Taiwan e-commerce firm Pinkoi expands into new Asian markets

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Taiwan e-commerce firm Pinkoi expands into new Asian markets

Beyond Taiwan, Pinkoi has opened a shop in Thailand and Malaysia. It has its eyes set on China.

Ecommerce platform Pinkoi is expanding around Asia as cross-border orders grow and it sees an opening to enter China, the Taiwan-based firm says.

Pinkoi’s volume of cross-border orders have grown 200 per cent over the past two years, making up over 30 percent of total transactions and up from not quite 10 per cent at the outset.

The company says its gains in business abroad stem from changes in products and approaches to each market.

To get a grip overseas, Pinkoi acquired Japanese designer ecommerce platform iichi in 2016, giving it access to the Japanese side’s design talent pool.

A year earlier Pinkoi had opened shop in Thailand to expand there. It gradually developed a cohort of local designers and now arranges sales of more than 500 Thai brands.

Cofounder and Chief Executive Peter Yen said in an interview that growth accelerated solidly after about 100 Thai brands had signed on. That momentum enabled Pinkoi to start increasing cross-border operations in 2016, leading to steep growth last year.

The company has also entered Malaysia and now has its sights on China.

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Pinkoi has no plans to open a China office, but Yen said the firm will hold a Pinkoi Market fair, an event which showcases the platform’s products, in May in Guangzhou.

Pinkoi has worked with DHL, FedEx and local delivery companies over the past two years to raise the transparency of logistics operations, Yen said.

Customers care less about delivery speed than knowing which phase of delivery an item is in, so Pinkoi tries to offer them a sense of security.

Buyer-seller interface

Pinkoi and its sellers have cut the time needed from receiving an order to shipping it by 30 per cent. Customers are happier and sellers more efficient, Yen said.

Mobile transactions already take up 77 per cent of Pinkoi’s total in China and Japan, and over 60 per cent in both Taiwan and Thailand. Pinkoi has accordingly adjusted the backend management of vendors as well as consumer interface procedures to suit mobile phone users.

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The ecommerce platform will also bolster direct contact between buyers and sellers, extending an evaluation system that’s in place already. Pinkoi’s reach of 88 countries raises the need for communication channels that build understanding between sellers and consumers from different countries to make purchase decisions easier, Yen said.

Increasing cross-border transactions is paramount, the chief officer said. Those are the toughest to build, he said, so getting them right will raise Pinkoi’s competitive edge. The goal: making 60 per cent of all business cross-border.

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