This undated photo shows staff at Tokopedia's headquarters in Jakarta. (Photo courtesy of Tokopedia)

Tokopedia Shuts Down Stores Profiteering From Covid-19


MARCH 23, 2020

Jakarta. Tokopedia, one of Indonesia's largest e-commerce platforms, has closed thousands of online stores that have been selling personal protective equipment at stratospheric prices on its marketplace during the Covid-19 pandemic, the company said in a statement on Monday. 

"Tokopedia has permanently closed thousands of online stores and banned the display of tens of thousands of products that violate [Tokopedia's terms]," Nuraini Razak, the company's vice president of corporate communication, said in the statement. 

Surgical masks and hand sanitizers have been flying off the shelves since last month when the Covid-19 outbreak first peaked in Wuhan, China.

The world's second-largest economy placed huge orders for the items from countries around the world, including Indonesia, as local manufacturers stopped operating.

Anxious customers started to stock up on the items while stores saw opportunities for selling them at a hefty markup. 

Tokopedia's data showed an increase in transactions in health products and other basic supplies since the first Covid-19 cases were announced in Indonesia early this month, Nuraini said. 

The most sought after products on Tokopedia include masks, antiseptic or hand sanitizers and health food snacks.

Tokopedia said it has been supporting the government's call to do more activities at home by offering free shipping for products in the health product and basic necessities categories.

The e-commerce giant has also ordered all of its employees to work from home.

As of Monday, Indonesia has reported 579 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 49 deaths and only 30 recoveries, becoming the country worst-hit by the pandemic in Southeast Asia.