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Startup Carousell rides on Malaysian m-commerce explosion

AvantiKumar | Dec. 15, 2014
Carousell has received more than US$ 6.8 million in investments from companies including Rakuten Ventures and Sequoia Capital.

Carousell Founders 

Photo - (From left) Carousell co-founders - Quek Siu Rui, Lucas Ngoo, Marcus Tan.


Malaysia's mobile commerce [m-commerce] continues to rapidly expand as startup Carousell announces the launch of its mobile-first marketplace app.

The mobile app aims to make online person to person buying and selling simpler for the growing global smartphone generation, said Carousell founders Quek Siu Rui, Lucas Ngoo, and Marcus Tan at the launch in Kuala Lumpur.

M-commerce in Malaysia has grown rapidly over the last couple of years, from 5.5 per cent of the total e-commerce market size in 2010, to close to 50 per cent (RM 1.82 billion/US$520 million) in 2013. With the mobile share of online commerce in Malaysia projected to reach 59.6 per cent (RM 3.43 billion/US$980 million) in 2015, according to Nielsen and PayPal research.

"Shopping online through smartphones is expected to become a game changer and we are psyched to have built something simple, intuitive and engaging. We started Carousell to make online buying and selling accessible to everyone," said Carousell's Ngoo, who is a Malaysian. "Malaysians love to shop online and we are thrilled to officially launch here. We're looking forward to welcoming more Carousell users from Malaysia."

First launched in 2012, Carousell has been ranked top lifestyle app on the local Apple App Store for a consecutive 11 months and the top shopping app since June 2014 in Singapore, he said, adding that the Carousell community has created more than 8 million listings of new and pre-loved items for sale in categories ranging from fashion and beauty to furniture and baby products.

To date, more than 2 million items have been sold on Carousell, with an average of 8 transactions happening every minute, said Ngoo. "The average Carousell user spends about 21 minutes per day browsing the marketplace app, an engagement level similar to that of the average Instagram user."

 Early adopters

Ngoo said marketing for Carousell [free download from Apple App Store and Google Play] started in January of this year. "Since then, it has received an encouraging response with young Malaysians forming a majority of the early adopter community. Users in Malaysia have been actively listings items for sale since January 2014 at a rate that sees listing numbers doubling every two to three months."

Co-founder Quek Siu Rui said the team has organised events throughout the year to gather feedback. "The biggest takeaway from speaking with our Malaysian users so far has been that Carousell is a product that they, and many others like them, have been waiting for. Our users really enjoy the convenience and ease-of-use of the app, and the fact that it allows them to shop and sell on-the-go extremely quickly. This is something that existing e-commerce platforms in Malaysia have yet to offer."

In November this year, Carousell has received more than US$ 6.8 million in investments from companies including Rakuten Ventures and Sequoia Capital.


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