Pakistan e-commerce platform Daraz aims to beef up as Amazon eyes market

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Pakistan’s largest e-commerce retail platform Daraz aims to host up to 300,000 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in two years, its CEO stated, as the agency seeks to bolster its place in its residence market within the face of potential competitors from world big Amazon.

E-commerce progress within the nation of 220 million is but to take off absolutely, like in neighbouring India the place the market options retail heavyweights such as Amazon (AMZN.O) and Walmart (WMT.N) and huge native platforms run by India’s Reliance (RELI.NS) and Tata teams.

Daraz, based in 2012 in Pakistan and purchased by Chinese big Alibaba (9988.HK) in 2018, has 100,000 SMEs in Pakistan on its platform.

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“We want to get to 300,000 active and educated SMEs selling on our platform within the next two years, and that will basically create a million jobs,” CEO Bjarke Mikkelsen instructed Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s quickly rising center class, over 60% youth inhabitants and broadband subscriptions of over 100 million,

makes it a profitable vacation spot for e-commerce platforms.

Amazon introduced earlier this yr that it’ll enable Pakistani entrepreneurs to promote merchandise on its market.

Before the interview, Mikkelsen met Prime Minister Imran Khan and his finance and funding groups to focus on coordination on free zones the place tech corporations would get particular incentives to flourish, and an e-commerce college Khan stated Pakistan can be opening.

Daraz operates in 4 different South Asian nations – Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Mayanmar – with entry to 500 million clients with a crew of 10,000 workers. It has invested $100 million in Pakistan and Bangladesh during the last two years, Mikkelsen stated.

It is concentrating on gross sales this yr of almost $1 billion by means of its platform, having seen 100% order progress year-on-year within the final 4 years, he stated.

The e-commerce sector in Pakistan grew over 35% in worth within the first quarter of 2021 to 96 billion Pakistani rupees ($548.89 million) in contrast to 71 billion ($405.95 million) over the identical interval of final yr, in accordance to commerce ministry information.

Out of the 70 million customers who visited the Daraz web site final month, 35 million have been from Pakistan. Mikkelsen stated Pakistan was seeing extra individuals now prepared to use digital companies.

He added that e-commerce within the South Asian nations the place Daraz operates was solely 2% of the retail market, which could possibly be scaled up 10 to 20 instances.

($1 = 174.9000 Pakistani rupees)

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Writing by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Bjarke Mikkelsen, CEO of the e-commerce retail platform Daraz, speaks with Reuters during an interview in Islamabad, Pakistan November 24, 2021.   REUTERS/Asif Shahzad