Jollychic, a Chinese online store founded in 2012, has a value of $1 billion after a Series C round from the global venture firm Sequoia Capital, putting the Chinese business at unicorn valuation, as reported by China Money Network.
With three offices located in the Middle East in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the UAE — as well as two offices in US and China — this e-commerce giant’s prime focus is on the MENA market. And now, with this recent fund, its valuation has become one of the largest in the region.
The Chinese online retailer offers a variety of products including clothes, electronics, homeware, furniture, beauty products, and sports equipment among other items. In 2016, Jollychic raised $1.5 million in a Series B round from Legend Capital and other investors. It also acquired Jordanian rival MarkaVIP last year.
“Jollychic has years of cross-border e-commerce experience and it seized the dual opportunities of mobile boom in the emerging market and China’s foreign trade going online. In a few years after the firm was founded, it has become an e-commerce leader in the Middle East,” said Chen Hao, managing director at Legend Capital, in a statement made to China Money Network.
For Saudi Arabia alone, the Series C round offers Jollychic even greater opportunities.
According to Statista, an online market research portal, e-commerce market revenue has reached $6,128 million dollars this year and is expected to hit an annual growth rate of 11 percent ($9,405 million) by 2022. The research also notes that fashion is the most demanded segment in e-commerce.
The UAE market has also established itself strongly in e-commerce and now has a highly promising future. According to Dubai Chamber, the anticipation is that the market sometime in 2018 will be valued at $10 billion, which is the same figure Statista reveals.
Jollychic may be a strong foreign rival, but numerous local businesses have proven to be tough competitors; among them is Saudi Arabia’s Noon, an online store backed by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar. Noon, which was launched in 2017, will most likely stir things up with $1 billion dollar invested in the project.
Souq.com, which is now acquired by Amazon for over $650 million, has benefited from the early-mover advantage. Operating in the market since 2005, Souq has managed to build strong brand relationships since its launch.
Another regional rival is Namshi, which has been partially bought by Emaar Malls after German-based incubator Rocket Internet sold 51 percent of its share to the leading real estate company for $151 million.
The deal marks an interesting milestone in competitiveness within the region, putting Emaar against the likes of Amazon, Noon, and Jollychic.