Jakarta. MatahariMall, an e-commerce platform from the Indonesian conglomerate the Lippo Group, officially launched its operations on Wednesday, kick-starting a $500 million quest to conquer the nation’s burgeoning online retail scene.
“MatahariMall.com is an online super-marketplace, where everyone can buy everything and anyone can sell anything, including electronics, fashion, lifestyle and groceries,” said Hadi Wenas, the portal’s chief executive, during the launch event in Jakarta.
“It’s been an excellent start for us during the soft-launch period. We have sellers telling us that most of their sales already come from MatahariMall, even when we have not yet started our marketing,” he added.
Since its soft-launch earlier this year, MatahariMall has garnered nearly 200,000 customers with 200,000 different products in its inventory offered by some 1,200 vendors, according to Hadi.
It has also set up a 10,000-square-meter warehouse located near Halim Perdanakusuma airport in East Jakarta.
Backed by Lippo, one of the nation’s biggest retail groups, MatahariMall offers an online-to-offline service that would allow customers to order their goods online and collect them at a nearby Matahari department store or Hypermart supermarket.
Both Matahari and Hypermart are affiliated with the Lippo Group, as is the Jakarta Globe.
The service will later also be expanded across Lippo’s network, to outlets such as the Books & Beyond bookstore chain, Hadi said.
“We are very proud of the team,” said the Lippo Group’s John Riady. “The growth numbers are very strong and the team is very focused. Lippo and our other investors are fully committed to doing anything we can to support MatahariMall as it pioneers e-commerce in Indonesia.”
Undeterred by the current economic slowdown, Emirsyah Satar, the MatahariMall chairman, said the site aimed to capture a 20 percent share of Indonesia’s online retail market over the next five years, banking on the country’s expanding middle-class population.
“We can see that Indonesia’s e-commerce still lags behind our neighbor countries,” he said. “In fact, we see the economic slowdown as a momentum to boost online retail, because most people are now looking for more affordable products.”
Lippo's much-publicized venture has lured in a series of seasoned executives from Indonesia’s tech industry, including Hadi from Zalora, another popular e-commerce site; Emirsyah from Garuda Indonesia; and ex-Google Indonesia head Rudy Ramawy as vice chairman.
Adrian Suherman, previously the CEO of aCommerce, a Thai e-commerce logistics provider, also recently joined the MatahariMall team as a commissioner.
The Lippo Group in April appointed Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill-Lynch to lead its $200 million first-round financing, with Britain’s Rothschild as financial advisers.