China’s largest pet-focused platform Boqii launches IPO in the US

UNTV News   •   September 26, 2020   •   184

SHENZHEN, China, Sept. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — China’s largest pet-focused platform Boqii Holding Limited (BQ.US) launched an initial public offering (IPO) in the US on September 23, 2020. With the IPO, Boqii plans to offer 7 million American depositary shares (ADSs) (each representing 0.75 of the company’s Class A ordinary share) for USD $10$12 each.

Boqii will become the first US-listed company in the Chinese pet industry. According to data from US-based business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, Boqii is the largest pet-focused platform in China in terms of revenue and number of customers, the largest pet-focused online community in the country in terms of registered users, and the largest pet-focused online retailer in the country in terms of gross merchandise value (GMV).

Boqii has been favored by a number of renowned investors worldwide thanks to its deep penetration in the pet industry. In particular, Goldman Sachs and CMB International have invested in Boqii prior to its public listing in the domestic market. Notably, Goldman Sachs participated in Boqii’s A, B and C rounds of financing. These investments demonstrate the investors’ strong confidence in the long-term growth of the pet-focused platform.

1. Consistent Spending and Resilient Performance During Economic Downturns

As China has gone through comprehensive consumption upgrading in recent years, the consumption demand of pet owners has gradually grown to a higher level from one that focused merely on pet good. Pet owners are willing to trade up to high-quality pet goods to enhance the well-being of their pets. High-speed consumption growth is occurring in upper-income brackets, among the younger generation. With pet owners’ increasing spending on pet, China’s pet market is likely to continue to develop in foreseeable future.

According to the Frost & Sullivan data, the Chinese pet market increased from RMB 70.7 billion (approx. US$10.3 billion) in 2014 to RMB 204.9 billion (approx. US$29.9 billion) in 2019. The market is expected to further grow to RMB 449.5 billion (approx. US$65.6 billion) by 2024 based on an annual compound growth rate estimated at 17.0%.

According to Boqii’s F-1, the pet-ownership penetration rate (percentage of pet-owning households out of all households) in China was 22.8% during 2019, compared to 68.9% in the United States, 45.0% in the United Kingdom and 26.8% in Japan. The rate in China is expected to reach 29.9% by 2024.

2. Leading pet-focused platform in China riding on market tailwind  

Boqii was established in Shanghai in 2008 as a community designed to provide a vertically integrated social platform for pet owners and lovers where they could share their experiences with their pets and learn how to better raise and care for them.

In 2014, Boqii launched its mobile app, Boqii Pet, the largest pet-focused online community in China in terms of registered users in 2019 and average MAUs according to Frost & Sullivan, which covers all major aspects of pets’ life and offers pet products, services and content.

Currently, Boqii has 23 million registered users, including 3.5 million monthly active users. Boqii community has partnered with more than 860 key opinion leaders (KOLs) and boasted 334 million user interactions per month on average for the three months from April to June 2020.

In 2008, Boqii established an e-commerce platform, Boqii Mall. Boqii is redefining e-commerce for pet parents by providing an accessible, personalized and enjoyable shopping experience based on a deep understanding of our users and customers and their pets by leveraging extensive user interactions and transactional behaviors we have observed over the years. As of June 30, 2020, the company had built partnerships with over 570 brands while the number of available Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) has climbed to over 17,000.

In addition, Boqii launched its own brand Yoken (with around 1,300 SKUs) in 2015 and its premium brand Mocare in 2018 with compelling quality and prices. As of June 30, 2020, the company was offering customers access to 2,130 SKUs sold under its private brands, accounting for 11.9% of the total SKUs.

In 2015, Boqii expanded its offline sales channels and develop business with physical pet stores, and introduced our proprietary SaaS solutions which help offline pet stores digitalize, streamline and optimize supply chain management and in-store operations. By investing in PetDog, China’s largest the largest pet store franchise and the largest training center for pet service professionals, Qingdao Shuangan Bio-technology Co., Ltd, a a leading pet food manufacturer in China, as well as several companies that are mainly engaged in the R&D and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. Boqii has built a pet-focused platform covering the entire industry chain, including pharma R&D and manufacturing, animal breeding, private label, pet store franchise and  training center for pet service professional.

Boqii has cooperated with over 15,000 physical pet stores and pet hospitals over 250 cities in China as of June 30, 2020, and helps brand partners significantly expand their reach in a cost-effective and coordinated manner, bringing a comprehensive catalog to pet parents across China.

Boqii disrupts the traditional pet retail and services in China by fostering an ecosystem that connects and empowers various participants along the entire pet value chain, including brands, manufacturers, physical pet stores and pet hospitals. Boqii empowers them with valuable data insights into user demands, effective content-driven marketing, comprehensive inventory management and supply chain capabilities, and reliable nationwide logistics network.

3. Disruptive Business Model Empowering the Entire Pet Value Chain

Boqii has posted steady growth in both income and GMV. The company’s total net revenue reached RMB 804 million (approx. US$117.3 million) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019 and 770 million yuan (approx. US$109 million) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020. In the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021 (from April to June 2020), net revenue was RMB 238 million (approx. US$33.7 million), an increase of 26.2% compared with RMB 189 million(approx. US$27.6 million) in the same period of the prior fiscal year. In the Q1 of the fiscal year 2021, GMV also increased 56% year on year to RMB 554 million (approx. US$80.8 million).

For the fiscal year 2020, Boqii’s EBITDA stood at RMB -113 million (approx. –US$16 million), with a margin of 14.7%, an improvement compared to that recorded for fiscal year 2019. During the Q1 of fiscal 2021 (from April to June 2020), the company’s EBITDA was -35.43 million yuan (approx. –US$5.1 million) with the margin reduced to 14.9% from 18.6% for the same period of the prior fiscal year, reflecting the company’s continuous efforts in strategic investments. The continued improvement in the EBITDA margin demonstrates the success of the business model of the pet-focused platform.

Looking forward, Boqii plans to continue investing in growing content, improving user experiences, and enriching a pet-focused ecosystem. Optimizing product mix and continuing to introduce more brands to onmi channels to strengthen and diversify product offerings catering to customers’ demands and drive profitability. Boqii will continue to attract more users to subscribe for membership program and deepen their engagement. Furthermore, they will also continue to identify and pursue M&A and strategic transactions along the pet industry value chain, with a goal to diversify product and service offerings, enhance ecosystem, and drive long-term development of the entire pet industry in China.

With the IPO, Boqii is the largest company propelling the revolution for the pet industry to deliver compelling value propositions to their users and customers, their pets, small and medium pet businesses, and business partners.

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