Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
Japanese VC firm CyberAgent Ventures has continued to grow its portfolio in Taiwan after it invested an undisclosed amount into beauty and cosmetics-themed social networking site Fashionguide.com.tw.
Users of the Chinese site post their own reviews of beauty and cosmetics products, which makes it an ideal destination for those wanting original ‘everyday’ opinions about items that they are interesting in buying. CyberAgent Ventures says that the funds will be used to launch and support a range of new women’s lifestyle services, one of which is its Pinterest-like 愛漂亮 service (loosely translated as ‘Love To Be Pretty’) that debuted last year and has “already gained some promising traction”.
Mobile is also on the agenda and the company is working on building mobile apps for its users.
The service is a relative Internet veteran, having first launched in 1997, and that has helped it become one of the country’s top sites. Alexa’s Web ranking service pegs it as Taiwan’s 125th most popular site and CyberAgent Venture’s Taiwan-based representative Catherine Chang tells TNW that it sees “millions” of unique visits each month.
“There’s a complete void for this type of product in the market now, and especially with the aggressive entry into Taiwan market by Taobao late last year, the demand for EC related services should become increasingly apparent,” Chang says.
Chang further explains that it sees potential for social services like FashionGuide.
“We are interested in services that enhance and add value to the existing online shopping experience for users, often those will involve some sort of social layer. Social media is also where one of our core competencies lies in terms of our own group businesses and providing this type of know-how is where we believe as a financial backer we can offer valuable resources.”
The deal sees Fashionguide become the fourth member of CyberAgent Venture’s portfolio in Taiwan. The Japanese firm opened an office in the country in October 2011, and previous deals have seen it invest in dating site iPart, restaurant review service iPeen and social cooking network iCook. The firm has backed startups in China, Korea, Southeast Asia and, of course, its native Japan.
The investment has been made via the CA-JAIC China Internet Fund II which is jointly run by CyberAgent Ventures and Japan Asia Investment.
Headline image via Thinkstock
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