Germany’s Samwer brothers are notorious as Europe’s chief cloners of web companies through their Rocket Internet vehicle. But we discovered their empire of e-commerce copycats is increasingly global, with companies operating in more than 50 countries worldwide.


Updated: Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based clone merchant, is one of Europe’s most powerful internet businesses — and it’s growing all the time. With the recent news that the incubator-slash-accelerator is apparently now looking to copy Square, it’s worth examining how far the company has already come.

Plenty has been written about the Samwer brothers’ history, from early wins such as selling clones Alando and CityDeals to eBay and Groupon respectively, to more recent plays such as the Amazon knock-off Lazada.

But while many still think of Rocket as a European phenomenon that’s starting to break out elsewhere, the reality is that the company’s already running a vast number of properties all over the world.

It’s not easy to get a handle on all of Rocket’s babies, as the mothership doesn’t provide a comprehensive list. But this map shows all the countries where I’ve found Rocket to be either already operating or (in the cases of Slovakia, Hungary and Romania) about to open something.

We counted an astonishing 24 38 companies across 58 countries.

There are a couple of important things to remember here. Firstly, a huge amount of this expansion has only taken place in the last year or so. Secondly, there’s big money behind these operations – Zalando, for example, continues to pull in funding and is valued by some at around half a billion dollars. Thirdly, once Rocket has feet in a country it keeps using that infrastructure to swiftly roll out new services.

Not all countries have multiple Rocket operations. The map includes several countries where the only functioning Rocket offering I could find was the Airbnb clone Wimdu, namely Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

The map doesn’t include non-geographically-based Rocket products such as Pinspire (the Pinterest clone), or games operations Plinga and Panfu. I also left out Groupon, in which Rocket gained a stake through its CityDeals sale, but which could hardly be called a Rocket outfit.

Oh, and I also left out the Zalando redirect page in the Cook Islands, which I’m pretty sure is just there to rule out .co.ck jokes.

Here’s a breakdown of the operations shown on the map, in descending order of the number of countries in which each outfit is operating or about to open:

  • Wimdu (holiday accommodation, Airbnb clone): Italy, the UK, Germany, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, the U.S. and Uruguay.
  • Zalando (fashion, Zappos clone): Already open: Italy, the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and France. With holding pages: Poland, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Australia, China and Romania (coming soon).
  • GlossyBox (cosmetics, BirchBox clone): Italy, the UK, Germany, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Turkey, Israel, Australia, India (coming soon), Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Argentina, Canada, Chile and the U.S.
  • Bamarang (designer goods, Fab clone): Italy, the UK, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Russia, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Turkey, Australia, India and Brazil.
  • eDarling (dating, eHarmony clone): Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Czech Republic and Turkey.
  • DropGifts (social gifting, Wrapp clone): Italy, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, France, India (coming soon), Japan, South Africa (coming soon) and Brazil.
  • Zalora (fashion, Zappos clone): Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong
  • Lazada (general retail, Amazon clone): Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Egypt/GCC (as Mizado).
  • HelloFresh (food delivery, Middagsfrid clone): Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, France and Australia.
  • FashionForHome (furniture): Germany, the UK, Austria, the Netherlands and the U.S.
  • Betreut (classifieds for carers etc): Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria.
  • Foodpanda (food delivery): Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
  • Dafiti (fashion, Zappos clone): Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia.
  • BillPay (payments): Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
  • Enamora (underwear): Germany and Poland.
  • Lamoda (fashion, Zappos clone): Russia and Kazakhstan.
  • Immobilo (accommodation): Germany and Austria.
  • The Iconic (fashion, Zappos clone): Australia and New Zealand.
  • Zando (fashion, Zappos clone): South Africa.
  • 5rooms (kitchenware): South Africa.
  • Home24 (furniture): Open: Germany and France. With holding blogs: Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Also coming soon: Malaysia.
  • Westwing (furniture): Germany, India, Brazil, France, Poland, Russia, Spain and Turkey
  • 21diamonds (jewelry): Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Brazil, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Poland and Russia.
  • Dalani (furniture): The Netherlands, the UK, Australia, Italy, Sweden and Finland.
  • Tucany (fashion): Argentina, Chile, Colombia.
  • Mobly (furniture): Brazil.
  • Kanui (sports fashion): Brazil (with redirects coming from most other Latin American countries).
  • Airu (crafts, Etsy clone): Brazil.
  • Tricae (children’s goods): Brazil (with redirects coming in from most other Latin American countries, and from Canada).
  • Yepdoc (medical scheduling, ZocDoc clone): Brazil.
  • Zocprint (Vistaprint clone): Brazil.
  • Heaven and Home (furniture): India.
  • Zanui (furnishings): Australia.
  • Jabong (fashion, Zappos clone): India.
  • Toptarif, Wunderkarten, Netzoptiker and Ladenzeile, which are older Rocket operations, are only found in the company’s home country of Germany.
  • Update: This post was updated to add a number of companies that had been left off our initial survey.

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      1. Right you are, and thank you for that. Actually, since we first published the story, quite a few more companies got pointed out to us, so we updated the list. I think we’ve got them all now, except for those still in super-stealth mode. Obviously, do point out anything we might have missed…

        1. Dominic Cameron دومينيك كامرون David Meyer Monday, April 16, 2012

          This is Oli Samwer’s Blitzkrieg unfolding before your eyes (much written about here and elsewhere).

          An extraordinary number of ex-McKinsey and Bain executives scattered across MENA and East Asia with the title “Founder and Managing Director”.

          A couple of adds and corrections. Namshi.com: this is the Dubai/UAE incarnation of Zalando. And, also in GCC, Lazada launched 6 weeks ago in UAE but has been rebranded Mizado.com as you list.

          The next layer of analysis should consider: how are the shared sourcing and logistics operations organised ? How does Rocket scale and propagate digital marketing skills to achieve the necessary acceleration and land-grab in each market ? What elements of business model and operations are cloned in each case and which are ignored ?

    1. how many make money? a zappos clone in south africa, for example …

      1. I think you underestimate the opportunity in South Africa (where I’m from, as it happens). The country not only has a lot of relatively affluent consumers, but it’s the ideal launchpad for the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Remember that Africa often gets overlooked when new services roll out, so it makes complete sense for an operation like Rocket to replicate those services there.

    2. Thanks for the list! Really valuable. But home24 is definitely missing, after all it’s one of the priority projects!

    3. Don’t miss out this http://foodpanda.my/ , not too sure whether launched in other countries. but they are live for Malaysia & Singapore.

      1. They’re on the list, Adrian. Thanks!

    4. I think the Samwers could be that annoying(painful) but important element for businesses, as in the past I think many companies have been poor at scaling and expanding out of their own back yards, as they did not have the “need”, where as now with the Samwers, everyone knows that they have to go big quick and expand to get market share before them, so its forcing some positivies for both founders and users.

    5. Have tweeted before that the Samwers should patent the cloning of successful website/operations

    6. Felix Wunderwald Thursday, April 12, 2012

      Zalando Sweden is online

      1. Thanks Felix.

    7. Zalando.com.ph

    8. Michal Illich Thursday, April 12, 2012

      Not in Czech Republic.
      Out of those 3 services which are in Czech Republic according your list:
      – eDarling.cz – only “Coming soon page”
      – Zalando.cz – empty page linking to other language version
      – Wimdy.cz – only english page with no support for czech crowns

      1. They are probably not interested in not even a million market :)

    9. Bartholomäus von Rieflingen Thursday, April 12, 2012

      This is great stuff. Thanks much!

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