QINGDAO, China — Chinese seafood e-commerce website Gfresh has secured $20 million investment from Chinese internet giant Alibaba and Legend Capital, the investment arm of Legend Holdings, parent company of PC maker Lenovo Group.
The announcement was made today at the China Fisheries & Seafood Expo in Qingdao, China, at a special conference called for industry players and trade media.
Alibaba’s Simon Xie will become a director at Gfresh. Xie is described as one of the most important co-founders at Alibaba and “lieutenant” of Jack Ma, Alibaba’s principal founder.
With this new investment, Gfresh plans to pursue product initiatives for its online seafood marketplace; expand to new markets; and upgrade its logistics supply chain service, it said in a press release; all while “leading the Chinese seafood industry into a new stage of development”.
The distribution of Gfresh’s online marketplace covers Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and others, and aims to become the leading online business-to-business marketplace for global seafood.
This financing by Alibaba and Legend opens many exciting doors, Gresh said. It plans to embark on a cooperative relationship with You Shi Guan Jia, an online-to-offline distribution business also invested in by Legend Capital.
Gfresh also recently committed to an agreement with Tmall and He Ma fresh produce, to improve supply channels.
“Along with developing a multi-channel distribution, other key initiatives include innovation in product and technology. This covers an international logistics tracking system, an improved inspection service, the unique Gfresh reverse auction model for seafood, and G-pay, an escrow account for payment.”
Legend, a Chinese conglomerate with turnover of close to $50 billion, is setting its sights on being a leader in the seafood sector and bought a majority stake in Australia’s largest seafood firm, Kailis Bros, in late March.
Gfresh claims to be the world’s largest online seafood marketplace, and a company which is “disrupting the distribution chain with our integrated platform (cold chain logistics, freight booking, escrow system)”.
This year Gfresh signed an agreement with the China Certification and Inspection Group Canada at the 2016 BC Seafood Expo, intended to give Canadian exporters on the online platform the “quickest and easiest trade route into China yet”, said Anthony Wan, Gfresh’s vice president and co-founder.
Following this agreement, suppliers on Gfresh will be given the assurance that their goods are customs passable before even leaving their Canadian departure port.
They’ll also be able to offer their Chinese trade partners the quickest and most direct trade possible as potentially weeks are shaved off the time taken to get seafood from suppliers into China’s booming market.
In 2015, Wan told Undercurrent News Gfresh is focused on becoming the Amazon of seafood sales.