Rocket Internet is planning to launch its first Amazon clone in East Africa, as a pre-launch site and Facebook page (created on January 15) indicates that the new e-commerce site in Kenya would be called Jumia.
Last September, Rocket Internet consolidated its e-commerce operations in Nigeria to form Jumia in a move to harmonise its operations in Egypt and Morocco with one brand name, thus giving indications that it would launch across the African continent and position itself as the largest online retailer in Africa.
The new site wants to be Kenya’s online shopping solution, allowing users to purchase electronics, fashion, books, beauty products and more online. But Kenya doesn’t seem like a huge market for e-commerce services, although the East African country has an advantage with its popular mobile payment services, M-PESA and PesaPal.
Still, there are issues such as trust, logistics, delivery and low margins that any e-commerce operator would have to deal with as Kalahari, a Naspers/MIH Internet Africa-backed e-commerce site have had to close down its operations in Kenya back in October 2011 and its daily deals service, Mocality Deals may soon be shuttered as well based on recent reports.
As far as we know, there are no major e-commerce sites in Kenya that could pose a threat to Rocket Internet’s Jumia, except for a few local players, although there are indications that one of Nigeria’s leading e-commerce sites, Konga may be launching in Kenya later in the year.
While we’re not sure when Jumia would launch in Kenya, we’re certain that it would not be later than February as the company has been known for launching clones as fast as it shuts them down.
Whether or not the company’s e-commerce service would succeed in Kenya remains to be seen.
[H/T – VentureVillage]