Chinese fresh fruit retail chain Pagoda has received US$62m in its Series A financing round led by private equity firm Tiantu Capital.
Pagoda opened its first store in 2002, and over the past few years has expanded rapidly, hitting 1,000 stores in June, as well as winning the 2015 Asia Fruit Award for Produce Retailer of the Year at the Asiafruit Congress.
Chairman and co-founder of Pagoda, Yu Huiyong, said that the US$62m investment would be used to expand its presence across China, focusing on opening new stores in Beijing, expanding its DCs and upgrading its IT applications.
“Just recently, Pagoda won the ‘Produce Retailer of the Year’ category of the award, known as the ‘Fruit Industry Oscar’ presented by Asia Fruit Logistica and Asiafruit Magazine. This means the fruit retail chain business in China is well regarded in the global industry,” Yu said at the Series A signing ceremony on 22 September. “Today, Pagoda received a huge capital investment. This indicates there is a lot of potential and room for development in the fruit retail chain industry. ”
Yu went on to say that the biggest challenge to Pagoda’s expansion remains human resources due to the time it takes to train staff.
“Considering our scale, every two existing stores can train staff for one new store. So this year if we have 1,200 stores, and reach 1,300 by the end of the year, next year we will have half of the number of new stores, so 600 to 700 should be no problem,” Yu said.
Chief investment officer of Tiantu Capital, Feng Weidong, said that the fruit industry in China was a rising industry, with plenty of investment opportunities, and highlighted Pagoda’s current phase as one of rapid expansion.