Indonesia has been on a mission to become the region’s tech powerhouse. The country has recently added Blibili, an e-commerce platform, to its portfolio of eight unicorns, now nine. Following this addition, Indonesia maintains the first spot in Southeast Asia for the most unicorns and moves up one rank globally.
As early as 2019, Blibli has already been predicted to reach unicorn status, along with BNPL players Akulaku and Kredivo. In a recent interview with DailySocial, Blibli CEO Kusumo Martanto mentioned that while they are not making any public announcements yet, his company’s valuation of more than US$1 billion likens it to major Indonesian players Gojek, Tokopedia, and OVO.
Backed by conglomerate Djarum Group, Blibli offers an online marketplace with a variety of products from as many as 100,000 business partners. The marketplace is integrated with Blibli Express Service (BES), which collaborates with 27 logistics partners, 20 warehouses, and 32 hubs located in major cities in Indonesia.
Last month, Blibli partnered with digital banking app Blu, in collaboration with Bank Central Asia (BCA) Digital, also part of Djarum Group. BCA Digital defines itself as a branchless bank born entirely in the digital ecosystem, with a mission to provide an all-in-one banking platform that can address various needs of modern customer segments.
In his interview, Martanto emphasized that their ultimate goal is to create a sustainable business with a positive contribution to society. As part of its 10th anniversary, Blibli recently launched a donation drive for oxygen cylinders and essential products to be distributed to health facilities and workers amidst COVID-19.
Indonesia: home of the unicorns
Global technology giants and venture capitalists have flocked to Indonesia, with Google and Temasek investing in e-commerce platforms like Tokopedia, which is now valued at around US$7.5 billion.
Predictions even suggest that the country’s digital economy is poised to grow to about US$133 million within the next five years. However, there are some issues that need to be tackled before this can happen. Issues such as weak ICT infrastructure, low connectivity, financial exclusion, and the increasing need for top digital talent, will have to be addressed at rapid speed, perhaps even faster than startups growing in number. Indonesia has indeed positioned itself as Southeast Asia’s leader in tech startups. The question is whether it can sustain this growth and create an even more enabling environment for the digital economy.
Related article from 2018: Indonesia plans to create more SEA startup unicorns