Temasek, Google to invest US$350 million in Indonesia's Tokopedia

Tokopedia is one of Indonesia's biggest e-commerce operators. PHOTO: TOKOPEDIA/INSTAGRAM

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Google and Temasek Holdings have agreed to invest about US$350 million (S$475.7 million) in PT Tokopedia, people familiar with the matter said, a major cash infusion that will bankroll the Indonesian e-commerce giant's post-Covid-19 expansion.

The Alphabet unit and Singapore's state investment firm could sign an agreement for the funding soon, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing the deal before it's formally concluded. The financing falls short of the initial goal of between US$500 million to US$1 billion that Bloomberg News reported in July, though Tokopedia may still be looking for more investors.

Tokopedia, the online marketplace backed by SoftBank Group, was said to have held talks with US Internet giants including Facebook, Microsoft and The backing of Google and Temasek is a vote of confidence for one of Indonesia's biggest e-commerce operators, which rode a surge in online shopping during the pandemic.

America's largest Internet corporations have looked increasingly toward Asia as growth in the US and Europe slows, seeking to tap the region's rapidly growing smartphone-savvy population. Facebook is buying a stake in India's Jio Platforms, while its WhatsApp unit struck a deal to invest in Gojek, which has a popular digital payments service called GoPay. Representatives for Google, Tokopedia and Temasek declined to comment.

Tokopedia co-founder and chief executive officer William Tanuwijaya built Indonesia's most valuable start-up after Gojek by scoring early backing from SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and Alibaba Group Holding co-founder Jack Ma.

E-commerce platforms like Tokopedia, Alibaba's Lazada Group and Singapore-based Shopee - a unit of Sea Limited - moved quickly to serve the millions of people forced to make their first online purchases during widespread lockdowns.

Indonesia has become a key battleground between the regional rivals: The country's e-commerce market is projected to expand from US$21 billion in 2019 to US$82 billion by 2025, according to a recent study by Google, Temasek and Bain & Co.

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