Pakistan big market for car sellers: Stefan Haubold of Carmudi

* Mobile application being launched within a week: Izhar Ahmed

LAHORE: Carmudi co-founder and global Managing Director Stefan Haubold has said Pakistan with a burgeoning youth population has a great potential in online business and changed the way consumers shop for cars.
Carmudi, one of Rocket’s car classified ads site has recently raised $10 million to expand its operations in Asia. The site’s network currently operates in 16 countries, six of which are in Asia (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, The Philippines and Vietnam). Carmudi has become the world’s largest online vehicle marketplace operating in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Stefan Haubold before working full-time on his entrepreneurial ambitions, worked as a consultant at Roland Berger and Allianz. He decided he wanted to take on more responsibility, be in the driver’s seat to steer forward a project that he was really passionate about.
In 2012, he founded ePetWorld, an e-commerce business catering to the pet food sector that was pretty successful in Germany. For me, he said, “Carmudi is more focused on replicating that same success on a global level. My passion for entrepreneurship has driven me to take bigger strides and make an impact, and as Carmudi continues to expand, my passion keeps growing.”
Stefan Haubold and Carmudi Managing Director Ali Izhar Ahmed talking to Daily Times during an exclusive interview previewed the Carmudi mobile application, which would be launched within a week. 
DT: What is the concept behind Carmudi?
Stefan: You can buy and sell your car online. We connect buyer and seller and it is like putting up an advertisement in the newspaper. You can put every detail about the car so that people who are looking to buy a car can get as much information and then they can contact the buyer. 
DT: How is it different from other sites on the internet?
Stefan: Other sites deal with all kinds of things such as furniture, electronics and every other thing. On the other hand, we specialise in cars and we are expert at that. Because we are just dealing with one thing, I always tell my kids do not speak when you eat, just focus on one thing.
We are just focused on cars and because of that we know everything about cars and because of that we have already crossed 10,000 listings on Carmudi. We want to be number one in everything about cars. You can see all kinds of cars on Carmudi, from every make and model to every price range, this helps the buyers choose the best option and see what they are paying for. Carmudi also helps buyers to sort out every detail of the vehicle they are looking for such as make, model, engine and colour, they can compare them and see the similar models, mileage whatever they are for in a vehicle. 
DT: Among the seven Asian countries you are operating, how do you see the Pakistani market?
Stefan: We are operating in 16 countries and seven in Asia, Pakistan is a huge market and a huge share of the population is below 30 years of age. Most of this younger population uses technology everyday to make buying decision. Infrastructure of course is an important aspect for our business as there are countries with a big market and population but people are not able to access internet, they are unable to go online. In Pakistan, however, development is moving in the right direction. Recent launch of 3G and 4G services will further expand the internet user base here, which is a positive sign for internet-based businesses.
Another aspect is the buying power of the populace, which is also encouraging here in Pakistan. 
DT: Carmudi is not operating in India and China, as they are the bigger markets in Asia?
Stefan: Of course they are the bigger markets, but look at the markets we are currently operating in, all of them are almost 1 billion in population size. Whereas in China and India there are already many companies in those markets and so there are less opportunities there and more in the markets we are currently operating in. 
DT: You started business in Pakistan in January how has Carmudi progressed since then?
Stefan: It is going very well, given that we are only 6-month business. We are more than happy with our progress in Pakistan. We have 50 talented people working for us here and our business has grown exponentially in this market. 
DT: What is your opinion on government policies regarding vehicle’s import restrictions in Pakistan?
Stefan: The government import policies do not make much difference in our business because the vehicles are increasing every year despite what the government does. Those policies might affect dealers, but it does not affect us because we work as a bridge between buyers and sellers besides a platform for people buying and selling used cars. The gap in demand has to get filled by one way or another, whether it is through brand new cars, used cars or more reconditioned cars, but that gap will eventually get filled because the demand is there.

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