UK bank Rothschild invests in a Chinese online retailer
July 1, 2015 03:54 PM
Rothschild Group, the well-known family controlled banking firm based in London, has joined forces with CID Group, a private equity firm from Taiwan, to invest $50 million in Chinese online retailer Yapingguo.com in a Series A financing round.
Based in Beijing, Yapingguo.com sells vitamins and other health products. The website name means “Ah, apple” in the Chinese language and was inspired by the western saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” the company says. The 1-year-old e-retailer says it has signed agreements to sell products from more than 100 nutrition brands, including such U.S. brands as GNC and Nature’s Bounty.
To make it easier to import products, Yapingguo.com operates a warehouse in Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone, a special area the Chinese government created in September 2013 to facilitate foreign trade.
Health products are a large potential market for e-retailers in China, where many consumers are wary of the quality of the products of domestic companies. Chinese online shoppers will buy 120 billion yuan ($19 billion) worth of health products by 2024 compared with 6 billion yuan$1 billion）in 2013, according to the China E-Commerce Research Center.
Rothschild has a strong connection with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. Rothschild has acted as Alibaba’s financial adviser and helped it expand into overseas markets. That includes advising Alibaba on its $25 billion initial public offering of stock in September on the New York Stock Exchange, the world’s largest IPO.
In 2012, Rothschild and Alibaba also jointly invested in Chinese e-commerce services provider Baozun, which is planning an IPO in the United States this year.