Pawoot Personal Blog & Think Tank

E-Business Man Daily Life and What I'm Thinking


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ทางนิตยสาร Forbes ติดต่อผมมาเพื่อสัมภาษณ์ตั้งแต่เดือน มค.2014 เพิ่งมาเห็นบทความที่เพิ่งได้ลงเมื่อวันที่ 7 กค 2014 เป็นการสัมภาษณ์แบบสรุปเรื่องราวการเปลี่ยนแปลงจาก เข้าสู่ Rakuten Family และภาพรวมของ E-Commerce เมืองไทย

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 9.44.26 AM

Rakuten Remodels Thai Shopping Site

B2B is still really hard in Thailand. – 7/05/2014 @ 7:32AM

The obstacles to establishing an online business-to-business marketplace in Thailand keep cropping up in a conversation with Pawoot (Pom) Ponvgvitayapanu, founder and managing director of or, more accurately nowadays, the company Rakuten Japanese giant  Rakuten bought a two-thirds share of in 2009 and is now lending its expertise to create the middle B in Tarad’s B2B2C.

Thailand’s oldest e-commerce site, resembles eBay or Rakuten, at least from the perspective of the individual customer. Anybody can list clothing, electronics, household goods, used and otherwise, to sell to fellow consumers in C2C (customer-to-customer) trade. Sellers, or merchants, that make enough products themselves or have access to a steady supply of, say,  dresses or handbags or toys graduate to B2C (business-to-customer) status  and conduct sales under their own shingles on Tarad. Retailers big and small have outposts as well.

At 38, Pom has spent his entire career building Tarad (“market” in Thai) but he is still entrepreneurial and enthusiastic, especially about his social media monitoring company, Zocial. He spends most of his time on Tarad, though; there are only two Japanese emissaries from Tokyo based in Bangkok now.

tarad page

Historically, Tarad has made money from ads on the site and merchants’ payments for rent of their online shop space. Part of  Tarad’s new strategy has been to hive off most of’s small merchants to, while the company assumes a larger role between merchants and customers by providing advice and services to 2,000 or so of the most ambitious merchants.

(For now, I’m going to refer to both and as “Tarad” because Pom does and still looks like the rest of Rakuten website. And frankly I’m not sure where page views, purchases and practices on one site overlap with another.)

Shopping Competition

Tarad used to be described by the Thai press as Thailand’s largest shopping or trading site. Is that still true?  With 250,000 merchants on affiliated platforms, 6.5 million customer accounts, 200,000 unique page views daily and 3.8 million items on sale, Tarad accounts for larger number of sales than any other Thai e-commerce site, Pom says.  He also says that no one is collecting actual data on e-commerce sales data. He must know because, among his other posts (newspaper columnist, university lecturer), he is the founder and president of the seven-year-old Thai E-Commerce Association.

But what about size by earnings and revenue? People familiar with credit card and debit card trends in Thailand tell me that True Corp.’s and Rocket Internet’s Zalora and Lazada  sites are pulling in more revenues than Tarad if just because they are the retailers of goods directly to their customers and can hold onto a share of a product’s sale price. is part of the True television-broadband-mobile phone empire which, in turn, is related to the Chearavanont family’s  ubiquitous CP conglomerate. Lazada (like Amazon, selling just about everything) and Zalora (selling clothing and shoes) are the well-funded shopping sites of the German clone-meister Rocket Internet.

Like seemingly every other e-commerce operator and observer in the region, Pom believes that the Zalora and Lazada sites in Southeast Asia aren’t profitable because, in the pursuit of market share, Rocket spends so extravagantly on marketing and salaries and its product prices are so low. “They plan to flip [to a sell to a big buyer like Amazon]. Everything they ship, they are losing money. They want to scale very fast,” he says.

Tarad now also has to contend with Lazada’s and Zalora’s shift this year to allow larger merchants  to set up outlets on their sites.  Yet the Rocket sites and Weloveshopping also shoulder costs of inventory storage, processing payments, and delivery. For most of its existence, Tarad has left it up to the customer and merchant to work out such details.

Written by pawoot

2014/07/07 at 10:05 AM

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