The Jakarta Post
E-commerce firm Shopee plans to export millions of Indonesia-made products to the Philippines by the end of March as it seeks to strengthen its footing in Asia despite risks from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are starting the expansion with the Philippines because it has relatively the same buying power and price point as Indonesia,” the company's Public Policy and Government Relations head Radityo Triatmojo told the press on Thursday.
The export plan is part of Shopee’s Kreasi Nusantara program, which aims to market the products of Indonesian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to Shopee's other Asian markets. This year, Shopee would be marketing Indonesian products in its top export categories, namely beauty, fashion, food and beverage and home and living products.
The e-commerce firm reported having exported more than 5,000 Indonesian products to Malaysia and Singapore last year. It has operated in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Radityo went on to say that the company aimed to sell more than 1 million locally made products to its international market, but also expressed hope to exceed that figure.
“We will not rely on discounts or any other incentives because we want to see how the organic market will grow,” he said, adding that a similar strategy had been successful in attracting customers in Malaysia and Singapore.
He expressed hope that the coronavirus pandemic would not delay the company’s export plan, and added that despite the COVID-19 spread, its domestic and export market was able to “grow normally.”
“Hopefully, if it goes according to plan, we should be able to expand exports to Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam by year-end,” he said.
Shopee has been training its online sellers in trend analysis, logistics and English so they will be able to communicate with international buyers.
Shopee public relations lead Aditya Maulana said the company had trained 40,000 SME owners since 2018 in various online business topics, including through the Kampus Shopee program.
He said that such a training program was essential as many SMEs were still reluctant to scale up and market their products through branding efforts. They “feel small” and were afraid that their products would not sell in foreign markets, he added.
The government has been making efforts to promote local products, such as through Government Regulation No. 80/2019, which states that e-commerce platforms are required to provide space to promote goods and/or services produced domestically.
“The regulation is part of government support for both e-commerce platforms and small businesses,” said Trade Ministry business and distributors supervision director I Gusti Ketut Astawa, also on Thursday.
According to iPrice data, Shopee has the most monthly web visitors in Indonesia with almost 73 million visitors in the fourth quarter last year. Meanwhile, Indonesian e-commerce companies Tokopedia and Bukalapak came in second and third, respectively.
The ranking was a milestone for Shopee, as Tokopedia has been the country’s number one e-commerce site since the second quarter of 2018 until Q3 2019, with monthly web visits of 168 million.