ByteDance Backs Dubai Startup Building Logistics Chain to China

  • In Business
  • 2021-11-30 03:00:00Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- TikTok parent ByteDance Ltd. has invested in Dubai-based iMile Delivery LLC as part of the first major fundraising by the courier startup that services Chinese online vendors, according to people familiar with the matter.

Most Read from Bloomberg

  • China Cash Flowed Through Congo Bank to Former President's Cronies

  • 'Pension Poachers' Are Targeting America's Elderly Veterans

  • Reliving the New York Subway Map Debate

The company's series A financing round, one of the Middle East's largest by a female founder to date, raised $40 million and valued iMile at $350 million, according to a statement. ByteDance committed around $10 million at a lower valuation, the people said, asking not to be named because the information isn't public.

Beijing-based ByteDance declined to comment. iMile wouldn't disclose the names of investors or the amounts they have put into the company.

Consumer habits have shifted during coronavirus lockdowns that kept people at home and glued to their devices. Even before the pandemic, e-commerce activity has already taken off in the Middle East, where Amazon Inc. vies for dominance with its regional rival

They face stiff competition from new entrants like and Chinese sellers that are often more affordable, such as online retailer SheIn, backed by Tiger Global Management. E-commerce vendors are meanwhile increasingly using social media to target shoppers, which may explain the TikTok owner's investment in a shipping company.

ByteDance is counting on TikTok and other global products to spur growth, just as it grapples with a weaker economy and stiffer regulations at home. TikTok is quickly morphing into an online marketplace where influencers tout products to their fans through live-streams, not unlike its domestic peer Douyin. The global short-video sensation TikTok recently launched a dedicated app for merchants to manage orders and refunds in Indonesia.

Banking, Telecoms

The fresh capital will help support iMile's plans to hire more engineers in China and invest in its technology while extending services beyond e-commerce into banking and telecommunications. It also plans to expand into Africa and Latin America.

Shipping to consumers in the Middle East is largely handled by local player Aramex PJSC, backed by Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ, and global carriers like FedEx Corp. or UPS. Dubai-based Fetchr, which also targeted Chinese e-commerce, is on the brink of being liquidated.

Rita Huang, who formerly worked at Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Huawei Technologies Co., co-founded the company in 2017.

"With vendors now selling directly to the consumer and the technological digitization, factories in China are now easily accessing customers all over the world," Huang said in an interview. "They can bring down costs by cutting the middlemen out."

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

  • Medical Debt Is Crushing Black Americans, and Hospitals Aren't Helping

  • Wildfires Are Getting Worse, and One Chemical Company Is Reaping the Benefits

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.


More Related News

Gold Steady as Investors Weigh Policy Outlook Against Omicron
Gold Steady as Investors Weigh Policy Outlook Against Omicron

(Bloomberg) -- Gold steadied after its best week in two months as traders weigh the outlook for monetary policy against the threat posed by a fresh...

Omicron Reaches China
Omicron Reaches China's Political, Financial and Tech Hubs

(Bloomberg) -- Omicron has breached the political, financial and technology centers of China for the first time, putting pressure on the country's response...

Binance Ties Up With Bangkok Billionaire on Thai Crypto Exchange
Binance Ties Up With Bangkok Billionaire on Thai Crypto Exchange

(Bloomberg) -- Binance Holdings Ltd. reached an agreement with Thai billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi's Gulf Energy Development PCL to study a digital asset...

Unilever's $68 Billion Bid for GSK Unit Marks Pivot to Health

(Bloomberg) -- Unilever Plc plans to sharpen its focus on health and hygiene and plans to sell off slow-growth brands as it weighs making a higher offer for ...

New York Set to Get Rain, Coast Flooding From Winter Storm
New York Set to Get Rain, Coast Flooding From Winter Storm

(Bloomberg) -- A fast-moving winter storm has knocked out power to thousands across the U.S. South, canceled and delayed flights, and will bring snow by the ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Business