SM had humble beginnings, starting with a small shoe store in Manila. It expanded over the years and has since built more than 230 malls and supermarkets across the country. Its success means that SM Investments founder Henry Sy is on the Forbes Philippines’50 Richest list with US$12 billion in net worth. But now that the commerce landscape is shifting to online platforms, the company is hopping on the bandwagon.
Currently the mall company has online websites that sell toys, appliances, and event tickets. But Coson says this is just a small online presence compared to what they are trying to build.
The Philippines’ e-commerce space has started to blossom in recent years. Today a number of local startups, along with global players such as Rocket Internet’s Zalora and Lazada, have entered into the scene. As a big retail player like SM steps into e-commerce, it will be interesting to see how the competition will fare against the other e-commerce players.