UPDATE: A spokesman from Zalora Taiwan said:
Zalora Taiwan is conducting review of our operating model in Taiwan to shift some of the operation to our headquarter in Singapore. During the period, we would not be able to serve new order and we apologize for the inconvenience caused. We will resume the operation as soon as possible and keep you informed.
Any returns and refund will also be honored according to the term agreed. All customers can contact us on email@example.com. Our customer service agent will response within 1 working day.
We deny any rumors that we are going through a bankruptcy or closure. All payment to customers and our vendors are proceeded or will be preceded. All of our employees will be managed according with Taiwan labor law. We reserve the right to take legal action against anyone making untrue statement about us.
One year after launching in Taiwan, Rocket Internet-backed Zalora may be shutting down its operations in the country. Though the Singapore-based fashion e-tailer has yet to issue a confirmation, e27 notes several signs that a closure of its Taiwan branch is already in progress.
Zalora Taiwan’s Web site currently says that it will no longer provide telephone services for customer support after today. Furthermore, Taiwanese TV news station TVBS reported last week (link via Google Translate) that more than 100 employees were suddenly laid off as Zalora canceled orders from suppliers. Reasons cited by TVBS for Zalora Taiwan’s potential demise include the high cost of marketing in Taiwan’s saturated online retail market, which is already dominated by e-commerce sites Yahoo! Taiwan and PChome.
Zalora recently landed several high-profile investments, including $26 million from German retail conglomerate Tengelmann Group, but as Jacky Yap of e27 notes, Rocket Internet has already encountered several setbacks in Southeast Asia, including the closure of Home24. “Rocket Internet will not hesitate to pull the plug when it comes to evaluating a likely failure,” just as it shut down its operations in Turkey last August, Yap writes.
Despite Zalora’s rapid growth, the reported closure of its Taiwan operations is a reminder that Rocket Internet’s foothold on the Asian market is still not a sure thing. I’ve reached out to Zalora’s HQ for comment and will update if I hear back from them.