Chinese Media 36Kr reported that the underwear brand “NEIWAI” recently won the D round of financing for the sum of $100 million. This round of financing was led by a global US dollar investment group in addition to long-time shareholders of Vertex Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners, as well as Investarget who is also acting as the exclusive financial advisor.
This round of financing will be used for R&D and the design of new categories of clothing, brand building, in addition to the domestic and international expansion of the company’s current product channels.
Established in 2012, NEIWAI focused on non-steel ring underwear market segmentation in the early days. Liu Xiaolu, founder of NEIWAI, told 36 Kr “Many people think that our company is a lingerie brand, but we consider ourselves to be an intimate apparel brand. Going forward, the proportion of underwear, casual home wear and sports clothing categories will gradually increase to about 30%, 40% and 30%.”
With “comfort” as the main theme, the company is targeting new middle-class female users aged 25-40 by providing about 400-500 SKU products related to a variety of work, home, and sport scenarios every season.
In 2020, NEIWAI announced Faye Wong as its global spokesperson and explored some issues such as women’s body diversity, lifestyle and intimate relationships through its “NO BODY IS NOBODY” and other brand projects.
The main goal of NEIWAI’s push of its online shopping experience is to attract would-be buyers with cost-effective, simple and straightforward styling of underwear as the main focus. Online and offline hot-selling bra products also vary in styles and prices: online products sell for ¥150-200, while ¥300-600 for offline products.
Offline sales, however, is becoming a top priority for the company’s future development. In the past few years, more than 120 brick and mortar stores have been set up in the core business districts of 32 first- and second-tier cities in China. In April this year, its first concept flagship store was reopened in Shanghai’s Jing An Kerry Centre, with the first month sales exceeding ¥2 million.
NEIWAI ACTIVE, a sports brand of NEIWAI, has been introduced offline and has received positive feedback with its research and development in the underwear clothing industry. Liu Xiaolu told 36 Kr that, as a brand emphasizing body expression, NEIWAI has chosen dance as the core entry point because pan-dance is becoming a larger trend for young people these days. In addition to dance, the company will provide products for other urban women’s sports activities, such as yoga and Pilates, and even more fashionable niche sports.
Going international is also a key part of NEIWAI’s strategy. In 2020, the company set up an operation’s team in the United States, and launched an official, independently-run international website in October. With comfortable products and distinct brand values, its overseas users grew rapidly and its annual sales in 2021 are expected to exceed $30 million as the company has yet to see its products listed on Amazon’s channels.