Alibaba reportedly in partnership talks with Emtek Group, opens possibility of Bukalapak investment

Anisa Menur

Fintech is also likely to be part of Alibaba and Emtek Group’s joint venture agenda

Update: The previous version of this article mistakenly mentioned WeChat as a product of Alibaba instead of Tencent.

Chinese internet giant Alibaba is reported to be in talks for setting up a joint venture with Indonesian media and tech mogul Emtek Group, according to a report by Dealstreet Asia.

Citing three different anonymous sources who are “aware of the development,” the partnership is believed to open door for Alibaba’s investment in Indonesian e-commerce platform Bukalapak, which Emtek holds a significant share in.

The partnership and possible investment are seen as the next stage for Alibaba to enter the Southeast Asian market, particularly Indonesia, following its acquisition of Lazada last year.

Fintech, particularly cashless payments, is also likely to be part of the companies’ agenda.

Apart form owning several media platforms in Indonesia, Emtek Group’s subsidiary PT Kreatif Media Karya (KMK) also owns the license to develop the Blackberry Messenger (BBM) app, which remains one of the most popular messenger platforms in the Indonesian market.

KMK has been using the model implemented by Tencent’s WeChat in developing the BBM platform, which entails having users use the platform for every needs from social media to e-commerce, a trend that is embraced by various messaging platforms including LINE and Facebook Messenger.

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Bukalapak’s service itself is already available on BBM Shopping, the messenger app’s e-commerce feature that allows users to shop without leaving the app.

Integrating Lazada into the platform will help the e-commerce platform to branch into cashless payments; at the other hand, it can also help KMK to make BBM’s offerings more complete.

In October 2016, Emtek Group was rumoured to acquire Indonesian mobile payment startup Doku, which the startup declined to comment on.

More and more Indonesian startups are digging deeper into fintech by launching their own features and services to enable cashless payment in Indonesia, which still relies heavily on the use of cash and ATM transfer even for online shopping.

Grab includes financial inclusion in its US$700 million “master plan” for the market, Go-Jek has been promoting Go-Pay heavily as its partnership with taxi company Blue Bird Group also involves the use of Go-Pay to pay for taxi services, while Tokopedia is planning for more fintech services in its platform.

e27 is reaching out to the companies for comments.

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