Farmer-focused B2B app eyes $500 million in new funding

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Image credit: Meicai

Meicai, the Chinese app that allows farmers to sell their produce directly to restaurants, aims to raise at least $500 million in new funding to fuel expansion in China’s costly fresh-foods market, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. The report comes a week after the company was accused of faking sales data.

Why it’s important: While tech giants Alibaba, JD, and Meituan are changing the household fresh grocery shopping experience, fresh food platforms like Meicai are trying to bring similar changes to the country’s 10 million small and medium-sized restaurants and produce shops.

  • E-commerce leaders Alibaba and JD.Com have already added groceries to their main sites, while Tencent-backed Meituan launched a similar platform Meituan Maicai in Beijing and Shanghai this year.
  • In addition to the core business-facing model used to offer fresher, lower-priced ingredients to restaurants and produce shops, Meicai is also serving individual customers, thereby competing directly with the above platforms.

Details: Bloomberg source says the potential deal would raise its valuation to between $10 billion and $12 billion, up from $7 billion last September. The figures are still subject to change based on market conditions, the report added.

  • The vegetable vending app has come under fire this week after a user who claimed to be a regional partner criticized the site on Weibo for faking sales data.
  • Meicai told local media that the accusation was groundless. The user has deleted since deleted the claim.
  • The B2B app claims to have reached daily sales of RMB 130 million in September 2018.