Sea unfairly favoured its own delivery service, Indonesia says


A delivery rider on a motorcycle in the central business district in Jakarta, Indonesia. Online shoppers in Indonesia can choose the company to deliver their purchases, and Sea’s ecommerce arm Shopee set up an algorithm that prioritised its own service over other options, including local contenders, the antitrust watchdog known as KPPU said in a hearing on May 28. — Bloomberg

Indonesia’s antitrust authorities are investigating South-East Asia’s ecommerce leader Sea Ltd for potentially unfairly favouring its own delivery service over other alternatives.

Online shoppers in Indonesia can choose the company to deliver their purchases, and Sea’s ecommerce arm Shopee set up an algorithm that prioritised its own service over other options, including local contenders, the antitrust watchdog known as KPPU said in a hearing on May 28. Shopee’s legal team, which was present at the event, is scheduled to respond at a follow-up hearing on June 11.

Indonesia, with about 280 million people, is a key growth market for Singapore-based Sea as well as its competitors such as ByteDance Ltd’s TikTok as well as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Lazada. If proven to have violated rules, Shopee will face potential fines and may need to change the way it presents delivery options to consumers.

Shopee is “committed to complying with all applicable regulations and legislation in the Republic of Indonesia”, a Shopee Indonesia spokesperson said.

As part of its supporting evidence, the KPPU said a Shopee director has also acted as a top officer at its delivery service arm since 2018.

“Based on this, PT Shopee Intenational Indonesia has discriminated in the selection of shipping service companies that are automatically activated in bulk on the seller dashboard,” the antitrust watchdog said in a statement.

The agency is also investigating Lazada.

“Antitrust penalties that Indonesian authorities might impose on Alibaba’s Lazada if found to have violated laws would be lower than possible fines on Sea’s Shopee, which has four times more monthly active users in the South-East Asian nation. Less than a third of Lazada’s monthly active users were in Indonesia vs nearly 50% for Shopee as of April 30, based on Sensor Tower data,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Catherine Lim and Trini Tan. – Bloomberg

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