Germany’s biggest internet incubator Rocket Internet and Qatar’s number one mobile operator and service provider Ooredoo has partnered in a joint venture named Asia Internet Holding, to develop and fund online businesses and create new revenues streams in Asian markets.
The couple announced that the operations of the new venture will initially cover 15 markets in the continent, including Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Australia.
Rocket and Ooredoo will be equal partners of the new company, according to a press release, and, in addition to the undisclosed amounts of money they have invested in the venture, they will also contribute their know-how and experiences to the creation and development of online businesses particularly in the parts of the region where e-commerce is still growing fast mainly thanks to growing smartphone penetration.
The range of mobile business they will invest in will be pretty broad, from online retail and marketplaces to payment services.
Both partners have already established partnerships in the region. Rocket has investments in some leading Asian online services startups like Lamudi, PricePanda and EasyTaxi, whereas Ooredoo has controlling shares in many mobile operators in the Middle East, Indonesia, the Philippines and Pakistan. The Qatari company is the market leader in Indonesia, the second biggest online market after China, via Indosat which has 60 million customers.
“A fundamental shift is happening across our markets, as more people buy goods and services online through their mobile phones” said Dr Nasser Marafih, the CEO of Ooredoo Group and added that their partnership with Rocket will give them market leadership across Asia.
Oliver Samwer, a co-founder of Rocket Internet, commented, “We look forward to working with a partner as innovative and customer-centric as Ooredoo in Asia… We feel that by bringing e-commerce models that have worked well elsewhere in the world to Asia, and that by partnering with an operator like Ooredoo, we can jointly bring better services to customers”.
Since the partnership is subject to the approval of the regulatory authorities in some countries where the new company will be operating, first set of services and/or investments are expected to be disclosed after the second quarter of this year.