36Tuan Pivoting to Online Cosmetics Retailer, Intensifying Competition

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36Tuan, a group buying service focusing on female customers announced today rebranding itself as Zhiwo.com (知我网, translates to ‘understand me’) with broader selections, sharper focus on cosmeceuticals as well as introducing new selling models such as flash buy.

Founded in May of last year, 36Tuan has been directly competing with Jumei and Miqi.cn, both are daily deal sites specializing in cosmetics. Jumei raised US$ tens of millions from Sequoia while Miqi.cn also grabbed US$ 1.5 million from DT Capital Partners in Series A. Moreover, Miqi.cn would consolidate and restructure its online assets and business with SkinStore China, the Chinese subsidiary of American online cosmetic retailer SkinStore and have access to the latter’s branding and distribution channel.

Online cosmetics has always been a huge and profitable market. According to report by market researcher iResearch, China is now the world’s third largest cosmetics market while online cosmetics consuming would soon account for 10% of total money spent on beauty products.

While the market is attractive, the competition is also mounting. For now Lafaso.com, Tiantian.com, Jumei and Miqi are among the most popular and most recognized ones.

Lafaso.com was founded by famous Chinese female anchor Li Jin in 2008 while Tiantian has a longer history that could dated back to 1999 with a sales expectancy of over RMB 1 billion (US$ 157 million) this year.

Zhiwo was founded by serial entrepreneur Su Haizhen and former Sequoia China partner Zhang Fan. The site now claims over 2 million users.