B5M claims it’s now the the largest independent shopping search service and the second largest after Alibaba’s Etao in China.
Launched in December 2011, B5M has indexed 300 million items from Taobao & Tmall, over six thousand business-to-consumer sites, over 200 group-buying sites and over 40 social shopping websites. There are more than 3 million visitors and 50 million pageviews daily.
The company has reached deals with 350 e-commerce players such as JD.com, Dangdang, Amazon China, Yihaodian, Vancl and Ctrip receiving transaction-based compensation from them.
In early 2012 the company raised $7.1 million in Series A funding led by Oak Investment Partners and announced today $16 million funding led by ClearVue Partners. Oak Investment Partners and some unnamed angel investors joined the new round.
Yeogirl Yun, founder and CEO of B5M, is not a Chinese but a Korean. Before B5M, he had founded three shopping search brands, mySimon (1998 in the US), WiseNut (1999 in the US & 2000 in South Korea) and BECOME (founded in 2004 for the US, Japan, Italy, Britain, Germany and France). mySimon was acquired by CNET for $700 million in 2000; LookSmart bought WiseNut US in 2002 but closed it in 2007; WiseNut for South Korea is planning for a 2013 IPO; BECOME is profitable, says so the company.
It sounds that the founding team are well experienced in establishing a shopping search and dealing with users in some of the most developed countries. China is different, less developed in economy and tech in general than those mentioned countries but with an even more dynamic and complicated e-commerce market.
B5M’s major competitors are all shopping searches operated by big Chinese Internet companies, including Alibaba, Baidu, Netease and Qihoo.
Etao of Alibaba can hardly be beaten as there’s a whole giant e-commerce market behind it that it can easily get traffic and have e-tailers pay for paid services. B5M thinks a problem with Etao is it’s becoming more and more like Taobao and Tmall where users do regular searches too.
B5M claims it became the largest independent shopping search engine by surpassing Huihui, which was spun off from Netease’s general search engine Youdao, in the past August.
The company doesn’t see Baidu, the largest general search in China, a strong competitor in this area as it has long been blocked by Alibaba that cannot index shopping information from the latter’s e-commerce properties.
B5M thinks Qihoo, with its one-year old general search engine growing swiftly, owns the largest shopping search for business-to-consumer e-commerce market. But Qihoo lacks the information from Taobao and Tmall, where a majority of consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer e-tailers are doing business; so that it cannot compete with Etao.