Several Shenzhen-based RMB funds, including Shenzhen New Industry Venture Capital, Shenzhen Weiji Investment Company and Qianhai Great Wall Fund Administration (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. have invested RMB1 billion (US$150 million) in a series A round in Maihuolang, a Beijing-based e-commerce platform serving China’s rural communities.
Founded in 2014, Maihuolang provides direct sales of pesticide, farm tools and seeds to farmers. Currently, the platform operates in 23 provinces in China, with 218 county offices and 28,500 village services stations.
Maihuolang is the latest start-up trying to grab market share in the emerging rural e-commerce sector.
In February 2016, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. formed a strategic partnership with China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to establish 300 pilot programs in rural villages and towns over the next three years to push the expansion of e-commerce in China’s rural areas.
The pilot programs serve as a test ground to expand rural e-commerce channels, as well as attracting rural migrant workers to return to their villages to work.
One month later, Taoshihui, another e-commerce platform targeting China’s rural population, raised a RMB300 million (US$46 million) series A funding round from Ameba Capital, CITIC Capital, QF Capital and Alibaba’s former chief operating officer Li Qi.
Maihuolang said it plans to use the proceeds to expand its business to a total of 1,000 offices and 30,000 services stations in 2017.