ByteDance, owner of short video app TikTok, has invested in Dubai-based courier company iMile Delivery that services Chinese online vendors, reports Bloomberg. The company’s series A funding round, one of the Middle East’s largest by a female founder to date, raised $40 million and valued iMile at $350 million. ByteDance committed around $10 million at a lower valuation.
Consumer habits have shifted during coronavirus lockdowns that kept people at home and glued to their devices. Even before the pandemic, e-commerce activity has already taken off in the Middle East, where Amazon vies for dominance with its regional rival Noon.com.
They face stiff competition from new entrants like JD.com and Chinese sellers that are often more affordable, such as online retailer SheIn, backed by Tiger Global Management. E-commerce vendors are meanwhile increasingly using social media to target shoppers, which may explain the TikTok owner’s investment in a shipping company.