Alibaba has expanded its e-commerce empire into South Asia after the Chinese internet giant acquired Daraz in an undisclosed deal.
Alibaba purchases Pakistani e-commerce website Daraz
Daraz was found back in 2012 by Rocket Internet and it operates in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Nepal. In a Statement, Rocket said that Alibaba has acquired entire Daraz business. It is the second time Alibaba has bought a Rocket company first one was Lazada in Southeast Asia two years ago.
Alibaba’s spokesperson also confirmed the deal but none of the company has made any official statement so far.
Its key markets are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal, claiming 30,000 sellers and 500 brands on its platform, according to a statement by Alibaba.
Products available on Daraz include consumer electronics, household goods, beauty, fashion, sports equipment and groceries, it said.
Daraz said the acquisition would help further growth in its main markets, adding that they were home to 460 million people, 60 percent of whom were under the age of 35.
Rumors of a deal have been rife for the past couple of months, with Bloomberg reporting in March that acquisition talks were ongoing.
This deal is part of Alibaba’s second wave of international expansions which see it enter South Asia.
Back in March, Ant paid $184.5 million for a 45 percent stake in Telenor Microfinance Bank, a fintech division from Norwegian operator Telenor, which operates Pakistan’s second largest telco. That one-two punch of e-commerce and fintech (particularly payments) is a common move from Alibaba-Ant, which has made similar deals in India and across Southeast Asia.
Beyond Pakistan, it looks like Alibaba is also eying nearby Bangladesh, which has a population of over 160 million and rising internet adoption.
According to reports last month, the Chinese firm is pushing to buy a 20 percent chunk of payment firm bKash, a move that would again push its reach deeper into South Asia.