Koudai Gouwu, a Chinese mobile shopping portal, today announced a huge US$350 million series C funding round led by Tencent and Tiger Fund, followed by H Capital, Vy Capital, Falcon Edge, and DST, according to the company’s official Weibo account (h/t TechNode). Of the total amount, Tencent pitched in US$145 million for a 10 percent stake in the company.
On the surface, Koudai is a typical Chinese marketplace with a nice looking mobile website and app with an emphasis on fashion products, but it also has a few tricks up its sleeve. The biggest is that users can browse and make purchases from shops within WeChat. Small vendors can use the site to set up their own shops and market them through Koudai’s WeChat channels. That’s a huge opportunity for merchants looking to capitalize on WeChat’s 438 million monthly active users.
Koudai reports it lists items from 12 million outlets across 172 countries. It boasts 83 million unique visitors per month, the large majority of them on mobile devices. Total sales volume exceeded RMB 15 billion (US$2.45 billion). Rumors on Chinese media suggested the three-year-old startup received even more traffic than Taobao on mobile, and Alibaba founder Jack Ma himself approached Koudai’s would-be investors to discourage them.
Koudai could be a powerful ally for Tencent, which makes WeChat, in its face off against Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall marketplaces.
The company secured its undisclosed series B round in 2012 from Warburg Pincus, a US$12 million series A from Jingwei Investments, and an angel round from Xiaomi founder Lei Jun.