Making Car Transactions A Smooth Ride: How Eric Cheng Grew Carsome Into A US$1.7 Billion Empire

By Chong Jinn Xiung

Co-founded by entrepreneur Eric Cheng, Carsome makes the process of buying and selling a car in Southeast Asia simple and convenient

Tatler Asia
Eric Cheng, co-founder and CEO of Carsome (Photo: Imran Sulaiman)
Cover  Eric Cheng, co-founder and CEO of Carsome (Photo: Imran Sulaiman)

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The process of buying and selling a used car in Malaysia used to be lengthy and complicated, involving multiple visits to different dealerships and filing mountains of paperwork. Even so, there is a healthy demand for used cars in Malaysia. In fact, it is a booming industry valued at US$4.08 million (RM18.2 million) with a compound annual growth rate of 5.8 percent from 2015 to 2021.  

Having been frustrated with the inefficiencies of the existing system, Eric Cheng saw that he could streamline the buying and selling process using technology and data. 

With that, Cheng started Carsome with his co-founder, Teoh Jiun Ee, in 2015 with an initial seed fund of US$350,000. The company began with only one inspection centre in the suburb of Kelana Jaya, Selangor and sold 1,000 cars annually. 

The platform offers users a range of services, including car valuation, car inspection, ownership transfer, car financing, test drives and even having purchased cars delivered.  

Watch the video below to hear Cheng discuss his entrepreneurial journey and what a productive day at work looks like.

Read more: Carsome's Eric Cheng Wants To Change The Way We Buy Cars 

In seven years, however, Carsome has become one of Southeast Asia’s largest used car e-commerce platforms. In July 2021, it became Malaysia’s first tech unicorn company after a US$200 million share-swap deal with Australia-listed iCar Asia.   

For Cheng, who is Carsome's group chief executive officer, his go-getter personality played a big role in helping him achieve such success. “So long as you dream it and work hard, anything is possible.”  

The company also has operations in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, which means Cheng often finds himself travelling for work and in need of devices that allow him to stay productive. A device like the MSI’s Summit series laptop matches his work schedule well, as it offers efficiency, security, reliability and style.

Encased in a sleek aluminium chassis, the Summit series laptop is especially portable, as they weigh about 1.6kg and measure a slim 17.9mm while offering great performance with a 12th-generation Intel processor. It also features a 14-inch display that makes viewing spreadsheets and text documents more accessible and comfortable.  

The laptop's webcam also has a dedicated switch to turn off the camera instantly. For Cheng, who has frequent calls with his teams over Zoom, this is an important feature to ensure his own privacy off-calls and a laptop with long battery life. With the Summit series laptop, a minimum of 10 hours of usage is promised. 

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