Naspers bullish over South East Asia

Media and Internet firm Naspers says it remains bullish on the Indonesian and Philippine e-commerce markets, despite its closure of, the Jakarta based e-commerce site, at the end of May.

The group also reported in its annual results that it closed its business-to-business-to-consumer e-commerce site, Sabuy in Thailand.

Multiply began life in 2004 as a social networking and media sharing service in Florida and at its peak reached 11 million registered users.

Myriad International Holdings (MIH), a subsidiary of Naspers, bought a controlling interest in Sabuy in 2010, and in 2012 it moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, early focusing on e-commerce and dropping its social networking aspects.

Quantcast estimated that Multiply had 2.47 million monthly U.S. unique visitors at its peak in July, 2012.

“The performance of Multiply has been below expectation since its repositioning from a social networking service to online marketplace and we did not believe the situation would improve,” a Naspers spokesperson told BusinessTech.

“As a result we closed the business on 31 May, after allowing reasonable time for the merchants on the Multiply platform to find and migrate to alternative ecommerce platforms,” the spokesperson said.

“We retain exposure to the region (Indonesian and Philippine) through investments in Tokobagus (Indonesia) and Sulit (Philippines), both strong brands occupying the number one market position in the general classifieds category in each of the two respective countries.”

Shares in Naspers have hit record highs in recent sessions, closing at R876.43 on Thursday (22 August). It has jumped 76.77% over the past year.

The group’s march was halted briefly earlier this month when Tencent Holdings Ltd, China’s largest Internet company by revenue, missed analysts’ estimates. The firm is more than 30% owned by Naspers.

In June, Naspers reported a 27% rise in consolidated revenues, to R50.2 billion for the year ended March 2013.

Growth came from organic expansion of existing businesses and acquisitions, supplemented by the depreciation of the rand.

On e-commerce, Naspers said: “We believe online shopping is a global consumer trend and anticipate that affordable tablets and smartphones will accelerate the uptake of services in our markets.”

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Naspers bullish over South East Asia