Ascend Commerce buying up Chilindo

Ascend Commerce buying up Chilindo

Ascend Commerce, an e-commerce arm of CP Group, is set to acquire Hong Kong-based auction platform Chilindo for 558 million baht as part of a move to complement CP's business and elevate local brands to compete at the international level.

CP chief executive Suphachai Chearavanont said e-commerce is transforming into a mainstream channel to conduct business because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This acquisition represents a form of assistance to shore up the Thai economy, he said.

Mr Suphachai said the 100% share purchase of Chilindo will complement Ascend's new business on the WeMall online shopping platform and help revitalise spending in the economy.

He said Chilindo has a plan to enter the international e-commerce market, which should benefit local brands and help them compete on a global level.

Mr Suphachai sees the investment in Chilindo as a pilot project to establish a Thai e-commerce platform. The segment is currently dominated by foreign players.

"Through the acquisition of Chilindo, Thailand will have its own e-commerce platform, which can be regarded as turning a crisis into an opportunity," Mr Suphachai said. "This should accelerate the development of Thailand's digital economy, as well as stimulate the country's economy in time for the arrival of 5G technology."

The platform will also become a channel for Thai small and medium-sized enterprises and Thai farmers to sell their products overseas, he said.

Thailand's e-commerce market is valued at 3 trillion baht. E-commerce value this year is expected to surge 19% year-on-year because of the pandemic.

Ascend operates WeMall, an online shopping mall with premium brand-name products, and another online store called Weloveshopping, which sources various products.

According to Mr Suphachai, the country has a high rate of digital growth and internet information consumption, with 5G technology set to underpin further growth.

Having a Thai e-commerce platform will benefit many areas, including stopping big data from flowing abroad, he said. There is also the matter of national cybersecurity.

Based on the Chilindo platform, all purchases made can be traced, which can help ward off deception by sellers.

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