ICar Asia’s Mobil123.com deployed chat functionality across its dealer sites and apps in Indonesia, and will be rolling it out in Malaysia and Thailand in the coming months. According to Mobil123, it was the first Southeast Asian auto site to do so.

CEO Hamish Stone with app (Photo from release)

CEO Hamish Stone with app (photo supplied by company)

Chat functionality is one of the ways in which dealers and buyers can interact on platform, and store records of all written communication in a single location.

The company motivated its move with the growing demand of chat applications in general in the abovementioned country markets. The functions and use of these apps are proof that Mobil123’s chat will also catch on.

The chat functionality of Mobil123 operates on desktop sites, mobile sites, dealer apps and consumer apps.

With the chat function, the company hopes users will have more positive interactions. After all, classifieds compete against each other for more interaction with users, and more engagement by users. ICar Asia differentiates between touch points for dealers, and touch points for consumers. The two are different, although comparable, the company maintains.

The Mobil123 app makes the listing process smoother, by allowing the dealer to create an ad fast – with or without an internet connection, thereby meeting the challenge of patchy internet connections in some cities.

Dealers can share photos and their locations while they chat to their customers and manage multiple leads, keep track of their customers, and of conversations in a single place.

Chat functionality is, however, unlikely to be a competitive advantage, since it can be copied easily by ICar Asia’s main competitors, such as Girnarsoft, which has CarBay and Oto.com and ambitious plans for the region.

Girnarsoft also has the technological capabilities to put a chat – and more – in place.

Mudah.my, ICar Asia’s competitor in Malaysia, is a general classifieds site also listing cars. ICar Asia has claimed (in quarterly reports) its horizontal competitors carry duplicate and fraudulent listings. But, Mudah.my has strong genes, as a subsidiary of the 701Search family.

The latter is a joint venture of Singapore Press Holdings, Telenor, Naspers and Schibsted. Mudah.my is facing a rebranding, and we can’t say if the technology on the platform will also change.

Mobil123 app screenshots (Photo from release)

Screenshots showing Mobil123 app (photo supplied by company)

Mudah.my received more than 34 million visitors in the last three months, while Mobil123.com counted a million in the same period, according to SimilarWeb statistics.

Oto.com listed a comparable 1.9 million listings.
Mudah.my has been the top, free shopping app consistently in Malaysia, while Mobil123’s consumer app is in the mid-100s and Oto.com is yet to release an app.

One of Southeast Asia’s leading stuff app, Carousell from Singapore, also recently acquired an auto vertical with the aim of monetizing and growing its business. Carousell has since launched in Australia.

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