Thai online fashion retailer Pomelo has bagged an additional $19 million in a Series B funding round led by Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com and Provident Capital Partners. The round was joined by Lombard Investments.
The funding is likely to step up competition between e-commerce bigwigs like Alibaba and JD.com for the coveted online shopping market in Southeast Asia, a region with over 600 million people, a growing middle class and an e-commerce sector with sales projected to grow to $88 billion by 2025.
The funding marks the largest Series B raised by a company based in Thailand. Pomelo will look to cement its position as the leading online fast fashion brand in Southeast Asia and accelerate global growth, a statement said on Tuesday.
The latest investment round comes a year after Pomelo raised a follow-on funding round, bringing its total Series A funding to $11 million, an investment led by Singapore-based Jungle Ventures and other existing investors.
Moreover, earlier this year, Temasek-backed InnoVen Capital, the provider of venture debt to investment firms, had agreed to provide $5 million venture debt to Malaysia’s KFit Holdings and Pomelo to grow their businesses.
With this round, Pomelo has now raised a total of $32 million from investors globally.
“We’re extremely pleased with this round and to be in partnership with such prominent players from the investment community. We look forward to continuing on the mission of building the first global fast fashion brand out of Southeast Asia,” said David Jou, CEO of Pomelo.
Launched in 2014, Pomelo focuses on delivering on-trend fashion quickly and at affordable prices.
The investment from China’s largest online retailer JD.com also boosts its ambition to make Thailand the hub for mainland Southeast Asia. JD.com had earlier announced a $500 million joint venture with Thailand’s Central Group focused on e-commerce and financial technology.
Under the terms of the agreement, half of the investments were to come from Central Group, with the remainder coming from JD.com, JD Finance and Provident Capital, which is also JD.com’s strategic partner for its Indonesian e-commerce business.
Meanwhile, rival Chinese e-commerce brand Alibaba has also maintained its push for Southeast Asia as it recently led a $1.1 billion investment in Indonesia’s Tokopedia, an e-commerce firm that had previously raised $100 million from Japan’s SoftBank and Sequoia. Earlier Alibaba pumped in $1 billion in Lazada to raise its stake to 83 per cent, a move to gain control over Southeast Asia’s e-commerce leader.
Further, in October, this portal had reported that Alibaba and JD.com are scrambling to gain control of the second largest e-commerce player in Malaysia, 11street, a partnership between Celcom Axiata Bhd and Korea’s SK Planet.