SOUTH AFRICA – The South African tech and ecommerce giant Naspers Ltd has declared interest to ramp-up investments in South African food delivery business Mr D Food after selling its 11.18% stake in India’s largest e-commerce marketplace, Flipkart, to US retail juggernaut Walmart.

According to Business Day, the company also raised US$12.18 billion from selling part of its stake in China’s Tencent reducing its investment in the company from 33.2% to 31.2%, with Naspers still remaining the largest investor in that company.

Naspers is eying SA’s online food delivery market said to be rapidly growing with revenue in this segment forecast to reach US$482 million in 2018, reveals data by Statista.

The segment has attracted competition from the likes of Uber Eats and OrderIn, all competing for a market volume of US$48,530m, indicates Statista.

According to CEO Bob van Dijk, Naspers wanted Mr D Food to dominate SA’s food delivery market.

“We have agreed with them to step up the game there.”

“Mr D Food was “doing extremely well” and SA’s online food delivery market was poised for rapid growth.

“If you look at the penetration of online food delivery in SA compared with some other markets where we operate, I’d say it’s still very early days, so I think that business can grow at a factor of 10, 20 or more times in the next few years,” Van Dijk said.

An analyst in SA said that food delivery in the country was becoming a lucrative venture as it influenced by urbanisation.

With enough capital from the sale of its stakes in Flipkart and Tencent, the company said it was considering investing into European food delivery business Delivery Hero, in which Naspers already has a large stake.

According to Nic Robertson, Uber Eats’ GM for the Middle East & Africa, the online food delivery market was expected to grow faster than the online retail business, because of the convenience of delivery apps, including the ability to track orders.

Online sales valued as a proportion of the overall retail market have recently crossed the 1% mark in SA.