LONDON — Neiwai, the homegrown Shanghainese lingerie brand, said Thursday it has raised $100 million in series D funding, led by Carlyle Group, in addition to Vertex Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners and Investarget, which acted as the exclusive financial adviser.
The 10-year-old brand said the money raised will be used to develop products and categories, raise brand awareness and accelerate global expansion.
Neiwai, which means “inside-outside” in Mandarin, was founded in 2012 by Xiaolu Liu and her husband Jiang Li after the couple returned home to Shanghai from the U.S. They began by creating high-quality, wireless bras that were comfortable yet stylish and selling them online. They have developed into an online and offline lifestyle retailer with more than 120 stores across China, carrying ready-to-wear, sportswear and undergarments for men and women.
The brand revealed that during the first half of 2021, sales jumped 260 percent, and its monthly sales recently surpassed 200 million renminbi, or $31 million. It plans to open 80 more stores by the end of 2021.
Back in 2018, the couple told WWD that they have plans to expand their brand into the children’s wear market and develop an offline presence in North America, South East Asia and Europe.
The label launched an independently run international website in October 2020 and offers global shipping. According to the brand, its overseas annual sales in 2021 are expected to exceed $30 million.
It’s understood that its offline global expansion has been put on hold due to the pandemic, but with things going back to normal and capital in place, San Francisco or New York is likely to be the first place outside China to host a Neiwai brick-and-mortar store, according to sources.