Infant care online retailer Mia, formerly known as Miyabaobei, announced that it has received a $150 million USD series D funding led by Chinese search giant Baidu at a nearly $1 billion valuation. Other investors include existing backers of Sequoia Capital, H Capital and several unnamed U.S. private funds.
The round will push the company’s total funding to north of $230 million USD, together with $60 million USD Series C, $20 million USD Series B and $1.6 million USD round A, which were received consecutively within the past two years.
Nobody would doubt China’s tech boom, but Chinese internet startups don’t exactly maintain the good reputation when it comes to truthfully estimating their valuation. To ease public doubts about authenticity of the figure, Mia CEO Liu Nan showed a screenshot of the company’s bank account to show that the numbers are real.
Mia, an online retailor specializes in items for infants, toddlers, and moms, was founded by mom entrepreneur Liu Nan in 2011 as a storefront on Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace. The company later began its own website and launched e-commerce apps in 2013 when its sales increased.
Liu believes that the domestic baby and maternity industry has great development potential as a sector that sits at the intersection of medical care and education, as well as retailing and service. The tie-up with the search giant will admit Mia access to Baidu’s big data which helps spot user demand and spending behaviors more accurately.
Local media has reported that Baidu management is in discussions about dipping their toes into the cross-border e-commerce sector. Mia’s business matches Baidu’s new ambition, it is expected that the two companies may have more cooperation in this direction.
A series of food safety scandals in China have triggered a demand from Chinese parents for imported baby products. The expanding market has in turn drawn large funding from investors. BabyTree, an online community for early care and education which also integrates an e-commerce business, secured over $300 million USD in funding this July. Beibei, a direct competitor of Mia, raised a $100 million USD series C earlier this year.
Like Jumei, the Chinese cosmetic retailer which shifts to infant care sector by backing Baby Tree, Mia is also facing complaints from customers about fake products. The company disclosed that a part of the new funding is earmarked for improve user experience and global supply chains.
Image credit: Mia