Asian online grocery firm HappyFresh has announced that will open its fifth office in Asia in the Philippines, which is set to become fully operational in the second quarter of 2016.
With offices currently located in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan, the company said its Philippine presence will bolster HappyFresh’s presence and strengthen its commitment to Asia.
“The Philippines is an exciting market because the population’s wealth is expanding and consumer spending growth will accelerate through to 2030,” HappyFresh CEO and co-founder Markus Bihler said in a statement.
“We have been expanding our footprint in Asia over the last 12 months. During this period, we have significantly augmented our leadership team in Indonesia, added several key staff in Malaysia and strengthened our already strong platform in Thailand and Taiwan.”
With a population of over 96 million, a 96% literacy rate and projected GDP growth rates of 6-7% over the next few years, the Philippines is poised to go from strength to strength.
The economic growth that the Philippines has to offer as an emerging economy will play a key role in helping to achieve HappyFresh’s long-term regional development, the Internet company said.
The rapidly growing workforce in the Philippines has made it one of the most attractive markets for companies looking to grow their presence in this region, it added.
Leading HappyFresh’s newest office will be Isabel “Pao” Barientos as managing director of HappyFresh Philippines. In her new role, Barientos will focus on leading the company’s growth initiatives in the Philippines.
Barientos was most recently chief operating officer of theshop.ph, a growing online marketplace in the Philippines. She has also previously worked for Ensogo and the Lazada Group.
She brings with her more than 30 years of industry experience, building brand recognition, revenue growth, and monetization strategies for online marketplace and social media organizations across Asia, United States, and the Middle East.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to be part of HappyFresh. Having the support of the team is of key importance on this exciting new journey. I hope to leverage on the team?s experience to expand the HappyFresh legacy into the Philippines. At the same time, I will want to develop leaders at every level and support their efforts to grow and change,” Barientos said.
On the outlook for HappyFresh in the Philippines, she said, “We will be able to solve a real problem for our customers. Metro Manila, which we will serve first, has an expected growth in the number of new cars of 500,000 annually. That can make every trip to a supermarket a half day journey.
“We expect working mothers to be our main customers. HappyFresh will allow them to make a smart choice, having us doing their grocery shopping, allowing them to spend their spare free time with their family instead of in a supermarket.”
Barientos said the company’s business operation in the Philippines also means new job opportunities for the local talents. “I am very excited to bring this opportunity to Manila,” she said.
In 2015, HappyFresh completed a $12 million Series A funding led by Vertex Venture (Vertex), the venture arm of Temasek Holdings, and Sinar Mas Digital Ventures (SMDV), the venture arm of Sinar Mas Group of Indonesia.