Doing business in China requires a lot of guanxi (relationships). Part of showing mianzi (face) is by generous and gift giving. To fill this cultural need, Vgift.com.cn is aiming to help companies buy gifts for their clients.
Clearly there is great belief in this business since the company just raised 10 million RMB from lead investor and Hangzhou based Haowangjiao, a VC in the e-commerce space. Executives from Baidu and Kingsoft are also angel investors.
The model is that companies can go onto the site and choose the value of the gift card and then how many gift cards they want. They start at 100 RMB and go up till 10,000 RMB. The gift card is then given to the client and they can personally redeem the gift card on the website or by phone and it is delivered for free, within China.
Taking a quick browse at the site, the products seem rather strange and random. For example, in the 100 RMB category, you can buy a coffee machine, a Swiss army knife, a Zippo lighter or even cooking pans. I guess, giving people choice is better than giving everyone something they don’t want or need. Since the site is not yet fully launched, gifts from 300 RMB and above or not yet available.
Although the website will only formally launch on November 21 and is still in closed beta, they claim to have big name clients such as Skyworth, Netease and SPDB. Currently there are over 60 employees but have plans to ramp up to 100 employees.
The founder of Vgift is Li Ning, a Tsinghua University masters degree graduate.