LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – At the AWS re:Invent 2015, Thailand-based Ascend Group announced the scheduled opening of its online shopping site – itruemart.com – in the Philippines by November. When operations start, the Philippines will become the first country to have the e-commerce site outside of Thailand.
According to Chaiwat Ratanaprateepporn, chief technology officer of Ascend Group, “we see it as a mission to help develop digital economy.” As such, “we hope to introduce shopping options to people.”
Aside from the online store, Ascend Group will also open a warehouse, as well as an office for operations (in still undisclosed locations) in the Philippines. Ratanaprateepporn is unable to disclose the total amount of investment to be made for the entry into the Philippines.
Thailand is one of the countries in Asia and the Pacific that is growing fast in e-shopping/e-commerce; and itruemart.com is one of the top three companies in the e-commerce space (related to transactions).
Ratanaprateepporn said that they hope to mimic that success in another market – in this case, the Philippines.
In its expansion to another market, Ascend Group is banking on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which it is “now using 100% now,” said Ratanaprateepporn. In Ascend Group’s case, AWS comes handy because “of its speed, (responding to our need to be) quickly in the market; the technology that will help us develop; and savings, particularly in terms of efficiency.”
“One of the challenges we looked at when we went to cloud was because of expansion plans. In the past, to open in a new market, we would have to build data center, and this could take from four to six months. But with the cloud today, I could start (expanding) tomorrow,” said Ratanaprateepporn.
Ratanaprateepporn is cognizant of the presence – and even dominance – of other key players in online shopping in the Philippines, including of Lazada.com.ph, ZALORA.com.ph, CashCashPinoy.com. “Competition is there, obviously. It’s a very competitive market,” Ratanaprateepporn said. However, “we aim to just serve to encourage more and more people to go online when shopping. That way, we just focus on customer satisfaction.”
Ascend Group, a spin-off subsidiary of C.P. Group and True Corporation in Thailand, is a full eCommerce platform company providing services such as eCommerce web stores, marketplace and e-payment to business customers.