Shanghai-based cross-border e-commerce retailer bolome has completed a $30 million USD series B round of financing. LB Investment was one of the leading investors. The deal was also joined by Baidu and Chengwei Capital in China, and KB Investment and Neoplux in Korea.
The company provides retail products from overseas markets, including Japan and South Korea directly to Chinese consumers at competitive prices. According to the company, the price on the website are the same as the price in the overseas retail shops. What differentiates this company from others is that, bolome provides live streaming on its application, where local reporters and reviewers based in Japan or South Korea actually visit cosmetic retail shops or factories to introduce products in real time. These live videos allow live communication with Chinese consumers as well as build trust on its website.
“Bolome can be exemplified as a shoppertainment. Live streaming products include Korean cosmetics, travel package, and plastic surgeries. The price is also transparent,” Managing partner of LB investment Tony Park, who co-led this round said in an interview with TechNode. ” Filmers can answer the realtime questions as they introduce the product. We’ve never seen this kind of model before.”
Bolome founder and CEO Zhang Zhendong had exited his previous company to Baidu, which might have helped Baidu to join this round of funding. Baidu is investing as a strategic investor, and plans to incorporate bolome’s e-commerce offerings with its search services.
Founded in this February, bolome has raised $43 million USD in total, and increased the valuation twenty folds in six months placing current valuation at $200 million USD. In April, the company received series A $30 million USD funding led by LB Investment with participation of other investors, and received 10 million RMB angel investment led by Chengwei Capital and Vickers capital in March, according to the company.
In September, Baidu led a $150 million USD series D round of financing in Beijing-based maternity and baby products flash sales platform Mia.com, which has a similar focus on selling overseas products to Chinese consumers.
The trade volume of China’s cross-border e-commerce has reached $3.32 billion since China piloted cross-border foreign exchange payments in 2013, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. Chinese consumers spent more than $1.5 billion USD in cross-border shopping online in 2014, according to iResearch.
Chinese internet company Netease opened its cross-border ecommerce site Kaola in this January, which later partnered with logistics firm Sinotrans to secure order processing and speed delivery. SF Express, a leading Chinese logistics company, launched cross-border ecommerce platform Fengqu in the similar period. The company has moved into overseas markets since 2012, but reportedly closed operating centers in some US cities recently. Vertical cross-border shopping sites includes Ymatou, that pocketed $100 million USD series B funding earlier this year, and Metao, that announced of series B funding last year.
Image Credit: bolome