Why online car dealer Carmudi is investing in PH

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 04 2014 08:57 AM | Updated as of Apr 16 2015 11:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The online vehicle marketplace Carmudi is planning to expand its operations in the Philippines due to growing demand not only in vehicles but also in online platforms in general, Carmudi co-founder and global managing director Stefan Haubold said.

Haubold said there is growth in the Philippine market in terms of internet and smartphone users, making the country a logical choice for online businesses.

“We are seeing a paradigm shift in the Philippines market. Consumers are switching from offline to online platforms. Until 2012, there were 33 million internet users, and by 2014 it is predicted that this number will go up to 41 million. This is absolutely the right time to be in the market. If you look at the mobile subscription, it is already more than 100 percent. And not to forget, Philippines is known to be the fastest growing smartphone market in the Southeast Asia,” Haubold told ABS-CBNnews.com in an interview via e-mail.

Carmudi, launched in 2013, offers buyers, sellers and car dealers the platform to cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles online in the Philippines as well as United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cameroon, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Vietnam.

Haubold said there has been rapid growth in listings in Carmudi Philippines, which he said is growing over 200 percent every month.

“We have skyrocketed from a mere 400 listings to over 7,000 in a matter of four months and given the growing demand in the market, we will continue to expand rapidly. Our target for 2014 is to become the number one global player in the market. We want to provide our users a one-stop shop experience where they can find anything to everything related to car-industry,” he said.

He added that there is potential in the Philippines automotive industry, with vehicle sales up 16 percent in January 2014.

“This growth is most likely to continue through this year. It is also projected that this year, the local automotive sector will reach overall sales of 230,000 units,” he said.

The young demographic of the Philippine market is also attractive to Carmudi.

“The median age of the population in the Philippines is 22.7 years and they account for half of the country's discretionary spending. In fact, they are expected to spend at least a fifth of the country's economic output by 2020. And this is a demographic that we cannot afford to ignore,” said Haubold.

Carmudi recently secured about $10 million funding from a range of investors including Tengelmann Ventures, the international multi-sector retailer.

The funds will be used to support expansions in its Asian operations.

Carmudi is part of the portfolio of German start-up incubator Rocket Internet.