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Shopee (Traditional Chinese: 蝦皮購物) is an e-commerce platform headquartered in

Singapore under Sea Group (previously known as Garena), which was founded in 2009
by Forrest Li. Shopee first launched in Singapore in 2015, and since expanded its reach
to Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. It serves users in
Southeast Asia and Taiwan to buy and sell products online. Due to the mobile and social
element built within the concept, Shopee was described as one of the “5 disruptive
ecommerce startups we saw in 2015” by Tech In Asia.
In 2015, Shopee launched in Singapore as a social-first, mobile-centric marketplace
where users can browse, shop and sell on the go. Integrated with logistical and payment
support, the asset-light platform aims to make online shopping easy and secure for both
sellers and buyers.

Soon after, the app-based platform launched a website to rival other fast growing e-
commerce websites in the region like Lazada, Tokopedia and AliExpress. To differentiate
itself, Shopee offers online shopping security through its own escrow service called
“Shopee Guarantee”, where it withholds payment to sellers until buyers have received
their orders.

Business model
Shopee first started as primarily a consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketplace but has
since moved into both a C2C and business-to-consumer (B2C) hybrid model. As
compared to its competitors, Shopee does not charge sellers fees/commissions and
listing fees.

It also operates as an asset-light marketplace wherein Shopee does not hold any
inventory or warehousing and relies on third parties for logistics capabilities.[11] Shopee
partners with over 70 courier service providers across its markets to provide logistical
support for its users.[12] In Singapore, it collaborated with logistics startup, NinjaVan, for
item pickup and delivery.[13] Other delivery partners in the region include Pos
Malaysia[14] and Pos Indonesia.[15]

Market share
As of 2017, the platform recorded 80 million app downloads and more than 180 million
active products from over four million entrepreneurs.[16] In Q4 2017, it also reported a
gross merchandise value (GMV) of US$1.6 billion, up 206 per cent from a year earlier.
However, losses in the parent group, Sea are also widening. The group recorded an
adjusted net loss of US$252 million in Q4 2017, up 306 percent from Q4 2016's US$62
million net loss.[17]

These GMV claims have also led to backlash by Alibaba-backed competitor, Lazada. The
former CEO, Max Bittner asserted that GMV numbers can be easily inflated “by subsidy
schemes and history shows that GMV falls away as unhealthy subsidies are

Nonetheless, in Malaysia, Shopee became the 3rd most visited e-commerce portal in Q4
2017, replacing Lelong and “overtook Lazada to rank as the best app on both Google
Play and iOS App stores.”[18]

Similarly among consumers in Indonesia, a survey conducted in December 2017 by

TheAsianParent revealed that “for Indonesian mothers, Shopee is a first choice shopping
platform (73%), followed by Tokopedia (54%), Lazada (51%) and Instagram (50%).”[19]

New launches
In 2016, Shopee launched an initiative called ‘Shopee University’, a series of workshops
and tutorials to aid local entrepreneurs and businesses in setting up their online
businesses in the Philippines.[20]

In 2017, Shopee launched Shopee Mall with 200 brands in Singapore. The dedicated
portal features thousands of products sold by leading brands and retailers in the region.
Shopee Mall was created to offer a more diverse online shopping experience, and to
better cater to larger brands looking to pursue an omni-channel approach.[21]

In 2018, Shopee launched the China Marketplace portal that offers shoppers easy access
to products from Chinese merchants, without any shipping and agent fees in Singapore.
This portal directly competes with Lazada's Taobao Collection option.[22]

Shopee's parent company, Sea Group, filed for an Initial Public Offering on the New York
Stock Exchange (NYSE) in October 2017 for US$1 billion.[23] Tencent is the main
beneficiary of the Sea listing with a 39.7% share while Blue Dolphins Venture — an
organization set up by founder Forrest Li — holds 15%. Li himself has 20%, and Chief
Technology Officer, Gang Ye holds 10%.[24]

In 2015, Shopee was awarded the Singapore Startup Of The Year in the second edition
of Vulcan Awards, presented by Singaporean digital publisher, Vulcan Post.[25]

In June 2019, #ShopeeScam trended on Twitter[26] worldwide after Shopee (Philippines)
allegedly scammed Filipino fans of South-Korean girl group BlackPink. Shopee
(Philippines) released a promotion that offered passes to a Meet and Greet event for the
568 Top Spenders in their online store.[27] However, several fans reported receiving
notifications that they won tickets but Shopee retracting them later on. Others posted
screenshots that showed Shopee changing their contest mechanics the day before the
event. Shopee is now under investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry.[28]