Shopee, the largest ecommerce platform in Southeast Asia, was in an all out expansion mode (new markets, new verticals) in 2021 – and its parent Sea Group’s market cap briefly hit US$200 billion. 

2022 was a totally different matter. Its market cap is down almost 90%. Its headlines the entire year have been negative – geopolitics, product slowdown, people and profit issues, and probably most troubling – the rise of TikTok Shop.

To discuss some of the common questions and concerns from the community, Momentum Academy held an online event: “Off the Record: Shopee’s turbulent 2022” event on 17 November 2022. 

More than 400 investors, founders and corporate executives registered for the event. Progressively we are publishing some of the key points of the presentation. In part four, we explored the question of whether Shopee’s European expansion was a mistake. Now comes the fifth part:


A lot of recent visitors from China to Singapore all complained about the lack of service levels in ecommerce here – many have not even been to other parts of Southeast Asia: 

Meanwhile, Pinduoduo’s Temu has staged a very impressive entry into the US market, where it has been topping the charts for weeks.  They are attacking a (big) niche of ecommerce, which is items under $25 or even under $10, which Amazon has not served well. But is Temu able to build a more comprehensive ecommerce offering for that segment that would actually allow them to challenge Amazon? How would it challenge the over landscape of global ecommerce, which Shopee forms part of? 

The fundamental question that we ultimately have to ask ourselves – in addition to all the detailed discussions about logistics, etc. is: Does e-commerce have a future in Southeast Asia? What role will platforms play in this future, and how will shopping behavior evolve in this time with so many suppliers? 

We shouldn’t look at Shopee in isolation, but focus on where they will be in the future of e-commerce in Southeast Asia.

With that, I want to go back to something that Jack Ma said in 2016, where he defined “new retail”:

You can download a complimentary copy of the full presentation of Off the Record: Shopee’s Turbulent Year 2022 as well as our other reports for a behind-the-scenes look at Shopee and the future of e-commerce in Southeast Asia. 

Find out more about the other topics discussed during the event: recap part 1/5, part 2/5, part 3/5, part 4/5.

If you want to watch a replay of the event on our YouTube channel, click here.

We also received a lot of interesting questions from participants which we have compiled and answered them – You can find them here.

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].