Chen Nian, CEO of Vancl, acknowledged missteps, saying that the problems emerged in 2012 were because Vancl had grew too fast by 2011 and lost its way, at Sillion Dragon Beijing 2013.

Mr. Chen found it had gone too far on the wrong path when he spotted swabbers in a warehouse, according to an earlier interview (in Chinese). The company started up as an online sales only men’s shirt brand in 2007 and wanted to become the UNIQLO of the online world. After crazy expansion into a variety of categories, from electronics to swabbers, and having burned through hundreds of millions dollars on marketing, the business wound up being in an awkward situation.

Vancl planned to go IPO in 2011 but suspended it for, according to Mr. Chen, the market was dismal, or for something like this. It has raised six rounds of funding, including $100 million Series E and $230 million Series F. It seems it still have a lot of money at hand to burn through. But its investors must be expecting to see it go IPO sooner.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com