DHL Eyes Large Slice of Southeast Asian E-commerce Market

The e-commerce division of Deutsche Post DHL, DHL eCommerce, is increasingly focusing its e-commerce activities on Southeast Asia where it wants to become "a true enabler for the smallest companies to the very largest e-commerce players," according to Charles Brewer, CEO of DHL eCommerce.

Charles Brewer
Charles Brewer

In a report in TechInAsia magazine, Brewer revealed that DHL is now deciding which Southeast Asian nation it will focus on next, after launching a last-mile fulfilment service in Thailand in January. “The upside of e-commerce in Southeast Asia is enormous,” Brewer noted.
Singapore looks like a natural choice for the expansion plans of DHL's e-Commerce division, because the island state is already home to its regional office as well as an innovation centre.

Mounting regional competition
DHL’s rising focus on Southeast Asia will certainly bring competition for SingPost, its closest analogue in the region, as well as competitors big and small like Ta-Q-Bin, Go-Jek, and Ninja Van. Although Brewer declined to name his (e-commerce) clients, he said that all the big online marketplaces are his customers, and there are only a handful of them.
While acknowledging that SingPost has been rapidly expanding its locker network of POP Stations in Singapore, Brewer said DHL e-Commerce is also looking into deploying lockers in the rest of the region, like it did in Europe in 2001 when it launched its “PackStations”. Eventually, the logistics firm probably will implement a mix of lockers and parcelshops throughout Southeast Asia, depending on what consumers prefer.

DHL launched hybrid product
Underlining efforts to expand its e-commerce business, DHL e-Commerce meanwhile has launched a hybrid shipping product, Parcel International Direct Australia, which will enable e-tailers in Singapore to tap into the rapidly growing cross border e-commerce market in Australia. Reports show that this market is expected to grow over 150% in online cross-border transactions from A$6.5 billion (US$4.9 billion) in 2013 to A$16.6 billion in 2018.
Parcel International Direct Australia means that online retailers in Singapore will be able to leverage DHL’s strength in commercial delivery and extensive network partnerships in Australia, and tap into the massive e-commerce market and deliver parcels of up to 20kg to their customer base.

Nol van Fenema

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