Taoshihui, an e-commerce platform targeting China’s rural population, announced on Thursday that it finished a RMB 300 million (USD 46 million) round of Series A financing. The round of financing was led by Alibaba-backed Ameba Capital followed by CITIC Capital, QF Capital and Alibaba’s ex-COO Li Qi.
Chen Wei, co-founder of the company and former Alibaba regional manager, said that this round of financing will be used to build more rural service points and improve logistics in rural areas.
Founded in May 2013, the company is a rural e-commerce platform aiming to help farmers make purchases online. The company sets up tablets in shops that display categories of commodities including fruits, clothes and agricultural materials. Rural consumers select the products they want and tell the salesperson their order number for payment. Purchases can be delivered to the buyer’s home or they can choose to pick it up themselves at the place they made their payment.
The platform is working to bring commodities from more urban areas into rural areas while also helping to deliver special local rural products to a greater audience.
The company claims that it covers more than 160 counties and over 8000 villages, with a monthly turnover of RMB one billion.
According to a report released by China’s Ministry of Commerce in November 2015, 77.14 million rural consumers shopped online in 2014, a growth of 40.6% YoY, and the scale of online shopping among rural residents totaled RMB 180 billion, a YoY increase of over 60%.
E-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com are also spliting the rural e-commerce market. As of February 2016, China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Alibaba signed a strategic cooperation agreement to establish 300 trial regions in three years for rural e-commerce expansion. Alibaba had already built 109 county-level service centers in 21 provinces and set up rural service points in 4247 villages by September 2015. JD.com has also completed 700 county-level service centers.
(Top photo from Baidu Images.)