Nice Tuan, a Chinese community e-commerce platform also known as Shihuituan, has raised $196 million in a Series C3 round in what is the firm’s fourth funding round this year as the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated consumer demand for online purchases of fresh produce.
The Series C3 round was jointly led by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and Jeneration Capital, a Hong Kong-based investment firm best known for backing tech firms, according to a statement on Monday.
Other investors included Chinese private equity fund manager KunLun Fund; CICC Capital’s affiliated fund; and Chinese alternative asset management firm CDH Investments.
Global venture capital firm GGV Capital; Joy Capital, which mainly invests in startups in the TMT and innovative consumption fields; VC powerhouse Qiming Venture Partners; and INCE Capital, a VC firm co-led by former Qiming partner JP Gan, also poured money into this round.
Chinese boutique investment bank Cygnus Equity participated in the deal and served as the exclusive financial adviser.
Founded in 2018, Nice Tuan provides fresh produce, beverage, leisure food, and daily supplies through a namesake WeChat mini program to community customers. The company now serves about 20 million urban families in more than 200,000 residential communities in China. Its services cover more than 200 cities and 20 provinces.
The new financing comes after Beijing-based Nice Tuan posted secular growth in recent months. According to the statement, the firm’s monthly gross merchandise volume (GMV) exceeded 1 billion yuan ($151.7 million) in October 2020, compared to over 650 million yuan ($98.6 million) this April.
Its quarterly GMV crossed 2.5 billion yuan ($379.2 million) in Q3, driven by over 5 million monthly active users (MAUs).
Upon the completion of the round, Nice Tuan plans to continue serving small and medium-sized fresh produce merchants and brands, helping these suppliers expand their sales channels.
“Up to this day, the business model of China’s community e-commerce continues to evolve and iterate. The entry of tech giants also brings unprecedented competition to the battleground,” said Jin Tao, managing director at Cygnus Equity, in a separate statement.
“We firmly believe, in such an ever-changing market, Nice Tuan will surely become the ultimate market winner with the management team’s unparallel foresight, excellent team-building capabilities, strong execution, determination, as well as its most powerful synergies & strategic resources,” said Jin.
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit China and forced consumers to adapt to the new normal of shopping daily necessities online, fundraising activity has been heating up in the country’s increasingly competitive community e-commerce space. Major players, such as Missfresh, Tongcheng Life, and Xingsheng Selected, have all gathered capital in a race to grab larger market shares.
The new investment represents the fourth round that Nice Tuan has completed in 2020. The firm secured $80 million in a Series C2 round led by CDH Investments in late July.
Its $81.4-million Series C1 round, led by GGV Capital, was completed in early June. In January, it had closed a $88.3-million transaction from an array of investors including Alibaba, Beijing-based angel fund ZhenFund, Qiming Venture Partners, and China Growth Capital, among others.