Chinese online retailer LightInTheBox was aimed at global audiences from day one, Kevin Wen, co-founder of the company, told us today at 2014 TechCrunch China/ TechNode event in Beijing. Back in 2007 when LightInTheBox was founded, there were only three well-known e-commerce sites in China, Taobao, Dangdang, and Joyo (would be acquired by Amazon). And all of them were targeting at the local market. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2013.
Starting with an English version, LightInTheBox now is available in 38 languages but Chinese isn’t supported.
The company generated US$81.5 million in the total revenue in the first quarter of this year, with 66% was from Europe, 20% from North America and 6% from South America. For LightInTheBox there’s still room in the Europe, and Brazil and Russia can be good markets too, according to Wen.
30% from the total revenue was from apparel and 70% from electronics and other general merchandise. The most famous goods the company sells is wedding gown. It’s not by accident, Mr. Wen said today. The company didn’t know what to sell at the beginning. After analyzing worldwide retail data, they found some categories of goods that were in high demand but were sold at very high prices. So they settled on wedding gown.
LightInTheBox partners with Chinese manufacturers who make customized goods. The company would predict trends they find from data and inform suppliers. It takes about 20 days from they know about a new trend on wedding gown to a new design is out.
Before LightInTheBox, Wen co-founded Chinese-language blog service BlogDrive in the U.S. and moved back to China after the site was acquired by a China-based blog site BlogChina.