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Singapore Press Holdings Limited Makes Big Splash In e-Commerce: What Does It Mean For Its Investors?

For those of you who are shopping online regularly, Qoo10.sg might be a familiar name. According to Alexa, a website ranking company, Qoo10.sg is the second most popular e-commerce site in Singapore, behind only U.S. online retail giant Amazon.com.

Qoo10 is a joint venture between South Korean e-commerce outfit Giosis Group and American online marketplace creator eBay Inc. Qoo10’s still a private company, but investors who believe in the potential of e-commerce and think that Qoo10 will be a strong beneficiary of this important trend will be happy to know that they can now get exposure to the firm.

Earlier today, it was revealed that Qoo10 had just raised US$82.1 million from a group of investors who are led by newspaper publisher and property developer Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SGX: T39).

Singapore Press Holdings has long been trying to diversify away from its traditional print business which might be facing structural challenges with more and more people obtaining their information online. This affects the circulation of the firm’s traditional print newspaper and would thus directly affect the firm’s advertising revenue.

The negative impacts to Singapore Press Holdings’ business are already apparent with the firm’s total ad revenue from its newspapers falling in each year since its fiscal year ended 31 August 2011 (FY2011).

As a result, Singapore Press Holdings has been actively investing into other types of businesses over the past few years. In particular, the company has been putting capital to work aggressively in the internet space. Currently, Singapore Press Holdings is owner of some of the most popular sites in Singapore such as hardwarezone.com, shareinvestor.com, and even stomp.com.sg.

With an investment into Qoo10, Singapore Press Holdings has gained access to an e-commerce marketplace in six different territories (Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China).

Qoo10 currently has about 17.6 million registered users and had achieved a gross merchandise value (GMV) of US$408 million in 2014. Interestingly, Singapore is currently Qoo10’s best performing market, with more than US$182 Million in GMV in 2014 with just 1.8 million registered users. However, there is no detail on whether Qoo10 is profitable or not at the moment.

More synergy?

With the new investment, there might be some synergies to exploit given Singapore Press Holdings’ distribution-reach on both its offline and online media properties.

If Singapore Press Holdings is able to successfully promote Qoo10 within its audiences on its various media platforms, it might help boost growth for Qoo10 in the coming years.

Foolish Summary

The internet looks to be the way forward in the future. But, investors have to know that businesses that ply their trade on the web are engaged in extremely fierce competition.

With low barriers to entry and having access to a global market at your fingertips, internet businesses need to dominate or else they might disintegrate. Clearly, Singapore Press Holdings has decided it wants a part of all these and its investment into Qoo10 is just another step in its longer term ambition to transform its business. Let’s hope it can compete successfully in this unforgiving landscape.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore writer Stanley Lim does not own any companies mentioned above.