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“Nobody thought it would work”: India’s The Ken looks to expand beyond borders, on the wings of its unlikely success with subscriptions

What's New in Publishing 12 Feb 2020 07:55

Seeing a gap in Southeast Asia, The Ken plots a regional expansion with reporters across Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

When the team at India’s The Ken, a one-story-a-day publication on technology, business and healthcare, felt that the company had found product-market fit in India, they began to think of their next steps. “We looked at various dimensions,” remembered co-founder Rohin Dharmakumar. “Should we be looking at new sectors? Products? Geographies?”

They landed upon Southeast Asia. “It was the strongest of these cases,” said Dharmakumar. “We’ve been reading the stories that come out of Southeast Asia and haven’t found a similar consistent sources of analysis. We were also increasingly seeing Indian startups going into Southeast Asia and vice versa.”

The allure

In a way, Dharmakumar explained, the region looked a lot like the India where The Ken started in 2016. “The growth rates, aspiration, and competitive drive in Southeast Asia were closer to what we see in India than what it would be in the U.S. and Europe,” Dharmakumar explained. “Additionally, many of these markets had significant numbers of people who are comfortable with English.”

A regional product

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