Should we enter the Southeast Asian e-commerce market

Should we enter the Southeast Asian e-commerce market

Analysis of the cross-border ecommerce market in Southeast Asia

Should we enter the Southeast Asian e-commerce market?

How to enter the Southeast Asian market with cross-border e-commerce?

In the eCommerce world, "Southeast Asia cross-border e-commerce" = "Shopee + Ladaza sales wild" has been repeat and repeat.What is going on in Southeast Asia?


The following is the content of this article, about 5000 words, reading time for ten minutes, I hope you can support us more B2BRyan and


  1. What is Southeast Asia

  2. Basic information of Southeast Asian e-commerce platform

  3. Per capita consumption capacity of the Southeast Asian market

  4. Number of Internet users in Southeast Asia

  5. Is it worth cross-border e-commerce in Southeast Asia not worth it?

  6. Outression-What is RCEP

What is Southeast Asia


We follow the "Maritime Silk Road" along Southeast Asia and the Middle East to keep track of their location.

The League of Southeast Asian Countries is the ASEAN that we often hear in the news broadcast.

There are 10 ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

There are 11 countries in Southeast Asia = 10 in ASEAN countries + East Timor.East Timor, a peninsula on the southern island of Indonesia (Indonesia) of wan Islands, completed independence in 2002.




Southeast Asia is one of the most dynamic and potential regions for economic development in the world today.Among the 11 countries in Southeast Asia, Singapore, with the smallest area and population, has the most prosperous economy.The second most developed is Malaysia.


We have narrowed it down to six Southeast Asian countries: Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.Plus India and China as a comparison,


  1. Basic information of Southeast Asian e-commerce platform

Southeast Asian e-commerce is in a period of accelerated growth. According to e-ConomySEA 2019 data, the compound growth rate of e-commerce GMV of the five Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore) all exceeded 35% from 2015 to 2019, and is in a period of rapid expansion, and is still expected to continue to grow at a compound growth rate of more than 20% from 2019 to 2025.


However, in terms of global horizontal comparison, the penetration rate of e-commerce in Southeast Asia is still at a low level, and the development of e-commerce industry has just started.


According to eMarketer statistics, as of May 2019, the penetration rate of e-commerce of the five Southeast Asian countries was less than 5%, with an average of only 2.5%, among which the penetration rate of Indonesia, the largest e-commerce market, reached 4.26%.Compared with the mature e-commerce markets such as the UK (19.3%) and China (20.7%), there is 8-to-10 times room for higher penetration rates.



Therefore, from the mature market experience, the penetration rate of e-commerce in Southeast Asia continues to improve as a certain trend, so it is not difficult to imagine its broad development space.



In 2016 and 2017, Alibaba acquired% of Lazada 83, Southeast Asia and Indonesia's largest e-commerce platform, for $2 billion. In 20 17, it invested $1.1 billion in Tokopedia, the largest C2C platform in Indonesia, to gain control.So far, Indonesia's largest B2C and C2C platforms are all acquired by Alibaba.


Shopee, which began to grow in 2018, is invested by SEA (formerly Garena) controlled by Tencent. At present, Shopee is gradually open to brand manufacturers, and more than 500 brands have launched Shopee Mall.


Jingdong is Indonesia as the first stop, unlike Alibaba, tencent, since operating in March 2016 in Indonesia, has maintained the proprietary mode, and built its own logistics system, and to set up warehouses in four cities in Indonesia, distribution service has covered seven islands, 483 cities and 6500 counties, 85% of the orders can be received within 1 day.Because Indonesia's policy requires selling localized products as much as possible, most of JD's own products come from local procurement.


  1. Per capita consumption capacity of the Southeast Asian market

Per capita GDP of major Asian economies represents a country's economic level, and per capita GDP approximately reflects the country's national consumption level.

In 2020, China's per capita GDP was us $10,450, which has reached the "US $10,000" level, at which Malaysia has been stable for 10 years.In the future, the two congresses are expected to be in this position for a long time.Singapore has a small population and GDP among developed countries; India has a large population and low per capita GDP.Both are temporarily silent.



Southeast Asian countries have their very different personality and consumption characteristics.for example

Indian consumers are born with "to match smart eyes";

Malay consumers "should wash, wash, rich not disorderly wash";

Indonesian consumers are "crazy about discounts";

Singapore consumers need "product satisfaction, but also more service + experience satisfaction";

Thai consumers "have extremely high brand loyalty";

Vietnamese consumers "love Western brands more than cost-performance".


The rise of the middle class, and consumption upgrades.Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand are expected to exceed a half of the total population in the next few years. The basic needs of the middle class have been met, and they begin to pursue the quality of life.



  1. Number of netizens in Southeast Asia?


Cross-border e-commerce companies certainly need to know how many Internet users can become our consumers

Southeast Asia 6 countries have a big Internet plate, a high penetration rate


Let's start with the overall global data, by January 2021:

The world population is 7.83 billion.There are 5.22 billion people using mobile phones, or 66.6% of the world's total population.Independent mobile users grew by 1.8 percent (93 M) from a year earlier.


4.66 billion people used the Internet, up 7.3 percent (316 M) year on year.Global Internet penetration rate is currently 59.5%.


There are 4.2 billion social media users.Up 13% (490 M yuan).


Take a look at the overall situation of China, India and Southeast Asia. By January 2021:


In China and the six countries in Southeast Asia, the Internet penetration rate has been higher than 65%.

 ChannelTechz-sea-internet population


India has the lowest Internet penetration rate, at 45.0%.


Singapore and Malaysia have the highest Internet penetration rate, higher than 83%.


In terms of the absolute population of China and India, the Internet penetration has more room for improvement.



For the specific situation of China, India and Southeast Asia, I will extract the data from the authoritative statistics and make the following table:




Statistics on Internet scale and penetration rate in China, India and major countries in Southeast Asia in 2021


number of population

Number of Internet users

Internet penetration rate

Number of Social media users

Social media coverage























89 M



97.75 M



72 M



69.88 M



55 M



32.57 M



26 M



5.87 M

5.29 M


4.96 M



Under these macro data, there are also some interesting data to watch for:


In January 2021, India's population was 1.39 billion, with 35.2% urban population population and 64.8% rural population proportion, respectively.



The Philippines has the longest Internet access time, an average of nearly 11 hours per day, the first in the world, known as the "social network capital of the world".


According to the survey, more than 94 percent of the Internet users in Vietnam surf the Internet every day, and the Facebook usage rate in Vietnam is as high as 99 percent.


Indonesia ranks the second outside the world in facebook users and is the most active Instagram country in the Asia-Pacific region.



  1. The main course is coming, southeast Asia cross-border e-commerce value is not worth doing?(Analysis of cross-border E-commerce trend and price strategy in Southeast Asia)


In the analysis of the market reminds me of the past, more than ten years ago, I remember when online shopping is fresh, in Amazon, eBay, Lotte, taobao and the electricity site to buy products, often worry about quality, low income, repeatedly compare price, and worry about maintenance problems, price is very sensitive and worry about fake goods, afraid of loss and not recognize.After the operation of overseas e-commerce platforms, these problems have basically been solved.


In addition to the above consumer Pain-points, let's take a look at the product level:


Per capita GDP depends on Malaysia in Southeast Asia


In 2020, China's per capita GDP was us $10,450, which has reached the "US $10,000" segment, in which Malaysia has been stable for 10 years.It is estimated that the two countries will continue for a long time.



a particular year


per capita GDP


per capita GDP











Malaysia has been ahead of China in per capita GDP for a long time, and has been nearly tied by China in the last two years.Therefore, in the Malaysian market alone, its consumption power level can relatively refer to China. In summary, Malaysia is the most suitable for our study in Southeast Asia.


Shrimp skin Malaysia station sales price how?


Based solely on per capita GDP, Malaysia's e-commerce consumption level should be similar to or even slightly higher than that of China.

Therefore, do the Malaysian market, less than do Amazon, but better than do domestic Taobao, Pinduoduo do not say that at least should be the same.


Let's take another look at the real data.

This section of data calculates the proportion of the sales price range of more than 20 M items in Shopee Malaysia station in October 2021.

Ryan:  Well... Just look at the graph but forgetting the words in Chinese



As you can see, at Shopee Malaysia station, more than 72% of the goods are sold within 11RM (Malay coins); more than 90% of the goods are sold below 31RM Malay coins.


"The price is not high, a single first to earn a few mosquitoes, there is any hope?”


From the perspective of sales price ratio, it is clear that Malaysian cross-border e-commerce has become a "labor-intensive e-commerce".

"Labor-intensive e-commerce" refers to the use of frequent labor input to earn low-price profits of low-value goods, which is labor-intensive.


We do not have to be so afraid, the above Shopee price to define the Malaysian e-commerce consumption level, is not very accurate.As you all know, Shopee traffic ranks first among Malaysian e-commerce platforms, but Shopee is not local e-commerce.So I found PG Mall and Lelong, the top-ranked local e-commerce companies in Malaysia.Look at the distribution of commodity prices on these two platforms.


Data in January 2021, PG Mall monthly flow: 2,795,125; Lelong monthly flow: 1,095,175 take the commodity price of the platform homepage, can approximate the whole station situation.


Therefore, I have counted the commodity prices on the home pages of the three platforms, (the number of goods ranges from 60~170) made into the following figure: Shopee & PGmall & Lelong price range ratio:



In the price range of 31-101, the commodity distribution of Malay local e-commerce PG Mall (ranked first and third in total) is much better than Shopee, and Lelong is also relatively average.

So why is the Shopee Malay station so low?There is only one answer, "Cheng Chinese sellers fail Chinese sellers".The platform price is low, and the beneficiaries are the platform consumers and the platform, but from the perspective of the seller group, this kind of price is a kind of internal friction.

It is true that Shopee traffic is more than ten times higher than PGmall and Lelong, but is the price of Shopee sellers comparable to our Hong Kong merchants?As far as the author knows, PGMall has begun to attract Hong Kong sellers, can grasp the dividend, success in southeast Asia market, no Model Answer, overall, we look at a country's national consumption ability, then look at their product portfolio, refer to different platform prices, what product category, the final strategy, also see the seller himself.


  1. RCEP


The full name of the regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP 15 countries, was negotiated for eight years, and officially came into force on New Year's Day 2022.


Founded by the 10 ASEAN countries in 2012, after eight years, 31 rounds of formal negotiations and more than 14,000 pages of text, the agreement was finally signed on November 15,2020.The signing of the agreement is the most important achievement of building economic integration in East Asia in the past 20 years.


There are two jokes about this matter


  • The first one is that in India.Originally 16 countries sat together for a long term, the result does not know what the gods pushed ghosts, Modi suddenly quit.From 16 to 15, India is an inexplicably excluded country.


  • The other is the spelling of the RCEP.I see a lot of people write it wrong or read it as a "RECP" —— for a recp.The education website of org is ranked first in google, and the author also has a certain understanding in google SEO. I look forward to the opportunity to share the seo skills for you in the future




Map sorting out of 15 national relations

The economies involved in RCEP are in East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania, and generally in Asia.

R is more than one RCEP.Let's look at the picture below:




Before that, China had a "China-ASEAN" free trade agreement with the 10 ASEAN countries.

The 10 ASEAN countries attract China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Singapore, forming a new RCEP agreement.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), some countries in the Pacific Rim, is very complex!


The RCEP agreement by the preamble, 20 chapters, Including: initial terms and general definitions, trade in goods, rules of origin, customs procedures and trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures, trade remedy, trade in services, temporary flow, investment, intellectual property, competition, SMEs, cooperation, government procurement, general terms and exceptions, agency terms, dispute settlement, final clauses and four market access commitment table annex (including: tariff commitments, service specific commitments, investment retention and compliance commitments, temporary flow specific commitment table).


Well so...what are the benefits:

In terms of tariff reduction, more than 90% of the trade in goods in the region after the agreement will eventually achieve zero tariff, and countries promise to reduce tariffs to 0 or within 10 years.

After the signing of the agreement, the opening level of trade in goods is above 90%, and Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar shall enjoy zero tariff treatment; 65% of goods in other member states shall enjoy zero tariff; each country shall open at least 100 field markets.In other words, the closer relations between the ten ASEAN countries and China in the RCEP will undoubtedly further send a positive signal to the e-commerce pattern in Southeast Asia.


China's cross-border e-commerce retail import (B2C) has implemented the "cross-border e-commerce comprehensive tax" with a tariff of 0, and countries generally impose less tariffs on export goods. Therefore, the RCEP tariff reduction measures will mainly bring benefits to cross-border e-commerce B2B enterprises, especially for export enterprises.


In terms of rules of origin, RCEP uses the principle of regional accumulation in the region, which makes the product origin value component accumulate in the 15 member states. The value component from either RCEP will be taken into account, which will significantly improve the utilization of the preferential tax rate of the agreement.


In terms of customs procedures and trade facilitation, the overall RCEP trade facilitation level exceeds the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.For example, when an import party obtains the information required for the customs clearance, it shall release the goods within 48 hours; for perishable goods, such as fresh goods such as seafood, fruits and vegetables, within 6 hours after receiving the customs clearance information; allow air goods to speed up customs clearance, etc.


In terms of e-commerce, RCEP very clearly supports the cross-border operation of e-commerce, and the new business forms of cross-border e-commerce such as independent stations have been guaranteed by very important international rules.The location and cross-border transmission of information states that no organization shall require the use or deployment of computing facilities within its territory as a condition for conducting business in its territory, and any organization shall not obstruct the cross-border transmission of information used for commerce.


In terms of intellectual property rights, the RCEP has made detailed specifications and regulations on intellectual property rights.At present, most cross-border sellers should have a consensus now: while the state supports the cross-border e-commerce industry, it is also accelerating the standardized development of the cross-border e-commerce industry. The compliance of cross-border e-commerce is an inevitable trend.This is consistent with the RCEP.

RCEP also has a strong guiding significance for brand construction.One of the biggest trends of cross-border e-commerce in 2021 is the construction of branding and the wave of branding. The release of RCEP policy dividend makes the promotion of branding more stable.Branding is most related to intellectual property rights, such as appearance patents, copyright, etc.


The RCEP clause improves the dispute resolution mechanism of e-commerce.The most impressive thing in 2021 is Amazon's risk control event, which is essentially not a good legal and policy solution mechanism.The RCEP clearly stipulates that: in the event of an e-commerce dispute, first negotiate in good faith. If no dispute settlement is reached, it can be submitted to the Joint RCEP Committee to finally resolve the dispute.


For the first time, China and Japan have reached bilateral tariff cuts, achieving a historic breakthrough.The agreement is conducive to promoting a high level of trade liberalization in the region.This is also good news for sellers of cross-border e-commerce platforms such as Amazon in Japan, especially those who want to get export tax rebates.Tariffs on many products exported to Japan will be cancelled or reduced, which can increase exports to Japan. Cross-border e-commerce enterprises should gather regional supply chains, increase investment in ASEAN countries, and use local cheap labor and resources to better serve their enterprises.


Finally, I hope the above data can bring you a reference, and I also hope to learn from each other and make progress together in the field of cross-border e-commerce.

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