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China: Direct sourcing app for vegetables could be worth US$7B

A Chinese startup called Meicai that helps farmers sell vegetables to restaurants has reportedly raised at least US$600 million in a recent funding round led by Hillhouse Capital and Tiger Global Management, according to Bloomberg.

People familiar with the matter said the money will be used to expand as the startup competes for a bigger share of China’s fragmented food sourcing market.

According to one person familiar, the company raised about US$800 million at a valuation of about US$7 billion. Meicai was said to be valued at about $2.8 billion pre-investment in its previous funding round in January.

 
Meicai, which means “beautiful vegetable,” was founded in 2014 by Liu Chuanjun, a rocket scientist who set a goal of sourcing produce for about 10 million small- and medium-sized restaurants in China.

Using a smartphone app, customers can order specialties such as bok choy and Sichuan peppercorns directly from farms, disrupting traditional wholesaling by cutting out middlemen.

The funding round is among the largest for a Chinese startup this year, Bloomberg reported. 


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