Big news this week, as the rising tide of eCommerce has led eBay and PayPal to announce their separation, leading both companies to become independently traded. In other news, Pepsi is coming out with Pepsi True, a new 60 calorie, stevia-infused, health conscious drink that will be sold exclusively through Amazon. If you think Alibaba hasn’t been in the news enough, the Chinese marketplace giant has recently decided to launch a loan portal, helping pair individuals and small businesses with investors. Finally, high technological penetration rates and restrictive forces have shed light on companies like Digikala and Iran’s eCommerce potential. For more eCommerce news, check out our past Weekly Wrap Ups.
If you haven’t heard the big news, eBay and PayPal (owned by eBay Inc.) will be separated into two publicly traded companies in 2015. This marks an important stepping stone for the two entities, as their management and direction are poised for change. The decision came down after a strategic forecast concluded that keeping both eBay and PayPal together would be less beneficial after 2015. The outcome: a better focus and flexibility for eBay and PayPal, allowing each company to reap the benefits of respective business opportunities. The deal will leave PayPal in a healthy position, raising questions about eBay turning into an acquisition target for companies like Google and Alibaba.
In an effort to offer a healthier version of it’s eponymous drink, Pepsi has struck an exclusive deal with Amazon to distribute its new Pepsi True soda via the eCommerce powerhouse. Pepsi is likely banking on Amazon’s global reach and its presence as a leader in the online shopping space. The new soft drink will be 30% lower in sugar, contain no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial sweeteners. It also happens to be a direct response to Coca Cola’s Coke Life, launched earlier this year in the UK. Both companies noticed a need for a health conscious alternative after seeing their numbers flatten, ultimately giving Pepsi the opportunity to one up its rival by taking their version online.
After a massive cash infusion, Alibaba has decided to give back to the world. The newly publicly traded company has decided to respond to a growing demand for investment products and launch a loan portal. The platform will allow small businesses and individuals to raise capital from up to 200 investors with no cap on the amount each can invest. The platform will include safeguards, as a financial institution will screen each opportunity for risks and guarantee the loan before investors are involved. The finance arm is directly led by Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, who is no stranger to the sector, as he has already launched a mutual fund, the Alipay payment gateway, and a previous business lending operation.
You read that right. Digikala – a name you probably never heard of – controls 85% of the Iranian online retail market. Founded by two brothers, Hamid and Saeed Mohammadi in 2007, the business grew from a modest apartment office and has thrived over the years. All of this despite domestic restrictions and international sanctions, in large part fuelled by Iran’s nuclear programme. Analysts say Iran’s eCommerce potential is untapped, as the sector only represents 0.7% of the country’s GDP. Moreover, 70% of the population is under 35 years old and technologically inclined, as Iran boasts an internet penetration rate of 55% and 126% for mobile, placing them among the highest in the Middle East. With a slew of obstacles, ranging from clerical oppositions to bureaucratic hurdles and slow internet speeds, it would hold true that great opportunities are brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.