BusinessDay

Jiji acquires Ghanaian-based ecommerce firm to expand frontier

Jiji, the Nigerian-based e-commerce platform, said it has acquired Tonaton.com, a Ghanaian-based e-commerce platform.

Tonaton, a subsidiary of Saltside, was Jiji’s main competitor in Ghana at the time of its purchase by Jiji earlier in January 2022, at an undisclosed amount.

Given the development, Jiji and Tonaton users will now have access to a larger network of buyers and sellers, which will significantly increase trading opportunity and aggregate user base in what is seen as a major market consolidation in the classifieds sector.

Interestingly, Tonaton has quickly grown in popularity thanks to innovations that make it easier for users to buy and sell online, a strategy that aligns with Jiji’s mission. As a result, both Jiji’s and Tonaton’s apps are consistently ranked as the top shopping apps in the Google Play Store in the countries where they operate.

With Jiji’s move to a large-scale presence in the African continent, and following its acquisition of OLX in 2019 and its recent acquisition of Cars45 in 2021, the deal sees the company well-positioned to tap into a larger share of the African market, Jiji said.

Commenting on the current trend drawn by Jiji, Anton Volianskyi, CEO and co-founder of Jiji, said that having OLX and Cars45 under Jiji’s umbrella, the company is getting close to becoming a regional leader in classifieds.

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“Jiji is the largest e-commerce company in Africa by GMV (more than $10 billion), leading in small to high-involvement key categories such as cars and real estate. We hold the rank of the best app in e-commerce proudly with a rating of 4.5/5, a gauge of satisfaction from our millions of daily users. The picture is much larger,” Volianskyi said.

According to Volianskyi, the goal of Jiji is to build a company that gives every user in Africa the opportunity to buy goods cheaper and reduce environmental impact through what is effectively a developing economy built on a safe and productive recirculation of valuable goods.

“We are currently creating at full-tilt hundreds of thousands of new jobs throughout Africa, which allows us to effectively address and help remedy gaps in both unemployment and frictional unemployment,” Volianskyi added.

Yuliy Shenfeld, Jiji’s director of African Operations, said that Jiji achieved great success with only a limited presence in Ghana and more than 2 million people visit the website each month.

“Over the past eight years, Tonaton has built a strong team of more than 70 people that will hugely contribute to our future growth. The combination of Jiji’s technology and talent with that of Tonaton will help ensure our continued success in the fast-paced e-commerce industry,” Shenfeld explained.

It is said that the diversification of its portfolio of services and regions has been a consistent theme for Jiji. With the deep penetration of Tonaton in the Ghanaian classifieds sector as the go-to platform and factoring in its leading position in Ghana’s transactional used auto market, Jiji has carefully secured a reliable base towards streamlining their services to a projected (SSA) market of 400 million-plus users – a market in which it currently sits as the indisputable leader in several key countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda, amounting to over $10 billion in gross merchandise value.

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