Bukalapak, one of the largest eCommerce companies in Indonesia, is getting bigger.
With the backing of the Ant Group, the Chinese affiliate of the Alibaba Group, Bukalapak is vowing to turn small businesses that use its B2B eCommerce platform into banking agents through a partnership with one of the country’s largest lenders, Reuters reported.
Bukalapak plans to introduce grocery sellers and street vendors to a service from Bank Mandiri, the largest bank in Indonesia, through which merchants can help shoppers without smartphones open bank accounts, according to the report.
“We are working with Mandiri to turn some of the warungs (retailers) into branchless banking agents,” Rachmat Kaimuddin, Bukalapa’s CEO, told Reuters.
Supermarkets and vendors are responsible for more than $70 billion worth goods a year annually or 18 percent of Indonesia’s $380 billion retail market, according to Bukalapak.
The partnership is designed to serve residents without bank accounts, or more than half of the country’s 270 million population, according to the World Bank, the international financial institution that funds capital projects for governments in poorer countries.
As a result of the partnership, customers can deposit and withdraw cash at these shops and do money transfers and payments, Reuters reported.
The shops, the bank and Bukalapak will each get a share of fees, said Kaimuddin.
Terms of any earnings goals from the partnership were not provided to the news service.
Transactions involving warungs on Bukalapak’s business-to-business (B2B) platform made up more than 25 percent of the firm’s gross merchandise volume in May, Reuters reported.
“COVID-19 offers a window of opportunity for electronic business-to-business players like Bukalapak to play a more active role in helping the warungs,” Roshan Raj Behera, a partner at researcher Red Seer, told the news service.
Last year, Bukalapak started working with 300,000 traditional mom-and-pop stores in Indonesia to act as a go-between with the company, and then charging a commission.
The company has been branching out into more financial services areas, including loans, credit, insurance and mutual fund and gold investments. The company also plans to expand with more investment products, as well as in areas like P2P lending and remittance payments.