Asia expansion to follow Citiesocial funding boost

Following series-A funding of US$2.75 million, Taiwan online retail platform Citiesocial seeks to expand into other parts of Asia.

Its funding round was led by the Taiwan fund of Alibaba Group Holding.

Citiesocial, which sells items such as water bottles and kitchenware from emerging brands, plans to use the funds to bolster services and technology to help rising designers grow their presence in Asia, says founder Eric Wang. This will start in the next few months with strategic partnerships with e-commerce channels in China, Japan and Korea, he says.

Citiesocial curates branded goods as a point of difference from other platforms that offer mainstream brands. It revenue last year reached $20 million, with monthly sales valued 130 times more than at the beginning of 2014. It has 600,000 customers and a staff of 42, including Wang, who describes his customer demographic as “leaning slightly” toward a more mature, well-educated male consumer.

“We curate goods globally to sell at least in Taiwan and Hong Kong,” he says. “A third of our revenue comes from goods that no-one else sells in Taiwan and Hong Kong.”

One of Citiesocial’s top performing brands is British men’s accessories maker Vanacci, while it has just sold more than 1000 travel jackets from Kickstarter graduate Baubax.

Taiwan’s fragmented e-commerce market allowed Citiesocial to be able to pivot many times in its seven and half years with only $700,000. Elsewhere he would have burned that money within the first six months, says Wang, who worked in the US for 18 years.

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