Womai has expanded deliveries to 50 cities from seven and is offering a growing selection of foreign products.
Frank Tong , Senior editor, China
China’s rapidly growing middle class is increasingly demanding imported food and wine, and the country’s leading online food retailer is expanding to meet that demand.
Beijing-based COFCO Womai Co. announced this week it has raised $100 million in a Series B funding round to offer a broader selection of products from abroad and build more refrigerated warehouses to deliver those products in major Chinese cities.
“Womai will use the fund to import more overseas foods and enhance our logistics capability, such as cold-chain distribution,” COFCO president Gao Ning says.
Womai has been rapidly expanding its logistics network. The company’s this month expanded fresh-food delivery to 50 cities from seven cities.
U.S-based IDG Capital Partners led this funding round, and existing investor Japan-based Softbank Asia Infrastructure Fund Partners also participated, Womai says.
Womai is the largest e-retailer in grocery category and ranks No. 29 in the 2014 Internet Retailer China 500. The company’s web sales increased 22% to $293.7 million in 2013, according to Top500Guide.com.
Womai.com was founded in 2009 by Chinese food manufacturer and trading giant, stated-owned China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO). COFCO has 107,271 employees and its sales reached $30.75 billion in 2013.
Rising incomes and scandals about tainted baby food and other products have spurred demand in China for imported food and beverages. More than 15% of the products on Womai.com are imported, and the e-retailer says it plans to add an additional 500 imported products, including milk, beef, seafood, wines and even water.
U.S based IDG Capital Partners was one of the earliest venture capital firms to enter China and it has invested in more than 300 Chinese companies, including Internet giant Tencent Group and smartphone upstart Xiaomi Inc.
“E-commerce has huge potential in the future,” says Xiong Xiaoge, a partner in IDG Capital Partners.
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