Just after Naspers-owned OLX Group acquired 10 percent of its stake, Southeast Asia’s leading online marketplace Carousell has shared its plans to focus on growing Carousell in the Philippines and Hong Kong. The company disclosed, however, that it has no intention to turn a profit anytime soon.
Carousell launched its horizontal in Hong Kong in 2015 and will further monetize it this year. It’s already started charging for premium visibility. “The second half of this year is when we will start to focus on the verticals business… selling packages to car dealers,” co-founder and CEO Quek Siu Rui said.
Despite Carousell’s success in building its brand in the region, it faced challenges when it tried to monetize in the past.
One unsuccessful example is CarouPay — the mobile payment service it launched last year. The digital wallet facilitates direct transactions between buyers and sellers, eliminating the need for a third-party fund transfer or meet-ups. Sellers were initially charged a nominal 4.98 percent commission on transactions along with a 50c admin cost. One year later, Carousell has withdrawn this fee.
Quek said the site decided to demonetize CarouPay since few users seemed to understand or appreciate the service. It will now be considered as a user experience enhancement.
Carousell’s current priority is to develop a strong and sustainable company in the long run, instead of achieving profitability in the short-term. The company claims to be “well-capitalized for growth needs for the next couple of years.”
Singapore-based Carousell operates mobile-first marketplaces in Southeast Asia. It’s the top marketplace app in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Australia, according to CrunchBase. The company’s last funding round was closed in May 2018, when it raised $85 million from Sequoia Capital India, Rakuten Capital and Golden Gate Ventures. It’s raised a total of $182.8 million in 10 funding rounds since 2012.