In April 2014, Rocket Internet teamed up with Qatari’s Ooredo Group to launch what was known as the Asia Pacific Internet Group (APIG), an e-commerce venture builder for Asia tasked at launching and expanding ventures such as Daraz.pk, Lamudi.com, Carmudi.com, Kaymu.com, Pricepanda.com and EasyTaxi.com into Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Australia.
Now, APACIG has announced it’s selling a 33% tpercent stake for $34m (30m EUR) to PLDT. PLDT has an option to increase the stake to 50 percent.
The JV is expected to help build e-commerce in the Philippines and as well strengthen their existing partnership signed late last year. The three partners will form a new group called Philippines Internet Group (“PHIG”) with a strong bias towards e-commerce in the Philippines.
The firms expct PHIG to have a leverage over local market dynamics and have insights into its business model, facilitate more local deals, and set up a vibrant local operation for Lamudi, Carmudi, Clickbus and Pricepanda and a new others set to be launched.
This partnership was long coming.
Rocket Internet has worked with Millicom in various emerging markets. In Africa and parts of Asia, the firm courted MTN Group for its legitimacy and expansion. Ooredo gave it entry into the Asian market but now with PLDT, Rocket Internet’s companies have a right of way in each region as the telco’s will not only act as big bro but will help in their expansion and uptake too.
Napoleon L. Nazareno, President and CEO of PLDT, said: “At PLDT, we are firmly committed to paving the way for the country’s digital future. We have already built the Philippines’ most extensive internet infrastructure. Now we are excited to extend our partnership with Rocket Internet and look forward to harnessing their knowledge and experience in building innovative internet services that will further support our mission of enriching our people’s lives.”
To Oliver Samwer, Founder and CEO of Rocket Internet, with its population of about 100 million people and more than 44 million internet users, Philippines is a highly promising market and courting the region’s biggest telco as an investor and as an equal partner into the new venture guarantees definate success.