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Yitiao's fresh funding round brings valuation to $500m

By Ouyang Shijia | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-01-22 17:05

Short video-focused content provider and e-commerce startup Shanghai Yitiao Network Technology Co Ltd reportedly has completed an undisclosed fresh round of financing, bringing the company's valuation to a whopping $500 million.

The new series C+ round of financing was led by Chinese e-commerce titan JD.com and MagiCapital Group Ltd. The company's former investor, Trustbridge Partners, also backed the new funding.

Xu Husheng, founder of Yitiao, said in an online course published last week on the Hundun University platform that the company planned to open 100 offline channels in the next two years.

"The offline channel will be a key traffic entrance in the future," Xu added. "With the emerging consumption upgrade trend and the rise of the new middle class, our future 100 offline stores may expand to shopping malls in tier 2 and tier 3 cities domestically."

Xu noted the company particularly caters to the needs of new middle class.

"In their mid-30s, the well-paid new middle class has strong purchasing power and are yearning for a high quality life."

According to Xu, Yitiao's first offline store will be launched on May 1 and is expected to cover nearly 1,000 square meters.

Since its debut in 2014, Yitiao is dedicated to offering short videos related to topics that include lifestyle, fashion and the arts on its WeChat account and video platforms such as Youku and Tudou.

To monetize the great potential of its large user base, the company began to sell lifestyle products on its same-name app and website in 2016.

Yitiao has amassed more than 35 million users on all its channels, including over 17 million users on its WeChat platform, the company claimed. In 2016, the company's e-commerce business netted monthly sales revenue of 100 million yuan ($15.6 million).

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