Who is the Founder of Shopee? (Surprising Facts)

Shopee has become one of the most prominent companies and apps across Southeast Asia, especially here in the Philippines. Everywhere you go, whether it’s online or in-person, you’ll see and hear Shopee ads and jingles.

Many consumers opt to buy on Shopee these days instead of in-store because of its convenience and the low prices of products on the platform. Shopee has made online shopping so much more accessible for the average person.

If you’ve ever been curious about the origins of this ecommerce giant and how it came to be, you’re in the right place. This article will tell you about the founding of Shopee, the company’s background, and other interesting and relevant information about Shopee.

Black Coffee and Lemonade at Milest...
Black Coffee and Lemonade at Milestone Coffee CDO

Who founded Shopee?

The founder of Shopee is Forrest Li, a Singaporean businessman who was born in China. Forrest Li is also the founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Sea Limited, the company that owns Shopee and its subsidiaries such as Garena, SeaBank, and SeaMoney. 

His first company that he started was Garena, a huge game developer and game publisher. If you are a gamer and play League of Legends, you are most likely familiar with Garena.

Forrest Li holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering and also took up his MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In 2021, he was named the richest person in Singapore.

Where was Shopee founded?

The company was founded in Singapore, which is where Shopee’s headquarters are located. However, they have multiple offices across Southeast Asia.

They have offices in locations where they directly serve customers and also in locations where they only have operations to connect merchants with consumers in the areas where they operate.

Is Shopee Chinese-owned?

Shopee was founded in and is based in Singapore. However, the founder Forrest Li is of Chinese descent and was born in China. Having said this, Forrest Li is a Singaporean.

Shopee is backed by Tencent, a Chinese technology conglomerate. As you can see, it is a bit of a tricky and complex question. The answer to this question would be both yes and no.

When was Shopee founded?

Shopee was first launched in the year 2015 in Singapore. Afterwards, they expanded to other markets and countries in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

In the Philippines, Shopee officially launched in 2016. Shopee quickly rose to the top and became the country’s number one e-commerce platform. They were very popular because of the affordable product offerings, free shipping, discounts, and coins cashback.

Where does Shopee have branches?

Shopee is still a fairly young company, but they already have numerous offices in different countries. These include the following:

  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Shopee had also expanded to Brazil, France, India, and Spain. However, shortly after launching in these countries, Shopee had to pull out and shut down their operations.

How was Shopee founded?

Shopee was an off-shoot of the popular gaming company Garena, which had enjoyed tremendous success over the past years.

It was created as Southeast Asia’s equivalent to Amazon to provide buyers with a fast, easy, accessible, and secure way to shop online.

How many employees does Shopee have?

Shopee employed approximately 67,000 employees by the end of 2021. However, this number has since gone down especially with the recent news of their mass layoffs.

The company had to do some cost-cutting to improve their cash flow and business efficiency. Thus, they laid off thousands of employees from all of their offices.

Who is the CEO of Shopee Philippines?

Currently, the Chief Executive Officer or CEO of Shopee is Chris Feng. He joined Sea Limited in 2014 and became the CEO of Shopee when it launched in 2015. Chris Feng also served as the CEO of SeaMoney, Sea Limited’s finance arm, starting in 2020.

Prior to joining Sea Limited and Shopee, Chris Feng was involved in Lazada and ZALORA, two of Shopee’s competing ecommerce businesses.

He was the chief purchasing officer at Lazada and was a regional managing director at ZALORA. Feng also previously worked at Rocket Internet and McKinsey & Company, one of the most well-known consulting firms in the world.

In 2021, Chris Feng was featured on the list of Asia’s Most Influential SG.

Where is the headquarters of Shopee Philippines?

Shopee Philippines has several offices in Metro Manila. They have two offices in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig, and they recently opened a new office space in Ortigas, Mandaluyong. The company rapidly expanded during the pandemic, which is why they had to acquire additional offices for their employees.

This does not include the offices, hubs, and warehouses of their homegrown courier Shopee Xpress. The logistics provider has hubs all over the Philippines, including Visayas and Mindanao.

Are Shopee and Lazada owned by the same people?

Shopee and Lazada are two completely different entities and have two different owners. Shopee is Singaporean-based and is a subsidiary company of Sea Limited.

On the other hand, Lazada was founded by Maximilian Bittner in 2012 and was backed by Rocket Internet, a Germany internet company. The company was also initially based in Singapore. However, Lazada is now owned by the China-based Alibaba Group.

Why did Shopee become so popular in the Philippines?

There are several factors as to why Shopee grew in popularity among Filipinos. Some of those reasons are:

  • Free shipping and delivery vouchers
  • Huge discounts during their double double sales (e.g. 9.9 and 11.11)
  • Coins cashback
  • Affordable cost of items sold on Shopee
  • Online shopping boom due to the pandemic and lockdowns
  • Celebrity brand ambassadors
  • Discounts for bill payments
  • Accessibility for customers in remote areas in the provinces

One thing is for sure, and that is that Shopee made all the right moves early in the game to gain the trust of Filipino consumers.

Their marketing strategy made them quite successful, and they were able to stand out amongst their competitors.

Conclusion

Now you know a little bit more about the history and background of Shopee, as well as what made them popular in the first place.

While the global economic situation is uncertain right now, only time will tell if Shopee will survive and continue to serve customers in the future.

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