Revenue achievable with entry of 30 new markets by 4Q18, says co-founder
By MARK RAO / Pic By HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN
Aladdin Group, the e-commerce player that owns and operates halal online retail platform Aladdinstreet.com, is expected to raise US$100 million (RM390 million) in financing within the next two to three months as it edges closer to becoming a US$1 billion revenue-generating company some time next year.
Its co-founder and president Datuk Seri Desmond To (picture) said the fund is part of Aladdinstreet.com’s global expansion strategy which will see the platform entering 30 new markets by the fourth quarter of 2018 (4Q18) or early next year.
He said the group raised about US$10 million in its last financing round and has now identified several interested investors for the next stage.
“We have already identified the potential partnerships to come in — we are not only looking at fund managers, but synergy partnerships as well,” To told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).
He said the targeted US$1 billion in turnover is achievable if the company penetrates the 30 new markets.
The company’s recent strategic tie-up with Manchester United (MU) is one such synergistic partnership that would allow Aladdinstreet.com to take advantage of the club’s worldwide reach.
Aladdin Group senior VP for global operations Laurence Chooi said the group has already secured 12 countries to set up operations under the Aladdin brand in addition to its presence in Malaysia, Singapore, China, Indonesia and Kazakhstan.
“These 12 countries are pre- dominantly within the Asia, Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions as it is here where we will get quick traction and where the majority of Muslim populations reside in,” Chooi told TMR.
He added that many “up and coming football fans” come from these countries, presenting an opportunity for the group to capitalise on its partnership with MU that has some 659 million followers worldwide.
“In Asian markets like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, MU can easily come in and sway them over.”
As part of its first phase of expansion, Aladdin has targeted 25 new countries by 3Q18 and another five by 4Q18 or 1Q19, before entering the European market.
To said this is part of the e-commerce player’s strategy in setting up a strong network before starting up the business.
“After building up the networks in the countries, then only we start the business. When we enter these new markets, we should be gene- rating over US$1 billion in turnover,” he added.
The group’s Malaysian operation has reverted back to beta mode as it upgrades its operating system to handle the higher traffic load resulting from the expansion, while merchants are undergoing retraining to prepare themselves for global trade.
As it moves closer to finalising its expansion plans, Aladdin might have to delay its plan to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
“The plan to list remains intact and we are now in the middle of finalising the international investment banker for the exercise. For now, we want to focus on our fundraising and also on building our business network,” To said.
As such, the group would have to push its planned listing to 2020 or 2021 from the initial target of 2019 or 2020.
To said the group is looking to list on the NYSE as the US market demonstrates better understanding of the e-commerce business while the liquidity there is better.
He said the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is the second choice for the e-commerce player.
If the bid is successful, Aladdin will stand toe-to-toe with market peers Amazon.com Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd that are also listed on the NYSE.