Is the Philippines’ internet bubble going bust?
This month, two of the long-time online services have closed down in the country along with other similar offices in the region. One is the daily deals site turned online retail store, Ensogo, while the other is a jobs site, JobsDB. Of the two, JobsDB Philippines has been in operation the longest – about 17 years since they opened in the country. It’s also one of only two major players in its category so we can’t help but be puzzled by this development.
JobsDB’s official Facebook Page has since posted an announcement for people to hop on erstwhile rival, JobStreet, even calling it “the No. 1 Job Site in the Philippines”. Perhaps the market has shrunk and could no longer accommodate two big job search portals.
Ensogo’s demise is much less surprising, considering that the excitement for daily deals and group buying has died down for quite some time now. Besides, there were many other similar sites that closed down years ago. It was only a matter of time before the numbers are narrowed down even further. The last big one was Groupon/Beeconomic back in September 2015. This leaves old-timers like CashCashPinoy and MetroDeal in the space, although the owner of the latter has also made a smart exit by selling to Japanese investor, Transcosmos.
In the classifieds market, car classified ads site Tsikot have also been recently sold to Now Web Solutions. Though the amount is undisclosed, we don’t think it’s anywhere near the Php100 million offer MIH made to them back in 2011.
The biggest player in the classifieds ad space was Sulit. Founded in 2006 by freelance developer, RJ David, the two-man start-up was snapped up by MIH in 2009. Singapore Press Holding came in with AyosDito to challenge Sulit’s monopoly in the Philippines. Sulit was eventually merged with OLX in 2014 which is also owned by Naspers (parent company of MIH). Later that year, AyosDito would close down and direct all traffic to OLX.
Recent players like Lazada and Zalora, both owned by German-based Rocket Internet, are taking much of the attention and market share in the local e-commerce space. Lazada could be considered the biggest online store in the country, with over 10,000 transactions a month , since they opened up shop 4 years ago. However, both online stores aren’t profitable with a combined loss of about $235 million, according to its 2014 filing from all their combined market.
There are also newer entrants like social news site Rappler and regional news network Coconuts Media (Coconuts Manila in the Philippines) as well as well-funded start-ups like job-matching engine Kalibbr, price comparison site PricePrice.com, PayrollHero, ZipMatch and PawnHero.
These new batch of tech start-ups have yet to be truly tested if they can grow to a significant size, scale, and eventually become really profitable. Some have shown promise while the rest, well, we have yet to see.
- JobsDB Philippine website to shut down on June 30
- Ensogo to shut down operations in SEA
- Tsikot’s Php100M offer by MIH breaks down
- Tsikot.com acquired for undisclosed sum
- Sulit is now OLX Philippines
- Sulit merges operations with OLX in the Philippines
- Why Sulit bought Pinoy Auto Trader?
- How the mighty Sulit became OLX PH
- AyosDito to close as OLX consolidates
- Groupon Philippines officially shuts down