Lamudi strengthens mobile play; sees Myanmar as critical growth market
Rocket Internet-backed Lamudi optimises its site for mobile; says wants to facilitate the “inevitable channel shift” to online in MyanmarBy Elaine Huang 30 Jan, 2014
Rocket Internet-backed real estate classifieds platform Lamudi today announced that it has launched a mobile-optimised site for iOS and Android devices. The redesign features a more visual navigation route aimed at boosting user experience.
Against this backdrop, Country Manager (Myanmar) of Lamudi, Michiel Bakker spoke to e27 about the startup’s growth in the Southeast Asian country.
Lamudi positions itself as an on-the-go service that caters to nearly a million monthly visitors in 16 countries.
M-Commerce is strongly on the rise on a global scale. It’s predicted that by 2015, mobile shopping will account for US$163 billion in sales worldwide — 12 per cent of the global e-commerce turnover, shared Kian Moini, Co-founder, Lamudi.
The potential in Myanmar
Founded in 2013, Lamudi first launched its site in Myanmar last October. Branded as www.house.com.mm, the platform is said to be doing “fairly well” right now. There are 2,000 properties listed and sales have increased by 800 per cent in the past three months.
Bakker shared that Myanmar’s middle class is becoming increasingly affluent. He said, “Despite the fact that Myanmar has the second lowest internet penetration rate (one per cent) in the world, accounting for 60,000 internet users, we still see very high potential (in the market). … We clearly see an increasing demand for flats and houses in Myanmar.”
According to the World Bank, Myanmar has a population of 52.8 million people. Statistics from the International Telecommunication Union also revealed that internet penetration in the country is extremely dismal at less than one per cent, and mobile subscription at about two per cent. Bakker, however, seemed optimistic, and said that the transition from offline to online will scale up swiftly next year. He said, “Being a first-mover and establishing infrastructure will certainly pay off in the long run.”
In Myanmar, Lamudi is looking to facilitate the “inevitable channel shift” from what is known to be concentrated on print to going online. Foreign investors and developers can also showcase upcoming projects on the platform; new expats can search for accommodation before landing; and sellers can keep track of their inventory with a few clicks.
Bakker also shared his views on real estate trends in the country. According to him, property prices have been on the rise, given the fact that Myanmar has become more receptive to foreign investments. He added, “As the banking system is still in the middle of development, wealthy Myanmar citizens are turning to real estate to invest, further pushing the prices up.”
At the moment, there are five people manning operations for Myanmar, with a significant focus on sales and customer care. The rest of the team, made up of about 50 people, is based in Berlin to support each country in terms of marketing and IT.