Meet the iHush founder Pierre de Vilmorin, the Frenchman disrupting China’s eCommerce leader Taobao

Aug 20, 2013
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The following is a guest post by Corinne LUANELAP, working as a consultant at Daxue Consulting. Daxue Consulting was founded by Matthieu DAVID in 2009, and offers consulting and market research services to companies that want to develop their business in China. You can follow them on Twitter @DaxueConsulting.

When we think about e-commerce in China, the first name that pops into our mind is Taobao. If China Online shopping were a kingdom, Taobao would be their indisputable king with TMall and its 48.5% of the market share for the B2C market. However, Taobao clearly suffers from its reputation of cheap, low quality, and even counterfeit products. Pierre de Vilmorin exposed this weakness to differentiate ihush from Taobao when it entered the Chinese e-commerce market.

Pierre de VilmorinPierre de Vilmorin is a French entrepreneur who arrived in China for the first time in 2001 and stayed for 3 months learning Chinese and traveling through the country. He decided to realize his dreams of opening a business in China in 2008 when he founded his Chinese e-commerce website ihush with the help of the 2 million euros he raised from his family in France. Three years later, he raised another $43 million in venture capital funding from Capital today and Matrix Partners China.

Ihush is a copycat of the famous French website Ventes Privees. Ihush.com sells branded products online but its products are only available for a fixed and short window of time, with a 20% to 80% discount off the original price. Everyday, about half a dozen new sale events are launched on ihush.com at 12 o’clock and each event last for three to fifteen days. Pierre made the choice of cooperating with more than 500 young and fashion brands to attract consumers under the age of 30 who would normally buy products from Taobao.

The secret of his success? Inexpensive but branded products that you can’t find anywhere else. And how about counterfeit products? The website earns his consumers’ trust with its alluring “10000欧正品保障” policy which gives the consumers a €10 000 insurance for counterfeit products. On top of that, Pierre is one of the few French businessmen who manage to run his business like a Chinese businessman: he is the only foreigner in his office amongst his 400 Chinese employees. Quite impressive, right? So I don’t know about you but I would definitely go and take a look on this amazing website!