Tencent, Capital Today lead $359m round in fresh produce chain Yipin Shengxian

Basket of fresh produce with tomatoes, avocados, peppers, and asparagus. Photo: Leonie Wise/Unsplash

Chinese community fresh produce brand Yipin Shengxian has secured 2.5 billion yuan ($359 million) in a Series C round of financing led by existing shareholders Tencent and China-dedicated private equity firm Capital Today.

Eastern Bell Capital, which primarily invests in supply chain-focused businesses, also poured capital into the new round, said Tencent in a WeChat post on late Tuesday.

Tencent had led the company’s 2-billion-yuan ($287 million) Series B round in March 2019, with participation from Capital Today, Eastern Bell Capital, and DragonBall Capital, an investment fund backed by Chinese on-demand local services platform Meituan-Dianping.

Founded in 2013, Yipin Shengxian is a brand owned by Anhui YiPinHong Technology and an operator of 24-hour discount fresh produce chain stores largely located in densely-populated residential areas.

Started in eastern China’s Hefei city, Anhui province, Yipin Shengxian has developed from about 400 chain stores in 2018 to nearly 900 chain stores across 17 Chinese cities as of present, according to the post.

The company later introduced Yipin Daojia, which literally means “Yipin arriving-home” in Chinese. The new brand serves as an online platform that enables consumers to pre-order fresh produce via a mobile app and a WeChat mini-programme and to pick up the products in their selected Yipin Shengxian shop or automated locker a day later.

“Amid the further integration of online and offline [consumption], the development of community fresh produce businesses will burst into a greater growth potential,” said Tencent in the post.

Tencent, which operates China’s ubiquitous social media platform WeChat, said that Yipin Shengxian has grown into “a mainstream platform for fresh produce consumers” as the company continues to strengthen supply chain and business operation capabilities while striving to satisfy consumers’ demand for “more diversified, faster, higher-quality and more economical” products.

Tencent plans to enhance cooperation with Yipin Shengxian to build a WeChat-centric smart retail ecosystem.

Yipin Shengxian plans to use the proceeds to accelerate the expansion of its online and offline business, to integrate offerings across the whole fresh produce industry chain, to continue investment in technological R&D, as well as to build a nationwide logistics and warehousing network.

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.