companies Ant Financial has aso been investing heavily in the region,  AliPay in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines through a merger with Lazada’s HelloPay as well as investing Thailand’s Ascend Money and South Korea’s Kakao Pay.

Southeast Asia: The Next Frontier For Ecommerce

The Southeast Asian region was recently declared as the next frontier in ecommerce by Mark Woo, head of e­-commerce, travel and financial services at Google so it us perhaps not surprising to see such investments. At a recent conference, Mark Woo said:

“China is at the peak at the moment, with the majority of sales happening through the mobile web and mobile applications. India is hugely dominated by a couple of large players — Flipkart and Amazon. Japan and Australia are hugely mature markets, probably more mature than the UK and the US in terms of ecommerce penetration and e­commerce savviness by consumers. This really leaves us with Southeast Asia as the next frontier.”

Scott Bretton
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