Case Study

SEA: A $140 billion hidden Alibaba?

8 pages
December 2021
Reference: IMD-7-2337

Sea Limited, founded in Singapore in 2009, is a consumer internet company. It started out as Garena, a digital entertainment company (like Tencent), then expanded to e-commerce (like Alibaba), and then digital payments and financial services (like Ant Financial). The company, with its roots in China, was founded by Chinese entrepreneurs who built a business outside of China – a business they had become familiar with in China. Although it may have been impossible to do it in China, in Southeast Asia, it was still possible to win. However, since Southeast Asia was such a complex and diverse market, the company – copied from China – became a success only with extreme localization.

Learning Objective
  • The importance of localization, and how to achieve real localization.
  • Superapps and a multiplatform approach.
  • Even the superstars that seemed to appear out of nowhere had to go through a process.
  • China’s local rivalries had started to spill over.
Entertainment, eCommerce, Internet, Application Development, Retail, Digital, Technology Management
South-Eastern Asia, Singapore
Sea Limited, Information Technology, Internet, Information Technology, eCommerce, Travel and Leisure, Entertainment
Published Sources
© 2021
Available Languages
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