Sea loss widens on investment in e-commerce platform Shopee

By BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE • Sea Ltd, operator of South-East Asia’s biggest gaming platform, posted a wider quarterly loss as it invests in building up e-commerce platform Shopee.

The net loss was US$250.8 million (RM1.03 billion) in the three months ended June compared to a loss of US$92.1 million a year earlier, Singapore-based Sea said in an emailed statement. Total revenue at the company rose to US$183.8 million from US$101.5 million.

Sea, which counts Chinese giant Tencent Holdings Ltd as its biggest shareholder, has struggled with losses since an initial public offering (IPO) in October amid widening losses.

The company has invested heavily to expand beyond games into payments and e-commerce, where Shopee takes on Tokopedia and Lazada, both of which are backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Both of the Alibaba-backed companies led Shopee in Indonesia in the June quarter, according to iPrice Group.

Lazada is the largest e-commerce operator in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, based on average monthly web visits.

In Singapore, Qoo10 topped the list, followed by Lazada and Shopee.

Revenue at digital entertainment unit Garena grew 18% to US$108 million during the quarter, aided by game development and efforts to move to mobile titles.

In June, 73% of its adjusted revenue from digital entertainment came from mobile games, while 13% was generated by self-developed games such as Free Fire.

As for digital financial services, the company obtained an e-money licence in Indonesia earlier this month, chief strategy officer Alan Hellawell said during a conference call. The licence typically allows companies to carry out e-wallet services in Indonesia and could open up options for its AirPay financial services business.

“We are still in the early stages of planning for the types of services that AirPay will provide with the licence,” Hellawell said. “We see this as a significant opportunity to further strengthen our digital financial services infrastructure to support both Shopee and Garena in Indonesia.”

Shares of Sea rose 3% on Tuesday in New York to US$14.26, compared to the IPO price of US$15.