Line parent Naver investing in iPrice

Naver Corp, South Korea’s leading search engine operator and the parent company of Line, is investing in iPrice Group to capitalise on Southeast Asian e-commerce opportunities.

David Chmelar, co-founder and chief executive of Malaysia-based iPrice Group, which operates a price comparison search engine, said the company can learn from Naver’s knowledge and experience.

Naver’s direct investment comes just three months after a venture capital arm, Line Ventures, led iPrice’s Series B funding round worth US$4 million.

There are now eight investors in iPrice: AVG, Venturra Capital, Gobi Partners, DMP, Econa, Starstrike Ventures, Line and Naver.

Since its latest Series B funding announcement three months ago, iPrice purports to have increased the number of monthly users by 50%.

IPrice receives 10 million visitors a month and aims for 15 million by the end of this year. The group operates in seven markets: Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and Hong Kong.

Citing a Google-Temasek study, Mr. Chmelar said that with the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia having doubled in the past two years, from $5 billion to $10 billion, it’s expected to reach $90 billion by 2025.

Big players such as Alibaba, Tencent and Amazon have been aggressively fighting for supremacy, and consequently the cost of e-commerce via alternative paid marketing channels (Google/Facebook) in Southeast Asia is growing rapidly.

In order to reach its goals, iPrice will improve the user experience with a more comprehensive catalogue, more precise pricing information and a higher quality of traffic delivered to its e-commerce partners.

“IPrice is also helping media groups to monetise their online traffic, such as NSTP in Malaysia,” Mr. Chmelar said. “We are partnering with them to provide a white-label coupon-and-deals solution. We are currently duplicating this partnership model and open for working with more media across the region.”

The tremendous traction iPrice has continued to display throughout its latest fundraising is a testament of the team and the explosive growth of Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market, according to Naver Corp’s Peter Na.

IPrice is Naver’s third investment in the region.

Reference: Bangkok Post