Founded in June, 2011 by Grégoire Prouvost and Cédric Bourlet, two French entrepreneurs living in Shanghai, the premium beers e-retailer Cheers-In.com/Qiyin.cn (in Chinese, Cheers-In is Qi Yin 齐饮 which literally means Drink Together) just raised $230K from Kima Ventures, an investment fund of Xavier Niel and Jeremie Berrebi.
Beer market is really a niche one, but no double it has massive potential in China. Grégoire told us, “China global beer Market is the biggest in the world (around $40 Billions). ‘Premium beer’ segment is 5% of this market but it is growing twice faster than the rest of the market. There are more and more beer connoisseurs and specialty beers are now considered like wine or cognac.”
Cheers-in currently has around 5.000 customers in Shanghai and it is growing. This first round of funding will help this startup’s operational expansion to other Chinese cities and put the last steps to its franchising project of premium beer boutiques concept. Pioneer on its sector, the click and mortar startup aims to stay on the impressive Chinese e-commerce wave of growth but also want to keep physical presence in the main 1st tier cities (already 3 boutiques in Shanghai).
Grégoire also shared his thoughts about Chinese e-commerce market,
Chinese e-commerce market is very exciting! But of course one of the key is logistic. As a specialist we can deal with that with good partners which are now everywhere in the country. I also think that chinese consumers trust more reliable brands, service, marketing and are less using the C to C plateform. We have chosen our niche and till now customers are following us, that’s great.
“The specialty beers lovers’ community grows as fast as the middle class everywhere in the country. One of the Cheers-In team objectives is to bring Chinese wine connoisseurs to high end beers (Trappists, limited editions, vintage)”, Grégoire added.