Ookbee in e-commerce JV

Ookbee in e-commerce JV

Ookbee, Asean's leading electronic bookstore platform, has entered into a joint venture with Tokyo-based business outsourcing service company Transcosmos to tap into Thailand's rapidly growing e-commerce.

Ookbee Mall Co, a 70:30 venture between Transcosmos and Ookbee, is spending 150 million baht to build its presence in the local e-commerce sector, said Natavudh Pungcharoenpong, co-founder of Ookbee Mall Co.

"E-commerce transaction values in Thailand are projected to double next year, boosted by the continued proliferation of mobile devices," he said.

Thailand's e-commerce industry offers huge potential for various players ranging from e-commerce companies and website operators to physical stores, said Mr Natavudh. He acknowledged running an e-commerce business would require three to five years to break even because of fierce competition.

Ookbee needed a joint venture with Transcosmos in order to separate profit and loss accounts, said Mr Natavudh.

Toshiya Matsuo, chief executive of Ookbee Mall (Thailand), who was an executive of Rakuten, said Thailand has 44.6 million mobile internet users, 30 million social media users and 26.2 million YouTube users.

Ookbee Mall will focus on selling magazines and books, beauty and cosmetics, and products supplied from Japan. Ookbee has up to 90,000 products on its online marketplace.

To attract buyers, Ookbee Mall is offering a special discount of 20% on purchases until mid-November, Mr Matsuo said. Target customers are teenage girls and women in their forties.

The venture recently partnered with Japanese Farmers Market, Mizuho Bangkok, to sell fresh fruits and vegetables.

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