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Shopline, a DIY e-commerce platform helping businesses launch and manage online shops, has closed an investment round from the Hong Kong Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, a not-for-profit initiative launched by Alibaba Group in 2015.

“In one year, business has grown five-fold, with 2 offices now in Hong Kong and Taipei, and the team has grown from 5 to 30 people. This new funding will be used for team expansion, product development and customer acquisition. We are aiming for profitability and actively assessing our next market,” said Tony Wong, Co-founder and CEO of Shopline.

Started in 2014, Shopline is a B2B e-commerce software platform for merchants in Asia. It provides a full-featured package that allows merchants to easily set up an online shop that is optimised for all desktop and mobile devices. Merchants can also exploit the sales management functions, regional logistic and payment gateways, wide selection of store front designs, value-added service modules, native language support, local customer support as well as data analytics tools.

Till date, the startup has signed up over 60,000 merchants from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Shopline has previously raised US$1.2 million in seed funding in February last year.

“Alibaba has a global e-commerce vision to make it easy to do business anywhere, which is in line with Shopline’s mission. We strongly believe in building entrepreneur’s dreams and helping merchants through their challenges,” Wong added.

As B2C e-commerce continues to evolve and mature, global cross-border transactions are expected to reach US$1 trillion or more in 2020, further proving the great potential of e-commerce businesses. In both Taiwan and Hong Kong, more than 90 per cent of businesses are local small to medium sized enterprises, Shopline particular aims to target this segment to get online quickly.

Shopline’s data indicates that more than 60 per cent transactions are completed via mobile devices, with 10pm to 2am being the most popular shopping time, a time which is already past the closing time for traditional offline stores. This indicates a need for businesses to go online and cater such group of shoppers.

The Entrepreneurs Fund is a not-for-profit initiative launched by Alibaba Group in 2015 to help entrepreneurs and young graduates realise their dreams and vision. Two separate funds have been set up in Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively to support specific programs in each place.