Elevating Elevenia
    Category: Entrepreneurs By : Miri Hwang Read : 1100 Date : Sunday, July 10, 2016 - 20:11:00

    SK Telecom, a subsidiary of the Korean SK group, launched an Internet e-commerce platform called “11st” in 2007, and Junsung “James” Lee was the one who started this shopping platform from scratch. He made 11st into a big success in Korea, one of the group’s most successful new ventures in many years. As SK Telecom evolved into SK Planet, the vision was to go into the global market. The very first global market for 11st was Turkey, launched under the brand name “N11” in 2013. By 2015 N11 became the number one Internet shopping platform in Turkey. Indonesia was chosen for the second global market for the SK group, launched in 2014 under the brand “Elevenia.” SK is already planning entry into other markets, such as Malaysia and Singapore. James—the person behind the success of 11st—has become the regional president director for Indonesia. The interview with James took place in Elevenia’s offices in the Kuningan area of Jakarta.

    Forbes Indonesia: Why did the SK group decide to launch Elevenia in Indonesia?
    James Lee: There are a couple of reasons why SK Group decided to enter Indonesia. One, we have been invited by XL Axiata Group from Indonesia, and 11st started in SK Telecom so we were quite familiar with telecom groups. Therefore, we took the invitation seriously and started a market survey. Then again, the biggest reason is due to Indonesia’s potential. We studied the growth of Indonesian population, GDP, and so on. The potential market is big here.

    FI: So how can you describe the Internet industry here?
    JL: If we compare the Internet infrastructure of Korea and Indonesia, there are about 15 years of gap. As a specialist who lived through those years in Korea, SK group and I were quite sure that we could do something big in Indonesia. We had all we needed: market, potential, and our knowledge from experience.

    FI: How was starting the business in Indonesia?
    JL: I came here all alone three years ago. Although I thought I am an expert in starting something like 11st from the scratch, it took me one full year for preparation. Then on March 11, 2014, Elevenia was officially launched. Now it’s been about two years since Elevenia’s official launch. However, this doesn’t mean that I have prepared fully and have been running the business perfectly for past two years. Every single day, I face something new and problems to solve, as well as things to learn from this market—one, because Indonesia is not an easy market to enter, and two, because the Internet industry in this country is just starting.