Shopee parent Sea's sales double as Asian shoppers go online in pandemic

Revenue rose to US$1.6 billion (S$2.12 billion) in the last three months of 2020 from US$777.2 million a year earlier. - SEA LIMITED

SINGAPORE (Bloomberg): Sea Ltd expects e-commerce revenue to double in 2021, sustaining its torrid pace of growth as South-east Asia's most valuable company counts on regional online shopping demand to persist after the pandemic.

Revenue rose to US$1.6 billion in the last three months of 2020 from US$777.2 million a year earlier, Singapore-based Sea said on Tuesday (March 2) in a statement.

Net loss widened to US$523.6 million from US$283.8 million, as fourth-quarter sales and marketing expenses climbed 95 per cent to US$665.2 million, led by digital financial services.

Sea, backed by Tencent Holdings, has emerged as a stock market sensation since its initial public offering in New York in 2017, as investors bet the company can establish itself as a leader in e-commerce and gaming in South-east Asia.

Among companies valued at US$100 billion or more, the stock has been the No. 1 performer in Asia since the start of last year and trails only Tesla globally.

It is also trying to establish fintech as a third growth driver. Sea said on Tuesday it has acquired 100 per cent of Composite Capital Management, a Hong Kong-licensed global investment management firm.

With the acquisition, the company is establishing Sea Capital, a platform to manage its overall investments.

The pandemic is helping to spur demand at Sea's e-commerce business Shopee, with fourth-quarter sales increasing 178 per cent to US$842.2 million. Sea forecast a 2021 revenue at Shopee of US$4.5 billion to US$4.7 billion, up from US$2.2 billion in 2020.

Hit mobile game Free Fire is fuelling growth at Sea's digital entertainment service Garena, whose sales last quarter rose 71.6 per cent to US$693.4 million.

Sea forecast Garena's annual bookings -- sales plus changes in deferred revenue -- will increase to US$4.3 billion to US$4.5 billion in 2021.

Its e-wallet service gained traction, with payment volume exceeding US$2.9 billion for the quarter and US$7.8 billion for the full year. Sea is trying to build financial services into its third growth pillar.

For 2020, Sea posted total digital entertainment bookings of US$3.2 billion.

Annual revenue at Garena rose 77.5 per cent to US$2 billion.

Sea's American depository receipts closed up 1.49 per cent at US$250 in New York on Tuesday.

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Singapore , Shopee , sales , Sea , pandemic , online


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