South Korea's Mirae Asset, Naver to invest in Indonesia's Bukalapak

SEOUL (Reuters) - A fund led by South Korea's Mirae Asset Daewoo 006800.KS and web portal Naver Corp 035420.KS will invest $50 million in Indonesian e-commerce startup Bukalapak, Mirae Asset said on Wednesday.

The Asia Growth Fund jointly set up by Mirae Asset and Naver Corp is seeking exposure in the fast-growing online commerce industry in the Southeast Asian country.

Surging smartphone use and a rising middle-class income in Indonesia, home to 260 million people, have made its e-commerce industry a battleground for foreign investors.

Spending in the Indonesian e-commerce market is projected by consultancy McKinsey to reach as much as $65 billion by 2022 from $8 billion in 2017.

“Naver is very strong in technology, so there is a lot we can learn from them,” Teddy Oetomo, chief strategy officer at Bukalapak, said by telephone.

Bukalapak expects to break even in three years, as it adds new product segments and expands coverage in small towns, Oetomo previously told Reuters.

The company, which counts Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte and China’s Ant Financial among its investors, became a unicorn - or a firm valued at $1 billion or above without tapping the public market - after its last fundraising round in late 2017.

Reporting by Ju-min Park and Ed Davies in JAKARTA; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu