Indonesia is hot! Japanese games giants GREE and Sony’s So-net invest in e-commerce startup PriceArea

Indonesia is hot! Japanese games giants GREE and Sony’s So-net invest in e-commerce startup PriceArea ...

Indonesia’s is a market with colossal potential and that is one factor that has attracted Japanese gaming giant GREE and Sony’s Internet provider subsidiary So-net, which have contributed to a Series B funding round for price comparison startup PriceArea, which becomes both firm’s first business interest in the country.

The exact size of the funding has not been revealed but its completion takes the value of the 2-year old startup to “a couple of million” US dollars, so CEO Andry Suhaili told Tech In Asia, which got wind of the news via its own investor, East Ventures, which has equity in PriceArea.

The deal raises interesting possibilities about how Tokyo-headquartered GREE could integrate e-commerce and online retail into its mobile gaming platform, which has some 230 million registered users worldwide.

The move is also an intriguing one for So-net, which is majority owned by Sony, for similar reasons. The ISP is closely aligned with Sony’s gaming network — having been partly responsible for a PlayStation network leak last year — and the electronics giant’s push towards Web-based services, shown by the recent $380 million purchase of cloud gaming form Gaikai, might well explain the interest.

Indonesia remains a market with significant growth opportunities and that is attracting the attention of the global tech industry, and billion dollar firms like GREE. While Internet penetration is a modest 20 percent, the continued increase in sales of smartphones and Web-enabled devices is enabling more of the country’s 240 million population to get online.

As well as gaming, e-commerce is a potentially lucrative industry in the country, as an article from TNW partner blog Daily Social recently explained. This year, the Indonesian e-commerce space is expected to net $266 million (IDR2.5 trillion) in transactions but that’s a figure that Ideosource expects to nearly triple over the next two years, reaching $736 million during 2014.

The Indonesian equity firm estimates that just 5 percent of the country’s 50 million ‘regular’ Internet users make purchases online. That’s a figure that is sure to rise — in a large part from economic growth — and services like PriceArea are in a good spot to capitalise and scale on that promise.

Currently, the service is active only in its native Indonesia, but the injection of fresh capital will help the 22-staff strong service expand across Southeast Asia and beyond, Suhaili explains:

“We are extremely excited to have two reputable companies such as GREE Ventures and So-net share in our vision. We look forward to tapping into their experiences and technology as we plan to take PriceArea into global expansion.”

Image via Flickr / 401 (K) 2012

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