Hepsiburada, TÜBİTAK to launch AI research center
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and D-Market Electronic Services and Trading, the company behind Turkish e-commerce giant Hepsiburada, will jointly establish an artificial intelligence center, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said on Sept. 12.
“We have recently announced our national artificial intelligence strategy. An artificial intelligence institute within TÜBİTAK will cooperate with Hepsiburada,” he said during a visit to the company’s logistics facility in the northwestern province of Kocaeli’s Gebze district.
“Particularly, we will develop AI technologies for e-commerce. Those products will be utilized by Hepsiburada and open to the sector,” he added.
On July 1, Hepsiburada became the first Turkish company listed on the American stock exchange Nasdaq. Its shares rose nearly 12 percent in their U.S. stock market debut, giving the Turkish e-commerce platform a market value of $4.38 billion.
“We want to see Hepsiburada in Europe and in the Asian markets. We want our suppliers to export to the world markets via brands such as Hepsiburada,” said Varank.
The Industry and Technology Ministry will launch a campaign with Hepsiburada to promote local goods with geographical indications, according to the minister’s remarks.
Hepsiburada is among the five unicorns, a privately held innovative company valued at over $1 billion, in Turkey alongside its rival Trendyol, app-based fast delivery firm Getir, Peak Games and Dream Games.
Founded in 2000, Hepsiburada operates online platforms on which consumers can order items ranging from groceries and essentials to airline tickets. The company launched its marketplace in 2015 and has an in-house logistics network, touting that 64 percent of its orders are delivered the next day.
With 9 million active customers, Hepsiburada’s revenue and gross merchandise value, which refers to the total value of products sold, more than doubled in 2020 compared with a year earlier, a regulatory filing showed.
“Turkish e-commerce is at an inflection point and we have ambitious plans to continue leading digitalization of commerce. Our story resonated with international investors,” Hepsiburada’s founder and Chairwoman Hanzade Doğan Boyner told Reuters.
The company plans to use the proceeds to invest in logistic infrastructure as well as expand in new initiatives including grocery delivery and digital payment services.
Its gross merchandise value, a benchmark of trade on its marketplace, rocketed 89 percent to 17 billion Turkish Liras ($1.96 billion) last year.
The Doğan family holds 65.4 percent and Franklin Templeton’s stake was reduced to 14.6 percent after the listing.
In the first half of this year, Turkish startups attracted about $1.3 billion in foreign investments.