Tencent confirmed on Friday that it has led the Series B funding round of Yipien Fresh, a supermarket chain that specializes in fresh produce that can be ordered online. The round’s other investors were Capital Today, Meituan-Dianping, and East Bell Venture Capital.
Yipien’s users can use their smartphone to order the produce that they want, and then choose to pick up their groceries in the nearest store or have them delivered.
The tech giant said it has observed there is huge market for fresh produce retail and that companies utilizing technology to sell fresh produce have adopted a diverse array of business models. When it comes to Yipien, Tencent aims to help improve the chain’s operational efficiency so that it can provide consumers with a better online-to-offline experience.
Yipien’s founder, Jiang Jianfei, said that the RMB 2 billion (USD 297 million) funds will be used to add more stores in cities where the chain is already present, build the company’s logistics and processing centers, and open shops in new locations.
The company currently has shops in ten cities in China, and is already seeing net profits. Its stores’ sizes range from a few dozen to 800 square meters. Yipien plans to have 1,000 stores by the end of this year, according to Tencent’s announcement.