Yunji Inc., a Chinese membership-based social e-commerce platform, is seeking to raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering in New York
The Hangzhou-based company, which stated its mission is “to make commerce simpler and people’s lives better,” operates a paid retail app, users of which, if they acquire a membership, get a personalized shopping experience, as well as discounts for products.
Yunji targets primarily middle-class consumers prone to use online social media to discuss their shopping experience and products. It sells products in various categories and partners with mainstream and emerging brands, as well as with manufacturers to produce private labels, it said.
For 2018, Yunji reported 23.2 million users, up from 16.9 million in 2017 and 2.5 million in 2016. As of Dec. 31, it had 7.4 million members. Its gross merchandise volume (GMV) last year reached 22.7 billion yuan, up 134 percent from 2017. Of all purchasers in 2018, 66 percent were members of the platform.
Its revenue doubled to $1.9 billion in 2018, while net loss fell in half to $8.2 million from 2017.
The four-year-old company has an experienced management team. Its founder, chairman, and chief executive officer, Shanglue Xiao, has more than 15 years of experience in e-commerce. The chief technology officer, Huan Hao, previously served with China’s tech giants Tencent Holdings Ltd. (HKEX: 0700) and Oracle Corp. Jianjian Hu, Yunji’s chief operating officer, held various roles at Walmart, Trustmart and Yonghui Superstores.
In addition, Yunji has two former members of China’s e-commerce leader, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA). Its vice president of public relations, Tiecheng Zhang, was a senior manager in Alibaba’s B2B department, while Hui Ma, who joined in November as a chief people officer and chief strategy officer, served as a general manager of Alibaba’s consumer experience development division, among other roles.
Yunji filed its preliminary prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, stating it intends to use the proceeds of the offering to expand its business operations, to improve its technology and facilities, and for general corporate purposes.
The company said it hopes to trade on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “YJ.”
Underwriting the deal are Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, and China International Capital Corporation Hong Kong Securities Ltd. (CICC).