The 25 Biggest eCommerce Startups in Asia

If you’re interested in tech and startups in Asia, be sure to check out AsiaTechList – my hand-researched list of 4,000+ fast-growing tech companies in Asia.

With its highly populated countries, dense cities and rapidly growing economies, Asia — and, in particular – Southeast Asia – is rapidly growing into one of the world’s most important regions for ecommerce businesses.

From hopeful “Amazon for Asia” startups to smaller, more specialized online retailers, we’ve put together a list of Asia’s 25 biggest eCommerce startups using factors such as investment, sales and potential for growth.

Zalora

Founded in 2012 by Rocket Internet, Zalora is an online fashion store aimed at customers in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian markets. It also operates in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

One of Southeast Asia’s most established ecommerce startups, Zalora has gained investment from conventional retailers in many of its key markets, including Thailand’s Central Group and the Ayala Corporation of the Philippines.

Sociolla

Indonesian ecommerce startup Sociolla is a one-stop destination for anything related to beauty and wellbeing.

Aimed at the massive and rapidly growing Indonesian market, Sociolla is one of several large ecommerce startups to have popped up in Indonesia recently. The company has secured $12 million in investment in three separate funding rounds since it was founded in 2014.

iPrice

Based in Kuala Lumpur, iPrice is an online shopping aggregator that lets consumers check and compare prices for electronics, cosmetics and beauty products, fashion and other items from a wide range of Southeast Asia-based retailers.

Built to tap into Asia’s ecommerce boom, iPrice provides its comparison services for customers in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Thailand. As of 2017, the site featured foods from more than 1,000 retailers across its target countries.

Lazada

One of Asia’s biggest and most ambitious ecommerce startups, Lazada was originally founded by Rocket Internet in 2011. Since then, it’s raised investment from numerous sources, including a 2016 partial acquisition by the Alibaba Group.

Aimed at becoming Southeast Asia’s version of Amazon, Lazada has grown massively over the last seven years. Recently, Alibaba invested an additional $2 billion into the company, with aims of tapping into the consumer spending Southeast Asia’s rapidly-growing middle class.

Althea

Based in South Korea, Althea is a cosmetics and skincare products retailers that hopes to grow into one of Asia’s top shopping destinations for aesthetic goods.

Although Althea is primarily aimed at the Korean market, it also operates throughout Asia, with websites serving markets such as Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and even the United States.

Founded in 2015, the company has raised $10.7 million in total investment over the last three years as part of its growth strategy.

Bhinneka

Located in Indonesia and aimed at the country’s growing domestic market of online shoppers, Bhinneka is a marketplace for all things tech, from laptops and smartphones to digital camera equipment, tablets, TVs and more.

Although it was originally founded in 1993, Bhinneka didn’t enter into ecommerce startup mode until relatively recently, raising $22 million in a venture capital funding round in 2015 in order to grow the company’s online presence.

According to DealStreatAsia, Bhinneka could become one of Southeast Asia’s first ecommerce retailers to go public in 2018.

Shopee

Headquartered in Singapore, Shopee is another ambitious ecommerce startup hoping to grow into the Amazon of Asia.

An online marketplace for buyers and sellers, Shopee allows sellers in countries like Thailand Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam to open their own online stores, competing for their own share of Southeast Asia’s growing online retail market.

Shopee is owned and operated by Garena, one of Southeast Asia’s biggest free-to-play online gaming companies.

Reebonz

Designed to provide “accessible luxury,” Reebonz is an online marketplace that lets people buy and sell new and pre-owned luxury items, from high-end wristwatches to handbags, designer clothing and accessories.

Launched in 2009 and headquartered in Singapore, Reebonz operates throughout Southeast Asia. As of 2018, the company operates throughout Southeast Asia and has a team of more than 300 full-time staff.

MySale

Run from Australia, the UK and the USA, MySale operates several discount deal websites for markets in Southeast Asia.

Particularly popular in Malaysia, MySale blends ecommerce with the daily deal offerings of sites like LivingSocial. The group behind MySale also operates several additional daily deal shopping sites throughout the Asia-Pacific area, including SingSale and OzSale.

Orami

An online shopping marketplace designed specifically for women, Orami offers products for women of all ages, from the latest must-have fashion items to products for mothers.

Orami is one of several ecommerce startups hoping to dominate Indonesia’s huge market for female beauty products — an industry that was recently valued at more than $2.2 billion by the Wall Street Journal.

Originally founded as “Moxy” by the Ardent Capital group in Thailand, Orami is the result of a merger deal with Indonesian ecommerce platform Bilna. Orami launched in 2013 and received funding from investors such as Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin.

Sale Stock

Another Indonesian ecommerce startup, Sale Stock sells mid-priced, modern clothing with free shipping throughout Indonesia. Unlike Orami and other gender-specific ecommerce companies, Sale Stock has a wide range of options for men, women and children.

Founded in 2014, Sale Stock is part of Indonesia’s current ecommerce boom. The company has raised $27 million in several funding rounds since its launch and is set to reach break-even in its third year of operations.

Matahari Mall

Also aimed at the Indonesian fashion market, Matahari Mall launched in 2015 as a competitor to other ecommerce startups such as Sale Stock and Orami.

Like Orami, Matahari Mall has a focus on women’s products, offering everything from cosmetics to women’s clothing. The marketplace isn’t gender specific and also offers clothing and products for men, often with significant discounts.

With $616 million in total funding and between 500 and 1,000 employees, Matahari Mall is one of Indonesia’s biggest ecommerce startups. The online side of the business is supported by the Matahari Department Store — one of Indonesia’s largest department store brands.

Elevenia

An online marketplace similar to Amazon, Elevenia is a fairly recent entrant into Indonesia’s increasingly crowded ecommerce industry. Founded in 2013, the company has taken part in several capital raises, with the most recent a $50 million venture capital investment.

Like Lazada, Shopee and other Southeast Asian ecommerce platforms, Elevenia gives sellers the opportunity to market their own goods online to a huge audience, offering everything from clothing to groceries, consumer electronics and home items.

Citiesocial

Described as Taiwan’s answer to Fab and Gilt, Citiesocial is a Taiwanese ecommerce startup that sells mid-range and high-end consumer products through a curated catalog designed to give customers the experience of shopping in a department store.

Launched in 2011 as a simpler daily deals platform, Citiesocial changed its focus to its current business model in 2013, cutting back the size of its team and securing investment in the form of two venture capital rounds from investors such as the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund.

With a membership of 90,000 as of 2015, Citiesocial boasts some impressive metrics — around 25% of the site’s users make repeat purchases on a 45 day basis.

Hot Deal

One of several relatively new ecommerce startups aimed at the Vietnamese market, Hot Deal offers a mix of Groupon-style daily deals and conventional ecommerce, selling everything from hotel vouchers to consumer products at discounted prices.

Founded in 2013, the site has a relatively limited public funding presence but boasts between 500 and 1,000 employees. In 2015, just two years after its launch in Vietnam, 30% of Hot Deal was acquired by Japanese outsourcing company Transcosmos for an undisclosed amount.

ShopBack

Aimed at the Singaporean market, ShopBack is a coupons, cashback and discounts startup that offers exclusive deals for a range of online retailers. Using ShopBack, customers earn cashback on any purchase made through a participating retailer that can be deposited into their account.

ShopBack launched in 2014 and took part in three funding rounds, raising $26.1 million to grow its user base and operations. Currently, the company offers coupon codes for more than 1,300 businesses, including local ecommerce giants such as Lazada and Taobao.

Zilingo

Another Southeast Asian startup, Singaporean fashion brand and ecommerce company Zilingo has grown massively since it first launched in Thailand in 2015. As of 2018, the company has raised more than $80 million through four venture capital funding rounds.

Based in Singapore, Zilingo offers affordable, high quality fashion sold online to customers in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia — countries that include several of the world’s fastest growing ecommerce markets.

Giosis (Qoo10)

Aimed at becoming Asia’s largest online marketplace, Qoo10 is an ecommerce company that offers buyers and sellers the opportunity to trade directly in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China.

Aimed at B2C ecommerce, Qoo10 looks and feels like a Southeast Asian equivalent of Chinese ecommerce marketplaces, such as Taobao and AliExpress, with everything from fast fashion to affordable home appliances available from a variety of merchants.

Tiki

Vietnam is one of Asia’s fastest-growing ecommerce markets (and one of its fastest-growing economies in general), and ecommerce startup Tiki hopes to become its dominant shopping marketplace.

Competing with Shopee and Lazada, Tiki is a giant consumer marketplace offering a range of goods from a variety of independent sellers. Earlier this year, Chinese ecommerce firm JD.com led a Series C investment round in Tiki worth an estimated $50 million.

Honestbee

Honestbee is an online grocery shopping and delivery startup that wants to make one of every household’s biggest purchases — the weekly groceries — quicker, easier and more affordable.

Founded in 2013, the company provides personal shopping and delivery services in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Launched in 2015, Honestbee has also expanded into services like laundry collection, aiming to become a one-stop service provider for a variety of daily tasks. The company has raised several funding rounds, including a $15 million Series A investment in 2015.

Ninja Van

Focused specifically on ecommerce, Ninja Van is a last-mile delivery service that makes it easy for online merchants to track their shipments to consumers, receive updates on their status and stay on top of their ongoing deliveries.

Based in Singapore, Ninja Van also operates in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Earlier in 2018, the company raised one of the largest investment rounds for a Southeast Asian startup, bringing in $87 million from investors such as the DPDgroup.

HappyFresh

Founded in 2014, HappyFresh is an Indonesian grocery shopping and food delivery startup that connects consumers with a range of brick-and-mortar supermarkets.

HappyFresh has more than 30 participating supermarket chains throughout Indonesia, giving it a great level of access to one of Asia’s fastest-growing markets. Through the HappyFresh app, users can order more than 100,000 different products delivered straight to their doors.

In addition to its home country of Indonesia, HappyFresh also operates its personal shopper and delivery service in Malaysia and Thailand. Since its launch, the company has taken part in three funding rounds, raising $10 million in a 2015 Series A investment round.

Pomelo Fashion

Pomelo Fashion is an online clothing retailer based in Bangkok, Thailand. Founded in 2013, the company sells stylish, affordable clothing with a variety of benefits for consumers, ranging from 365 day returns to fast, free deliver on first orders.

Aimed at competing with international fast fashion brands such as H&M and Zara, Pomelo runs frequent sales and offers delivery to several growing markets in Asia, ranging from Thailand to Singapore, Indonesia, and even Australia and the United States.

Elevenia

Headquartered in Jakarta, Elevenia is an ecommerce marketplace startup that offers everything from fashion to beauty products, consumer electronics, sporting goods, home items and more.

Aimed at becoming the Amazon or Taobao of Indonesia, Elevenia has grown rapidly since it first launched in 2013. In 2016, the company secured its second funding round, attracting $50 million from a group of investors including SK Planet and XL Axiata Tbk.

FashionValet

Malaysian fashion and beauty startup FashionValet launched in 2010 and has since grown into one of the Southeast Asian country’s top ecommerce companies in its field, operating a hugely popular online store in addition to four retail locations throughout the country.

Impressively, FashionValet has grown rapidly without huge outside investment — the company has taken part in several funding rounds, but fueled its fast, sustained initial growth with just $6.4 million in seed and Series A financing.

Asia’s 25 Most Innovative Robotics Startups

If you’re interested in tech and startups in Asia, be sure to check out AsiaTechList – my hand-researched list of 4,000+ fast-growing tech companies in Asia.

Asia is the world’s fastest-growing market for robotics solutions, and for good reason. As the region’s quickly-growing countries industrialize and begin making more goods than ever, robots help them do so at a comparatively lower cost than doing so with human capital. The region has long been seen as an innovator in the consumer robots space as well. China is now arguably the global leader in the industrial robotics space, while Japan has long been the perennial home of consumer-focused robots like the ill-fated Aibo or the popular Pepper.

As the region’s most innovative robotics startups continue developing their products, they’re increasingly looking to expand globally. Startups like Makeblock and Rokid have already signaled their international ambitions, and others are quickly following. Read on to learn more about the region’s most innovative robotics startups, and how they’re making their mark on one of the world’s fastest-growing industries.

1. UBTECH Robotics

UBTECH is already one of the world’s leading robotics startups, but it has plans to grow even faster. The Shenzhen-based robotics company recently announced $820M in Series C funding (led by Tencent’s venture arm), which now values the startup at more than $5B. UBTECH specializes in building humanoid robots and offers both commercial and consumer models.

With the fresh round of funding, UBTECH will continue developing its next generation of robots, which will leverage AI technology and integrate with other home appliances and robots already on the market.

2. Geek+

Chinese robotics startup Geek+ is quickly becoming a major player in the fast-growing industrial robots sector. Its diverse line of logistics-focused robots provides companies with a full suite of automation capabilities, ranging from warehouse automation to automated order fulfillment. The company has raised more than $60M in funding to date and is planning a major international expansion for later this year.

Geek+’s most recent innovation is what it calls the world’s first “interweaving sorting robot”, an automated system that boosts parcel sorting efficiency. This technology is already proving integral to boosting the logistics capabilities at ecommerce powerhouses like Alibaba and Taobao, proof of the growing market at stake here.

3. Robot 3T

China’s robotics market is so large that sometimes it’s easy to forget that startups in other Asian countries are making significant strides in the space too. Enter Robot 3T, a Vietnamese robotics startup that’s building industrial-grade robots for quickly-growing SMEs in the region. While most of its robots are designed for manufacturing facilities, Robot 3T has also created several humanoid robots which it markets to the service industry.

In addition to its line of industrial robots, the Ho Chi Minh-based Robot 3T has also designed a separate set of automated weapon stations designed specifically for military use.

4. Coolso

Coolso is the Taiwanese company behind some of the most innovative gesture-control devices on the market today, with use cases in everything from VR systems to medical rehabilitation. Coolso’s gesture-control products operate based on muscle movement alone, making them far more sensitive than the average AR/VR gesture controller.

Just over a year old, the company’s award-winning products use a patented form of proprietary bio signal technology, making them truly unique in the robotics space. In 2016, the firm won the Grand Prize in the OpenStack Application Hackathon in Taipei.

5. Makeblock

Makeblock is a Shenzhen-based startup that is creating the next generation of educational robots for children around the world. The startup offers a diverse line of robotics products designed to teach children how to code, and it most recently raised $30M in Series B funding from investors like Sequoia Capital late last year to help it reach that goal – valuing at over $200M just five short years into its existence.

In addition to developing the robots themselves, Makeblock has also forged technology partnerships with other tech companies (such as Microsoft) to bring its robots to students in higher-education robotics programs.

6. Youcan Robotics

Youcan Robotics is a startup that’s designing an underwater robot that anyone can use to capture HD video and explore the depths of the world’s oceans. Youcan’s underwater ROV Drone is saltwater-resistant and has a 4K video camera built-in, along with a battery life of up to 5 hours. It’s also able to lock onto and track underwater objects, just like an air-based drone.

The Shanghai-based startup has primarily grown using seed funding so far, and has been conducting crowdfunding rounds on platforms like Indiegogo to fuel its earliest stages of growth.

7. CloudMinds

CloudMinds is a startup that’s developing connected cloud-based systems for robots. With dual headquarters in Beijing and Silicon Valley, CloudMinds wants to build the world’s first cloud computing network designed specifically for intelligent robots. In addition to what it calls “cloud-connected smart machines”, the startup is also building a cloud-based software layer that will allow robots to interface with their “cloud brain” to make decisions effectively.

CloudMinds has also developed a wearable helmet that allows visually impaired people to interface with robots via its cloud-based platform.

8. DJI

Now one of the world’s largest consumer drone makers (with more than 70% of the consumer drone market already secured), DJI is still in hyper growth mode with plans to roll out ever more advanced drones in the coming months. Many of its drones (like the Phantom 4) already have semi-autonomous flying capabilities, and DJI is currently working on several drones that it hopes will be fully autonomous.

In recent months, DJI has been more aggressive about seeking funding, and earlier this year it was reported as seeking $500M in funding to help it grow even further ahead of an anticipated IPO, which would likely be early next year.

9. SG Robotics

South Korea-based SG Robotics is looking to disrupt the world of robotics with its revolutionary self-powered exoskeleton devices. The startup’s robots, which are designed for people with disabilities or paralyzed individuals, give any person extra strength when walking, and also have the ability to carry heavy loads.

The startup recently won 3rd place at the world’s first Cybathlon held in Switzerland, a competition of the world’s most advanced exoskeleton robots.

10. Borns Robotics

Borns Robotics is a medical robotics startup based in Chengdu, a bustling business hub in western China. Its line of robotic surgery tools give doctors the ability to conduct highly complex and risky surgeries with unprecedented precision and accuracy. Earlier this year, the startup announced the raise of $18M in financing in a funding round led by Swiss China Capital.

The funding is expected to fund the startup’s research and development efforts through the completion of its first clinical trials, as well as the wide-scale rollout of BMR5000, its next-generation automated surgery system.

11. Rokid

Rokid is a Hangzhou-based startup that produces a diverse range of smart devices and robots, ranging from AI-powered voice assistants to robotic smart glasses. Earlier this year, the startup raised $100M in Series B extension funding in a round led by Credit Suisse to help it expand in the US, its second largest market after China.

In addition to its technology-focused R&D team, Rokid also boasts a highly-qualified scientific advisory committee to help inform its work. The committee is comprised of dozens of members from a diverse range of industries.

12. Ascent

Tokyo-based Ascent is building the next generation of AI-powered robotic vehicles. Ascent’s research team is intensely focused on developing highly advanced neural models and machine learning algorithms to be the “brains” of its intelligent vehicles, which range from autonomous vehicles being manufactured by major carmakers, to boutique projects.

The Ascent team has raised more than $11M in funding to date, and continues to work with a wide range of technology partners in the automotive industry to develop its technology.

13. Softbank Robotics

Though a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Softbank, the team at Softbank Robotics operate as their own startup. The startup is perhaps best known for its humanoid emotion-reading robot, Pepper, which is already in widespread use around the world (primarily in the service industry, for which it was originally designed).

The robotics startup recently announced a landmark partnership with HSBC, which will see it become the first to roll out the robot in HSBC bank branches across the United States.

14. LifeRobotics

Founded in 2007, Tokyo-based LifeRobotics develops industrial robots that help businesses automate manufacturing and warehousing processes. The LifeRobotics team also develops what it calls “cooperative working robots” – automated machines that are able to learn advanced functionality and tasks provided they have a user’s guidance.

LifeRobotics was recently acquired by robotics behemoth Fanuc in a multimillion dollar deal that will allow the startup to continue operating as an independent entity under the Fanuc umbrella.

15. Insight Robotics

Insight Robotics is a Hong Kong-based startup that’s developing robots to improve the obscure (but critical) forestry management industry. Its data collection robots, which are designed to be deployed in heavily forested regions or national parks, give operators the ability to detect potential problems (such as forest fires or tree diseases) more quickly than ever.

The startup has closed more than $12M in funding to date, and earlier this year announced an additional $9M in funding in a new investment round led by Linear Capital and Beyond Ventures.

16. AI Nemo

The China-based team at AI Nemo has developed one of the world’s first home companion robots, the Nemo. The startup, which has raised more than $10M in funding to date, is presently building the next generation of its robot, which integrates with a number of consumer appliances and can also make video calls. The robot is marketed as a way to improve communication between family members, and can be remotely controlled by a proprietary mobile app as well.

17. AUBO

Beijing-based AUBO is a rising star in the growing cobots (collaborative robots) industry. Its robotics products are targeted towards warehousing and manufacturing facilities, and are designed to work in conjunction with humans to perform complex manufacturing tasks. The company’s flagship robot arm sells for around $18K, and has found a loyal customer base in the automated manufacturing sector.

The startup has dual research and development centers in Beijing and the United States, and has established technology partnerships with manufacturing companies in both countries.

18. PLEN Robotics

PLEN Robotics is an Osaka-based startup that’s building the Cube, what it bills as a “portable personal assistant robot”. The Cube is a robot designed for the consumer space that’s equipped with a smart camera, motion tracking and facial recognition technology, as well as speech recognition capabilities. The startup recently announced a partnership with Softbank which will see it work with the technology giant to develop a smart speaker.

19. Slamtec

Shanghainese startup Slamtec builds localization and navigation services for smart robots. Using cutting-edge AI technology, the startup is developing a “robot cerebellum” that will have the ability to autonomously make agile movements, as well as have increased depth perception. Last year, Slamtec raised $22M in Series C funding to develop the next generation of automatic positioning algorithms for its robots.

20. ZongMu

ZongMu is building software that helps autonomous vehicles “see” while on the road. Last year, the startup secured $14M in Series B funding to help it improve its self-driving technology, which is already being used by some of China’s largest automakers (like Geely and Yema Auto). This month, ZongMu announced a strategic partnership with automotive electronics manufacturer Visteon to develop the next generation of automated parking technology.

21. Demine Robotics

Founded by Cambodian entrepreneur Richard Yim, Demine Robotics is a startup that’s looking to solve one of modern warfare’s most difficult problems through robotics. Its line of “demining” robots automate the task of identifying and defusing landmines, and they’re already being tested in rural Cambodia, where millions of land mines still dot the countryside.

22. Aether Biomedical

Aether is a medical robotics startup that’s based in New Delhi. The team at Aether is building next-generation robotics solutions for the future of healthcare, including its flagship product Zeus – a bionic limb for amputees. The startup partners with doctors and medical researchers around the world to develop additional technology solutions through its “medical device innovation platform”.

23. Mitra

Bangalore-based Mitra has quickly risen to become the most advanced humanoid robot manufacturer in India’s startup ecosystem. Its 5-foot-tall Mitra robot was first showing off at India’s 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, where it greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The robot is designed for the service industry, and can interact with customers as well as provide autonomous navigation.

24. Robostar

Robostar is one of South Korea’s foremost industrial robots companies, and it has created a diverse range of robots that are designed for wide-scale manufacturing. Robostar recently announced a $48M investment from LG, which will see the electronics giant take a significant stake in the startup and collaborate with it on future products.

25. Rotimatic

Singaporean startup Rotimatic distinguishes itself from the competition by being the world’s only fully automated kitchen robot that makes roti, a popular bread found throughout India and Southeast Asia (that also happens to be incredibly labor-intensive to cook). The startup recently raised $30M in Series C funding in a new investment round led by private equity fund Credence.