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Rocket Internet unit to power up new ventures in the Asia-Pacific
FRANKFURT-listed Rocket Internet, which aims to become the world's largest Internet business builder outside the US and China, on Monday unveiled a plan to launch a new company in the Asia-Pacific (Apac) each quarter.
This will be done through its Singapore-based spin-off, Asia-Pacific Internet Group (APACIG), a joint venture with Qatari telco provider Ooredoo, and in which Rocket has a 50 per cent stake.
Hanno Stegmann, chief executive officer of APACIG, told The Business Times: "Our mission is to find online solutions for Apac's highly diverse markets, from very developed ones such as Singapore and Australia to the rising stars such as Myanmar and Pakistan. We accelerate growth by building e-commerce platforms and setting up the needed infrastructure."
APACIG runs at least 14 ventures across 15 Apac countries, which enable people to use their smartphones to get what they need - be it fashion or groceries - at any time and from anywhere. Its Singapore ventures include taxi-booking app Easy Taxi, cleaning-services booking app Helpling and price-comparison engine Next Commerce.
Asked whether APACIG's plan entails launching a new venture in every Apac country, Mr Stegmann said: "We will identify the potential and existing customer demand in every single market. Not every venture fits in every country or region, so this can mean a new company starting in several markets at the same time, or expanding to further markets quarter by quarter."
Michael Lints, venture partner of Singapore-based Golden Gate Ventures, said this means startups in the region will face more competition, as Rocket has the ability to "pour money" into its startups.
But eventually, the market will get more competitive and mature, and other startups will start to look for funding more aggressively. "We may see bigger rounds happen faster and even more startups founded," he said.
Kicking off APACIG's plan is the launch of online beauty marketplace Vaniday in Australia, which gives customers access to a curated selection of beauty offers; they can also book beauty treatments such as massages, hair cuts and manicures on the go.
Mr Stegmann said: "We offer their favourite brands and build the needed infrastructure for delivery, returns and payment. This makes us different from many other companies. We are not investors, but builders."
Rocket shares last traded at 24.32 euros (S$38.71) at 5.48pm (Singapore time) on Monday.