By Susan Cunningham
Beginning with fashion site Zalora in the Philippines in late 2011, Germany’s Rocket Internet has been hatching dozens of copycat e-commerce sites in Southeast Asia and the general vicinity–and quickly shutting down some of them. It’s invested at least $200 million already in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam–perhaps more like $500 million if Rocket startups are spending tens of millions of marketing dollars in each country as rumored.
In the coming year, we’ll probably see some of that money expended on the intense city contests for taxi-booking apps and restaurant delivery services. I also think that, as new fashion sites pop up or existing ones become more visible, Zalora will have to come up with a better selection of women’s clothing. MORE