Iran digital giants, Digikala, Filimo, to expand to regional markets

The regional platforms, whose founders received Iran private sectors Amin al-Zarb award, are looking to dominate regional market as the country makes huge advances in developing startups in a bid to turn into a regional tech hub.

13 January 2019
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Two Iranian giant digital platforms, that have been dominating the country's internet traffic following Google, are seeking to expand their businesses into regional countries in the near future.

Digikala, an online shopping platform, that has replaced giant internationals such as Amazon, eBay or Alibaba in Iran, says it will enter the Iraqi market as the country looks to start new chapter after eight years of war.

"We will expand into Iraq since the start of new Persian year (21 March 2019)," said Saeed Mohammadi, who helped co-found the giant Iranian e-commerce company with his brother Hamid in 2007. “Our exports will include platform and services,” the young entrepreneur told Iran Chamber Newsroom.

He said the company carried out the feasibility study of expanding to other countries a few years ago that has led to “good results”.

Saeed Mohammadi also said the company “has a specific roadmap to expand into 6 or 7 countries that are inside our geographical location,” a reference to Iran’s neighbours.    

Filimo eyes regional audience

Mohammad Javad Shakuri Moghaddam, co-founder of the online video watching and sharing website Aparat, who is also the brilliant mind behind Filimo, the Iranian equivalent of Netflix, says he is seeking to expand to regional countries where the online streaming platform doesn't still exist. "We hope to start in these coutires in the first half of the next Persian year (April-September 2019)," he said in a phone interview with Iran Chamber Newsroom.

However, he refused to disclose that country's name due to an intense rivalry between startups to dominate these markets. However, it's highly possible that the company would seek to be the dominating online streaming platform in Afghanistan or Tajikistan as the two nations' main language is Persian.

His other website, Aparat, boasts 34 million unique monthly users with “a good proportion” of Afghan and Tajik audience, according to Shakuri Moghaddam.

Digikala and Apart were praised for their economic and entrepreneurial activities last week during a ceremony to celebrate 135 years of foundation of Iran Chamber of Commerce. Their founders and co-founders were handed Amin al-Zarb award, named after the founding father of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA). The prestigious prize is given to the best businessmen and entrepreneurs by Iran's private sector annually.    

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