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Thai food delivery service Line Man Wongnai carefully considers IPO in Thailand and the US for 2025

ByYasmeeta Oon

May 11, 2024
Thai food delivery service Line Man Wongnai considers IPO in Thailand and the US for 2025

Thai food delivery service Line Man Wongnai carefully considers IPO in Thailand and the US for 2025

In a comprehensive interview with TechCrunch, Yod Chinsupakul, CEO and co-founder of Line Man Wongnai, detailed the company’s ambitious plans for an initial public offering (IPO) potentially set for 2025. The thriving on-demand food delivery service, a key player in Thailand’s tech and service sector, is considering listing its shares either on a Thai exchange or in the U.S., with possibilities open for a dual-listing in both markets.

Chinsupakul revealed that while the decision on the IPO’s exact location is still pending, various strategic considerations are shaping the company’s approach to going public. He said, “A dual-listing in Thailand and the U.S. is not off the cards,” emphasizing the firm’s flexible strategy in optimizing its market debut.

The potential IPO is supported by robust financial backing from notable investors. Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC; Z Holdings, a collaboration between SoftBank and South Korean internet giant Naver; and BRV Asia are among the top investors. These partnerships underscore a solid foundation of support, with Line Man Wongnai having raised over $372 million in funding, pushing its valuation beyond the $1 billion mark.

Chinsupakul emphasized the importance of meticulous business execution and structural adjustments in preparation for the IPO. “We are focused on continued business execution and restructuring as key priorities ahead of the potential IPO,” he stated, indicating a strategic overhaul designed to streamline operations and enhance profitability.

Line Man Wongnai’s unique market position is significantly influenced by its strategic partnerships and deep understanding of local ecosystems. According to Chinsupakul, the company’s strengths lie in its collaborations with Line, insights into customer behavior, merchant needs, delivery logistics, and the regulatory landscape. These factors collectively fortify its competitive advantage in a bustling market.

The company has evolved significantly since its inception as a restaurant review platform in 2010. A pivotal moment came in 2020 when Wongnai merged with Line Man, expanding its services to include food and grocery delivery, on-demand ride-hailing, and a messenger app. The acquisition of Rabbit Line Pay and FoodStory in 2023 further diversified its business model, strengthening revenue streams and broadening its consumer base.

The merger with Line Man leveraged Thailand’s most popular messaging app, Line, which boasts over 50 million users locally. “What sets the startup apart from its competitors is its ability to leverage Line’s massive user base,” Chinsupakul explained, noting the integrated payment options through the Line app that enhance user convenience and service accessibility.

Currently, Line Man Wongnai offers a comprehensive suite of services, including food and grocery delivery, restaurant reviews, a payments platform, POS solutions for merchants, and ride-hailing. This extensive range positions the company as a formidable contender against regional giants like Grab.

Despite stiff competition, especially from GrabFood and Indonesia’s GoTo, Line Man Wongnai holds a significant market share. According to a 2023 Statista report, GrabFood leads with 56% market share, closely followed by Line Man Wongnai at 53%. The company’s strategy includes expanding its POS and payments services, which, though smaller in scale compared to its delivery services, are seen as critical growth areas.

The online penetration of food and grocery delivery services in Thailand remains low, offering substantial growth potential. As of February 2024, the penetration rates stood at 27.14% for food delivery and 17.34% for grocery delivery. Chinsupakul also highlighted the untapped potential in ride-hailing services, with current user penetration expected to reach 19.8% in 2024.

Looking ahead, while Line Man Wongnai aims to solidify its status as a super app, it envisions a model that serves both consumers and merchants, aspiring to emulate the success of platforms like Meituan and WeChat Pay. For now, the focus remains firmly on dominating the Thai market, with no immediate plans for regional expansion until after the IPO.

Chinsupakul also expressed a proactive approach toward mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and investment opportunities that align with the company’s strategic goals. “Our history has proven that we are nimble and have the ability to execute strategic M&A,” he remarked. This flexibility indicates an openness to exploring avenues that would bolster the company’s long-term objectives, including potential investments and partnerships.

As Line Man Wongnai continues to innovate and expand, its journey toward an IPO reflects not just its growth ambitions but also its commitment to enhancing service delivery and stakeholder value in Thailand’s dynamic digital economy.

Line Man Wongnai at a Glance:
  • Founding Year: 2010 as Wongnai; merged with Line Man in 2020.
  • Services Offered: Food and grocery delivery, restaurant reviews, POS systems, ride-hailing, and payment platforms.
  • Investors: GIC, Z Holdings, BRV Asia, among others.
  • Market Share: 53% in Thailand’s food delivery market.
  • Strategic Acquisitions: Rabbit Line Pay, FoodStory.
  • Future Plans: Potential dual-listing IPO in Thailand and the U.S., expansion of POS and payments services.

By maintaining a keen focus on strategic partnerships, customer engagement, and innovative service diversification, Line Man Wongnai is not just navigating the competitive landscape but also setting the stage for a promising public offering and continued market leadership.

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Featured Image courtesy of DALL-E by ChatGPT

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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