Qiandama was established in Guangzhou in 2012 as community-focused fresh food store, under a zero-inventory model with the tagline of “never selling overnight meat”.

As of June 2021 it operated more than 3,000 stores nationwide, opening a third of them in the previous 12 months. Sales were Rmb13.3 billion in 2020, a year-on-year increase of 90%.

Qiandama’s stores are generally smaller in size than rivals and have relatively few SKUs. The chain deploys a direct procurement model based on the modelling of daily sales. Prices are discounted later in the day, allowing the retailer to reduce inventories towards the zero goal.

Qiandama is looking for an IPO in the next 12 months, although Bloomberg reported earlier this year that another round of capital raising is likely first, valuing the company at as much as Rmb25 billion.

Qiandama has been through five rounds of financing, with investors including Generation Alpha, GenBridge Capital, Gaorong Capital, Lighthouse and Taikang Insurance.

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