Southeast Asian e-commerce giant Shopee, which recently expanded to several Latin American nations, appears to be preparing to launch in another international market: India.
The company, owned by Singapore-headquartered Sea, has quietly launched a website for sellers in India, TechCrunch has learned, following a months-long subtle campaign to attract merchants in the South Asian nation.
The six-year-old e-commerce service, which was seen as a late entrant in Southeast Asia, is already onboarding sellers in India and says on the website that they can start to accept orders from customers, according to screenshots and other materials reviewed by TechCrunch.
On another internal website, the company touts that it will not charge sellers any commission fee and will provide free shipping and timely payments.
A person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that the Southeast Asian giant is “testing the waters” in India and has yet to finalize plans about any launch. Shopee declined to comment.
Shopee India seller website (TechCrunch)
The company has also posted detailed guides to help merchants sign up to the platform, comply with local tax guidelines and learn how to process bulk orders.
On the website, Shopee has disclosed the name of the local Indian entity that is operating the service in the country, and filings accessed from India’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs confirmed that a company with such ID had been incorporated two months ago.
Shopee, which runs a marketplace, connects customers with sellers. The mobile-focused service also offers several social features, such as the ability for customers to follow buyers on the app to get updates, and users can also message any seller -- without having to make a purchase first.
The Indian e-commerce market, which is currently dominated by Flipkart and Amazon, is expected to be worth $133 billion by 2025, up from $24 billion in 2018, according to analysts at Bernstein.
Social commerce is also beginning to gain traction in India with two clear leaders. Bangalore-based Meesho is in talks to raise at a $5 billion valuation, Indian daily Economic Times reported last week, and Jaipur-based DealShare has started to hold conversations with investors to raise a new financing round at over $1 billion valuation, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Update at 12.51PM IST, September 28: Bernstein analysts say they expect Shopee to launch its India business next month.