Bukalapak Becomes Indonesia’s First Listed Tech Unicorn

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Indonesian e-commerce platform, Bukalapak, became the country’s first listed tech unicorn as well as its largest when the company debuted on the Indonesian Stock Exchange on August 6, 2021.

The company raised some US $ 1.5 billion in what is Indonesia’s largest initial public offering (IPO), valuing the company at US $ 7.5 billion and placing it among the top 15 companies in the world. country. Bukalapak IPO showcases Indonesia’s vibrant market for tech unicorns and these local companies may achieve higher valuation.

Founded in 2010, Bukalapak, which counts Microsoft and Ant Group among its backers, is benefiting from the rapid digitization of the Indonesian economy during the pandemic. The strategy of the company has been to avoid competing with its bigger rivals Tokopedia and Shopee in the Indonesian metropolitan areas and instead developed in the hinterland of the country.

Bukalapak has partnered with some 500,000 merchants who take money from customers who are not connected to the Internet and order their products online while taking a commission from Bukalapak.

How will the IPO impact Indonesia’s booming digital economy?

The IPO sets the tone for another national tech IPO. GoTo, created by the merger of Indonesian transit giant Gojek and Tokopedia in an $ 18 billion deal, is also set to go public at the end of 2021, in what is expected to be the largest introduction in scholarship never performed in Indonesia. GoTo has an estimated market valuation of between $ 30 billion and $ 40 billion.

Another Indonesian tech unicorn, Traveloka, which provides online airline and hotel reservation services, and Singapore’s Grab are looking to go public by merging with US Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPAC).

Indonesia is the largest and fastest growing internet economy in Southeast Asia, with more than 170 million people having internet access in 2020.

The country’s leading tech unicorns have seen tremendous growth in recent years, with some, like GoJek, claiming to process 8 million orders per day.

  • Gojek – an on-demand full-service platform and digital payment company, valued at US $ 10 billion;
  • Tokopedia – a technology company specializing in electronic commerce valued between US $ 8 billion and 10 billion;
  • Bukalapak – an e-commerce platform, valued between US $ 2.5 billion and US $ 3 billion;
  • OVO – a digital payment and financial services platform valued at US $ 2.9 billion;
  • Traveloka – a company providing airline ticketing and hotel reservation services valued at US $ 2.75 billion; and
  • ID – an e-commerce platform valued at US $ 1 billion.

In addition, the success of Indonesian unicorns lies in creating local, accessible and familiar brands. Most of the services relate to products and services that Indonesians are used to. For example, motorcycle taxis have been a staple of urban transportation in the country for decades, and Gojek has capitalized on this industry through digitization.

E-commerce has been the main driving force behind Indonesia’s digital economy, and more than 10% of the country’s 270 million people shop online. According to a 2020 report from Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Company, Indonesia’s digital economy is expected to be valued at $ 125 billion by 2025, largely fueled by e-commerce, online travel, ridesharing. and online media. The e-commerce industry is expected to reach US $ 83 billion by 2025.

Value-of-Indonesia-E-commerce - Industry- (US $ -billion)

Collaboration with local platforms, such as Tokopedia and Bukalapak, could enable international e-commerce brands or retailers to enter the Indonesian retail market.

Opportunities in Indonesia’s FinTech Sector

In addition to e-commerce, there are evolving opportunities in Indonesia’s financial technology (fintech) industry, particularly in e-wallets and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

The country saw a 173% increase in e-wallet transactions in 2020 and there are now more than 30 companies competing for the Indonesian market. Local players, such as GoPay, OVO, DANA, and LinkAja, are among the industry leaders. GoPay (owned by Gojek) saw a gross transaction value of US $ 12 billion in 2020, while regional rival Grab owns shares in OVO, which is used in more than 115 million devices in more than 300 cities across the country. country.

Largest e-wallet apps in Indonesia based on total downloads

At the same time, P2P companies provide financial access to many local micro, small and medium enterprises, whose business models are often not compatible with the characteristics of traditional banking products. This includes aspects such as forms of collateral, credit quality, and loan payment terms.

P2P lenders offer microloans which, due to their convenience, can be disbursed within 24 hours, and the terms are usually short and small – no more than $ 100. Through this funding model, P2P lenders can tap into the under-banked and unbanked population, which is approximately 47 million and 92 million, respectively. The Indonesian Financial Services Authority has officially listed some 160 financial technology companies.


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ASEAN Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia and has offices throughout ASEAN including Singapore, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang in Vietnam, Munich and Esen in Germany, Boston and Salt Lake City in the United States, Milan, Conegliano and Udine in Italy, in addition to Jakarta, and Batam in Indonesia. We also have partner firms in Malaysia, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Thailand as well as our practices in China and India. Please contact us at [email protected] or visit our website at www.dezshira.com.


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