Nearly two months after announcing it had begun the process of selling off its majoritystake in Thailand’s Tarad.com, Japanese e-commerce platform Rakuten officially announced this week it had found a suitor in Porar Web Application Co.Ltd.
Tarad.com is both a B2B and a B2C e-commerce platform based in Bangkok and is one of the largest such companies in the country.
Rakuten bought a 67 per cent stake in the company for US$3.35 million in 2009. Financial details of the current deal were not disclosed.
Porar is a web hosting and development company based in Thailand. With the new ownership, Tarad.com is going to adapt its business model to become a “one-stop service solution for SMEs and large businesses in Thailand”.
Founded in 1999 by Pawoot Pongvitayapanu (who goes by ‘Pom’), Tarad.com has about 260,000 merchants, 3.5 million products and more than 3 million users. It also offers e-Marketplace and advertising tools for its clients.
The sale will not impact Pom’s role as head of the company.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to adapt the business model and grow with Porar. Together, our first priorities will be our merchants and customers. Tarad.com will continue to provide dedicated support to our 270,000 merchants and respond to our customer needs, and will ensure a smooth transition to becoming a more fun and flexible local platform,” Pom said in a statement.
The decision by Rakuten to sell Tarad.com was first publically announced in February 2016 as part of its Vision2020 corporate strategy.
A key tenet of the strategy is for Rakuten to focus on its strong domestic and regional markets — which has meant the company has steadily moved away from the Southeast Asia market in 2016.
Rakuten does well in Taiwan (along with its home market in Japan) and in late-February inked a partnership with Korea’s Gmarket to integrate the platforms.
As a result of Vision2020, Rakuten closed its marketplaces in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, which lead to the firing of around 150 people.