Google, Temasek agree to invest US$350mil in Tokopedia

Google and Temasek’s backing is a vote of confidence for Tokopedia, considered one of Indonesia’s biggest e-commerce operators. — AFP

Google and Temasek Holdings Pte have agreed to invest about US$350mil (RM1.45bil) in PT Tokopedia, people familiar with the matter said, a major cash infusion that will bankroll the Indonesian online mall’s post-Covid-19 expansion.

The Alphabet Inc unit and Singapore’s state investment firm could sign an agreement for the funding soon, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing the deal before it’s formally concluded. The financing falls short of the initial goal of between US$500mil (RM2.08bil) to US$1bil (RM4.16bil) that Bloomberg News reported in July, though Tokopedia may still be looking for more investors.

Tokopedia, the online marketplace backed by SoftBank Group Corp, was said to have held talks with US Internet giants including Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp and Inc. The backing of Google and Temasek is a vote of confidence for one of Indonesia’s biggest e-commerce operators, which rode a surge in online shopping during the pandemic.

America’s largest Internet corporations have looked increasingly toward Asia as growth in the US and Europe slows, seeking to tap the region’s rapidly growing smartphone-savvy population. Facebook is buying a stake in India’s Jio Platforms, while its WhatsApp unit struck a deal to invest in Gojek, which has a popular digital payments service called GoPay. Representatives for Google, Tokopedia and Temasek declined to comment.

Tokopedia co-founder and chief executive officer William Tanuwijaya built Indonesia’s most valuable startup after Gojek by scoring early backing from SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd co-founder Jack Ma.

E-commerce platforms like Tokopedia, Alibaba’s Lazada Group SA and Singapore-based Shopee – a unit of Sea Ltd – moved quickly to serve the millions of people forced to make their first online purchases during widespread lockdowns. Indonesia has become a key battleground between the regional rivals: The country’s e-commerce market is projected to expand from US$21bil (RM87.48bil) in 2019 to US$82bil (RM341.62bil) by 2025, according to a recent study by Google, Temasek and Bain & Co. – Bloomberg

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