Chinese cross-border e-commerce site Ymatou announced on Monday that it has closed a Series D worth tens of millions of dollars from China’s microblogging platform Weibo, local media reported.

Why it matters: Content-driven e-commerce is big business in China. Deeper integration with e-commerce sites will provide a boost for Weibo, launched in 2009, to compete with other platforms including those in the social commerce segment.

  • Weibo in September rolled out Oasis, a Xiaohongshu challenger, in an effort to fend off competition from the lifestyle and cross-border e-commerce app.
  • The new funding puts Ymatou at a stronger financial position to compete with larger players like Alibaba-backed Kaola, JD’s cross-border e-commerce unit, Vipshop, and others.

Weibo testing new social lifestyle app, Oasis

Details: In addition to Weibo, online celebrity Niurouge, or Beef Brother, invested RMB 100 million into Ymatou to become a partner of the company. Beef Brother has 5.78 million followers on Douyin and has helped to sell a total of RMB 1 billion worth of goods through his more than 17,000 short videos.

  • The new proceeds will be used to explore short video and live-streaming initiatives. Expansion to these two features is increasingly becoming standard practice for e-commerce platforms, especially considering sales numbers from the past Singles Day.
  • Ymatou was profitable in 2019, company founder and CEO Zeng Bibo said at an announcement ceremony for the funding held in Shanghai on Monday.
  • Under the partnership, Weibo is going to help boost the traffic and build the Ymatou brand by opening up resources including marketing and access to influencers, known as Key Opinion Leaders (KOL).
  • The company’s homegrown logistics arm Xlobo International covers 15 countries and regions and its known for its commitment to ship cross-border parcels within five days. The firm cooperates with courier SF Logistics for domestic deliveries.

Context: Founded in 2009, Ymatou is a consumer-to-consumer and manufacturer-to-consumer e-commerce marketplace which focuses on cross-border commerce and special sales for well-known overseas brands.

  • The Shanghai-based company received its most recent funding of $100 million in 2017 from China Merchants Global.
  • In late 2018, Weibo announced plans to invest RMB 2 billion over the next two years to support content-driven e-commerce, KOLs, actors, and agencies.
  • Alibaba acquired Netease’s cross-border e-commerce unit Kaola for approximately $2 billion in September, creating a dominant player in China’s rising cross-border e-commerce sector. Alibaba and Kaola jointly held more than half of the country’s cross-border e-commerce market, according to data from research firm Analysys.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.

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