Singapore’s Carousell buys car classifieds start-up Caarly, eyeing Hong Kong’s used car market

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 October, 2016, 11:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 October, 2016, 1:16pm

In a bid to expand its car classifieds features across Asia, Singapore-based mobile marketplace Carousell recently acquired Caarly, an online platform for car dealers and individual sellers to list used cars, as the company doubles down on international expansion and monetisation.

Quek Siu Rui, co-founder and chief executive of Carousell, said the Caarly acquisition came about when the company noticed an increase in used car listings together with a shift in the demographic of users in Singapore, over half of whom are aged over 25 with higher purchasing power.

“We’ve seen how their evolving needs have resulted in more listings and greater demand in higher value verticals like cars,” Quek said.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Carousell allows users to sign up and put up items for sale. Interested buyers can message the seller in-app to close a deal on a particular listing.

After the acquisition, individuals and car dealers who use Caarly to manage their inventory and listings can also choose to directly list on the Carousell marketplace in Singapore with a few simple clicks within the Caarly app.

The acquisition solidifies Carousell’s efforts to become a leading classifieds marketplace globally, Quek said.

The Singapore-based app entered the Hong Kong market with a soft launch last April, and has since managed to achieve two million listings in the city, he said.

Over 500,000 listings in Hong Kong have been marked as sold since its launch in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is one of Carousell’s fastest-growing markets, with an average growth rate of 30 per cent each month, Quek said.

He added that Caarly is likely to make its way to the Hong Kong market in the future, especially since Hong Kong and Singaporean markets are similar.

“Hong Kong is still a fairly new market, we’re in the early adopter phase,” Quek said. “But we expect to see the base grow [similarly] to the one in Singapore.”

Carousell, which closed a US$35 million Series B funding round in August, also counts the Caarly integration into its marketplace as a first step towards monetisation. Currently, the app allows users to list items for free and is not generating any revenue.

Quek said that the company would soon start experimenting with subscriptions and value-added services, whereby sellers can pay for “premium listings” that will be shown to users before free listings. Such a subscription model will start with the Caarly integration, where car dealers can pay to have their listings shown at the top.