Shopee scales up Brazil ops, eyes Latin America: Sources

Shopee, the e-commerce arm of Sea Ltd, is scaling up its operations in Brazil and evaluating the long-term potential of Latin American markets, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The company, the largest e-commerce platform in South-east Asia according to market researchers, launched a small presence in Brazil in late 2019 as a pilot initiative of its cross-border team.

Shopee is now growing its presence and moving executives from South-east Asia to Brazil, said the sources who were briefed on the matter but declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The firm declined a Reuters request for comment.

The Singapore-headquartered technology group's shares surged more than 400 per cent last year, taking its market capitalisation to US$120 billion (S$159 billion). It raised close to US$3 billion in a stock offering last month.

On Linkedin, Shopee is recruiting for over three dozen positions in Brazil. Mr Pine Kyaw, formerly country managing director for Shopee's high-growth Vietnam unit, is listed on the job platform as having become Shopee Brazil country head. Mr Kyaw could not be reached for comment.

Sea's chief corporate officer Yanjun Wang told an investors' call in November that Shopee Brazil, while cross-border driven, was also being used by local sellers.

Analytics firm App Annie said Shopee Brazil's app had more monthly active users last month than Amazon's unit in the country, although it remained significantly behind large regional players like Argentinian e-commerce market leader Mercado Libre.

The sources said Shopee is assessing the potential of other Latin American markets if Brazil proves successful, but has so far made no definite expansion plans. One source noted that Mexico was of particular interest.

Research company eMarketer estimates e-commerce sales in Latin America will rise 36.7 per cent this year to US$84.9 billion.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2021, with the headline 'Shopee scales up Brazil ops, eyes Latin America: Sources'. Subscribe