E-commerce: Thailand talking tablets

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Pawoot (Pom) PongvitayapanuLaunched as a classifieds site 14 years ago, today Tarad is Thailand’s largest e-commerce portal, acting as a platform for countless SMEs in the country’s rural regions to showcase fashion, food and electronics, to name a few popular products. Inside Investor spoke with Pawoot (Pom) Pongvitayapanu, managing director and founder of Tarad, about the rise of tablet users and why older groups are finding the mobile device so handy to go shopping.

Q: As the largest e-commerce portal in Thailand, what products have you noticed are the most popular?

A: The website actually began by offering classified services 14 years ago. About two to three years after the site was first launched, its popularity rose and we turned to e-commerce, which is when Tarad was born. The most popular categories on Tarad are fashion, food and supplements, and what I call the 3 C’s: computers, cell phones and cameras.

Q: What demographic most commonly uses Tarad and have you noticed any user trends?

A: Surprisingly, Tarad’s largest demographic is male, which makes up 60 per cent of the users, aged between 31 and 35. And quite interestingly, during the first quarter of 2013, our data showed that users over 41 years old made up the fastest growing segment at 10 per cent growth year on year. This told us that older users are buying more and more online. Most of this age group is actually using tablets to access our site; they don’t use computers because they are too complicated, but tablets are much easier for them. We are also finding that older users are spending much more because they have larger savings.

Q: How many visits does Tarad log daily and how is mobile use, such as tablets, boosting sales?

A: Tarad has 200,000 visits per day and about 30 per cent of that traffic comes from mobile devices, which in turn contribute to about 11 per cent of total sales. Mobile is a new channel for producing revenue for Tarad. In the mobile segment, 60 per cent of revenue is coming from tablets, the largest of the segment for sales and the fastest growing.

Q: What notable partnerships does Tarad have with retailers?

A: Tarad doesn’t partner with department stores, but we are partnered with SMEs and corporate companies. We choose this approach to connect with companies because we want a direct link to companies that are operating far away from Bangkok. These companies lack the technology to promote their goods and we believe that we can help, especially SMEs, earn more revenue despite their remote location.

Q: What was the source of your venture capital and how what is the ownership structure of Tarad?

A: Tarad was founded by myself using my personal start-up capital. After the first three years, I sold about 30 per cent of Tarad’s equity to a local investor to finance expansion. A few years ago, I sold some more stake to a Japanese partner. There is no IPO lined up yet as we need some more time to grow.

A: Tarad is a Thai language portal, but the prominence of your site could be carried over to other Mekong countries with the proper language fonts. Have you thought about regional expansion?

A: Our platform supports Thai and Japanese. Through our Japanese partner, Rakuten, we have obtained other partnerships in Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan. Concerning the Mekong region, we are not ready yet will choose to instead work with Rakuten to identify markets for expansion.

Q: Facebook mines data from users to help advertisers target. How does Tarad do this?

A: Tarad has an advertising platform that we use to help clients target online consumers, which is similar to Facebook in a way. For example, if an advertiser wants to sell to a specific consumer, they can select their gender, age and location.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Launched as a classifieds site 14 years ago, today Tarad is Thailand’s largest e-commerce portal, acting as a platform for countless SMEs in the country’s rural regions to showcase fashion, food and electronics, to name a few popular products. Inside Investor spoke with Pawoot (Pom) Pongvitayapanu, managing director and founder of Tarad, about the rise of tablet users and why older groups are finding the mobile device so handy to go shopping.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Pawoot (Pom) PongvitayapanuLaunched as a classifieds site 14 years ago, today Tarad is Thailand’s largest e-commerce portal, acting as a platform for countless SMEs in the country’s rural regions to showcase fashion, food and electronics, to name a few popular products. Inside Investor spoke with Pawoot (Pom) Pongvitayapanu, managing director and founder of Tarad, about the rise of tablet users and why older groups are finding the mobile device so handy to go shopping.

Q: As the largest e-commerce portal in Thailand, what products have you noticed are the most popular?

A: The website actually began by offering classified services 14 years ago. About two to three years after the site was first launched, its popularity rose and we turned to e-commerce, which is when Tarad was born. The most popular categories on Tarad are fashion, food and supplements, and what I call the 3 C’s: computers, cell phones and cameras.

Q: What demographic most commonly uses Tarad and have you noticed any user trends?

A: Surprisingly, Tarad’s largest demographic is male, which makes up 60 per cent of the users, aged between 31 and 35. And quite interestingly, during the first quarter of 2013, our data showed that users over 41 years old made up the fastest growing segment at 10 per cent growth year on year. This told us that older users are buying more and more online. Most of this age group is actually using tablets to access our site; they don’t use computers because they are too complicated, but tablets are much easier for them. We are also finding that older users are spending much more because they have larger savings.

Q: How many visits does Tarad log daily and how is mobile use, such as tablets, boosting sales?

A: Tarad has 200,000 visits per day and about 30 per cent of that traffic comes from mobile devices, which in turn contribute to about 11 per cent of total sales. Mobile is a new channel for producing revenue for Tarad. In the mobile segment, 60 per cent of revenue is coming from tablets, the largest of the segment for sales and the fastest growing.

Q: What notable partnerships does Tarad have with retailers?

A: Tarad doesn’t partner with department stores, but we are partnered with SMEs and corporate companies. We choose this approach to connect with companies because we want a direct link to companies that are operating far away from Bangkok. These companies lack the technology to promote their goods and we believe that we can help, especially SMEs, earn more revenue despite their remote location.

Q: What was the source of your venture capital and how what is the ownership structure of Tarad?

A: Tarad was founded by myself using my personal start-up capital. After the first three years, I sold about 30 per cent of Tarad’s equity to a local investor to finance expansion. A few years ago, I sold some more stake to a Japanese partner. There is no IPO lined up yet as we need some more time to grow.

A: Tarad is a Thai language portal, but the prominence of your site could be carried over to other Mekong countries with the proper language fonts. Have you thought about regional expansion?

A: Our platform supports Thai and Japanese. Through our Japanese partner, Rakuten, we have obtained other partnerships in Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan. Concerning the Mekong region, we are not ready yet will choose to instead work with Rakuten to identify markets for expansion.

Q: Facebook mines data from users to help advertisers target. How does Tarad do this?

A: Tarad has an advertising platform that we use to help clients target online consumers, which is similar to Facebook in a way. For example, if an advertiser wants to sell to a specific consumer, they can select their gender, age and location.

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