This article was originally published in Chinese on Momentum Works’ Wechat platform 墨腾创投, translated into English by MW team. 

These couple of days, the rumours of MissFresh going bankrupt are surging in China: offices vacated, employees fired.

Our Friends of Momentum Works and Impulso communities also had a lot of discussions about the ‘dark store’ (or ‘mini warehouse’) model and fresh grocery delivery in general. While giants such as Grab and Shopee are carefully experimenting, there are still many optimistic entrepreneurs and investors.

“No trouble” 

We mentioned before that since November 2021, Jun Wang, CFO of Miss Fresh has been working with Tai Luyang, Co-Founder and CEO of defunct community group-buy platform Jijixian, on an online grocery project in Indonesia. Hatata, as the project (and app) is known, is probably derived from Swahili phrase “Hakuna Matata” or “no trouble”. 

According to news reports in China, Jun Wang just left his post of CFO of MissFresh this month (July 2022). On MissFresh’s investor relations page, he is still listed as Co-CFO, Head of Retail Cloud Business and Director: 

Hatata’s business model is essentially community group buy: consumers will place orders through mobile, and fetch the groceries the next day at a nearby collection point. Categories sold on Hatata include fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs, seafood, instant packaged food, staples, dairy products, snacks, drinks etc. The company says its own logistics system ensures speedy and efficient fulfilment of orders.

This is one of their most recent promotions – uploaded on 28 July 2022: 

On Hatata’s web site, there is no mentioning of the CEO’s name, but a description (in Bahasa Indonesia) as follows: 

“Menjabat sebagai mitra inti dari platform ritel komunitas terbesar di China, dan memimpin pembentukan dan pengembangan model e-commerce komunitas arus utama kedua di China, dan secara berturut-turut mengumpulkan lebih dari 2 miliar dolar AS dan berhasil terdaftar di Nasdaq;”

Translating into English:

“Served as a core partner of China’s largest community retail platform, and led the establishment and development of China’s second mainstream community e-commerce model, and consecutively raised more than 2 billion US dollars and successfully listed on Nasdaq;”

Introduction to co-founder and COO Tai Luyang (translated into English):

“Serves as CEO of Jijixian and one of the six core partners of Yonghui Yunchuang Superspecies Business. Jijixian has historically completed nearly 50 million US dollars in financing, and the company has more than 3,000 employees. Responsible for full-link business, reliable in marketing, and participated in business building from 0 to 1 many times.”

As the company, called Sailors Limited, the introduction is (in Bahasa Indonesia):

Sailors Limited didirikan pada November 2021 sebagai platform e-commerce “ritel baru” bagi China untuk berkembang ke luar negeri. Perusahaan berfokus pada “perkembangan ke overseas + teknologi + ritel”, dengan fokus pada penerapan teknologi Internet China yang matang dan canggih di luar negeri untuk meningkatkan sirkulasi komoditas dan kenyamanan metode pembelian, agar pengguna di luar negeri dapat memilih produk dengan efektivitas biaya dan kualitas yang tinggi, dengan menggunakan metode “pra-penjualan + jemput sendiri” . Fokus business kami meliputi Jakarta, Indonesia dan kota-kota sekitarnya (dengan kantor pusat di Jakarta).

English translation: 

Sailors Limited was founded in November 2021 as a “new retail” e-commerce platform for China to expand overseas. The company focuses on “development overseas + technology + retail”, focusing on the application of mature and advanced China’s Internet technology abroad to improve commodity circulation and convenience of purchasing methods, so that overseas users can choose products with high cost-effectiveness and quality. high, using the “pre-sale + self-pick-up” method. Our business focus covers Jakarta, Indonesia and surrounding cities (with head office in Jakarta).

We are not sure whether it is a good idea to tout, directly in Bahasa Indonesia, about “development overseas” and “matured and advanced China’s internet technology”. 

Indonesia’s fresh grocery market

Back to Indonesia’s fresh grocery market, we wrote the following in a commentary in March this year: 

“However, the fresh grocery business in Indonesia is still very complicated – doing a good job in community group buying requires not only funding, but also very refined operations and supply chain management. 

The stability of the supply chain is also a major issue. In fact, many top fresh grocery and social ecommerce platforms in the market are actually finding things difficult too. 

In Indonesia, startups that still work in the sector include Segari, KitaBeli, Wahyoo, Super, (just financed) Sayurbox, ULA, TaniHub, etc. 

On the whole, we think fresh grocery is a market that giants will not give up in Indonesia, but it may not be a market where they are willing to try to control the entire supply chain by themselves. Therefore, although it is difficult for companies that are deeply involved in the supply chain, the opportunities are still good, and it is possible to build a moat. Whether 2C startups can make it – it should be much more difficult proposition.”

A friend, who has been working in Indonesia’s community retail distribution for years, is more blunt: “Internet entrepreneurs doing fresh grocery in Indonesia, for me it is like using anti-aircraft missiles to shoot mosquitoes”

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].