Rocket Internet’s online retail company Daraz acquired by Alibaba

9th May 2018
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Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has cast its net wide and expanded into South Asia by acquiring online retailer Daraz for an undisclosed amount.

“We are excited for Daraz to become a part of the Alibaba ecosystem. Together with Daraz, we can now empower entrepreneurs to better serve consumers in the region through our technology and expertise,” said Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang.

Daraz is the e-commerce company of Rocket Internet in Pakistan and was founded in 2012. Rocket Internet builds online startups and has its shareholdings in different models of internet retail business.

Oliver Samwer, CEO of Rocket Internet, said, “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 to create one of the fastest growing companies in the region. The acquisition by Alibaba is a tremendous success for the entire team working at Daraz.”

Daraz operates in multiple countries other than just Pakistan. These include Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. These markets have a combined population of over 460 million, according to a statement by Rocket Internet, and 60 percent of this population is below the age of 35.

The company will, after the acquisition, continue to operate under its brand name.

Daraz Co-CEO Jonathan Doerr said, “Together with Alibaba, we are ready to empower entrepreneurs in the region and to fulfil our promise to offer our customers the best selection of products with a high-level of convenience.”

“With hard work and dedication, we have started the e-commerce journey in our markets, but we have still only scratched the surface of the potential,” said Daraz Co-CEO Bjarke Mikkelsen.

In fact, in March, Ant Financial, an affiliate of the tech giant Alibaba, had bought a stake in Telenor Microfinance Bank for $184.5 million. Telenor is a Pakistani digital payments business.

This is not the first Rocket Internet company that Alibaba has acquired. In 2016 it had acquired Lazada in Southeast Asia. This the second wave of Alibaba’s international expansion. With just the first quarter gone by, it will be interesting to follow Alibaba’s international expansion as it unfolds this quarter and to see whether the tech giant makes any more acquisitions in South Asia after Daraz.

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