Zalora may have been a clone of a clone, but this “inspired” online retailer has quickly made its mark as a frontrunner in the retail industry.

Unless you’re an ardent online shopper, you might not be aware of the fact that Zalora has a European counterpart – Zalando. Or that Zalando is a happy copy of the US’s online shoe retailer Zappos. Owned under Germany’s Rocket Internet, Zalora and Zalando were unabashed inspired e-commerce sites patterned after the very successful Zappos, in bringing together a wide variety of local and international brands for the shopping public’s online consumption.

It’s a lot of Zs, but basically the timeline goes as such:


Slide1It took just one year for Zalora to make their first $100 million – and to attract big-time investors like Summit Partners, Verlinvest, and Tengelmann Group to coolly pump in another whopping $100 million. To date, this is the largest investment in Zalora, and possibly one of the largest in an e-commerce startup in the region.

Today, Zalora can confidently say that it’s become somewhat of a household name. With operations in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Hong Kong, Rocket Internet and Zalora have taken over Southeast Asia at a breakneck speed.

It’s a pretty commendable feat, for a 3-year old company. In comparison, 16-year old Zappos, despite being the pioneer of e-commerce, doesn’t seem to be doing as consistently well. Following their acquisition by Amazon in 2009, they shut down their original Kentucky warehouse in September of 2012, due to poor sales and reception from customers. The headquarters today are located in Las Vegas, and CEO Tony Hsieh has announced his hopes to revitalize a stagnating Vegas.

Zappos currently makes $1.5 billion annually in gross sales – but has been for the last few years. And until more drastic plans to innovate come around, simply being one of the world’s largest online shoe stores isn’t going to do much for them.

Zalora in 2015

Returning back to our continent, Zalora is seeing some impressive growth in today’s fashion industry. They lay claim to being the sole online distributor of UK-based fashion brand River Island in the whole of Southeast Asia; investment-wise – they’ve attracted US$238 million in four rounds of funding. In the last two years, Zalora shopping has gone mobile, planning ahead for a mobile-only market of the future. Most recently, Zalora opened pop-up stores in Singapore, for customers to shop online and make independent, hassle-free pickups from the physical stores.

Zalora-Store-Bugis-SingaporePhoto from

And the latest in Zalora news – Zalora Taiwan is coming soon! Zalora may be young, but thanks to the crazy drive at Rocket Internet, this spirited startup is a force to be reckoned with.

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