MANILA, Philippines — In a strategic shift that highlights its strength in Southeast Asia, erstwhile social networking site Multiply announced Thursday that it is moving its corporate headquarters to Jakarta, Indonesia as it names its new Global CEO.
British Stefan Magdalinski, the newly appointed CEO, will be overseeing operations of the social commerce platform that has a huge following in Southeast Asia, specifically in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Magdalinski previously managed e-commerce properties for South African firm MIH, a subsidiary of multimedia company Naspers, which acquired Multiply in 2010.
“I’m very excited to be working with the existing Multiply teams in Indonesia and the Philippines and become part of our new operations here,” Magdalinski said in a statement.
Multiply said the move to Jakarta is prompted by its need to focus on its core markets in the region, where it has more than 5.5 million users and counting. Aside from the two Southeast Asian nations, Multiply also has a presence in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Aside from key executives, Multiply is said to be bringing in technical and product development functions to Indonesia, with the intent of expanding manpower by hiring local engineers to lead the operations from the new corporate headquarters.
Multiply has recently dedicated a Philippine team that ensures a friendlier and more convenient online shopping experience for both sellers and buyers. It has more than 120,000 Filipino sellers on the platform, and is considered the largest social commerce destination in the country.
“More and more companies are realizing the potential of the region in terms of consumption and its very capable workforce,” said Multiply Philippines Country Manager Jack Madrid.
“Multiply’s headquarters move is indeed a strong message of commitment to the growth of the business in the Philippines, our biggest and most important community and market,” it added.
Initially conceived as a social networking site that pre-dated the boom of Facebook, Multiply had taken a turn in recent years due mainly to the unique way it has been used by users specifically in the Southeast Asian region.
“Customers in Southeast Asia were using Multiply as a trading platform to buy and sell goods, which was somewhat surprising since it was against our terms of service at the time,” related Peter Pezaries, erstwhile CEO and founder of the Internet company.
Owing to this unique usage pattern by its Southeast Asian users, the company decided to shift its strategy and focus by becoming an easy to use e-commerce platform following its acquisition by Naspers in 2010.
In the Philippines, Multiply — through its head, Madrid — is one of those leading the charge toward greater growth for e-commerce in the country, which as of late remains at its nascent stages.
A competing platform, Sulit.com.ph, is also owned by Naspers. The two Philippine-based e-commerce sites are part of the newly established Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines (DCOM), which seeks to promote the use of online commerce in the country.