In the past 10 days, e-retailer Zulily’s share price took a rollercoaster ride from a 16% dip following last week’s Q1 report, to an 18% surge in the wake of a $56 million dollar investment from Alibaba Group.

While similar flash sale sites in China including VIPshop are experiencing steady gains, the model has proved to be less viable overseas, where companies have experienced rapid, unsustainable growth followed by a drop in revenue.

In Zulily’s recent earnings report it was revealed that the company’s growth has decelerating after revenue fell below the predicted analysis consensus of 314 million USD. The slow down was attributed to first-time customers failing to return to the site, despite active customers growing to 5 million in the same period.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com