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Garena Rebrands as “Sea,” Secures $550M to Double Down on Indonesian E-Commerce

Competition increases in one of Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce markets

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BY Tanya Mariano - 10 May 2017

garena sea

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

One of Southeast Asia’s unicorns is shedding its old identity and gearing up for the race in the region’s increasingly competitive e-commerce space.

In a statement, Forrest Li -- founder, chairman, and group CEO of Singapore-based Garena -- says, “Our new name draws inspiration from the acronym for our region, symbolizing our strong ‘home court advantage.’ In addition, the sea connects every one of our markets, symbolizing our corporate motto of ‘connecting the dots.’ Finally, Sea is a humble, authentic word that evokes the pioneering spirit of exploration – a wonderful symbol of our corporate values.”

Founded in 2009, Garena started out as an online gaming platform and has since diversified into e-commerce through Shopee and e-payments via AirPay.

The name change reflects the company’s “multi-platform leadership,” says Li: “Garena is a brand that is beloved across our game ecosystem, our Shopee brand has become synonymous with e-commerce in our region, and AirPay is quickly becoming a leader in digital financial services… We cherish these three brands, and are now embracing an overall identity for our entire company.”

 

Fresh funding

The company also announced that they’ve secured $550 million in Series E funding, majority of which will be poured into growing Shopee -- which currently has an annualized gross merchandise value of over $3 billion -- in key markets such as Indonesia.

The move will put Sea head-to-head with the giants of Indonesian e-commerce: Tokopedia, MatahariMall, and Alibaba-backed Lazada. So far, Lazada retains the lead in terms of monthly site visits, according to data aggregated by iPrice Group in their map of e-commerce in Indonesia.

Says Martin Hartono, CEO of GDP Venture and one of Sea’s investors, “We are excited to be deepening our partnership with Sea, which is playing a key role in supporting Indonesia’s economic growth by empowering e-commerce sellers in our country.”

Aside from GDP Venture, other investors in this round include Cathay Financial Holding, Farallon Capital Management, Hillhouse Capital, JG Summit Holdings, and President International Development Corporation.

Sea also announced the appointment of three senior advisers: former Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo, former Indonesia Minister of Trade Mari Pangestu, and Pandu Sjahrir, founder and director of Indonesian coal mining and palm oil company PT Toba Bara Sejahtra Tbk.