Correction: An original version of this article said Yo-ren was incorporated in Japan, not China.
Yo-ren, a Chinese retail company that aims to sell Japanese fashion to the international market, has raised US$11 million led by Lawson and T-Gaia Corporation.
The company plans to expand to Malaysia and Thailand in the near future. At the moment, it has spent its energy working to become a go-to shopping destination for people in China who want to buy Japanese fashion.
Yo-ren claims to have 7.5 million customers.
Besides expanding into Southeast Asia, the company is using the money to enhance its technology for an OMO strategy. OMO is a term that is not commonly used in Southeast Asia but it means Online-Merge-Offline and is generally thought to be coined by Jack Ma of Alibaba.
The most extreme example of an OMO strategy are the employee-less shops that let people walk out with the goods (and charges them accordingly). Alibaba and Amazon have made these places famous in China and the US respectively.
The strategy entails mixing traditional e-commerce with more cutting edge technologies like artificial intelligence and big data integration. Yo-ren wrote the following in a press announcement:
“We foresee the optimal use of digital environments as a service and big data gathered from increasingly connected networks as critical up-and-coming managerial problems.”
The goal is to become a next-generation retailer in China and provide customers with a path to better products (and presumably in Malaysia and Thailand in the future).
Yo-ren was established in 2011 by Osamu Kaneda after previously working at JD.com.