E-govt specialist buys 80% stake in Car X Services for RM80K
MyEG cofounder TS Wong keeping strategy close to chest
MALAYSIA’S automotive online classifieds market, currently dominated by established portals such as Carlist.my and oto.my, is expected to heat up with the entry of a new player, Car X Services Sdn Bhd.
Car X Services was incorporated on Oct 29, saying that its principal activity is to operate and manage an automotive classifieds web portal, plus value-added services for the portal. It has an authorised share capital of RM400,000 (US$119,700), while the issued and paid-up share capital is RM1,000 (US$299).
The directors of Car X Services include one Lee Yeow Pin and My EG Services Bhd (MyEG) cofounder Wong Thean Soon (aka T.S. Wong).
Also on Oct 29, MyEG – one of the biggest Internet services companies listed in Malaysia – announced it had acquired an 80% stake in Car X Services. The remaining 20% stake is held by Lee.
Although MyEG, which provides a host of e-government services, is not new to the e-commerce world, the Car X Services venture will nevertheless be its first foray into the automotive online classifieds business.
That market already has a few established players. In one corner is iCar Asia Ltd, which claims to own South-East Asia’s biggest network of automotive portals, and which also operates Carlist.my (an automotive classifieds website) and Live Life Drive (a research tool for new car buyers).
A basic search on its classifieds site on Nov 24 showed that there were more than 160,000 cars for sale.
In the other corner is the leading marketplace in Malaysia, Mudah.my, which is also ranked as the most popular Malaysian site by traffic. Though not a pure car-listing site, its car channel ranks as among its most popular, and it enjoys a spillover effect from visitors to the overall Mudah.my site.
A look at information available on its portal on Nov 24 showed there were more than 90,000 cars for sale.
In a market where players also have to spend aggressively to remain in consumers’ minds, Mudah.my is probably the best-funded in the Malaysian market as its ultimate owners, via 701Search Pte Ltd, are Singapore Press Holdings Ltd, and Norway’s Schibsted Media Group and Telenor Group.
Based on Sept 2014 numbers iCar Asia provided to the Australian Securities Exchange, Carlist.my managed to grow listings by 17% year-on-year to 162,446 (September 2013: 139,056), while leads jumped by 68% to 104,223 (September 2013: 61,874).
The portal also managed to grow its audience base by 99% to 1.32 million, compared with 662,472 in September 2013.
iCar Asia also declared that more than 1,550 car dealers in Malaysia were using its Response Management System (RMS) in September. RMS allows car dealers to better manage their vehicle listings and car buyer leads.
“It is a very exciting time for our Malaysian business as we begin to transition our strategy to focus on revenue growth,” iCar Asia chief executive officer Damon Rielly said in a statement.
Paul Tan still in it
Finally there is the Driven Group, cofounded by Paul Tan, which controls www.oto.my (an online car classifieds portal) as well as the popular paultan.org, Malaysia’s leading automotive website, among others.
Oto.my was launched in April 2012, aiming to be the most reliable and user-focused online car classifieds portal in the country.
It is definitely a force to be reckoned with, specifically because it can leverage on the popularity of paultan.org, which is one of the top 100 most popular websites in Malaysia according to Alexa rankings.
“Paul Tan has done a great job creating a very successful automotive news and reviews site; he has built a fantastic brand and reputation,” iCar Asia’s Rielly acknowledged in an interview with Digital News Asia (DNA) in February last year.
Although it may be behind in terms of traffic and listings, Tan (pic) emphasised that oto.my is more of a platform to offer car listings to its existing paultan.org audience.
“Despite not having as much traffic and listings as the market leaders, cars listed on oto.my do get leads and get sold via our platform.
“This is because of the paultan.org audience. We have a few new car dealership selling certified pre-owned cars that are regular paying customers,” he told DNA.
“Today, every listing on oto.my is personally vetted by me and another colleague. Listings have to be approved before they go up. We reject duplicate cars, duplicate accounts, prices that don’t make sense, and details such as year manufactured that are obviously inaccurate.
“The idea is that we want to end up with a smaller pool of more honest people who only post higher quality stuff up,” Tan said when contacted by DNA.
Of course, there are a number of other portals in this space, such as www.motortrader.com.my (operated by Proto Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Japan’s Proto Corp); and www.autoworld.com.my (a subsidiary of Jobstreet.com).
Next Page: The ante has been upped, but what is MyEG’s game-plan?