Riding into its first profitable year, CARSOME looks forward to strengthen its presence in the Philippines

Riding into its first profitable year, CARSOME looks forward to strengthen its presence in the Philippines

In June 2023, Malaysia-based car e-commerce platform CARSOME announced a funding round that raised its total capital to US$200 million.

Last week, at the sideline of BEYOND 2024 at The Venetian Cotai Expo, Macau, e27 caught up with CARSOME Co-Founder, Chairman & Group CEO Eric Cheng to find out the latest updates from the company since the announcement.

According to him, last year, the company had been focusing more on readjusting its business.

“Much effort has been focused on how we looked at the business in the current market climate, especially since it is not just about growing. It is also about making sense of every single cost line … and that everything translates into your EBITDA profitability. We achieved that in the last quarter of last year. We now have our first profitable quarter in Q1 this year,” he said.

“Because, especially within the used car industry in Southeast Asia (SEA), there used to be a lot of different platforms and competitions in the market. But many of those companies have gone quiet, or do not even exist anymore in the last 12 to 18 months. So, it is safe to say that we have done a really great job in making that achievement, that milestone. Leveraging from last year, we are focusing on building our first profitable year.”

Also Read: Carsome acquires WapCar, AutoFun to strengthen automotive content strategy

During our conversation, Cheng discussed the notable changes in the region’s used car market. While the COVID-19 pandemic led to a pause in car trading for many customers, the situation improved “really quickly” right after that. Pent-up demand accelerated especially in 2021-2022.

“The market for used cars itself has always been growing. For the last two years, what we have seen is that the growth continued to be there. But, of course, it has normalised to the level before the pandemic. It also helps us continue growing as a business because we are not building a business where the market stays stagnant. We are building a business that continues to be growing,” Cheng says.

“Building up on top of our core business transaction is important. We are also rolling out more services to capture the opportunity.”

For CARSOME, this includes including new car offerings in their platform, which used to focus solely on used cars. “This is something that we started immediately post-pandemic because we saw an opportunity to.”

When asked if there has been any change in how they acquire new users with all of these changes, Cheng says the company continues to focus heavily on digital marketing.

“What we see in the last 12 months is that the platform of CARSOME has already built a strong brand equity. That helped us to really establish a good top of mind,” Cheng says.

Also Read: Carsome acquires majority stake in Singapore’s CarTimes Automobile

Shifting gear into the future

When asked about the most valuable lessons the company has learned in its journey, Cheng says that focusing on profitability requires CARSOME to undergo a “big mindset shift.” This can be challenging for a startup, especially as it has been around for a long time as a venture-backed business.

“In the beginning, we have been very focused on expansion and growth. Switching into that mode of thinking of going after profitability requires a big cultural shift. So, I think the biggest achievement so far is successfully adapting to that new environment,” he says.

When asked about what the company wished to achieve in the future, Cheng said that it wants to continue to double the number of car sales, from 150,000 cars per month in 2023 to 500,000 in 2024. It also wants to continue growing its financing solutions services.

“We think there is more room for us to offer financing solutions and insurance as after-sales to our customers, which is still at a very nascent stage of us rolling it out to border markets. These are some of the focuses we are doing now to stay in line with our vision of becoming a full-fledged car ecosystem in Southeast Asia,” Cheng says.

“The Philippines is also a new market that we just went into; we also hope to see scaling opportunity over there.”

The post Riding into its first profitable year, CARSOME looks forward to strengthen its presence in the Philippines appeared first on e27.

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