Three start-ups benefit from Alibaba fund

Business | Daisy Wu 6 May 2016

Alibaba's HK$1 billion not-for-profit fund for local start-ups said it will invest in three companies that have been selected from more than 200 applicants.

They include transport firm GoGoVan, online fashion rental firm Yeechoo and Shopline a computer- solutions provider for small and medium-sized firms.

"Our investment in individual companies will not exceed 30 percent of equity," said Cindy Chow, executive director of the fund, adding that it may increase its stakes in the three firms.

Apart from looking at business models, profit potential and internet connections, "we also value whether the company can extend its business outside Hong Kong," said Chow, adding several proposals are under consideration.

She said investments in the three firms will only account for a small part of the HK$1 billion Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and any returns from its investments will be sunk back into the fund. "We want to make the fund a sustainable one."

But she added that no timetable is set for the second batch of investments.

The Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund was set up in November.

Of the three, Yeechoo said it prefers strategic support, including identifying emerging designers from the Taobao platform.

Shopline, a more mature e-commerce firm, said it hopes to learn from the industry leader and leverage on Alibaba's network.

The most mature, GoGoVan, said it wants to learn management skills from Alibaba and team up with it to develop the logistic markets in Southeast Asia.

Separately, Alibaba saw net profit in the first quarter surge 85 percent to 5.31 billion yuan (HK$6.34 billion) from a year earlier, while revenue jumped 39 percent to 24.18 billion yuan as more people made purchases online.

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