Market Trend

5 E-Commerce Startups of Asia with Exceptional Growth Strategies

Jinsoo Choi
July 4, 2024

The Asian e-commerce landscape is evolving rapidly, shaped by recent global events and economic shifts. While the pandemic-driven digital surge has begun to stabilize, the sector remains fiercely competitive. Economic uncertainties have added new challenges, yet innovation continues to thrive.

Across the region, we're seeing intriguing developments: live commerce is gaining traction in Southeast Asia, super apps are reshaping the Indian market, and new technologies are transforming the shopping experience. Despite the intense competition from established players, several startups are making their mark with unique approaches and solutions.

Levit: The Rule-Breaking Startup with a Growth-Obsession Mindset

South Korea’s e-commerce market is highly competitive. From major portals like Naver and Kakao to the latest newcomers like Aliexpress and Temu, Korea is one of the most intense startup battlefields. Levit is one of the few startups that have survived and become an outlier in the industry. 

Source : Levit

Levit was heavily influenced by Pinduoduo, a Chinese commerce platform that combines entertaining elements such as socializing and gaming. The team went through an accelerated phase of trial and error. They tested their business model by selling sweet potatoes and masks, which helped them discover several pain points. These included unnecessary middle-man fees and automatable seller-partner features. 

After establishing the business model, Levit introduced the concept of ‘team purchase.’ This means people who want to buy something can gather closely related people, such as friends and family members, to purchase the product at a discounted price. Since users had to invite others via social media and messenger, Levit’s team purchase naturally generated a powerful viral effect. 

Source : Levit

Levit’s service, Alwayz, has shown astonishing growth. After the launch in September 2021, the mobile app marked 10 million downloads in just two years. Given that the company had to go through a global pandemic, the South Korean startup’s development is more than noteworthy. Alwayz also introduced an in-app Webtoon platform, generating even more customer traction.  With the team’s laser-focused attitude toward customer perfection, Levit continues to grow amidst the commerce giants. 

(Refer to : Korea's Alwayz aims to make online shopping fun again with $46M in funding | TechCrunch)


Zepto: India’s First Unicorn that Delivers Everything within 10 Minutes

Source : Business Today

In 2021, two Standard dropouts who wanted to pursue their entrepreneurial interests discovered an idea for a fast delivery service during a global pandemic. They also learned from their previous startup, KiranaKart, that their first attempt at a delivery platform ended in a shutdown.

This time, the duo from India utilized the concept of ‘cloud stores.’ These were micro-warehouses in central Indian cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai. Also referred to as ‘dark stores,’ Zepto’s mini-sized storages became a foundation for an ultra-fast delivery value chain. With the application of the latest technologies, including demand-based sensing and dynamic pricing, Zepto can deliver orders in under 12 minutes. 

Source : Business Today

Started as a grocery delivery service, Zepto now transports (almost) everything from home supplies to lifestyle apparel and small electric appliances. The company earned the title of India’s first unicorn in 2023 with 200 million USD investments based on its exceptional transit capabilities. The delivery startup also earned another 665 million USD just a month ago. Zepto plans to expand its logistics network and become a ‘second to none’ startup nationwide.

(Refer to : From Startup to Unicorn: A look back at Zepto's journey)

Sirclo: Unlocking Indonesia’s Omni-Commerce Future

Source : Odoo

Sirclo is an all-in-one commerce SaaS provider founded in 2013. Starting as a template-based online shop builder, the company gradually expanded its expertise to assist retail brand positioning in online marketplaces, stock management, product delivery, and a commerce dashboard system. The Indonesian startup has worked with over 200 global brands, including Unilever and Levi’s.

Brian Marshal, founder of Sirclo, recalled he wanted to create a product like WordPress with e-commerce features. The entrepreneur unintentionally started the first wave of SaaS startups in his country. After earning a seed round of funding in 2014, Brian realized that major competitors like Tokopedia and Lazada were coming to Indonesia and had to be prepared. Since then, Sirclo focused solely on one single mission: simplifying the business process for small and medium enterprises of the nation.

Source : Sirclo

“Consignment is what retailers are used to. We handle all the necessary steps for them from warehousing to fulfillment and in the end we have a profit sharing agreement.” - Brian Marshal in KrASIA Interview, Oct.2019

Currently, Sirclo provides a wide variety of commerce solutions. Its omnichannel platform, SIRCLO Swift, is used by global brands like Asics and L’Oreal. Users can even streamline content production and advertisements with SIRCLO Streamlab. With its latest partnership with Shopify in January, Sirclo is accelerating its progress in enriching the Indonesian e-commerce ecosystem.

(Refer to : Sirclo raises US$6 million to ride the e-commerce wave amid the pandemic)

Una Brands: Unearthing and Accelerating Small Brands’ Potential 


Building and maintaining steady growth is difficult for today’s brands. Una Brands in Singapore offers these brands an objective valuation, capital for expansion, and in-house consulting based on data analytics. Since its launch in 2020, the brand aggregator acquired and boosted the growth of over 20 brands worldwide. The company also announced it turned EBITDA profitable in the fourth quarter of last year. 

The key to Una Brands’ successful, sustainable growth is its strict standards of acquiring or assisting small brands. Below are the five conditions of the Singaporean startup:

  1. You need to ‘actually’ be profitable.
  2. You gave a good reason to ‘exist.’
  3. Your product line is not limited to one best-selling item.
  4. Your products are marketable in more than one way.
  5. Your sales channels can be expanded.

These criteria include all the necessities for a small brand’s survival. Nowadays, people want brands with a firm philosophy, vision, and products that imply those values. Customers also want to know the brand better via content and social channels. With a focus on impactful media like TikTok and resource allocation, Una Brands earned several funding rounds from major VCs. 

Una Brands offers an aggregation service across significant channels, from Amazon to Shopify, Shopee, Lazada, and Tokopedia. With more than 200 employees across Southeast Asia, the Singaporean startup looks forward to doubling its operations soon.

(Refer to : Roll up, roll up to find out how Una Brands turned a profit)

Oakra: Thailand’s Rising Star of E-commerce SaaS 

Source : Oakra Homepage

With an ambitious goal of “building the most sophisticated tools for brands,” Oakra provides an automated solution that streamlines critical tasks in product and order management, inventory, and customer engagement. The Thai platform allows local brands to upload product details and content easily. Oakra is also a doorway to unify multiple marketplace channels like JD Central and Shopee.

Oakra’s dashboard provides unified sales data and real-time trend updates. Users can easily make time-sensitive decisions that drive growth and efficiency. The performance of marketplace campaigns, such as flash sales and special discount days, can be tracked and analyzed to prepare better-performing marketing events. 

Oakra | LinkedIn
Source : Oakra Linkedin

Thailand’s e-commerce environment continues to show remarkable growth. Given Thailand’s preference for offline shopping, the enlargement of the country’s online shopping industry is even more noteworthy. Oakra’s solution is optimal for small and medium businesses eager to get an edge in a competitive e-commerce environment.  With features like intelligent stock distribution and unified customer communication, Oakra is positioning itself as a reliable partner for businesses and brands.

(Refer to : Thailand E-commerce: A Comprehensive Look | ZhenHub )

Written by Jinsoo Choi


*Read the other articles and delve into the landscape of rising startups in the Asia region!

The Next Billion-Dollar Unicorns in Asia : 5 Startups with Big Potential

AI Powerhouses of Southeast Asia: 5 Horsemen of Change

10 Fintech Startups to Spotlight in Asia‍

10 Biotech Startups to Spotlight in Asia

10 ESG startups to spotlight in Asia

5 Asia Startups Unlocking New Travel Experiences


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Jinsoo Choi
I am a freelance editor with an exceptional interest in branding, fashion, marketing, the media industry, and cultural events. I'm also capable of deep-diving areas with zero experience, interviewing people with a focus on an individual's genuine passion and story. I aim to become an editor who can provide insights for South Korean and international readers.