20-F 1 a19-1144_120f.htm 20-F

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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 


 

FORM 20-F

 

(Mark One)

 

o

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR 12(g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

 

OR

 

 

x

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018.

 

 

OR

 

 

o

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from                       to                        

 

 

OR

 

 

o

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Date of event requiring this shell company report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

Commission file number: 001-38201

 


 

Secoo Holding Limited

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 


 

Not Applicable

(Translation of Registrant’s Name Into English)

 


 

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)

 


 

15/F, Building C, Galaxy SOHO

Chaonei Street, Dongcheng District

Beijing 100000

The People’s Republic of China

Telephone: +86 10 6588-0135 Email: chenshaojun@secoo.com

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

 

Name of Each Exchange On Which Registered

American depositary shares, two American depositary shares representing one Class A ordinary share
Class A ordinary shares, par value US$0.001 per share*

 

The NASDAQ Global Market

 


*Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing on the NASDAQ Global Market of American depositary shares.

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

 

None

(Title of Class)

 


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Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:

 

None

(Title of Class)

 

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report:

 

As of December 31, 2018, there were 25,122,199 shares outstanding, par value $0.001 per share, being the sum of 18,550,770 Class A ordinary shares and 6,571,429 Class B ordinary shares.

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

o Yes   x No

 

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

o Yes   x No

 

Note — Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

x Yes   o No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

x Yes   o No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer o

 

Accelerated filer x

 

Non-accelerated filer o

 

Emerging growth company x

 

If an emerging growth company that prepare its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. x

 

†The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

 

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

U.S. GAAP x

 

International Financial Reporting
Standards as issued
by the International Accounting
Standards Board
o

 

Other o

 

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.

o Item 17   o Item 18

 

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

o Yes   x No

 

(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.

 

o Yes   o No

 


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION

1

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

1

PART I.

 

2

ITEM 1.

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

2

ITEM 2.

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

2

ITEM 3.

KEY INFORMATION

3

ITEM 4.

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

42

ITEM 4A.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

70

ITEM 5.

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

71

ITEM 6.

DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

89

ITEM 7.

MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

97

ITEM 8.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

98

ITEM 9.

THE OFFER AND LISTING

99

ITEM 10.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

99

ITEM 11.

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURE ABOUT MARKET RISK

107

ITEM 12.

DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

108

PART II.

 

110

ITEM 13.

DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

110

ITEM 14.

MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

110

ITEM 15.

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

111

ITEM 16A.

AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

112

ITEM 16B.

CODE OF ETHICS

112

ITEM 16C.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNT FEES AND SERVICES

112

ITEM 16D.

EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

112

ITEM 16E.

PURCHASE OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS

112

ITEM 16F.

CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT

113

ITEM 16G.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

113

ITEM 16H.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

113

PART III.

 

113

ITEM 17.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

113

ITEM 18.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

113

ITEM 19.

EXHIBITS

113

SIGNATURES

116

 

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INTRODUCTION

 

Unless otherwise indicated and except where the context otherwise requires, references in this annual report on Form 20-F to:

 

·                  “ADRs” are to the American depositary receipts that evidence our ADSs;

 

·                  “ADSs” are to our American depositary shares, two of which represent one Class A ordinary share;

 

·                  “China” or the “PRC” is to the People’s Republic of China, excluding, for the purposes of this annual only, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan;

 

·                  “Class A ordinary shares” are to our Class A ordinary shares, par value US$0.001 per share;

 

·                  “Class B ordinary shares” are to our Class B ordinary shares, par value US$0.001 per share;

 

·                  “ordinary shares” are to our Class A and Class B ordinary shares, par value US$0.001 per share;

 

·                  “GMV” for a given period is to the total value of all orders of products and services, excluding the value of whole car sales, placed on our online platform and in our offline experience centers for such period, regardless of whether the products are delivered or returned or whether the services are cancelled;

 

·                  “RMB” and “Renminbi” are to the legal currency of China;

 

·                  “Registered members” as of a specified date are to any consumer who has registered and created an account on our platform;

 

·                  “Secoo,” “we,” “us,” “our company” and “our” are to Secoo Holding Limited, its subsidiaries and its consolidated variable interest entities;

 

·                  “SKUs” for a given period are to stock keeping units offered on our online platform and in our offline experience centers. The number of SKUs does not represent the number of distinct products offered on our online platform and in our offline experience centers;

 

·                  “Total orders” for a given period are to the total number of orders of products and services, excluding the number of whole car sales, placed on our online platform and in our offline experience centers for such period, regardless of whether the products are delivered or returned or whether the services are cancelled; and

 

·                  “US$,” “U.S. dollars,” “$,” and “dollars” are to the legal currency of the United States.

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current expectations and views of future events. The forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “Safe Harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigations Reform A of 1995.

 

You can identify some of these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “is/are likely to,” “potential,” “continue” or other similar expressions. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These forward-looking statements include statements relating to:

 

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·                  our goals and strategies;

 

·                  our future business development, financial conditions and results of operations;

 

·                  the expected growth of the online and offline retail markets of upscale products and services market in China;

 

·                  our expectations regarding demand for and market acceptance of our products and services;

 

·                  our expectations regarding our relationships with customers, suppliers and third-party sellers;

 

·                  our plans to invest in our fulfillment infrastructure and technology platform;

 

·                  competition in our industry; and

 

·                  relevant government policies and regulations relating to our industry.

 

These forward-looking statements involve various risks and uncertainties. Although we believe that our expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, our expectations may later be found to be incorrect. Our actual results could be materially different from our expectations. Other sections of this annual report discuss factors which could adversely impact our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. You should thoroughly read this annual report and the documents that we refer to with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from and worse than what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

 

This annual report on Form 20-F contains certain data and information that we obtained from various government and private publications. Statistical data in these publications also include projections based on a number of assumptions. The upscale product retail industry may not grow at the rate projected by market data, or at all. Failure of this market to grow at the projected rate may have a material and adverse effect on our business and the market price of our ADSs. In addition, the rapidly changing nature of the upscale product retail industry results in significant uncertainties for any projections or estimates relating to the growth prospects or future condition of our market. Furthermore, if any one or more of the assumptions underlying the market data are later found to be incorrect, actual results may differ from the projections based on these assumptions. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.

 

The forward-looking statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. You should read this annual report and the documents that we refer to in this annual report and have filed as exhibits to the registration statement, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect.

 

PART I.

 

ITEM 1.                                                IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2.                                                OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

 

Not applicable.

 

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ITEM 3.                                                KEY INFORMATION

 

A.                                    Selected Financial Data

 

Our Selected Consolidated Financial Data

 

The following summary consolidated statements of comprehensive income/(loss) data (other than ADS data) for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018, and summary consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2017 and 2018 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report. The selected consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2016 has been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements not included in this annual report. Our consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results expected for future periods.

 

You should read the summary consolidated financial data together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” below. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of our results expected for future periods.

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

US$

 

 

 

(in thousands, except for share, per share and per ADS data)

 

Selected Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income/(Loss) Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total revenues

 

2,593,822

 

3,740,455

 

5,387,577

 

783,590

 

Cost of revenues

 

(2,193,676

)

(3,128,441

)

(4,427,844

)

(644,003

)

Gross profit

 

400,146

 

612,014

 

959,733

 

139,587

 

Total operating expenses

 

(429,378

)

(517,193

)

(740,458

)

(107,695

)

(Loss)/income from operations

 

(29,232

)

94,821

 

219,275

 

31,892

 

Net (loss)/income

 

(44,573

)

133,409

 

155,546

 

22,623

 

Net (loss)/income attributable to ordinary shareholders of Secoo Holding Limited

 

(640,359

)

(69,421

)

151,833

 

22,083

 

Net (loss)/income per Class A and Class B Ordinary share

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— Basic

 

(89.06

)

(5.55

)

6.02

 

0.88

 

— Diluted

 

(89.06

)

(5.55

)

5.80

 

0.84

 

Net (loss)/income per ADS(1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— Basic

 

(44.53

)

(2.78

)

3.01

 

0.44

 

— Diluted

 

(44.53

)

(2.78

)

2.90

 

0.42

 

Weighted average number of Class A and Class B Ordinary shares outstanding used in computing net (loss)/income per share

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— Basic

 

7,189,933

 

12,500,821

 

25,235,404

 

25,235,404

 

— Diluted

 

7,189,933

 

12,500,821

 

26,182,922

 

26,182,922

 

 


Note:

 

(1)         Two ADSs represent one Class A ordinary share.

 

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As of December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

US$

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Selected Consolidated Balance Sheets Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash

 

55,555

 

453,425

 

1,034,385

 

150,445

 

Time deposits

 

 

292,318

 

68,632

 

9,982

 

Restricted cash

 

155,792

 

179,014

 

92,022

 

13,384

 

Investment in equity security

 

 

 

26,032

 

3,786

 

Accounts receivable

 

20,992

 

54,210

 

119,580

 

17,392

 

Inventories

 

752,103

 

1,189,885

 

1,712,740

 

249,108

 

Total assets

 

1,045,816

 

2,337,708

 

3,791,926

 

551,512

 

Accounts payable

 

274,629

 

318,414

 

498,579

 

72,515

 

Total liabilities

 

739,435

 

1,047,314

 

2,282,413

 

331,962

 

Total mezzanine equity

 

1,754,534

 

5,582

 

7,587

 

1,103

 

Total liabilities, mezzanine equity and shareholders’ equity

 

1,045,816

 

2,337,708

 

3,791,926

 

551,512

 

 

We present our financial results in RMB. We make no representation that any RMB or U.S. dollar amounts could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. dollars or RMB, as the case may be, at any particular rate, or at all. The PRC government imposes control over its foreign currency reserves in part through direct regulation of the conversion of RMB into foreign exchange and through restrictions on foreign trade.

 

Translations of balances from RMB into US$ as of and for the year ended December 31, 2018 are solely for the convenience of the readers and were calculated at the rate of US$1.00=RMB6.8755, representing the noon buying rate in The City of New York for cable transfers of RMB as certified for customs purposes by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on December 31, 2018.

 

B.                                    Capitalization and Indebtedness

 

Not applicable.

 

C.                                    Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

 

Not applicable.

 

D.                                    Risk Factors

 

Risk Related to Our Business

 

Any harm to our Secoo brand or reputation may materially and adversely affect our business and growth prospects.

 

We believe that the recognition and reputation of our Secoo brand among our customers, suppliers, brands, third-party merchants and other service providers have contributed significantly to the growth and success of our business. Maintaining and enhancing the recognition and reputation of our brand are critical to our business and competitiveness. Many factors, some of which are beyond our control, are important to maintaining and enhancing our brand. These factors include our ability to:

 

·                  provide a good online shopping experience to customers;

 

·                  maintain the popularity, diversity, quality and authenticity of the products we offer;

 

·                  maintain the efficiency, reliability and quality of our fulfillment services;

 

·                  maintain or improve customer satisfaction with our after-sales services;

 

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·                  increase brand awareness through advertising and brand promotion activities; and

 

·                  preserve our reputation and goodwill in the event of any negative publicity on customer services, internet security, product quality, price or authenticity, or other issues affecting us or the online retail industry in China in general.

 

A public perception that unauthorized, non-authentic, counterfeit or defective goods are sold on our platform or that we or our third-party service providers do not provide satisfactory customer service, regardless of veracity, could damage our reputation, diminish the value of our brand, undermine the trust and credibility we have established and have a negative impact on our ability to attract new customers or retain our current customers. If we are unable to maintain our reputation, enhance our brand recognition or increase positive awareness of our website, mobile applications, offline experience center, products and services, it may be difficult to maintain and grow our customer base, and our business and growth prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

 

If we are unable to manage our growth or execute our strategies effectively, our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

 

We have been growing rapidly since we commenced our current business operations in 2011. To accommodate our growth, we anticipate that we will need to implement a variety of new and upgraded operational and financial systems, procedures and controls, including the improvement of our accounting and other internal management systems. We will also need to continue to expand, train, manage and motivate our workforce and manage our relationships with customers, suppliers, brand owners, third-party merchants and other service providers. As we selectively increase our product offerings, we will need to work with different groups of new suppliers and third-party merchants efficiently and establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with our existing and new suppliers, brand owners and third-party merchants. All of these endeavors involve risks, and will require substantial management effort and significant additional expenditures. We cannot assure you that we will be able to manage our growth or execute our strategies effectively, and any failure to do so may have a material adverse effect on our business and prospects.

 

We have incurred and in the future may continue to incur net losses and negative cash flow from operating activities.

 

We have accumulated net losses since we commenced our current business operations in 2011. Our net losses were RMB44.6 million in 2016. Although we recorded a net income of RMB133.4 million and RMB155.5 million (US$22.6 million) in 2017 and 2018, respectively, we cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to generate net income or positive cash flow from operating activities in the future. We anticipate that our profitability will depend in large part on our ability to increase our gross margin by obtaining more favorable terms from our suppliers as our business further grows in scale, managing our product mix, expanding our online platform and our offline experience centers and services and offering value-added services with higher margins. Accordingly, we intend to continue to invest heavily for the foreseeable future in our fulfillment infrastructure, website, mobile applications, offline experience centers and new technology to support an even larger selection of products and to offer additional value-added services. As a result of the foregoing, our net income margin may decline or we may incur net losses or negative cash flow in the future and may not be able to maintain profitability on a quarterly or annual basis.

 

If we fail to manage and expand our relationships with suppliers, or otherwise fail to procure products at favorable terms, our business and growth prospects may suffer.

 

We source products from third-party suppliers. Our suppliers include brands, brand authorized distributors and individual and corporate suppliers (including professional shoppers). Maintaining strong relationships with these suppliers is important to the growth of our business. In particular, we depend significantly on our ability to procure products from suppliers on favorable terms. We typically enter into one-year framework agreements with most of our suppliers on an annual basis, and these framework agreements do not ensure availability of products, continuation of particular pricing practices or payment terms beyond the end of the contractual term. We cannot assure you that our current suppliers will continue to sell products to us on commercially acceptable terms, or at all, after the expiration of their current contracts with us. Even if we maintain good relationships with our suppliers, their ability to supply products to us in sufficient quantities and at competitive prices may be adversely affected by economic conditions, labor actions, regulatory or legal decisions, natural disasters or other causes. Furthermore, as some of our suppliers source from brands with vertically integrated exclusive distribution channels, if these brands synchronize their global pricing strategies, our suppliers might not be able to source products with competitive prices. In the event that we are not able to source products at favorable prices, our revenues and gross profit as a percentage of revenues may be materially and adversely affected. In addition, brand suppliers may restrict us from sourcing their brand products from other sources to protect their brand, which may adversely and materially affect our global supply chain system, and hence reduce our operation efficiency.

 

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In the event that any of our suppliers fail to obtain authorization from the relevant brands to sell certain products to us, they may be prevented from selling products to us or selling vintage goods at our online platform, which may adversely affect our business and revenues. In addition, if our suppliers cease to grant us favorable payment terms, our working capital requirements may increase and our operations may be materially and adversely affected. We will also need to establish new supplier relationships to ensure that we have access to a steady supply of products on favorable commercial terms. If we are unable to develop and maintain good relationships with suppliers that would allow us to obtain a sufficient amount and variety of authentic and quality products on acceptable commercial terms, we may be unable to meet customer demands for these products or to offer these products at attractive prices. Any negative developments in our relationships with our existing suppliers or failure to attract new suppliers and third party merchants could materially and adversely affect our business and growth prospects.

 

If we are unable to provide good customer experience, our business and reputation may be materially and adversely affected.

 

The success of our business hinges on our ability to provide good customer experience, which in turn depends on a variety of factors. These factors include our ability to continue to offer authentic products at competitive prices, source products to respond to evolving customer tastes and demands, maintain the quality of our products and services, and provide timely and reliable delivery, flexible payment options and good after-sales service.

 

We rely on contracted third-party delivery service providers to deliver our products and under some circumstances, collect payment. Interruptions to or failures in the delivery services could prevent the timely or successful delivery of our products. These interruptions or failures may be due to unforeseen events that are beyond our control or the control of our third-party delivery service providers, such as inclement weather, natural disasters, transportation disruptions or labor unrest. If our products are not delivered on time or are delivered in a damaged state, customers may refuse to accept delivery and have less confidence in our services. Furthermore, the delivery personnel of contracted third-party delivery service providers directly interact with our customers on our behalf. Any failure for these personnel to provide high-quality delivery and payment collection services to our customers may negatively impact the shopping experience of our customers, damage our reputation and cause us to lose customers.

 

If our customer service representatives, sales representatives or maintenance engineers and technicians fail to provide satisfactory service, our brand and customer loyalty may be adversely affected. In addition, any negative publicity or poor feedback regarding our customer service may harm our brand and reputation and in turn cause us to lose customers and market share.

 

If we are unable to offer products that attract new customers and new purchases from existing customers, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Our future growth depends on our ability to continue to attract new customers as well as new purchases from existing customers. Constantly changing consumer preferences and product trends have affected and will continue to affect the online and offline upscale product retail industry in China. We must stay abreast of emerging consumer preferences and anticipate product trends that will appeal to existing and potential customers. Our platform makes product recommendations to customers based on their purchases or browsing history, and we also send e-mails to our customers with product recommendations tailored to their purchase profile. Our ability to make individually tailored recommendations is dependent on our business intelligence system, which tracks, collects and analyzes our users’ browsing and purchasing behaviors, to provide accurate and reliable information. In addition, our customers choose to purchase authentic and quality products on our platform due in part to the attractive prices that we offer, and they may choose to shop elsewhere if we cannot match the prices offered by other websites or physical stores. If our customers cannot find their desired products on our website or offline experience centers at attractive prices, our customers may lose interest in us and visit our platform less frequently or even stop visiting our platform, which in turn may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We plan to further expand our fulfillment infrastructure. If we are not able to manage such expansion successfully, or if we experience any interruption in the operation of our fulfillment infrastructure, our growth potential, business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

We believe our fulfillment network, currently consisting of strategically located logistics centers in Beijing, Yichun, Hong Kong and Milan and supported by our offline experience centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Tianjin, Xiamen, Qingdao and Malaysia, which perform certain warehousing functions, is essential to our success. If any of the landlords terminates existing lease agreements with us, or materially alters any existing arrangements with us, we may be forced to leave the premises and may not be adequately compensated for our investment, or at all. We plan to establish more logistics centers to increase our warehouse capacity, accommodate more customer orders and provide better coverage of our target markets. As we continue to add logistics centers, our fulfillment network becomes increasingly complex and challenging to operate. We cannot assure you that we will be able to lease new facilities suitable to our needs on commercially acceptable terms or at all. We may not be able to recruit a sufficient number of qualified employees with regards to the expansion of our fulfillment network. In addition, the expansion of our fulfillment infrastructure may strain our managerial, financial, operational and other resources. If we fail to manage such expansion successfully, our growth potential, business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Further, our ability to process and fulfill orders accurately and provide high quality customer service depends on the smooth operation of our logistics centers. Our fulfillment infrastructure may be vulnerable to damage caused by fire, flood, power outage, telecommunications failure, break-ins, earthquake, human error and other events. If any of our logistics centers or offline experience centers were rendered incapable of operations, then we may be unable to fulfill any orders in the relevant regions. In addition, natural disastrous events, such as fire and flood, could damage our fulfillment infrastructure and result in damages to our inventory stored in or delivered through our fulfillment infrastructure, which would cause losses in our operations. We do not carry business interruption insurance, and the occurrence of any of the foregoing risks could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We have invested and will continue to invest in upgrading our technology platform and expanding our offline experience centers and logistics centers. We are likely to incur costs associated with these investments before receiving the anticipated return, and the actual return on these investments may be lower, or may develop more slowly, than we expect. We may not be able to recover our capital expenditures or investments, in part or in full, or the recovery of these capital expenditures or investments may take longer than expected. As a result, the carrying value of the related assets may be subject to an impairment charge, which could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We have a limited operating history with our current business model and business approach, which makes it difficult to predict our future prospects and financial performance.

 

We have a limited operating history with our current business model. We commenced our current merchandising sales business model in 2011. We opened our first offline experience center in Beijing and launched our website in April in the same year. We launched our mobile application and began to significantly expand our marketplace services business in 2013 and 2014, respectively. We expanded direct cooperation with top-tier global brands and offered omni-channel commerce solutions to physical boutiques and department stores in 2016. Under our current business model, we have generated limited revenues, and may not produce significant revenues in the near term which may harm our ability to obtain additional financing and may require us to reduce or discontinue our operations. The upscale product market in China is still in its early stage. You must consider our business and prospects in light of the risks and difficulties we will encounter as an early-stage operating company in a new and rapidly evolving industry. We may not be able to successfully address these risks and difficulties, which could significantly harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

 

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We face intense competition. We may lose market share and customers if we fail to compete effectively.

 

The retail market of upscale products in China is fragmented and highly competitive. We face competition from traditional offline upscale product retailers and their online platforms, domestic and global brand online platforms, major domestic e-commerce platforms and global online upscale product retailers, such as Net-A-Porter.com. See “Item 4.B. Business Overview—Competition.” Our current or future competitors may have longer operating histories, greater brand recognition, better supplier relationships, larger customer bases, more cost-effective fulfillment capabilities or greater financial, technical or marketing resources than we do. Competitors may leverage their brand recognition, experience and resources to compete with us in a variety of ways, including investing more heavily in research and development and expanding of their product and service offerings through acquisition. Some of our competitors may be able to secure more favorable terms from suppliers, devote greater resources to marketing and promotional campaigns, adopt more aggressive pricing or inventory policies and devote substantially more resources to their websites and system development than us. In addition, new and enhanced technologies may increase the competition in the online retail market. Increased competition may reduce our revenues, market share, customer base and brand recognition. There can be no assurance that we will be able to compete successfully against current or future competitors, and such competitive pressures may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We may incur liability or become subject to administrative penalties for counterfeit or unauthorized products sold on our platform, or for products sold on our platform that infringe on third-party intellectual property rights, or for other misconduct.

 

We sourced our products from third-party suppliers. Although we have adopted measures to verify the authenticity and authorization of products sold on our platform and avoid potential infringement on third-party intellectual property rights in the course of sourcing and selling products, we may not always be successful in these efforts.

 

In the event that counterfeit, unauthorized or infringing products are sold on our platform, we could face claims for which we may be held liable. We have not in the past received claims alleging our infringement on third parties’ rights, and if we receive such claims in the future irrespective of their validity, we could incur significant costs and efforts in either defending against or settling such claims. If there is a successful claim against us, we might be required to pay substantial damages or refrain from further sale of the relevant products. If we negligently participate or assist in infringement activities associated with counterfeit goods, we may be subject to potential liability under PRC law including injunctions to cease infringing activities, rectification, compensation, administrative penalties and even criminal liability. Moreover, such third-party claims or administrative penalties could result in negative publicity and our reputation could be severely damaged. Any of these events could have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.

 

In addition, we believe that, our suppliers include individuals who engaged in “parallel importing”, the importing of legally obtained branded or patented products from one country or region into another country or region for sale without the consent of the intellectual property owner. Although our suppliers are responsible for the products they source, we have offered and are still offering products on our platform which we believe to be parallel imported. We may be subject to claims alleging that some products sold on our online platform or at our offline experience centers have not been authorized by the relevant brand owners, or may otherwise infringe upon third-party trademark rights.

 

Our form supply agreement requires suppliers to indemnify us for any losses we suffer or any costs that we incur arising from the quality, validity and legality of any products they supply to us. However, not all of our suppliers have entered into agreements with these terms, and for those suppliers entering into agreements with these terms, we may not be able to successfully enforce our contractual rights and may need to initiate costly and lengthy legal proceedings in China to protect our rights. See “Item 3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC regulation of internet-related business and companies.”

 

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Any lack of requisite approvals, licenses or permits applicable to our business may have a material and adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our business is subject to governmental supervision and regulation by the relevant PRC governmental authorities, including but not limited to the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or MIIT, and the Cyberspace Administration of China. Together, these government authorities promulgate and enforce regulations that cover many aspects of the operation of online retailing and distribution of upscale products, including entry into these industries, the scope of permissible business activities, licenses and permits for various business activities, and foreign investment. We are required to hold a number of licenses and permits in connection with our online platform operation, including the ICP license and the license for online data processing and transaction processing services, or the EDI license for Secoo.com and the ICP license and auction business permit for online auction business. See “Item 4.B. Regulation—Regulations Relating to Foreign Investment.” and “Item 4.B. Business Overview—Regulation—Licenses and Permits.”

 

As of the date of this annual report, we have not received any notice of warning or been subject to penalties or other disciplinary action from the relevant governmental authorities regarding improper use or lack of approvals, licenses and permits. However, we cannot assure you that we will not be subject to any penalties in the future. As online retailing is still evolving in China, new laws and regulations may be adopted from time to time to require additional approvals, licenses and permits other than those we currently have, and address new issues that arise from time to time. In addition, substantial uncertainties exist regarding the interpretation and implementation of current and any future PRC laws and regulations applicable to our businesses. For example, we offer mobile applications to mobile device users. It is uncertain if our variable interest entities will be required to obtain a separate operating license in addition to the valued-added telecommunications business operating licenses for internet content provision service. Although we believe that we are not required to obtain such separate license, which is in line with the current market practice, there can be no assurance that we will not be required to apply for an operating license for our mobile applications in the future. If the PRC government considers that we were operating without the proper approvals, licenses or permits or promulgates new laws and regulations that require additional approvals or licenses or imposes additional restrictions on the operation of any part of our business, it has the power, among other things, to levy fines, confiscate our income, revoke our business licenses, and require us to discontinue our relevant business or impose restrictions on the affected portion of our business. Any of these actions by the PRC government may have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations.

 

In August 2018, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the E-Commerce Law, which became effective on January 1, 2019. The E-Commerce Law imposes a number of new requirements and obligations on e-commerce platform operators. As no detailed interpretation and implementation rules have been promulgated, it remains uncertain how the newly adopted E-Commerce Law will be interpreted and implemented. We cannot assure you, however, that our current business operations meet the requirements under the E-Commerce Law in all respects. If the PRC governmental authorities determine that we are not in compliance with all the requirements under the E-Commerce Law and other applicable laws and rules, we may be subject to fines and/or other sanctions.

 

We may be challenged by relevant government authorities for products sold on our platform sourced from suppliers who fail to comply with PRC customs laws and regulations.

 

A large portion of products supplied by our suppliers are imported from countries or regions outside of China. Pursuant to relevant PRC customs laws and regulations, failure to complete proper import procedures or evading custom duties may lead to administrative or criminal sanctions imposed by competent PRC governmental or judicial authorities. Moreover, competent PRC governmental or judicial authorities may also impose sanctions on anybody who has (i) directly purchased illegally imported goods with the knowledge that such goods were illegally imported into China, or (ii) intentionally financed or otherwise assisted in such activities. Thus, our standard purchase agreement requires our suppliers to warrant to us as to the legality of the importing procedure of such products in either the purchase agreement with us or other written documents. According to our suppliers, for certain commercial and confidential reasons, they did not provide us with complete customs declaration documents or documents evidencing due payment of import duties. In addition, we cannot assure you that all of our suppliers are aware of customs laws and regulations that they should follow. Therefore, although our suppliers warrant that such products are imported legally through the proper import procedures and with the payment of the requisite custom duties, we cannot fully verify such statements ourselves.

 

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Despite our efforts to distinguish and reject products with questionable sources, we have not been able to have full knowledge of the customs clearance procedures that have been conducted for such products and we cannot rule out the possibility that we may be subject to investigations or sanctions. We adopted a new standard purchase agreement in the first quarter of 2015 which requires suppliers to indemnify us for any losses we suffer or any costs that we incur due to the illegal sourcing of their products. However, we may not be able to successfully enforce our contractual rights and may resort to costly and lengthy legal proceedings in China to protect our rights, which may cause us to incur significant costs and efforts and may divert our management’s attention from day-to-day operations. See “Item 3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.”

 

Although we have not in the past been the subject of any regulatory investigations or any civil, administrative or criminal sanctions under PRC customs laws and regulations, and, as of the date of this annual report, we are not aware of any such claims or actions by government authorities against us, and have no reason to believe that any such claims or actions will be brought forth in the foreseeable future, due to uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of PRC customs laws and regulations, we may be determined by competent governmental or judicial authorities to be in violation of PRC customs laws and regulations as a result of purchasing goods from law-breaking suppliers.

 

Starting from the first quarter of 2015, we further streamlined our supplier management including actively requesting our suppliers to produce complete customs declaration documents and documents evidencing due payment of import duties for products sold to us. However, we cannot guarantee you that we will be able to effectively manage our suppliers. Any adverse developments in our relationship with suppliers could materially and adversely affect our business reputation and growth prospects.

 

Our expansion into new product categories and new services may expose us to new challenges and more risks.

 

Since we commenced our current business operations in 2011, we have focused on selling upscale products such as watches, handbags and jewelry. We have expanded our product offerings in recent years to include selected categories of upscale lifestyle products and services, such as reservation services for luxury hotels or travel packages, and Secoo Check. Expansion into diverse new product categories and new services involves new business and legal risks and challenges. Our lack of familiarity with these products and services and lack of relevant customer data relating to these products and services may make it more difficult for us to anticipate customer demand and preferences. We might also incur additional costs to ensure compliance of laws and regulations. In addition, regulatory requirements relations to these products and services may be still evolving.

 

We may misjudge customer demand, resulting in excessive inventory and possible inventory write-down. It may also make it more difficult for us to inspect and control quality and ensure proper handling, storage and delivery of products. In addition, we may experience higher product returns on new categories of products we offer, receive more customer complaints about them and face costly product liability claims, which would harm our brand and reputation as well as our financial performance. Furthermore, we may not be able to negotiate favorable terms with suppliers. We may need to price aggressively to gain market share or remain competitive in new categories. It may be more difficult for us to achieve profitability in the new product categories and our profit margin, if any, may be lower than we anticipate, which would adversely affect our overall profitability and results of operations. We cannot assure you that we will be able to recoup our investments in introducing these new product categories.

 

Changes in our customers, product mix and pricing strategy could cause our gross profit margin percentage to decline in the future.

 

From time to time, we have experienced overall changes in the product mix demand of our customers. When our product mix changes, there can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain our historical gross profit margins. Changes in our customers, product mix, volume of orders or the prices charged could cause our gross profit margin percentage to decline. Our gross profit margin percentage may also come under pressure in the future if we increase the percentage of younger generations in our customer base, as sales to these customers are generally at lower margins. We have offered, and might continue to offer, greater product discounts to promote our mobile platform or flash sales and auction sales format which could result in the decrease of our gross profit margin percentage.

 

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If we fail to forecast customer demand or manage our inventory effectively, our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Our business requires us to manage a large volume of inventory effectively. We depend on our forecasts of demand for and popularity of various products to make purchase decisions and to manage our inventory. Demand for upscale products, however, may change significantly between the time a product is ordered by us and the date of sale on our platform. Demand may be affected by seasonality, new product launches, rapid changes in product cycles and pricing, product defects, changes in consumer spending patterns, changes in consumer tastes and other factors, and our customers may not order products in the quantities that we expect. It may be difficult to accurately forecast customer demand, and determine the appropriate products to procure.

 

If we fail to manage our inventory effectively, we may be subject to a heightened risk of inventory obsolescence, a decline in inventory values, and significant inventory write-downs or write-offs. In addition, we may be required to lower sale prices in order to reduce inventory level, which may lead to lower gross margins. High inventory levels may also require us to commit substantial working capital, preventing us from using that funding for other business purposes. Any of the above may materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

On the other hand, if we underestimate demand for our products, or if our suppliers fail to supply quality products in a timely manner, we may experience inventory shortages, which might result in lost sales, diminished brand loyalty and lost revenues, any of which could harm our business and reputation.

 

If we are unable to conduct marketing and sales activities cost-effectively, or if our customer acquisition costs or costs associated with serving our customers increase, our results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.

 

We have incurred significant expenses on a variety of advertising and brand promotion initiatives designed to enhance our brand recognition, acquire new customers and increase sales of our products. We incurred RMB218.8 million, RMB246.0 million and RMB410.5 million (US$59.7 million) of marketing expenses in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. We expect to continue to spend significant amounts to acquire additional customers and retain existing customers, primarily through advertising and brand promotion initiatives. Our decisions regarding investments in customer acquisition are based upon our analysis of the revenue we have historically generated per customer over the expected lifetime value of the customer. Our analysis of the revenue that we expect a customer to generate over his or her lifetime depends upon several estimates and assumptions, including the demographic groups of the customers, whether a customer will make a second order, whether a customer will make multiple orders in a month, average sales per order and the predictability of a customer’s purchase pattern. Our experience in markets or customer demographic groups in which we presently have low penetration rates may differ from our more established markets.

 

Our brand promotion and marketing activities may not be as effective as we anticipate. If our estimates and assumptions regarding the revenue we can generate from customers prove incorrect, or if the revenue generated from new customers differs significantly from that of existing customers, we may be unable to recover our customer acquisition costs or generate profits from our investment in acquiring new customers. Moreover, if our customer acquisition costs or other operating costs increase, the return on our investment may be lower than we anticipate irrespective of the revenue generated from new customers. If we cannot generate profits from this investment, we may need to alter our growth strategy, and our growth rate and results of operations may be harmed. In addition, marketing approaches and tools in the upscale product retail market in China are evolving, which require us to keep pace with industry developments and changing preferences. Failure to refine our existing marketing approaches or to introduce new marketing approaches in a cost-effective manner could reduce our market share, cause our revenues to decline and negatively impact our profitability, if any.

 

We use third-party delivery companies to deliver our products to customers. If these couriers fail to provide reliable delivery services, our business and reputation may be materially and adversely affected.

 

We engage a number of third-party delivery companies to deliver our products to our customers. Interruptions to or failures in these third parties’ delivery services could prevent the timely or proper delivery of our products to customers. These interruptions may be due to events that are beyond our control or the control of these delivery companies, such as inclement weather, natural disasters, transportation disruptions or labor unrest. In addition, if our third-party couriers fail to comply with applicable rules and regulations in China, our delivery services may be materially and adversely affected. We may not be able to find replacement delivery companies to provide delivery services in a timely and reliable manner, or at all. Delivery of our products could also be affected or interrupted by the merger, acquisition, insolvency or government shut-down of the delivery companies we engage, especially those local companies with relatively small business scales. If our products are not delivered in proper condition or on a timely basis, our business and reputation could suffer.

 

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Uncertainties relating to the growth and profitability of the upscale product retail industry in China in general, and the online upscale product retail industry in particular, could adversely affect our revenues and business prospects.

 

We generate a significant portion of our revenues from online retail, especially mobile applications. While online retail has existed in China since the 1990s, only recently have certain large online retail companies become profitable. The long-term viability and prospects of various online retail business models in China remain relatively untested. Our future results of operations will depend on numerous factors affecting the development of the online retail industry in China, which may be beyond our control. These factors include:

 

·                  the growth of internet, broadband, personal computer and mobile penetration and usage in China, and the rate of any such growth;

 

·                  the trust and confidence level of online retail consumers in China, as well as changes in customer demographics and consumer tastes and preferences;

 

·                  the selection, price and popularity of products that we and our competitors offer online;

 

·                  whether alternative retail channels or business models that better address the needs of consumers emerge in China; and

 

·                  the development of fulfillment, payment and other ancillary services associated with online purchases.

 

A decline in the popularity of online shopping in general, or any failure by us to adapt our platform and improve the online shopping experience of our customers in response to trends and consumer requirements, may adversely affect our revenues and business prospects.

 

Furthermore, the upscale product retail industry in China is very sensitive to macroeconomic changes, particularly changes in disposable income, and retail purchases tend to decline during recessionary periods. Substantially all of our revenues are derived from retail sales in China. Many factors outside of our control, including inflation and deflation, volatility of stock and property markets, interest rates, tax rates and other government policies and unemployment rates can adversely affect disposable income level, consumer confidence and spending, which could in turn materially and adversely affect our growth and profitability, if any. Unfavorable developments in domestic and international politics, including military conflicts, political turmoil and social instability, may also adversely affect disposable income level, consumer confidence and reduce spending, which could in turn materially and adversely affect our growth and profitability, if any.

 

Inability to obtain additional financing on commercially reasonable terms in the future may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

The online retail industry in China is very competitive. Maintaining our competitiveness and implementing our growth strategies both require us to obtain sufficient funds to maintain and expand our online and offline upscale product retail platform. We believe that our current cash, together with our anticipated cash from operations, is sufficient to meet our anticipated working capital requirements and capital expenditures. We may, however, require additional cash resources due to changed business conditions or other future developments, including any changes in our account payable policy, marketing initiatives or investments we may decide to pursue. Such additional financing may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. If these resources are insufficient to satisfy our cash requirements, we may seek to obtain a credit facility or sell additional equity or debt securities. To the extent that we raise additional financing by issuing equity securities or convertible debt securities, our shareholders may experience substantial dilution, and to the extent we engage in debt financing, we may become subject to restrictive covenants that could limit our flexibility in conducting future business activities. Financial institutions may request credit enhancement such as third-party guarantee and pledge of equity interest in order to extend loans to us.

 

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Our ability to obtain additional financing on acceptable terms is subject to a variety of uncertainties, including:

 

·                  PRC governmental policies relating to bank loans and other credit facilities;

 

·                  economic, political and other conditions in China;

 

·                  investors’ perception of, and demand for, securities of online retail companies;

 

·                  conditions of the United States and other capital markets in which we may seek to raise funds; and

 

·                  our future results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

 

If additional financing is not available on acceptable terms or at all, we may not be able to fund our expansion, enhance our products and services, respond to competitive pressures or take advantage of investment or acquisition opportunities, all of which may adversely affect our results of operations and business prospects.

 

If we fail to implement and maintain an effective system of internal controls or fail to remediate the material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting that has been identified, we may be unable to accurately report our results of operations or prevent fraud, and investor confidence and the market price of our ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

 

In connection with the audits of our consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2017 and 2018 and for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified a “material weakness” in our internal control over financial reporting, as defined in the standards established by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board of the United States. The material weakness identified related to the lack of sufficient financial reporting and accounting personnel with appropriate knowledge to implement key controls over period end financial reporting and to properly prepare and review financial statements and related disclosures in accordance with U.S. GAAP and SEC reporting requirements. Our failure to correct the material weakness and control deficiencies or to discover and address any other material weakness or control deficiencies could result in inaccuracies in our financial statements and could also impair our ability to comply with applicable financial reporting requirements and related regulatory filings on a timely basis. As a result, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ADSs, may be materially and adversely affected. Moreover, ineffective internal control over financial reporting significantly hinders our ability to prevent fraud.

 

Furthermore, it is possible that, had our independent accountant conducted an audit of our internal control over financial reporting, such accountant might have identified additional material weaknesses and deficiencies. We are subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or Section 404, requires that we include a report from management on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in our annual report on Form 20-F beginning with our annual report for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2018. In addition, once we cease to be an “emerging growth company” as such term is defined in the JOBS Act, our independent accountant must attest to and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Our management may conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective. Moreover, even if our management concludes that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, after we cease to be an emerging growth company our independent accountant, after conducting its own independent testing, may issue a report that is qualified if it is not satisfied with our internal controls or the level at which our controls are documented, designed, operated or reviewed, or if it interprets the relevant requirements differently from us. In addition, as we are a public company, our reporting obligations may place a significant strain on our management, operational and financial resources and systems. We may be unable to timely complete our evaluation testing and any required remediation.

 

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During the course of documenting and testing our internal control procedures, in order to satisfy the requirements of Section 404, we may identify other weaknesses and deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, if we fail to maintain the adequacy of our internal control over financial reporting, as these standards are modified, supplemented or amended from time to time, we may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404. If we fail to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment, we could suffer material misstatements in our financial statements and fail to meet our reporting obligations, which would likely cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information. This could in turn limit our access to capital markets, harm our results of operations, and lead to a decline in the trading price of our ADSs. Additionally, ineffective internal control over financial reporting could expose us to increased risk of fraud or misuse of corporate assets and subject us to potential delisting from the stock exchange on which we list, regulatory investigations and civil or criminal sanctions. We may also be required to restate our financial statements from prior periods.

 

If our senior management is unable to work together effectively or efficiently or if we lose their services, our business may be severely disrupted.

 

Our success heavily depends upon the continued services of our management. In particular, we rely on the expertise and experience of Mr. Richard Rixue Li, our founder, director and chief executive officer, and other executive officers. If they cannot work together effectively or efficiently, our business may be severely disrupted. If one or more of our senior management were unable or unwilling to continue in their present positions, we might not be able to replace them easily or at all, and our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. If any of our senior management joins a competitor or forms a competing business, we may lose customers, suppliers, know-how and key professionals and staff members. Each of our senior management has entered into employment agreements and confidentiality and non-competition agreements with us. However, if any dispute arises between our senior management and us, we may have to incur substantial costs and expenses in order to enforce such agreements in China or we may be unable to enforce them at all.

 

If we are unable to recruit, train and retain qualified personnel or sufficient workforce while controlling our labor costs, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

 

We intend to hire additional qualified employees to support our business operations and planned expansion. Our future success depends, to a significant extent, on our ability to recruit, train and retain qualified personnel, particularly experienced engineers and technicians with expertise in upscale product authentication. Our experienced mid-level managers are instrumental in implementing our business strategies, executing our business plans and supporting our business operations and growth. The effective operation of our managerial and operating systems, fulfillment infrastructure, customer service center and other back office functions also depends on the hard work and quality performance of our management and employees. Since our industry is characterized by high demand and intense competition for talent and labor, we can provide no assurance that we will be able to attract or retain qualified staff or other highly skilled employees that we will need to achieve our strategic objectives. Our fulfillment infrastructure is labor intensive and requires a substantial number of blue-collar workers, and these positions tend to have higher than average turnover. Labor costs in China have increased with China’s economic development, particularly in the large cities where we operate our logistics centers. Rising inflation in China, which has had a disproportionate impact on everyday essentials such as food, is also putting pressure on wages. In addition, as we are still a company at an early stage of development, our ability to train and integrate new employees into our operations may also be limited and may not meet the demand for our business growth on a timely fashion, or at all. If we are unable to attract, train and retain qualified personnel, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

 

We may be the subject of anti-competitive, harassing, or other detrimental conduct by third parties including complaints to regulatory agencies, negative blog postings, short seller reports and the public dissemination of malicious characterization of our business.

 

We have been subject to negative postings and other media exposure in the past. We may become the target of anti-competitive, harassing, or other detrimental conduct by third parties. Such conduct includes complaints, anonymous or otherwise, to regulatory agencies and short seller reports. We may be subject to government or regulatory investigation as a result of such third-party conduct and may be required to expend significant time and incur substantial costs to address such third-party conduct, and there is no assurance that we will be able to conclusively refute each of the allegations within a reasonable period of time, or at all. Additionally, allegations, directly or indirectly against us, may be posted in internet chat-rooms or on blogs or any websites by anyone, whether or not related to us, on an anonymous basis. Consumers value readily available information concerning retailers and the goods and services offered by them and often act on such information without further investigation or authentication and without regard to its accuracy. Information on social media platforms and devices is easily accessible, and any negative publicity on us or our founders and management can be quickly and widely disseminated. Social media platforms and devices immediately publish the content their subscribers and participants post, often without filtering or verification of the content posted. Information posted may be inaccurate and may harm our reputation, performance, prospects or business. The harm may be immediate without affording us an opportunity for redress or correction. Our reputation may be negatively affected as a result of the public dissemination of anonymous allegations or malicious statements about our business, which in turn may cause us to lose market share, customers and revenues and adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

 

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We may be subject to product liability claims if people or properties are harmed by the products or services we sell.

 

We sell products manufactured by third parties, some of which may be defectively designed or manufactured. As a result, sales of such products could expose us to product liability claims relating to personal injury or property damage and may require product recalls or other actions. Third parties subject to such injury or damage may bring claims or legal proceedings against us as the retailer of the product. Although we would have legal recourse against the manufacturer of such products under PRC law, enforcing our rights against the manufacturer may be expensive, time-consuming and ultimately futile. In addition, we do not currently maintain any third-party liability insurance or product liability insurance in relation to products we sell. As a result, any material product liability claim or litigation could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Even unsuccessful claims could result in the expenditure of funds and managerial efforts in defending them and could have a negative impact on our reputation.

 

The proper functioning of our technology platform is essential to our business. Any failure to maintain the satisfactory performance of our website and systems could materially and adversely affect our business and reputation.

 

The satisfactory performance, reliability and availability of our technology platform are critical to our success and our ability to attract and retain customers and provide quality customer service. The majority of our sales are made online through our website and mobile applications. Any system interruptions caused by telecommunications failures, computer viruses, hacking or other attempts to harm our systems that result in the unavailability or slowdown of our website or reduced order fulfillment performance could reduce the volume of products sold and the attractiveness of product offerings on our platform. Our servers may also be vulnerable to computer viruses, physical or electronic break-ins and similar disruptions, which could lead to system interruptions, website slowdown or unavailability, delays or errors in transaction processing, loss of data or the inability to accept and fulfill customer orders. Security breaches, computer viruses and hacking attacks have become more prevalent in our industry. Because of our brand recognition in the online retail industry in China, we believe we are a particularly attractive target for such attacks. We may experience such attacks and unexpected interruptions in the future. We can provide no assurance that our current security mechanisms will be sufficient to protect our IT systems from any third-party intrusions, viruses or hacker attacks, information or data theft or other similar activities. Any such future occurrences could reduce customer satisfaction, damage our reputation and result in a material decrease in our revenue.

 

Additionally, we must continue to upgrade and improve our technology platform to support our business growth, especially our big data technology, to effectively utilize the large amount of user behavioral data generated through our website and mobile applications. Failure to do so could impede our growth. However, we cannot assure you that we will be successful in executing these system upgrades and improvement strategies. In particular, our systems may experience interruptions during upgrades, and the new technologies or infrastructures may not be fully integrated with the existing systems on a timely basis, or at all. In addition, we experience surges in online traffic and orders associated with promotional activities and holiday seasons, such as Double 11 Singles Day Shopping Festival and December 17, which can put additional demands on our technology platform at specific times. If our existing or future technology platform does not function properly, we may experience system disruptions and slow response times, affecting data transmission, which in turn could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Any deficiencies in China’s internet infrastructure could impair our ability to sell products over our website and mobile applications, which could cause us to lose customers and harm our operating results.

 

The majority of our sales are made online through our website and mobile applications. Our business depends on the performance and reliability of the internet infrastructure in China. The availability of our website depends on telecommunications carriers and other third-party providers for communications and storage capacity, including bandwidth and server storage, among other things. If we are unable to enter into or renew agreements with these providers on commercially acceptable terms, or if any of our existing agreements with such providers are terminated as a result of our breach or otherwise, our ability to provide our services to our customers could be adversely affected. Almost all access to the internet in China is maintained through state-owned telecommunication carriers under administrative control, and we obtain access to end-user networks operated by such telecommunications carriers and internet service providers to give customers access to our website. We have experienced service interruptions in the past, which were typically caused by service interruptions at the underlying external telecommunications service providers, such as the internet data centers and broadband carriers from which we lease services. Service interruptions prevent consumers from accessing our website and mobile applications and placing orders, and frequent interruptions could frustrate customers and discourage them from attempting to place orders, which could cause us to lose customers and harm our operating results.

 

If we fail to adopt new technologies or adapt our website, mobile applications and systems to changing customer requirements or emerging industry standards, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

 

To remain competitive, we must continue to enhance and improve the responsiveness, functionality and features of our website and mobile applications. The internet and the online retail industry are characterized by rapid technological evolution, changes in customer requirements and preferences, frequent introductions of new products and services embodying new technologies and the emergence of new industry standards and practices, any of which could render our existing technologies and systems obsolete. Our success will depend, in part, on our ability to identify, develop, acquire or license leading technologies useful in our business, and respond to technological advances and emerging industry standards and practices, such as mobile internet, in a cost-effective and timely way. The development of websites, mobile applications and other proprietary technology entails significant technical and business risks. We cannot assure you that we will be able to use new technologies effectively or adapt our website, mobile applications, proprietary technologies and systems to meet evolving customer requirements or emerging industry standards. If we are unable to adapt in a cost-effective and timely manner in response to changing market conditions or customer requirements, whether for technical, legal, financial or other reasons, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Customer growth and activity on mobile devices depends upon effective use of mobile operating systems, networks and standards that we do not control.

 

Purchases using mobile devices by consumers generally, and by our customers specifically, have increased significantly in recent years, and we expect this trend to continue. To optimize the mobile shopping experience, we are somewhat dependent on our customers downloading our specific mobile applications for their particular devices as opposed to accessing our sites from an internet browser on their mobile device. As new mobile devices and platforms are released, it is difficult to predict the problems we may encounter in developing applications for these alternative devices and platforms, and we may need to devote significant resources to the development, support and maintenance of such applications. In addition, our future growth and our results of operations could suffer if we experience difficulties in the future in integrating our mobile applications into mobile devices, if problems arise with our relationships with providers of mobile operating systems or mobile application stores, if our applications receive unfavorable treatment compared to competing applications on the stores, or if we face increased costs to distribute or market our mobile applications. We are further dependent on the interoperability of our sites with popular mobile operating systems that we do not control, such as iOS and Android, and any changes in such systems that degrade the functionality of our sites or mobile applications or give preferential treatment to competitive products could adversely affect the usage of our sites on mobile devices or mobile applications. In the event that it is more difficult for our customers to access and use our sites on their mobile devices or mobile applications, or if our customers choose not to access or to use our sites on their mobile devices or to use mobile products that do not offer access to our sites or incompatible with our mobile applications, our customer growth could be harmed and our business, financial condition and operating results may be adversely affected.

 

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Failure to protect confidential information of our customers and network against security breaches could damage our reputation and brand and substantially harm our business and results of operations.

 

A significant challenge to the online retail industry is the secure storage of confidential information and its secure transmission over public networks. The majority of the orders and some of the payments for products we offer are made through our website and our mobile applications. In addition, some online payments for our products are settled through third-party online payment services providers. We also share certain non-sensitive personal information about our customers with contracted third-party couriers that are consented by our customers in advance, such as their names, addresses, phone numbers and transaction records.

 

Maintaining complete security for the storage and transmission of confidential information on our technology platform, such as customer names, personal information and billing addresses, is essential to maintaining customer confidence. We have adopted security policies and measures, including encryption technology, to protect our proprietary data and customer information. However, advances in technology, hacking, new discoveries in the field of cryptography or other events or developments could result in a compromise or breach of the technology that we use to protect confidential information. We may not be able to prevent third parties, especially hackers or other individuals or entities engaging in similar activities, from illegally obtaining such confidential or private information we hold as a result of customer visits to our website and use of our mobile applications. Such individuals or entities obtaining our customers’ confidential or private information may further engage in various other illegal activities using such information. In addition, we have limited control or influence over the security policies or measures adopted by third-party providers of online payment services, through which some of our customers may elect to make payment for purchases. Our contracted third-party delivery companies we use may also violate their confidentiality obligations and disclose or use information about our customers illegally. Any negative publicity on our website’s or mobile applications’ safety or privacy protection mechanisms and policies, and any claims asserted against us or fines imposed upon us as a result of actual or perceived failures, could have a material and adverse effect on our public image, reputation, financial condition and results of operations. We cannot assure you that events of security breaches will not occur in the future. If we grant third parties greater access to our technology platform in the future as part of providing more technology services to third-party merchants and others, it may become more challenging for us to ensure the security of our systems. Any compromise of our information security or the information security measures of our contracted third-party couriers or third-party online payment service providers could have a material and adverse effect on our reputation, business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Practices regarding the collection, use, storage, transmission and security of personal information by companies operating over the internet and mobile platforms have recently been subject to increased public scrutiny. As online retail continues to evolve, we believe that there will likely be increased regulation by the PRC government of data privacy on the internet. We may become subject to new laws and regulations on the solicitation, collection, processing or use of personal or consumer information that could affect how we store, process and share data with our customers, suppliers and third-party sellers. We generally comply with industry standards for data privacy and are subject to the terms of our own privacy policies. Compliance with any additional laws could be expensive, and may place restrictions on the conduct of our business and the manner in which we interact with our customers. Any failure to comply with applicable regulations could also result in regulatory enforcement actions against us.

 

Significant capital and other resources may be required to protect against information security breaches or to alleviate problems caused by such breaches or to comply with our privacy policies or privacy-related legal obligations. The resources required may increase over time as the methods used by hackers and others engaged in online criminal activities are increasingly sophisticated and constantly evolving. Any failure or perceived failure by us to prevent information security breaches or to comply with privacy policies or privacy-related legal obligations, or any compromise of security that results in the unauthorized release or transfer of personally identifiable information or other customer data, could cause our customers to lose trust in us and could expose us to legal claims. Any perception by the public that online transactions or the privacy of user information are becoming increasingly unsafe or vulnerable to attacks could inhibit the growth of online retail and other online services generally, which may reduce the number of orders we receive.

 

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The wide variety of payment methods that we accept subjects us to third-party payment processing-related risks.

 

We provide our customers with a variety of payment options, including online payments with credit cards and debit cards issued by major banks in China, payment through major third-party online payment platforms, such as Alipay, UnionPay and Wechat Pay, bank transfers, cash on delivery (for products with low purchase prices) and payment using our store credits. In 2016, we launched Secoo Check at our online platform, through which our customers can make payments for our merchandise products in installments. For certain payment methods, including credit and debit cards, we pay interchange and other fees, which may increase over time and raise our operating costs and lower our profit margins. We may also be subject to fraud and other illegal activities in connection with the various payment methods we offer, including online payment and cash on delivery options.

 

We also rely on third parties to provide payment processing services. Given that customers place their orders online but may choose the cash-on-delivery option, the delivery personnel of our contracted third-party delivery companies collect payments on our behalf, and we require the contracted third-party couriers to remit the payment collected to us on a weekly basis. If these companies fail to remit the payment collected to us in a timely fashion or at all, if they become unwilling or unable to provide these services to us, or if their service quality deteriorates, our business could be disrupted. We are also subject to various rules, regulations and requirements, regulatory or otherwise, governing electronic funds transfers, which could change or be reinterpreted to make it difficult or impossible for us to comply. If we fail to comply with these rules or requirements, we may be subject to fines and higher transaction fees and become unable to accept credit and debit card payments from our customers, process electronic funds transfers or facilitate other types of online payments, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

Our delivery, return and exchange policies may adversely affect our results of operations.

 

We have adopted shipping policies that do not necessarily pass the full shipping cost on to our customers. We may also be required by laws and regulations to adopt new or amend existing return and exchange policies from time to time. For example, pursuant to the amended Consumer Protection Law, which became effective in March 2014, consumers are generally entitled to return products purchased within seven days upon receipt without giving any reasons when they purchase the products from business operators on the internet. See “Item 4.B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulations Relating to Product Quality and Consumer Protection.” These policies improve customers’ shopping experience and promote customer loyalty, which in turn help us acquire and retain customers. However, these policies also subject us to additional costs and expenses which we may not recoup through increased revenue. Our ability to handle a large volume of returns is unproven. If our return and exchange policy is misused by a significant number of customers, our costs may increase significantly and our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. If we revise these policies to reduce our costs and expenses, our customers may be dissatisfied, which may result in loss of existing customers or failure to acquire new customers in a timely manner, which may materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

 

Our use of some leased properties could be challenged by third parties or government authorities, which may cause interruptions to our business operations.

 

As of the date of this annual report, we leased 45 properties for our offices, offline experience centers, logistics centers, and parking lots. The lessors of some leased properties have not been able to provide proper ownership certificates for the properties that we lease or prove their rights to sublease the properties to us or do not hold legal certificates to legally lease properties to us. If our lessors are not the owners of the properties and they have not obtained consents from the owners or their lessors or permits from the relevant government authorities, our leases could be invalidated. If this occurs, we may have to renegotiate the leases with the owners or the parties who have the right to lease the properties, and the terms of the new leases may be less favorable to us.

 

As of the date of this annual report, we are not aware of any claims or actions being contemplated or initiated by government authorities, property owners or any other third parties with respect to our leasehold interests in or use of such properties. However, we cannot assure you that our use of such leased properties will not be challenged. In the event that our use of properties is successfully challenged, we may be subject to fines and forced to relocate the affected operations. In addition, we may become involved in disputes with the property owners or third parties who otherwise have rights to or interests in our leased properties. We can provide no assurance that we will be able to find suitable replacement sites on terms commercially acceptable to us on a timely basis, or at all, or that we will not be subject to material liability resulting from third parties’ challenges on our use of such properties. As a result, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

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We have granted options, and may continue to grant options, restricted share units and other types of awards under our share incentive plans, which may result in increased share-based compensation expenses.

 

We adopted a share incentive plan in December 2014, or the 2014 Plan. Under the 2014 Plan, we are authorized to grant options or share purchase rights to purchase up to 1,307,672 ordinary shares as of the date of this annual report. In 2017, we, adopted a 2017 Employee Stock Incentive Plan, or the 2017 Plan, which has replaced all of the 2014 Plan in its entirety. The awards granted and outstanding under the 2014 Plan has survived the termination of the 2014 Plan and remains effective and binding under the 2014 Plan. As of December 31, 2018, options to purchase 1,235,873 ordinary shares are issued and outstanding under the 2014 and 2017 Plan. We have recognized share-based compensation expense in the amount of RMB23.7 million (US$3.4 million) for the year ended December 31, 2018. We believe the granting of share-based compensation is of significant importance to our ability to attract and retain key personnel and employees, and we will continue to grant share-based compensation to employees in the future. As a result, our expenses associated with share-based compensation may increase, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

 

Our results of operations are subject to seasonal fluctuations.

 

We experience seasonality in our business, reflecting a combination of traditional retail seasonality patterns and new patterns associated with online retail in particular. For example, we generally experience less user traffic and purchase orders during national holidays in China, particularly during the Chinese New Year holiday season in the first quarter of each year. Furthermore, sales in the traditional retail industry are significantly higher in the fourth quarter of each calendar year than in the preceding three quarters. Many e-commerce companies in China hold special promotional campaigns on festivals or days popular among young people, many of which fall in the fourth quarter. We also hold a special promotional campaign in December each year. These special promotional campaigns typically increase the revenues in the relevant quarters. Our financial condition and results of operations for future periods may continue to fluctuate. As a result, the trading price of our ADSs may fluctuate from time to time due to seasonality.

 

Future strategic alliances, investments or acquisitions may have a material and adverse effect on our business, reputation and results of operations.

 

We may in the future enter into strategic alliances with various third parties to further our business purposes from time to time. Strategic alliances with third parties could subject us to a number of risks, including risks associated with sharing proprietary information, non-performance by the counterparty, and an increase in expenses incurred in establishing new strategic alliances, any of which may materially and adversely affect our business. We may have little ability to control or monitor their actions. To the extent the third parties suffer negative publicity or harm to their reputations from events relating to their business, we may also suffer negative publicity or harm to our reputation by virtue of our association with such third parties.

 

In addition, if we are presented with appropriate opportunities, we may invest in or acquire additional assets, technologies or businesses that are complementary to our existing business. Future investments or acquisitions and the subsequent integration of new assets and businesses into our own would require significant attention from our management and could result in a diversion of resources from our existing business, which in turn could have an adverse effect on our business operations. The costs of identifying and consummating investments and acquisitions may be significant. We may also incur significant expenses in obtaining necessary approvals from relevant government authorities in China and elsewhere in the world. Acquired assets or businesses may not generate the financial results we expect. In addition, investments and acquisitions could result in the use of substantial amounts of cash, potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities, the occurrence of significant goodwill impairment charges, amortization expenses for other intangible assets and exposure to potential unknown liabilities of the acquired business. The cost and duration of integrating newly acquired businesses could also materially exceed our expectations. Any such negative developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We may not be able to prevent others from unauthorized use of our intellectual property, which could harm our business and competitive position.

 

We regard our trademarks, copyrights, patents, domain names, know-how, proprietary technologies, and similar intellectual property as critical to our success, and we rely on a combination of intellectual property laws and contractual arrangements, including confidentiality, invention assignment and non-compete agreements with our employees and others, to protect our proprietary rights. Although we are not aware of any copycat websites or platforms that attempt to cause confusion or diversion of traffic from us at the moment, we may become an attractive target to such attacks in the future because of our brand recognition in the online retail industry in China. Despite these measures, any of our intellectual property rights could be challenged, invalidated, circumvented or misappropriated, or such intellectual property may not be sufficient to provide us with competitive advantages. Further, because of the rapid technological changes in our industry, parts of our business rely on technologies developed or licensed by third parties, and we may not be able to obtain or continue to obtain licenses and technologies from these third parties at all or on reasonable terms.

 

It is often difficult to register, maintain and enforce intellectual property rights in China. Statutory laws and regulations are subject to judicial interpretation and enforcement and may not be applied consistently due to the lack of clear guidance on statutory interpretation. Confidentiality and non-compete agreements may be breached by counterparties, and there may not be adequate remedies available to us for any such breach. Accordingly, we may not be able to effectively protect our intellectual property rights or to enforce our contractual rights in China. Policing any unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult and costly and the steps we take may be inadequate to prevent the infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property. In the event that we resort to litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights, such litigation could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our managerial and financial resources, and could put our intellectual property at risk of being invalidated or narrowed in scope. We can provide no assurance that we will prevail in such litigation, and even if we do prevail, we may not obtain a meaningful recovery. In addition, our trade secrets may be leaked or otherwise become available to, or be independently discovered by, our competitors. Any failure in maintaining, protecting or enforcing our intellectual property rights could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We may be subject to intellectual property infringement claims, which may be expensive to defend and may disrupt our business and operations.

 

We cannot be certain that our operations or any aspects of our business do not or will not infringe upon or otherwise violate trademarks, patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights held by third parties. We have been, and from time to time in the future may be, subject to legal proceedings and claims relating to the intellectual property rights of others. In addition, there may be other third-party intellectual property that is infringed by our products, services or other aspects of our business. We cannot assure you that holders of patents or trademarks purportedly relating to some aspect of our technology platform or business, if any such holders exist, would not seek to enforce such patents against us in China, the United States or any other jurisdictions. If we are found to have violated the intellectual property rights of others, we may be subject to liability for our infringement activities or may be prohibited from using such intellectual property, and we may incur licensing fees or be forced to develop alternatives of our own. In addition, we may incur significant expenses, and may be forced to divert management’s time and other resources from our business and operations to defend against these third-party infringement claims, regardless of their merits. Successful infringement or licensing claims made against us may result in significant monetary liabilities and may materially disrupt our business and operations by restricting or prohibiting our use of the intellectual property in question. Finally, we use open source software in connection with our products and services. Companies that incorporate open source software into their products and services have, from time to time, faced claims challenging the ownership of open source software and compliance with open source license terms. As a result, we could be subject to suits by parties claiming ownership of what we believe to be open source software or noncompliance with open source licensing terms. Some open source software licenses require users who distribute open source software as part of their software to publicly disclose all or part of the source code to such software and make available any derivative works of the open source code on unfavorable terms or at no cost. Any requirement to disclose our source code or pay damages for breach of contract could be harmful to our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

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We have limited insurance coverage which could expose us to significant costs and business disruption.

 

We maintain various insurance policies to safeguard against risks and unexpected events. We have purchased property insurance covering our high-valued inventory in our logistics centers and our products sold under our cash on delivery payment method in transit.

 

We also provide social security insurance including pension insurance, unemployment insurance, work-related injury insurance and medical insurance for our employees. However, as the insurance industry in China is still in an early stage of development, insurance companies in China currently offer limited business-related insurance products. We do not maintain business interruption insurance or product liability insurance, nor do we maintain key-man life insurance. We cannot assure you that our insurance coverage is sufficient to prevent us from any loss or that we will be able to successfully claim our losses under our current insurance policy on a timely basis, or at all. If we incur any loss that is not covered by our insurance policies, or the compensated amount is significantly less than our actual loss, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

One of our existing shareholders has substantial influence over our company and his interests may not be aligned with the interests of our other shareholders and holders of our ADSs.

 

Currently, Mr. Richard Rixue Li, our founder, director and chief executive officer beneficially owns 26.2% of our outstanding shares. As a result of his significant shareholding, Mr. Li has significant influence over our business, including decisions regarding mergers, consolidations and the sale of all or substantially all of our assets, election of directors and other significant corporate actions. He may take actions that are not in the best interests of us or our other shareholders. This concentration of ownership may discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could deprive our shareholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and might reduce the price of our ADSs. These actions may be taken even if they are opposed by our other shareholders, including those who hold ADSs. For more information regarding our principal shareholders and their affiliated entities, see “Item 7.A. Major Shareholders.”

 

Our ordinary shares are divided into Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares. Holders of Class A ordinary shares are entitled to one vote per share in respect of matters requiring the votes of shareholders, while holders of Class B ordinary shares are entitled to twenty votes per share, subject to certain exceptions. We issued Class A ordinary shares represented by our ADSs in our initial public offering. Our founder, director and chief executive officer, Mr. Richard Rixue Li, who acquired our shares prior to our initial public offering, beneficially holds our Class B ordinary shares. Each Class B ordinary share is convertible into one Class A ordinary share at any time by the holder thereof, while Class A ordinary shares are not convertible into Class B ordinary shares under any circumstances. Each Class B ordinary share shall automatically be converted into one Class A ordinary share without any action being required by the holders of Class B ordinary shares and whether or not the certificates representing such shares are surrendered to our company or our transfer agent, if at any time Mr. Li and his affiliates collectively hold less than 50% of the issued Class B ordinary shares in the capital of our company, and no Class B ordinary shares shall be issued by our company thereafter.

 

Due to the disparate voting powers associated with our two classes of ordinary shares, as of the date of this annual report, Mr. Li beneficially owns 87.6% of the aggregate voting power of our company through Siku Holding Limited. As a result, Mr. Li will have control over matters such as electing directors and approving material mergers, acquisitions or other business combination transactions. This concentrated control will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could also discourage others from pursuing any potential merger, takeover or other change of control transactions, which could have the effect of depriving the holders of our Class A ordinary shares and our ADSs of the opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over the prevailing market price.

 

We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics and other outbreaks, which could significantly disrupt our operations.

 

Our business could be adversely affected by natural disasters or the outbreak of avian influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, the influenza A (H1N1), H7N9 or another epidemic. Any of such occurrences could cause severe disruption to our daily operations, and may even require a temporary closure of our facilities. Such closures may disrupt our business operations and adversely affect our results of operations. Our operation could also be disrupted if our suppliers, customers or business partners were affected by such natural disasters or health epidemics.

 

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Any financial or economic crisis, or perceived threat of such a crisis, including a significant decrease in consumer confidence, may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The global financial markets experienced significant disruptions in 2008 and the United States, European and other economies went into recession. The recovery from the lows of 2008 and 2009 was uneven and the global financial markets are facing new challenges, including the escalation of the European sovereign debt crisis since 2011, the hostilities in the Ukraine and the economic slowdown in the Eurozone. It is unclear whether these challenges will be contained and what effects they each may have. There is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies that have been adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including China’s. Economic conditions in China are sensitive to global economic conditions. The rate of China’s economic growth has been declining. Any prolonged slowdown in China’s economic development might lead to tighter credit markets, increased market volatility, sudden drops in business and consumer confidence and dramatic changes in business and consumer behaviors. In response to their perceived uncertainty in economic conditions, consumers might delay, reduce or cancel purchases of upscale products. To the extent any fluctuations in the Chinese economy significantly affect our customers’ demand for our services or change their spending habits, our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Registered public accounting firms in China, including our independent registered public accounting firm, are not inspected by the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which deprives us and our investors of the benefits of such inspection.

 

Auditors of companies whose shares are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, and traded publicly in the United States, including our independent registered public accounting firm, must be registered with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or the PCAOB, and are required by the laws of the United States to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB to assess their compliance with the laws of the United States and professional standards applicable to auditors. Our independent registered public accounting firm is located in, and organized under the laws of, the PRC, which is a jurisdiction where the PCAOB, notwithstanding the requirements of U.S. law, is currently unable to conduct inspections without the approval of the Chinese authorities. In May 2013, PCAOB announced that it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on Enforcement Cooperation with the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, and the PRC Ministry of Finance, which establishes a cooperative framework between the parties for the production and exchange of audit documents relevant to investigations undertaken by PCAOB, the CSRC or the PRC Ministry of Finance in the United States and the PRC, respectively. The PCAOB continues to be in discussions with the CSRC and the PRC Ministry of Finance to permit joint inspections in the PRC of audit firms that are registered with the PCAOB and audit Chinese companies that trade on U.S. exchanges. On December 7, 2018, the SEC and the PCAOB issued a joint statement highlighting continued challenges faced by the U.S. regulators in their oversight of financial statement audits of U.S.-listed companies with significant operations in China. The joint statement reflects a heightened interest in an issue that has vexed U.S. regulators in recent years. However, it remains unclear what further actions the SEC and PCAOB will take to address the problem.

 

This lack of PCAOB inspections in China prevents the PCAOB from fully evaluating audits and quality control procedures of our independent registered public accounting firm. As a result, we and investors in our ADSs are deprived of the benefits of such PCAOB inspections. The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our independent registered public accounting firm’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to PCAOB inspections, which could cause investors and potential investors in our ADSs to lose confidence in our audit procedures and reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements.

 

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If additional remedial measures are imposed on the Big Four PRC-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, in administrative proceedings brought by the SEC alleging the firms’ failure to meet specific criteria set by the SEC, we could be unable to timely file future financial statements in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.

 

In December 2012, the SEC instituted administrative proceedings against the Big Four PRC-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, alleging that these firms had violated U.S. securities laws and the SEC’s rules and regulations thereunder by failing to provide to the SEC the firms’ audit work papers with respect to certain PRC-based companies that are publicly traded in the United States. On January 22, 2014, the administrative law judge, or the ALJ, presiding over the matter rendered an initial decision that each of the firms had violated the SEC’s rules of practice by failing to produce audit work papers to the SEC. The initial decision censured each of the firms and barred them from practicing before the SEC for a period of six months. The Big Four PRC-based accounting firms appealed the ALJ’s initial decision to the SEC. The ALJ’s decision does not take effect unless and until it is endorsed by the SEC. On February 6, 2015, the four China-based accounting firms each agreed to a censure and to pay a fine to the SEC to settle the dispute and avoid suspension of their ability to practice before the SEC and audit U.S.-listed companies. The settlement required the firms to follow detailed procedures and to seek to provide the SEC with access to Chinese firms’ audit documents via the CSRC in response to future document requests by the SEC made through the CSRC. If the Big Four PRC-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, fail to comply with the documentation production procedures that are in the settlement agreement or if there is a failure of the process between the SEC and the CSRC, the SEC retains authority to impose a variety of additional remedial measures on the firms, such as imposing penalties on the firms and restarting the proceedings against the firms, depending on the nature of the failure. If the accounting firms are subject to additional remedial measures, our ability to file our financial statements in compliance with SEC requirements could be impacted. A determination that we have not timely filed financial statements in compliance with SEC requirements could ultimately lead to the delisting of our ADSs from the NASDAQ Global Market or the termination of the registration of our ADSs under the Exchange Act, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of our ADSs in the United States.

 

Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

 

If the PRC government deems that the contractual arrangements in relation to Beijing Wo Mai Wo Pai Auction Co., Ltd (‘‘Beijing Auction’’) and Beijing Secoo Trading Ltd. (“Beijing Secoo”) do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations.

 

Foreign ownership of certain internet related businesses is subject to restrictions under current PRC laws and regulations. For example, foreign investors are not allowed to own more than 50% of the equity interests in a value-added telecommunication service provider (subject to exceptions, such as platform e-commerce) and any such foreign investors must have experience in providing value-added telecommunication services overseas and maintain a good track record in accordance with the Special Management Measures (Negative List) for the Access of Foreign Investment, or the 2018 Negative List. The MIIT issued the Circular on Strengthening the Administration of Foreign Investment in and Operation of Value-added Telecommunications Business, or the MIIT Circular, in July 2006. The MIIT Circular reiterated the regulations on foreign investment in telecommunications businesses, which require foreign investors to set up foreign invested enterprises and obtain business operating licenses for internet content provision to conduct any value-added telecommunications business in China. Under the MIIT Circular, a domestic company that holds an ICP license or EDI license is prohibited from leasing, transferring or selling the license to foreign investors in any form, and from providing any assistance, including providing resources, sites or facilities, to foreign investors that conduct value-added telecommunication business illegally in China.

 

We are a Cayman Islands company and our PRC subsidiaries are considered foreign-invested enterprises. Accordingly, none of these PRC subsidiaries is eligible to provide value-added telecommunication services in China. As a result, we conduct such business activities through our affiliated PRC entities Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction, each of which holds an ICP license and Beijing Secoo also holds an EDI license. Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo are 90% owned by Mr. Richard Rixue Li, our founder, director and chief executive officer, and 10% owned by Ms. Zhaohui Huang, our founder. Mr. Li and Ms. Huang are both PRC citizens. We have entered into a series of contractual arrangements with Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo and their respective shareholders, which enable us to:

 

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·                  exercise effective control over Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction;

 

·                  receive substantially all of the economic benefits of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction; and

 

·                  have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo when and to the extent permitted by PRC law.

 

Because of these contractual arrangements, we are the primary beneficiary of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction and hence consolidate their financial results as our variable interest entities. For a detailed discussion of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4.C. Organizational Structure — Contractual Arrangements with our Variable Interests Entities and their Shareholders.”

 

In the opinion of Han Kun Law Offices, our PRC legal counsel, (i) the ownership structures of Kutianxia Information, our PRC subsidiary, and Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo, our variable interest entities in China, as of the date of this annual report, are not in violation of existing PRC laws and regulations; and (ii) the contractual arrangements between our PRC subsidiary, our variable interest entities, and their respective shareholders governed by PRC law are valid, binding and enforceable, and will not result in any violation of PRC laws or regulations currently in effect. However, our PRC legal counsel has also advised us that there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations and rules; accordingly, the PRC regulatory authorities may take a view that is contrary to the opinion of our PRC legal counsel. It is uncertain whether any new PRC laws or regulations relating to variable interest entity structures will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. If we or any of our variable interest entities is found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or fails to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities would have broad discretion to take action in dealing with such violations or failures, including:

 

·                  revoking the business licenses of such entities;

 

·                  discontinuing or restricting the conduct of any transactions between certain of our PRC subsidiaries and variable interest entities;

 

·                  imposing fines, confiscating the income from our variable interest entities, or imposing other requirements with which we or our variable interest entities may not be able to comply;

 

·                  requiring us to restructure our ownership structure or operations, including terminating the contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities and deregistering the equity pledges of our variable interest entities, which in turn would affect our ability to consolidate, derive economic interests from, or exert effective control over our variable interest entities; or

 

·                  restricting or prohibiting our use of the proceeds of our initial public offering to finance our business and operations in China.

 

The imposition of any of these penalties would result in a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business. In addition, it is unclear what impact the PRC government actions would have on us and on our ability to consolidate the financial results of Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo in our consolidated financial statements, if the PRC government authorities were to find our legal structure and contractual arrangements to be in violation of PRC laws and regulations. If the imposition of any of these government actions causes us to lose our right to direct the activities of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction or our right to receive substantially all the economic benefits and residual returns from Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction and we are not able to restructure our ownership structure and operations in a satisfactory manner, we would no longer be able to consolidate the financial results of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction in our consolidated financial statements. Either of these results, or any other significant penalties that might be imposed on us in this event, would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We rely on contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities and their shareholders for substantially all of our business operations, which may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control.

 

Due to the restrictions on foreign ownership of internet-based businesses in China, we depend on contractual arrangements with our consolidated variable interest entities, Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo, in which we have no ownership interest, to conduct certain aspects of our operation. We have relied and expect to continue to rely on contractual arrangements with Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo and their shareholders to hold our ICP license as an internet information provider, our EDI license as an e-commerce transaction platform and our auction business permit, respectively. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4.C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with our Variable Interests Entities and their Shareholders.” These contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over our variable interest entities. For example, our variable interest entities and their respective shareholders could breach their contractual arrangements with us by, among other things, failing to conduct their operations, including maintaining our website and using the domain names and trademarks, in an acceptable manner or taking other actions that are detrimental to our interests.

 

If we had direct ownership of Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo, we would be able to exercise our rights as a shareholder to effect changes in the board of directors of Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo, which in turn could effect changes, subject to any applicable fiduciary obligations, at the management level. However, under the current contractual arrangements, we rely on the performance by our variable interest entities and their respective shareholders of their obligations under the contracts to exercise control over our variable interest entities. However, the shareholders of our variable interest entities may not act in the best interests of our company or may not perform their obligations under these contracts. Such risks exist throughout the period in which we intend to operate our business through the contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities. We may replace the shareholders of our variable interest entities at any time pursuant to our contractual arrangements with them and their shareholders. However, if any dispute relating to these contracts remains unresolved, we will have to enforce our rights under these contracts through the operations of PRC law and courts and therefore will be subject to uncertainties in the PRC legal system. See “Item 3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—Any failure by our variable interest entities or their shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material and adverse effect on our business.” Therefore, our contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities may not be as effective in ensuring our control over the relevant portion of our business operations as direct ownership would be.

 

Uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the newly enacted PRC Foreign Investment Law and how it may impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations.

 

On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress approved the Foreign Investment Law, which will come into effect on January 1, 2020 and replace the trio of existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, namely, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-invested Enterprise Law, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations.

 

The Foreign Investment Law embodies an expected PRC regulatory trend to rationalize its foreign investment regulatory regime in line with prevailing international practice and the legislative efforts to unify the corporate legal requirements for both foreign and domestic investments. However, since it is relatively new, uncertainties still exist in relation to its interpretation and implementation. For instance, under the Foreign Investment Law, “foreign investment” refers to the investment activities directly or indirectly conducted by foreign individuals, enterprises or other entities in China. Though it does not explicitly classify contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment, there is no assurance that foreign investment via contractual arrangement would not be interpreted as a type of indirect foreign investment activities under the definition in the future. In addition, the definition contains a catch-all provision which includes investments made by foreign investors through means stipulated in laws or administrative regulations or other methods prescribed by the State Council. Therefore, it still leaves leeway for future laws, administrative regulations or provisions promulgated by the Stale Council to provide for contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment. In any of these cases, it will be uncertain whether our contractual arrangements will be deemed to be in violation of the market access requirements for foreign investment under the PRC laws and regulations. The “variable interest entity” structure, or VIE structure, has been adopted by many PRC-based companies, including us, to obtain necessary licenses and permits in the industries that are currently subject to foreign investment restrictions in China. See “—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure” and Item 4.C “—Organizational Structure.”

 

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In addition, the Foreign Investment Law further specifies that foreign investments shall be conducted in line with the negative list issued by or approved to be issued by the State Council. If a foreign investment enterprise, or FIE, proposes to conduct business in an industry subject to foreign investment “restrictions” in the “negative list,” the FIE must meet certain conditions under the “negative list” before being established. If an FIE proposes to conduct business in an industry subject to foreign investment “prohibitions” in the “negative list,” it must not engage in the business. It is uncertain whether the value-added telecommunication services, in which our variable interest entities operate, will be subject to the foreign investment restrictions or prohibitions under the “negative list” to be issued. Furthermore, if future laws, administrative regulations or provisions prescribed by the State Council mandate further actions to be taken by companies with respect to existing contractual arrangements, we may face substantial uncertainties as to whether we can complete such actions in a timely manner, or at all. Failure to take timely and appropriate measures to cope with any of these or similar regulatory compliance challenges could materially and adversely affect our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations.

 

Any failure by our variable interest entities or their shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material and adverse effect on our business.

 

If our variable interest entities or their shareholders fail to perform their respective obligations under the contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and expend additional resources to enforce such arrangements. We may also have to rely on legal remedies under PRC law, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief, and claiming damages, which we cannot assure you will be effective. For example, if the shareholders of our variable interest entities were to refuse to transfer their equity interest in Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo to us or our designee when we exercise the purchase option pursuant to these contractual arrangements, or if they were otherwise to act in bad faith toward us, we may have to take legal actions to compel them to perform their contractual obligations.

 

All the agreements under our contractual arrangements are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in China. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC law and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal system in the PRC is not as developed as in some other jurisdictions, such as the United States. See “Item 3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.” Meanwhile, there are very few precedents and little formal guidance as to how contractual arrangements in the context of a variable interest entity should be interpreted or enforced under PRC law, and as a result it may be difficult to predict how an arbitration panel would view such contractual arrangements. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. Additionally, under PRC law, rulings by arbitrators are final, parties cannot appeal the arbitration results in courts, and if the losing parties fail to carry out the arbitration awards within a prescribed time limit, the prevailing parties may only enforce the arbitration awards in PRC courts through arbitration award recognition proceedings, which would require additional expenses and delay. Furthermore, if Beijing Secoo, Beijing Auction or the shareholders of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction fail to perform their obligations under these contractual arrangements, which allow us to maintain effective control over Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction, we may not be able to continue to consolidate the financial results and assets and liabilities of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction and their subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Furthermore, our inability to exert effective control may negatively affect our ability to conduct our business, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

Our variable interest entities hold our ICP license, EDI license and auction business license and conduct our online sales and auctions businesses. In the event we are unable to enforce our contractual arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over our variable interest entities, and our ability to conduct these businesses may be negatively affected. We generate the majority of our revenues from products and services that are offered to customers through our website and mobile applications and any interruption in our ability to use our website and mobile applications may have a material and adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

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The shareholders of our variable interest entities may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

 

Mr. Richard Rixue Li and Ms. Zhaohui Huang are the shareholders of each of our variable interest entities, Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo. Mr. Richard Rixue Li is our founder, director and chief executive officer, while Ms. Zhaohui Huang is our founder. Mr. Richard Rixue Li and Ms. Zhaohui Huang holds 87.6% and 0.4% of the total voting rights of our company as of December 31, 2018, respectively, assuming the exercise of all outstanding options held by Mr. Richard Rixue Li and Ms. Zhaohui Huang as of such date. The equity interests of variable interest entities are legally held by Mr. Richard Rixue Li and Ms. Zhaohui Huang as nominee equity holders on behalf of us. The shareholders of Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo may have potential conflicts of interest with us. We cannot assure that when conflicts of interest arise, either of the nominee equity holders will act in the best interests of the Group or such conflicts will be resolved in the Group’s favor. These shareholders may breach, or cause our variable interest entities to breach, or refuse to renew, the existing contractual arrangements we have with them and our variable interest entities, which would have a material and adverse effect on our ability to effectively control our variable interest entities and receive substantially all the economic benefits from them. For example, the shareholders may be able to cause our agreements with Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo to be performed in a manner adverse to us by, among other things, failing to remit payments due under the contractual arrangements to us on a timely basis. We cannot assure you that when conflicts of interest arise, any or all of these shareholders will act in the best interests of our company or such conflicts will be resolved in our favor.

 

Currently, we do not have any arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest between these shareholders and our company, except that we could exercise the purchase option under the exclusive option agreement with the nominee equity holders to request them to transfer all of their equity ownership in VIEs to a PRC entity or individual designated by us. Mr. Richard Rixue Li is also a director and executive officer of our company. We rely on Mr. Li to abide by the laws of the Cayman Islands and the PRC, which provide that directors owe fiduciary duties to the company that require them to act in good faith and in what they believe to be the best interests of the company and not to use their position for personal gains. If we cannot resolve any conflict of interest or dispute between us and the shareholders of Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo, we would have to rely on legal proceedings, which could result in disruption of our business and subject us to substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.

 

We may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.

 

We are a holding company, and we may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our PRC subsidiaries like Kutianxia for our cash and financing requirements, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders and service any debt we may incur. If these subsidiaries incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other distributions to us. In addition, the PRC tax authorities may require Kutianxia to adjust its taxable income under the contractual arrangements it currently has in place with our variable interest entities in a manner that would materially and adversely affect its ability to pay dividends and other distributions to us. See “Item 3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—Contractual arrangements in relation to our variable interest entities may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and they may determine that we or our PRC variable interest entities owe additional taxes, which could negatively affected our financial condition and the value of your investment.”

 

Under PRC laws and regulations, our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China may pay dividends only out of their respective accumulated profits as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, a wholly foreign-owned enterprise is required to set aside at least 10% of its accumulated after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund certain statutory reserve fund, until the aggregate amount of such fund reaches 50% of its registered capital. At its discretion, a wholly foreign-owned enterprise may allocate a portion of its after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to enterprise expansion fund and staff welfare and bonus fund. The statutory reserve fund, enterprise expansion fund and staff welfare and bonus fund are not distributable as cash dividends.

 

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Any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends or make other distributions to us could materially and adversely limit our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our business, pay dividends, or otherwise fund and conduct our business. See also “Item 3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—If we are classified as a PRC resident enterprise for PRC income tax purposes, such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders or ADS holders.”

 

PRC regulation on loans to and direct investment in PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control in currency conversion may delay or prevent us from making loans to our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated variable interest entities or making additional capital contributions to our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

 

We are an offshore holding company conducting our operations in China through our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated variable interest entities. We may make loans to our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated variable interest entities subject to the approval from governmental authorities and limitation of amount, or we may make additional capital contributions to our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China.

 

Any loans to our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China, which are treated as foreign-invested enterprises under PRC law, are subject to PRC regulations and foreign exchange loan registrations. For example, loans by us to our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China to finance their activities cannot exceed statutory limits and must be registered with the local counterpart of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE. The statutory limit for the total amount of foreign debts of a foreign-invested company is the difference between the amount of total investment as approved by or record-filed with the Ministry of Commerce or its local counterpart and the amount of registered capital of such foreign-invested company.

 

SAFE issued SAFE Circular No. 19, which took effect on June 1, 2015. SAFE Circular No. 19 allows for the use of RMB converted from the foreign currency-denominated capital for equity investments in the PRC. Foreign-invested enterprises’ use of the converted RMB for purposes beyond the business scope, for entrusted loans or for inter-company RMB loans, however, are subject to SAFE restrictions under SAFE Circular No. 19. On June 9, 2016, the SAFE promulgated the Circular on Reforming and Regulating Policies on the Control over Foreign Exchange Settlement of Capital Accounts, or SAFE Circular No. 16. SAFE Circular No. 16 stipulates that the use of capital by foreign-invested enterprises, or FIEs shall follow “the principle of authenticity and self-use” within the business scope of such FIEs. The capital of an FIE and capital in RMB obtained by the FIE from foreign exchange settlement shall not be used for the following purposes: (i) directly or indirectly used for payment beyond the business scope of the enterprises or the payment prohibited by relevant laws and regulations; (ii) directly or indirectly used for investment in securities or investments other than banks’ principal-secured products unless otherwise provided by relevant laws and regulations; (iii) the granting of loans to non-affiliated enterprises, except where it is expressly permitted in the business license; and (iv) paying the expenses related to the purchase of real estate that is not for self-use (except for the foreign-invested real estate enterprises). Due to the restrictions imposed on loans in foreign currencies extended to any PRC domestic companies, we are not likely to make such loans to our consolidated variable interest entities. Meanwhile, we are not likely to finance the activities of our consolidated variable interest entities by means of capital contributions given the restrictions on foreign investment in the businesses that are currently conducted by our consolidated variable interest entities.

 

In light of the various requirements imposed by PRC regulations on loans to and direct investment in PRC entities by offshore holding companies, we cannot assure you that we will be able to complete the necessary government registrations or obtain the necessary government approvals on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to future loans by us to our PRC subsidiaries or variable interest entities or with respect to future capital contributions by us to our PRC subsidiaries. If we fail to complete such registrations or obtain such approvals, our ability to use foreign currency, including the proceeds from our initial public offering, and to capitalize or otherwise fund our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

 

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Contractual arrangements in relation to our variable interest entities may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and they may determine that we or our PRC variable interest entities owe additional taxes, which could negatively affect our financial condition and the value of your investment.

 

Under applicable PRC laws and regulations, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities. We could face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the contractual arrangements between Kutianxia, our wholly owned subsidiary in China, Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo, our variable interest entities in China, and their respective shareholders were not entered into on an arm’s-length basis in such a way as to result in an impermissible reduction in taxes under applicable PRC laws, rules and regulations, and adjust Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo’s income in the form of a transfer pricing adjustment. A transfer pricing adjustment could, among other things, result in a reduction of expense deductions recorded by Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo for PRC tax purposes, which could in turn increase their tax liabilities. In addition, the PRC tax authorities may impose punitive interest on Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo for the adjusted but unpaid taxes at the rate of 5% over the basic RMB lending rate published by the People’s Bank of China for a period according to the applicable regulations. Our financial position could be materially and adversely affected if our variable interest entities’ tax liabilities increase or if they are required to pay punitive interest.

 

If Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo become the subject of a bankruptcy or liquidation proceeding, we may lose the ability to use and enjoy substantially all of our assets, which could reduce the size of our operations and materially and adversely affect our business, ability to generate revenues and the market price of our ADSs.

 

As part of the contractual arrangements with Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo, their shareholders and their subsidiaries, Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo and their subsidiaries hold operating permits and licenses and substantially all of the assets that are important to the operation of our business, including our ICP license, EDI license, auction license, domain names and trademarks. We expect to continue to be dependent on Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo and its subsidiaries to operate our business in China. If Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo go bankrupt and all or part of their assets become subject to liens or rights of third-party creditors, we may be unable to continue some or all of our business activities, which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Under the contractual arrangements, Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo may not, in any manner, sell, transfer, mortgage or dispose of their assets or legal or beneficial interests in their business without our prior consent. If Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo undergo a voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceeding, their equity holders or unrelated third-party creditors may claim rights to some or all of these assets, thereby hindering our ability to operate our business, which would materially and adversely affect our business, our ability to generate revenues and the market price of our ADSs.

 

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

 

Changes in China’s economic, political or social conditions or government policies could have a material and adverse effect on our business and operations.

 

Substantially all of our operations are located in China. Accordingly, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may be influenced to a significant degree by political, economic and social conditions in China generally and by continued economic growth in China as a whole.

 

The Chinese economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the level of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Although the Chinese government has implemented measures emphasizing the utilization of market forces for economic reform, the reduction of state ownership of productive assets, and the establishment of improved corporate governance in business enterprises, a substantial portion of productive assets in China is still owned by the government. In addition, the Chinese government continues to play a significant role in regulating industry development by imposing industrial policies. The Chinese government also exercises significant control over China’s economic growth through allocating resources, controlling payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy, and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.

 

While the Chinese economy has experienced significant growth over the past decades, growth has been uneven, both geographically and among various sectors of the economy, and the growth of the Chinese economy has slowed down since 2012. The Chinese government has implemented various measures to encourage economic growth and guide the allocation of resources. Some of these measures may benefit the overall Chinese economy, but may have a negative effect on us. For example, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by government control over capital investments or changes in tax regulations. In addition, in the past the Chinese government has implemented certain measures, including interest rate increases, to control the pace of economic growth. These measures may cause decreased economic activity in China, which may adversely affect our business and operating results.

 

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Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.

 

We conduct our business primarily through our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated variable interest entities in China. Our operations in China are governed by PRC laws and regulations. Our PRC subsidiaries are subject to laws and regulations applicable to foreign investment in China. The PRC legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes. Unlike the common law system, prior court decisions may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value.

 

In 1979, the PRC government began to promulgate a comprehensive system of laws and regulations governing economic matters in general. The overall effect of legislation over the past three decades has significantly enhanced the protections afforded to various forms of foreign investments in China. However, China has not developed a fully integrated legal system, and recently enacted laws and regulations may not sufficiently cover all aspects of economic activities in China. In particular, because these laws and regulations are relatively new, and because of the limited number of published decisions and their nonbinding nature, the interpretation and enforcement of these laws and regulations involve uncertainties. In addition, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules, some of which are not published on a timely basis or at all, and which may have a retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of these policies and rules until sometime after the violation.

 

Any administrative and court proceedings in China may be protracted, resulting in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention. Since PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be more difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we enjoy than in more developed legal systems. These uncertainties may impede our ability to enforce the contracts we have entered into and could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

We are subject to consumer protection laws that could require us to modify our current business practices and incur increased costs.

 

We are subject to numerous PRC laws and regulations that regulate retailers generally or govern online retailers specifically, such as the Consumer Protection Law. If these regulations were to change or if we, suppliers or third-party sellers on our marketplace were to violate them, the costs of certain products or services could increase, or we could be subject to fines or penalties or suffer reputational harm, which could reduce demand for the products or services offered on our platform and hurt our business and results of operations. For example, the amended Consumer Protection Law, which became effective in March 2014, further strengthens the protection of consumers and imposes more stringent requirements and obligations on business operators, especially on businesses that operate on the internet. Pursuant to the Consumer Protection Law, consumers are generally entitled to return goods purchased within seven days upon receipt without giving any reasons if they purchased the goods over the internet. Consumers whose interests have been damaged due to their purchase of goods or acceptance of services on online marketplace platforms may claim damages from sellers or service providers. Where the operators of an online marketplace platform are unable to provide the real names, addresses and valid contact details of the sellers or service providers, the consumers may also claim damages from the operators of the online marketplace platforms. Operators of online marketplace platforms that know or should have known that sellers or service providers use their platforms to infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of consumers but fail to take necessary measures must bear joint and several liability with the sellers or service providers. Moreover, if business operators deceive consumers or knowingly sell substandard or defective products, they should not only compensate consumers for their losses, but also pay additional damages equal to three times the price of the goods or services. Legal requirements are frequently changed and subject to interpretation, and we are unable to predict the ultimate cost of compliance with these requirements or their effect on our operations. We may be required to make significant expenditures or modify our business practices to comply with existing or future laws and regulations, which may increase our costs and materially limit our ability to operate our business.

 

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We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC regulation of internet-related business and companies.

 

The PRC government extensively regulates the internet industry, including foreign ownership of, and the licensing and permit requirements pertaining to, companies in the internet industry. These internet related laws and regulations are relatively new and evolving, and their interpretation and enforcement involve significant uncertainties. As a result, in certain circumstances it may be difficult to determine what actions or omissions may be deemed to be in violation of applicable laws and regulations. Issues, risks and uncertainties relating to PRC government regulation of the internet industry include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

We only have control over our website and mobile applications through contractual arrangements. We do not own the website in China due to the restriction of foreign investment in businesses providing value-added telecommunication services in China, including internet information provision services and online data processing and transaction processing services. This may significantly disrupt our business, subject us to sanctions, compromise enforceability of related contractual arrangements, or have other harmful effects on us.

 

The evolving PRC regulatory system for the internet industry may lead to the establishment of new regulatory agencies. For example, in May 2011, the State Council announced the establishment of a new department, the Cyberspace Administration of China. The primary role of this new agency is to facilitate the policy-making and legislative development in this field to direct and coordinate with the relevant departments in connection with online content administration and to deal with cross-ministry regulatory matters in relation to the internet industry.

 

New laws and regulations may be promulgated that will regulate internet activities, including online retail. If these new laws and regulations are promulgated, additional licenses may be required for our operations. If our operations do not comply with these new regulations at the time they become effective, or if we fail to obtain any licenses required under these new laws and regulations, we could be subject to penalties.

 

The Circular on Strengthening the Administration of Foreign Investment in and Operation of Value-added Telecommunications Business, issued by the MIIT in July 2006, prohibits domestic telecommunication service providers from leasing, transferring or selling telecommunications business operating licenses to any foreign investor in any form, or providing any resources, sites or facilities to any foreign investor for their illegal operation of a telecommunications business in China. According to this circular, either the holder of a value-added telecommunication services operation permit or its shareholders must directly own the domain names and trademarks used by such license holders in their provision of value-added telecommunication services. The circular also requires each license holder to have the necessary facilities, including servers, for its approved business operations and to maintain such facilities in the regions covered by its license. If an ICP license or EDI license holder fails to comply with the requirements and also fails to remediate such non-compliance within a specified period of time, the MIIT or its local counterparts have the discretion to take administrative measures against such license holder, including revoking its ICP license or EDI license. Currently, Beijing Secoo, one of our PRC consolidated variable interest entities, holds an ICP license and an EDI license and operates our Secoo.com website. Beijing Secoo owns the relevant domain names and registered trademarks and has the necessary personnel to operate such website.

 

The interpretation and application of existing PRC laws, regulations and policies and possible new laws, regulations or policies relating to the internet industry have created substantial uncertainties regarding the legality of existing and future foreign investments in, and the businesses and activities of, internet businesses in China, including our business. We cannot assure you that we have obtained all the permits or licenses required for conducting our business in China or will be able to maintain our existing licenses or obtain new ones.

 

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Failure to make adequate contributions to various employee benefit plans as required by PRC regulations may subject us to penalties.

 

Companies operating in China are required to participate in various government sponsored employee benefit plans, including certain social insurance, housing funds and other welfare-oriented payment obligations, and contribute to the plans in amounts equal to certain percentages of salaries, including bonuses and allowances, of employees up to a maximum amount specified by the local government from time to time at locations where they operate their businesses. The requirement of employee benefit plans has not been implemented consistently by the local governments in China given the different levels of economic development in different locations. If we fail to make contributions to various employee benefit plans and comply with applicable PRC labor-related laws, we may be subject to late payment penalties and required to make up the contributions for these plans. If we are subject to late fees or fines in relation to the underpaid employee benefits, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

We may be required to register our operating offices outside of our registered addresses as branch offices under PRC law.

 

Under PRC law, a company setting up premises for business operations outside its registered address must register them as branch offices with the relevant local market regulation bureau at the place where the premises are located and obtain business licenses for them as branch offices. We currently have five branch offices across China. We may expand our business in the future to additional locations in China, and we may not be able to register branch offices in a timely manner due to complex procedural requirements and relocation of branch offices from time to time. If the PRC regulatory authorities determine that we are in violation of the relevant laws and regulations, we may be subject to penalties, including fines, confiscation of income and suspension of operation. If we become subject to these penalties, our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

 

Fluctuations in exchange rates could have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.

 

Most of our revenues and most of our expenses are denominated in RMB. The value of the RMB against the U.S. dollar and other currencies is affected by changes in China’s political and economic conditions and by China’s foreign exchange policies, among other things. The conversion of RMB into foreign currencies, including U.S. dollars, is based on rates set by the People’s Bank of China. The PRC government allowed the RMB to appreciate by more than 20% against the U.S. dollar between July 2005 and July 2008. Between July 2008 and June 2010, this appreciation halted and the exchange rate between the RMB and the U.S. dollar remained within a narrow band. Since June 2010, the RMB has fluctuated against the U.S. dollar, at times significantly and unpredictably, and in recent years the RMB has depreciated significantly against the U.S. dollar. Since October 1, 2016, the RMB has joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s basket of currencies that make up the Special Drawing Right (SDR), along with the U.S. dollar, the Euro, the Japanese yen and the British pound. In 2018, the RMB has depreciated significantly in the backdrop of a surging U.S. dollar and persistent capital outflows of China. With the development of the foreign exchange market and progress towards interest rate liberalization and Renminbi internationalization, the PRC government may in the future announce further changes to the exchange rate system and there is no guarantee that the RMB will not appreciate or depreciate significantly in value against the U.S. dollar in the future. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or U.S. government policy may impact the exchange rate between the RMB and the U.S. dollar in the future.

 

There remains significant international pressure on the PRC government to adopt a substantial liberalization of its currency policy, which could result in further depreciation in the value of the RMB against the U.S. dollar. To the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars into RMB for capital expenditures and working capital and other business purposes, appreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the RMB amount we would receive from the conversion. Conversely, if we decide to convert RMB into U.S. dollars for the purpose of making payments for dividends on our Class A ordinary shares or ADSs, strategic acquisitions or investments or other business purposes, appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the RMB would have a negative effect on the U.S. dollar amount available to us.

 

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Very limited hedging options are available in China to reduce our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. To date, we have not entered into any hedging transactions in an effort to reduce our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk. While we may decide to enter into hedging transactions in the future, the availability and effectiveness of these hedges may be limited and we may not be able to adequately hedge our exposure or at all. In addition, our currency exchange losses may be magnified by PRC exchange control regulations that restrict our ability to convert RMB into foreign currency. As a result, fluctuations in exchange rates may have a material adverse effect on your investment.

 

Governmental control of currency conversion may limit our ability to utilize our revenues effectively and affect the value of your investment.

 

The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility of the RMB into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. We receive substantially all of our revenues in RMB. Shortages in the availability of foreign currency may restrict the ability of our PRC subsidiaries and variable interest entities to remit sufficient foreign currency to pay dividends or other payments to us, or otherwise satisfy their foreign currency denominated obligations. Under our current corporate structure, our company in the Cayman Islands may rely on dividend payments from our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, such as profit distributions and trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. Therefore, our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China are able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to us without prior approval from SAFE, subject to the condition that the remittance of such dividends outside of the PRC complies with certain procedures under PRC foreign exchange regulation, such as the overseas investment registrations by our shareholders or the ultimate shareholders of our corporate shareholders who are PRC residents. But approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities or authorized banks is required where RMB is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. The PRC government may also at its discretion restrict access in the future to foreign currencies for current account transactions. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currencies to satisfy our foreign currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of our ADSs.

 

The M&A Rules and certain other PRC regulations establish complex procedures for some acquisitions of Chinese companies by foreign investors, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in China.

 

The M&A Rules discussed in the preceding risk factor and recently adopted regulations and rules concerning mergers and acquisitions established additional procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities by foreign investors more time consuming and complex. For example, the M&A Rules require that the Ministry of Commerce be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise, if (i) any important industry is concerned, (ii) such transaction involves factors that have or may have impact on the national economic security, or (iii) such transaction will lead to a change in control of a domestic enterprise which holds a famous trademark or PRC time-honored brand. Mergers, acquisitions or contractual arrangements that allow one market player to take control of or to exert decisive impact on another market player must also be notified in advance to the Ministry of Commerce when the threshold under the Provisions on Thresholds for Prior Notification of Concentrations of Undertakings, or the Prior Notification Rules, issued by the State Council in August 2008 is triggered. In addition, the security review rules issued by the Ministry of Commerce that became effective in September 2011 specify that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors that raise “national defense and security” concerns and mergers and acquisitions through which foreign investors may acquire de facto control over domestic enterprises that raise “national security” concerns are subject to strict review by the Ministry of Commerce, and the rules prohibit any activities attempting to bypass a security review, including by structuring the transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement. In the future, we may grow our business by acquiring complementary businesses. Complying with the requirements of the above-mentioned regulations and other relevant rules to complete such transactions could be time consuming, and any required approval processes (if any), including obtaining approval from the Ministry of Commerce or its local counterparts may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to further expand our business or maintain our market share. It is unclear whether our business would be deemed to be in an industry that raises “national defense and security” or “national security” concerns. However, the Ministry of Commerce or other government agencies may publish explanations in the future determining that our business is in an industry subject to the security review, in which case our future acquisitions in the PRC, including those by way of entering into contractual control arrangements with target entities, may be closely scrutinized or prohibited. Our ability to expand our business or maintain or expand our market share through future acquisitions would as such be materially and adversely affected.

 

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PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident beneficial owners or our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into these subsidiaries, limit these subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits to us, or may otherwise adversely affect us.

 

On July 4, 2014, SAFE promulgated the Notice on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Control of Domestic Residents’ Overseas Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Offshore Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular No. 37, which replaced the former Notice on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Administration for PRC Residents to Engage in Financing and Inbound Investment via Overseas Special Purpose Vehicles (generally known as SAFE Circular No. 75) promulgated by SAFE on October 21, 2005.

 

SAFE Circular No. 37 requires PRC residents to register with local branches of SAFE in connection with their direct establishment or indirect control of an offshore entity, for the purpose of overseas investment and financing, with such PRC residents’ legally owned assets or equity interests in domestic enterprises or offshore assets or interests, which is referred to in SAFE Circular No. 37 as a “special purpose vehicle.” The term “control” under SAFE Circular No. 37 is broadly defined as the operation rights, beneficiary rights or decision-making rights acquired by the PRC residents in the offshore special purpose vehicles or PRC companies by such means as acquisition, trust, proxy, voting rights, repurchase, convertible bonds or other arrangements. SAFE Circular No. 37 further requires amendment to the registration in the event of any significant changes with respect to the special purpose vehicle, such as an increase or decrease of capital contributed by PRC residents, share transfer or exchange, merger, division or other material events.

 

SAFE promulgated the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving the Administration of the Foreign Exchange Concerning Direct Investment, or SAFE Circular 13, in February 2015, which took effect on June 1, 2015. SAFE Circular 13 amended SAFE Circular 37 requiring PRC residents or entities to register with qualified banks rather than SAFE or its local branch, in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing. In the event that a PRC resident holding interests in a special purpose vehicle fails to complete the required SAFE registration, the PRC subsidiaries of that special purpose vehicle may be prohibited from making profit distributions to the offshore parent and from carrying out subsequent cross-border foreign exchange activities, and the special purpose vehicle may be restricted in its ability to contribute additional capital into its PRC subsidiaries. Furthermore, failure to comply with the various SAFE registration requirements described above could result in liability under PRC law for evasion of foreign exchange controls.

 

Currently, all of our founders who are PRC residents have registered with the competent local branch of SAFE with respect to their investments in our company as required by SAFE Circular No. 75 and SAFE Circular No. 37 and will further update their registration filings with SAFE under SAFE Circular No. 37 when there are any changes that should be registered under SAFE Circular No. 37. However, we may not at all times be fully aware or informed of the identities of all our shareholders or beneficial owners that are required to make such registrations, and we may not always be able to compel them to comply with SAFE Circular No. 37 requirements. As a result, we cannot assure you that all of our shareholders or beneficial owners who are PRC residents will at all times comply with, or in the future make or obtain any applicable registrations or approvals required by, SAFE Circular No. 37 or other related regulations. The failure or inability of such individuals to comply with the registration procedures set forth in these regulations may subject us to fines or legal sanctions, restrictions on our cross-border investment activities or our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends to, or obtain foreign-exchange-dominated loans from, our company, or prevent us from making distributions or paying dividends. As a result, our business operations and our ability to make distributions to you could be materially and adversely affected.

 

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Furthermore, as these foreign exchange regulations are still relatively new and their interpretation and implementation has been constantly evolving, it is unclear how these regulations, and any future regulation concerning offshore or cross-border transactions, will be interpreted, amended and implemented by the relevant government authorities. We cannot predict how these regulations will affect our business operations or future strategy. In addition, if we decide to acquire a PRC domestic company, we cannot assure you that we or the owners of such company, as the case may be, will be able to obtain the necessary approvals or complete the necessary filings and registrations required by the foreign exchange regulations. This may restrict our ability to implement our acquisition strategy and could adversely affect our business and prospects.

 

Any failure to comply with PRC regulations regarding the registration requirements for employee stock incentive plans may subject the PRC plan participants or us to fines and other legal or administrative sanctions.

 

Pursuant to the Notice on Issues Concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in Stock Incentive Plan of Overseas Publicly Listed Company, issued by SAFE in February 2012, employees, directors, supervisors and other senior management participating in any stock incentive plan of an overseas publicly listed company who are PRC citizens or who are non-PRC citizens residing in China for a continuous period of not less than one year, subject to a few exceptions, are required to register with SAFE through a domestic qualified agent, which could be a PRC subsidiary of such overseas listed company, and complete certain other procedures. We and our directors, executive officers and other employees who are PRC citizens or who reside in the PRC for a continuous period of not less than one year and who have been granted restricted shares, restricted share units or options are subject to these regulations as our company has become an overseas listed company. Failure to complete the SAFE registrations may subject them to fines and legal sanctions and may also limit our ability to contribute additional capital into our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China and limit these subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends to us. We also face regulatory uncertainties that could restrict our ability to adopt additional incentive plans for our directors and employees under PRC laws.

 

In addition, the State Administration of Taxation, or the SAT, has issued certain circulars concerning employee share options or restricted shares. Under these circulars, the employees working in the PRC who exercise share options or are granted restricted shares will be subject to PRC individual income tax. The PRC subsidiaries of such overseas listed company have obligations to file documents related to employee share options or restricted shares with relevant tax authorities and to withhold individual income taxes of those employees who exercise their share options. If the employees fail to pay or the PRC subsidiaries fail to withhold their income taxes according to relevant laws and regulations, the PRC subsidiaries may face sanctions imposed by the tax authorities or other PRC government authorities.

 

If we are classified as a PRC resident enterprise for PRC income tax purposes, such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders or ADS holders. In addition, any noncompliance with PRC tax laws may adversely affect us.

 

Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules, an enterprise established outside of the PRC with “de facto management body” within the PRC is considered a resident enterprise and will be subject to the enterprise income tax on its global income at the rate of 25%. The implementation rules define the term “de facto management body” as the body that exercises full and substantial control and overall management over the business, production, personnel, accounts and properties of an enterprise. In April 2009, the SAT issued a circular, known as Circular 82, which provides certain specific criteria for determining whether the “de facto management body” of a PRC-controlled enterprise that is incorporated offshore is located in China. Although this circular only applies to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC enterprise groups, not those controlled by PRC individuals or foreigners like us, the criteria set forth in the circular may reflect the SAT’s general position on how the “de facto management body” text should be applied in determining the tax resident status of all offshore enterprises. According to Circular 82, an offshore incorporated enterprise controlled by a PRC enterprise or a PRC enterprise group will be regarded as a PRC tax resident by virtue of having its “de facto management body” in China and will be subject to PRC enterprise income tax on its global income only if all of the following conditions are met: (i) the primary location of the day-to-day operational management is in the PRC; (ii) decisions relating to the enterprise’s financial and human resource matters are made or are subject to approval by organizations or personnel in the PRC; (iii) the enterprise’s primary assets, accounting books and records, company seals, and board and shareholder resolutions, are located or maintained in the PRC; and (iv) at least 50% of voting board members or senior executives habitually reside in the PRC.

 

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We believe Secoo Holding Limited is not a PRC resident enterprise for PRC tax purposes. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Taxation—PRC.” However, the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by the PRC tax authorities and uncertainties remain with respect to the interpretation of the term “de facto management body.” If the PRC tax authorities determine that Secoo Holding Limited is a PRC resident enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes, we may be required to withhold a 10% withholding tax unless a reduced rate is available under an applicable tax treaty, from dividends we pay to our shareholders that are non-resident enterprises, including the holders of our ADSs. In addition, non-resident enterprise shareholders (including our ADS holders) may be subject to PRC tax on gains realized on the sale or other disposition of ADSs or Class A ordinary shares, if such income is treated as sourced from within the PRC. It is unclear whether our non-PRC individual shareholders (including our ADS holders) would be subject to any PRC tax on dividends or gains obtained by such non-PRC individual shareholders in the event we are determined to be a PRC resident enterprise. If any PRC tax were to apply to such dividends or gains, it would generally apply at a rate of 20% unless a reduced rate is available under an applicable tax treaty. However, it is also unclear whether non-PRC shareholders of Secoo Holding Limited would be able to claim the benefits of any tax treaties between their country of tax residence and the PRC in the event that Secoo Holding Limited is treated as a PRC resident enterprise.

 

In addition, over the years, we have accrued taxes payable. If we are subject to penalties in relation to the due and unpaid taxes payable, our liquidity, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

Enhanced scrutiny over acquisitions by the PRC tax authorities may have a negative impact on potential acquisitions we may pursue in the future.

 

The PRC tax authorities have enhanced their scrutiny over the direct or indirect transfer of equity interests in a PRC resident enterprise by a non-resident enterprise by promulgating and implementing the Notice on Issues Concerning Process of Enterprise Income Tax in Enterprise Restructuring Business, or SAT Circular 59, promulgated by PRC Ministry of Finance and SAT in April, 2009, the Announcement of the SAT on Several Issues Concerning the Enterprise Income Tax on Indirect Property Transfer by Non-Resident Enterprises, or Public Notice 7, promulgated by the SAT in February 2015 and the Bulletin of SAT on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or the Bulletin 37, promulgated by the SAT in October, 2017.

 

According to Public Notice 7, if a non-resident enterprise transfers the equity interests of a PRC resident enterprise indirectly by transfer of the equity interests of an offshore holding company (other than a purchase and sale of shares issued by a PRC resident enterprise in public securities market) without a reasonable commercial purpose, the PRC tax authorities have the power to reassess the nature of the transaction and the indirect equity transfer will be treated as a direct transfer. As a result, the gain derived from such transfer, which means the equity transfer price less the cost of equity, will be subject to PRC withholding tax at a rate of up to 10%. Under the terms of Public Notice 7, the transfer which meets all of the following circumstances shall be directly deemed as having no reasonable commercial purposes: (i) over 75% of the value of the equity interests of the offshore holding company are directly or indirectly derived from PRC taxable properties; (ii) at any time during the year before the indirect transfer, over 90% of the total properties of the offshore holding company are investments within PRC territory, or in the year before the indirect transfer, over 90% of the offshore holding company’s revenue is directly or indirectly derived from PRC territory; (iii) the function performed and risks assumed by the offshore holding company are insufficient to substantiate its corporate existence; or (iv) the foreign income tax imposed on the indirect transfer is lower than the PRC tax imposed on the direct transfer of the PRC taxable properties.

 

The Bulletin 37, which, among others, repeals the Notice on Strengthening the Administration of the Enterprise Income Tax concerning Proceeds from Equity Transfers by Non-resident Enterprises, or Circular 698, which became retroactively effective on January 1, 2008 and certain rules stipulated in Public Notice 7 on December 1, 2017. The Bulletin 37 further details and clarifies the tax withholding methods in respect of income of non-resident enterprises.

 

There is little guidance and practical experience as to the application of Public Notice 7. Where non-resident investors were involved in our private equity financing, if such transactions are determined by the tax authorities to be lacking of reasonable commercial purposes, we and our non-resident investors may be taxed under Public Notice 7 and may be required to expend valuable resources to comply with Public Notice 7 or to establish that we should not be taxed under Public Notice 7, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations or our non-resident investors’ investments in us.

 

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The PRC tax authorities have discretion under SAT Circular 59, Public Notice 7 and Bulletin 37 to make adjustments to the taxable capital gains based on the difference between the fair value of the equity interests transferred and the cost of investment. We may pursue acquisitions in the future that involve complex corporate structures. If we are considered a non-resident enterprise under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and if the PRC tax authorities make adjustments to the taxable income of these transactions under SAT Circular 59, Public Notice 7 and Bulletin 37, our income tax expenses associated with such potential acquisitions will be increased, which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

The enforcement of the PRC Labor Contract Law and other labor-related regulations in the PRC may adversely affect our business and our results of operations.

 

The PRC Labor Contract Law became effective and was implemented on January 1, 2008 and was further amended in 2012. It has reinforced the protection of employees who, under the PRC Labor Contract Law, have the right, among others, to have written labor contracts, to enter into labor contracts with no fixed terms under certain circumstances, to receive overtime wages and to terminate or alter terms in labor contracts. According to the PRC Social Insurance Law, which became effective on July 1, 2011 and was further amended on December 29, 2018, and the Administrative Regulations on the Housing Funds, which became effective on March 24, 2002, employees are required to participate in pension insurance, work-related injury insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, maternity insurance and housing funds, and the employers must pay all or a portion of the social insurance premiums and housing funds for such employees.

 

As a result of these laws and regulations designed to enhance labor protection, we expect our labor costs will continue to increase. In addition, as the interpretation and implementation of these new laws and regulations are still evolving, our employment practice may not at all times be deemed in compliance with the new laws and regulations. If we are subject to severe penalties or incur significant liabilities in connection with labor disputes or investigations, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

Risks Related to our American Depositary Shares

 

The trading price of our ADSs may be volatile.

 

The trading prices of our ADSs is likely to be volatile and could fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control. This may happen because of broad market and industry factors, like the performance and fluctuation in the market prices or the underperformance or deteriorating financial results of other listed companies based in China. The securities of some of these companies have experienced significant volatility since their initial public offerings, including, in some cases, substantial price declines in the trading prices of their securities. The trading performances of other Chinese companies’ securities after their offerings, including internet and e-commerce companies, may affect the attitudes of investors toward Chinese companies listed in the United States, which consequently may impact the trading performance of our ADSs, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition, any negative news or perceptions about inadequate corporate governance practices or fraudulent accounting, corporate structure or matters of other Chinese companies may also negatively affect the attitudes of investors towards Chinese companies in general, including us, regardless of whether we have conducted any inappropriate activities. In addition, securities markets may from time to time experience significant price and volume fluctuations that are not related to our operating performance, such as the large decline in share prices in the United States, China and other jurisdictions in late 2008, early 2009 and the second half of 2011, which may have a material and adverse effect on the trading price of our ADSs.

 

In addition to the above factors, the price and trading volume of our ADSs may be highly volatile due to multiple factors, including the following:

 

·                  regulatory developments affecting us or our industry, customers, suppliers or third-party sellers;

 

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·                  announcements of studies and reports relating to the quality of our product and service offerings or those of our competitors;

 

·                  changes in the economic performance or market valuations of other online retail or e-commerce companies;

 

·                  actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly results of operations and changes or revisions of our expected results;

 

·                  changes in financial estimates by securities research analysts;

 

·                  conditions in the online and offline upscale retail market;

 

·                  announcements by us or our competitors of new product and service offerings, acquisitions, strategic relationships, joint ventures, capital raisings or capital commitments;

 

·                  additions to or departures of our senior management;

 

·                  fluctuations of exchange rates between the RMB and the U.S. dollar;

 

·                  release or expiry of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding shares or ADSs; and

 

·                  sales or perceived potential sales of additional Class A ordinary shares or ADSs.

 

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market price for our ADSs and trading volume could decline.

 

The trading market for our ADSs will depend in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. If research analysts do not establish and maintain adequate research coverage or if one or more of the analysts who covers us downgrades our ADSs or publishes inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market price for our ADSs would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which, in turn, could cause the market price or trading volume for our ADSs to decline.

 

Because we do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future, you must rely on price appreciation of our ADSs for return on your investment.

 

We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in our ADSs as a source for any future dividend income.

 

Our board of directors has discretion as to whether to distribute dividends subject to applicable laws. In addition, our shareholders may by ordinary resolution declare a dividend, but no dividend may exceed the amount recommended by our directors. Under Cayman Islands law, a Cayman Islands company may pay a dividend on its shares out of either profit or share premium amount, provided that in no circumstances may a dividend be paid if this would result in the company being unable to pay its debts due in the ordinary course of business. Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on, among other things, our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return on your investment in our ADSs will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of our ADSs. There is no guarantee that our ADSs will appreciate in value in the future or even maintain the price at which you purchased the ADSs. You may not realize a return on your investment in our ADSs and you may even lose your entire investment in our ADSs.

 

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Substantial future sales or perceived potential sales of our ADSs in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.

 

Sales of our ADSs in the public market could cause the market price of our ADSs to decline. Such sales also might make it more difficult for us to sell equity or equity-related securities in the future at a time and price that we deem appropriate. If any existing shareholder or shareholders sell a substantial amount of ADSs, the prevailing market price for our ADSs could be adversely affected. In addition, if we pay for our future acquisitions in whole or in part with additionally issued ordinary shares, your ownership interests in our company would be diluted and this, in turn, could have a material and adverse effect on the price of our ADSs.

 

You, as holders of ADSs, may have fewer rights than holders of our Class A ordinary shares and must act through the depositary to exercise those rights.

 

Holders of ADSs do not have the same rights as our registered shareholders. As a holder of our ADSs, you will not have any direct right to attend general meetings of our shareholders or to cast any votes at such meetings. You will only be able to exercise the voting rights which attach to the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs indirectly by giving voting instructions to the depositary in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Upon receipt of your voting instructions, the depositary will try, as far as it is practicable, to vote the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs in accordance with your instructions. You will not be able to exercise directly any right to vote with respect to the underlying Class A ordinary shares unless you withdraw the shares and become the registered holder of such shares prior to the record date for the general meeting. Under our current memorandum and articles of association, the minimum notice period required to be given by our company to our registered shareholders to convene a general meeting will be ten calendar days. When a general meeting is convened, you may not receive sufficient notice of the meeting to enable you to withdraw the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs and become the registered holder of such shares to allow you to attend the general meeting or to cast your vote directly with respect to any specific matter or resolution to be considered and voted upon at the general meeting. In addition, under our current memorandum and articles of association, for the purposes of determining those shareholders who are entitled to attend and vote at any general meeting, our directors may close our register of members and/or fix in advance a record date for such meeting, and such closure of our register of members or the setting of such a record date may prevent you from withdrawing the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs and becoming the registered holder of such shares prior to the record date, so that you would not be able to attend the general meeting or to vote directly. Where any matter is to be put to a vote at a general meeting, we will make all reasonable efforts to cause the depositary to notify you of the upcoming vote and to deliver our voting materials to you in a timely manner, but there can be no assurance that you will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that you can instruct the depositary to vote the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs. Furthermore, the depositary and its agents will not be responsible for any failure to carry out any instructions to vote, for the manner in which any vote is cast or for the effect of any such vote. As a result, you may not be able to exercise your right to direct how the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs are voted, and you may lack recourse if the underlying Class A ordinary shares are not voted as you requested. In addition, in your capacity as an ADS holder, you will not be able to call a shareholders’ meeting.

 

Except in limited circumstances, the depositary for our ADSs will give us a discretionary proxy to vote the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs if you do not give voting instructions to the depositary to direct how the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs are voted, which could adversely affect your interests.

 

Under the deposit agreement for the ADSs, if you do not give voting instructions to the depositary to direct how the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs are voted, the depositary will give us a discretionary proxy to vote the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs at shareholders’ meetings unless:

 

·                  we have instructed the depositary that we do not wish a discretionary proxy to be given;

 

·                  we have informed the depositary that there is substantial opposition as to a matter to be voted on at the meeting;

 

·                  a matter to be voted on at the meeting would have a material adverse impact on shareholders; or

 

·                  the voting at the meeting is to be made on a show of hands.

 

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The effect of this discretionary proxy is that you cannot prevent our Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs from being voted, except under the circumstances described above. This may make it more difficult for shareholders to influence the management of our company. Holders of our Class A ordinary shares are not subject to this discretionary proxy.

 

Your right to participate in any future rights offerings may be limited, which may cause dilution to your holdings.

 

We may from time to time distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire our securities. However, we cannot make rights available to you in the United States unless we register both the rights and the securities to which the rights relate under the Securities Act or an exemption from the registration requirements is available. Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not make rights available to you unless both the rights and the underlying securities to be distributed to ADS holders are either registered under the Securities Act or exempt from registration under the Securities Act. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such rights or securities or to endeavor to cause such a registration statement to be declared effective and we may not be able to establish a necessary exemption from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, you may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution in your holdings.

 

You may not receive cash dividends if the depositary decides it is impractical to make them available to you.

 

The depositary will pay cash dividends on the ADSs only to the extent that we decide to distribute dividends on our Class A ordinary shares or other deposited securities, and we do not have any present plan to pay any cash dividends on our Class A ordinary shares in the foreseeable future. To the extent that our company pays any cash dividends or other distributions to our shareholders, we will pay such distributions which are payable in respect of our Class A ordinary shares (or other deposited securities) represented by ADSs to the depositary of our ADSs or the custodian (as the registered holder of such Class A ordinary shares or other deposited securities), and the depositary has agreed to pay the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on our Class A ordinary shares or other deposited securities, after deducting its fees and expenses, to the holders of the ADSs. You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of Class A ordinary shares your ADSs represent. However, the depositary may, at its discretion, decide that it is inequitable or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, the depositary may determine that it is not practicable to distribute certain property through the mail, or that the value of certain distributions may be less than the cost of mailing them. In these cases, the depositary may decide not to distribute such property to you.

 

You may be subject to limitations on transfer of your ADSs.

 

Your ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its transfer books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. In addition, the depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of ADSs generally when our books or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary deems it advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

 

Certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.

 

We are a company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. We conduct our operations in China and substantially all of our assets are located in China. In addition, our directors and executive officers, and some of the experts named in this annual report, reside within China, and most of the assets of these persons are located within China. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the U.S. federal securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of the PRC may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers.

 

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Since we are a Cayman Islands company, the rights of our shareholders may be more limited than those of shareholders of a company organized in the United States.

 

Under the laws of some jurisdictions in the United States, majority and controlling shareholders generally have certain fiduciary responsibilities to the minority shareholders. Shareholder action must be taken in good faith, and actions by controlling shareholders which are obviously unreasonable may be declared null and void. Cayman Islands law protecting the interests of minority shareholders may not be as protective in all circumstances as the law protecting minority shareholders in some U.S. jurisdictions. In addition, the circumstances in which a shareholder of a Cayman Islands company may sue the company derivatively, and the procedures and defenses that may be available to the company, may result in the rights of shareholders of a Cayman Islands company being more limited than those of shareholders of a company organized in the United States.

 

Furthermore, our directors have the power to take certain actions without shareholder approval which would require shareholder approval under the laws of most U.S. jurisdictions. For example, the directors of a Cayman Islands company, without shareholder approval, may implement a sale of any assets, property, part of the business, or securities of the company. Our ability to create and issue new classes or series of shares without shareholder approval could have the effect of delaying, deterring or preventing a change in control without any further action by our shareholders, including a tender offer to purchase our ordinary shares at a premium over then current market prices.

 

We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Exchange Act, and as such we are exempt from certain provisions applicable to U.S. domestic public companies.

 

Because we qualify as a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act, we are exempt from certain provisions of the securities rules and regulations in the United States that are applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, including:

 

·                  the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing with the SEC of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K;

 

·                  the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents, or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act;

 

·                  the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities and liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time; and

 

·                  the selective disclosure rules by issuers of material nonpublic information under Regulation FD.

 

We are required to file an annual report on Form 20-F within four months of the end of each fiscal year. In addition, we intend to publish our results on a quarterly basis as press releases, distributed pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Nasdaq Global Market. Press releases relating to financial results and material events will also be furnished to the SEC on Form 6-K. However, the information we are required to file with or furnish to the SEC will be less extensive and less timely compared to that required to be filed with the SEC by U.S. domestic issuers. As a result, you may not be afforded the same protections or information that would be made available to you were you investing in a U.S. domestic issuer.

 

As a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, we are permitted to adopt certain home country practices in relation to corporate governance matters that differ significantly from the Nasdaq Global Market corporate governance listing standards; these practices may afford less protection to shareholders than they would enjoy if we complied fully with the Nasdaq Global Market corporate governance listing standards.

 

Our ADSs have been approved for listing on the Nasdaq Global Market. As a Cayman Islands company listed on the Nasdaq Global Market, we are subject to the Nasdaq Global Market corporate governance listing standards. However, the Nasdaq Global Market rules permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country. Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, may differ significantly from the Nasdaq Global Market corporate governance listing standards. Currently, we do not plan to rely on home country practice with respect to our corporate governance. However, if we choose to follow home country practice in the future, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they otherwise would under the Nasdaq Global Market corporate governance listing standards applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

 

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We may be classified as a passive foreign investment company for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which could result in materially adverse tax consequences to U.S. Holders of our ADSs or ordinary shares.

 

A non-U.S. corporation, such as our company, will be classified as a passive foreign investment company (a “PFIC”) for U.S. federal income tax purposes for any taxable year, if either (i) 75% or more of its gross income for such year consists of certain types of “passive” income or (ii) 50% or more of the value of its assets (determined on the basis of a quarterly average) during such year produce or are held for the production of passive income. Passive income generally includes dividends, interest, royalties, rents, annuities, net gains from the sale or exchange of property producing such income and net foreign currency gains. For this purpose, cash and assets readily convertible into cash are categorized as passive asset assets and the company’s unbooked intangibles associated with active business activity are taken into account as non-passive assets.

 

In addition, we will be treated as owning a proportionate share of the assets and earning a proportionate share of the income of any other corporation in which we own, directly or indirectly, more than 25% (by value) of the stock. Although the law in this regard is unclear, we treat our variable interest entities as being beneficially owned by us for U.S. federal income tax purposes because we control their management decisions, we are entitled to substantially all of the economic benefits associated with these entities, and, as a result, we consolidate their results of operations in our U.S. GAAP financial statements.

 

Based on our current income and assets and the value of our ADSs, we do not believe that we were a PFIC for our taxable year ending December 31, 2018 and we do not expect to be classified as a PFIC or in the foreseeable future. While we do not anticipate becoming a PFIC, changes in the nature of our income or assets, or fluctuations in the market price of our ADSs, may cause us to become a PFIC for future taxable years. In estimating the value of our goodwill and other unbooked intangibles, we have taken into account our market capitalization, which may fluctuate over time. Among other factors, if our market capitalization declines, we may be or become classified as a PFIC for the current or future taxable years. In addition, if it were determined that that we are not the beneficial owner of our variable interest entities for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we may be treated as a PFIC for our current taxable year and in future taxable years.

 

If we are classified as a PFIC for any year during which a U.S. Holder (as defined below) holds our ADSs or ordinary shares, such U.S. Holder may incur significantly increased U.S. federal income tax on gain recognized on the sale or other disposition of our ADSs or ordinary shares and on the receipt of distributions on our ADSs or ordinary shares to the extent such gain or distribution is treated as an “excess distribution” under the U.S. federal income tax rules. If we are so classified during a U.S. Holder’s holding period, our ADSs or ordinary shares will generally continue to be treated as shares in a PFIC for all succeeding years during which such U.S. Holder holds our ADSs or ordinary shares, even if we cease to be a PFIC, unless certain elections are made. See the discussion under “Item 10.E. Additional Information—Taxation—United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—Passive Foreign Investment Company Rules” concerning the U.S. federal income tax considerations of an investment in our ADSs or ordinary shares if we are or become classified as a PFIC, including the possibility of making certain elections.

 

ITEM 4.                                                INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

A.                                    History and Development of the Company

 

In February 2008, Mr. Richard Rixue Li and Ms. Zhaohui Huang, our Founders, formed Hong Kong Secoo Investment Group Limited, or Hong Kong Secoo, in Hong Kong as a holding company. Our Founders also formed Beijing Secoo Trading Limited, or Beijing Secoo, in Beijing, China in April 2009. We commenced our current upscale product retail business under our Secoo brand through Beijing Secoo in 2011. We opened our first offline experience center in Beijing in January 2011 and launched our website in April in the same year. Our mobile application was launched in December 2013. In 2015 and 2016, we opened four offline experience centers located in Shanghai, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Malaysia. In 2017, we opened three offline experience centers located in Qingdao, Xiamen and Tianjin. We launched Secoo Check in April 2016, which allows customers to make payments for our merchandise products in installments. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, we successfully expanded our supply arrangements with top global brands. For example, in 2016, we began collaboration with Tod’s, under which Tod’s makes customized products exclusively for us. We became an authorized online retailer for Versace and Salvatore Ferragamo in China in November 2016 and February 2017, respectively. During 2017 and 2018, we expanded our collaboration with top brands, such as Armani, Mulberry and Stella McCartney. In July 2017, we expanded our strategic cooperation relationship with Country Garden, one of China’s largest real estate developers, planning to build themed villages and physical Secoo stores as well as in the areas of hotel operation and collaborate in real estate marketing.

 

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In January 2018, we formed a strategic alliance with Parkson Group, one of China’s largest department stores, aiming to integrate both respective resources and build an integrated new retail business model. In August 2018, we issued convertible notes and warrants to Great World Lux Pte. Ltd and its affiliates, or Great World, in an aggregate principal amount of up to US$175.0 million. The principal amount outstanding under the convertible notes bears interest at an aggregate compounded rate of 8% per annum until August 8, 2021, or such earlier time as the notes are repurchased or converted subject to the terms specified therein. The initial conversion price is US$13.00 per ADS. The holders of the warrants are entitled to purchase 500,000 ADSs from us at an exercise price of US$18.00 per ADS. We also formed strategic partnerships with L Catterton Asia, the Asian unit of the largest and most global consumer-focused private equity firm in the world, and JD.com, China’s largest retailer, aiming to boost Secoo’s presence and network in the luxury industry. In March 2018, we formed a strategic partnership with Caissa Travel to jointly develop luxurious tourism products. In September 2018, we entered into a strategic partnership agreement with SASSEUR Group, an operator of outlet malls, to leverage respective resources and expertise to develop omni-channel retail networks, increase our market presence. In October 2018, we signed cooperation agreement with British department store brand Liberty London to launch an online shop in China for Liberty London’s luxury goods.

 

In January 2011, we incorporated Secoo Holding Limited in the Cayman Islands as our offshore holding company in order to facilitate international financing and acquired 100% of the equity interests in Hong Kong Secoo in February 2011. In May 2011, we established, through Hong Kong Secoo, a wholly owned PRC subsidiary, Kutianxia (Beijing) Information Technology Limited, or Kutianxia, which in turn established Beijing Zhiyi Heng Sheng Technology Service Co., Ltd in Beijing, China to conduct our after-sales repair and maintenance services in September 2012.

 

In September 2013, we incorporated Shanghai Secoo E-commerce Limited in Shanghai, China. Shanghai Secoo E-commerce Limited is wholly owned by Beijing Secoo and primarily operates our e-commerce business in China.

 

In September 2014, our Founders formed Beijing Wo Mai Wo Pai Auction Co., Ltd, or Beijing Auction, in Beijing, China, to operate the auction business and provide an online marketplace for auction sales of upscale products of Beijing Secoo and third-party vendors.

 

In January 2014, we incorporated Secoo Inc. in the United States. In March 2015, we incorporated Secoo Italia SRL in Italy. These two subsidiaries conduct business development in those regions.

 

Through Kutianxia, we obtained control over Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction in May 2011 and September 2014, respectively, by entering into a series of contractual arrangements with Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction and their respective shareholders. Beijing Secoo holds our ICP license and EDI license as an internet information provider and an e-commerce transaction platform and operates our secoo.com website and Beijing Auction holds our license for auction businesses.

 

In December 2015, we incorporated Kuxin Tianxia (Tianjin) E-commerce Limited in Tianjin, China. Kuxin Tianxia (Tianjin) E-commerce Limited is wholly owned by Hong Kong Secoo and currently has no operation.

 

In February 2017, we incorporated Yichun Secoo E-commerce Limited in Jiangxi, China. Yichun Secoo E-commerce Limited is wholly owned by Shanghai Secoo E-commerce Limited and primarily operates e-commerce business in China.

 

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These contractual arrangements allow us to:

 

(a)         exercise effective control over Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction;

 

(b)         receive substantially all of the economic benefits of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction; and

 

(c)          have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction when and to the extent permitted by PRC law.

 

As a result of these contractual arrangements, we are the primary beneficiary of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction, and we treat them as our variable interest entities under U.S. GAAP. We have consolidated the financial results of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction and their subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. If Beijing Secoo, Beijing Auction or the shareholders of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction fail to perform their obligations under these contractual arrangements, which allow us to maintain effective control over Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction, we may not be able to continue to consolidate the financial results and assets and liabilities of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction and their subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Furthermore, our inability to exert effective control over Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction may negatively affect our ability to conduct our business, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

See “Item 3.D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure — Any failure by our variable interest entities or their shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material and adverse effect on our business.”

 

B.                                    Business Overview

 

We are Asia’s leading online integrated upscale products and services platform. We value our customers and members as our greatest assets. We offer them a wide selection of authentic upscale products and lifestyle services to satisfy different needs of the modern lifestyle. We offer an integrated online and offline shopping platform, which consists of our Secoo.com website, mobile applications and offline experience centers. Our online platform facilitates easy product selection, order processing and convenient payment methods, such as our Secoo Check, which allows customers to make payments for our merchandise products in installments on our online platform directly. We complement our online platform with offline experience centers to provide superior customer and membership services and experience. We have strategically opened seven offline experience centers as of the date of this annual report in popular shopping destinations and central business districts in China and Malaysia which have strengthened our Secoo brand creditability and enhanced our brand presence. In addition, we are cooperating with brand boutiques such as Versace boutiques for our customers to pick up products ordered on our online platform in their stores.

 

Our Business Model

 

Our business model focuses on an integrated online and offline platform offering a full range of high-end lifestyle products and services to better serve our customers and members. Our integrated platform consists of our Secoo.com website, mobile applications and offline experience centers. Our online platform facilitates easy product selection, order processing and convenient payments for our customers. We have opened seven offline experience centers in popular shopping destinations and central business districts in China and Malaysia to provide in-store shopping experience and comprehensive customer services, which we believe bolstered our customer satisfaction, strengthened our Secoo brand creditability and enhanced our brand presence.

 

We offer an extensive selection of upscale products for everyone’s needs on our platform, including watches, bags, clothing, footwear, jewelry and accessories, cosmetics and skincare, 3C products, and home accessories. In addition, we have expanded our offerings of high-end lifestyle services to satisfy the needs of modern lifestyle since 2014, such as tourism and sports events. We believe that expanding our product offerings helps optimize customers’ shopping experience, diversify our revenue sources and further improve our economies of scale. The continuous expansion of our strategic alliances with leading partners in the consumer luxury goods and lifestyle spaces is our core strategy that helps to increase our brand awareness and to further diversify our portfolios of merchandise and lifestyle services. With our extensive network of suppliers, we are able to obtain a wide selection of product categories and services at favorable terms. Our “Coo Sir” channel also serves as a forum for users for information related to fashion trends and lifestyle news. Our user-generated contents cover a variety of topics, such as sartorial tips for various occasions and product reviews. Leveraging these user-generated data and big-data technology, we analyze consumer habits, preferences and demand of our upscale customers in order to provide a great luxury shopping experience to our customers. We thrive to enhance our reputation as the destination for luxury products and lifestyle in China. Our business model creates significant value to our business partners, including third-party sellers and suppliers, cooperation brands, and ultimately benefit our business and customers.

 

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Our Platform

 

Our platform consists of both online and offline platforms. Our online platforms include Secoo.com website and mobile applications. Our offline experience centers complement our online platforms to provide superior customer services and experience.

 

Online Platform

 

We offer a comprehensive range of upscale products and services through our online platform. We generated 89.7%, 94.1% and 96.0% of our total GMV through our online platform in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. Integrating convenience, aesthetics and functionality, our online platform aims to actively drive consumer spending by featuring a strategically selected catalog of popular items. We focus on creating an enjoyable online shopping experience for our customers whereby their purchase decisions are guided by detailed product descriptions, multi-angle picture illustrations and educational fashion literature. Our online platform interface is fully integrated with our warehouse management system, or WMS, enabling us to track order and delivery status of each individual product on a real-time basis.

 

Our websites and mobile applications feature the following user-friendly functionalities that enhance customer experience and convenience:

 

·                  Comprehensive product information:  Each product page contains product pictures, price, discount from the suggested retail price, detailed product parameters, customer reviews and payment and delivery options. Depending on the product, we provide additional information such as brand story and product condition to help customers make informed purchase decisions (to steer customers towards additional products in which they may be interested).

 

·                  Product recommendations:  Our business intelligence system generates recommendations of additional products in which our customers may be interested. These recommendations come in two forms: each product page typically includes recommendations for complimentary products that are often purchased together; and our website offers tailored product recommendations to customers based on their browsing and purchase histories. On our mobile application, we carefully select products that we believe are better suited for mobile commerce to cater to the faster purchase decision-making speed of mobile users. We periodically notify our mobile application users of sales events and promotions through text messages and mobile push notifications.

 

·                  Sales Functionalities:  Our customers can conveniently leave their reviews of the products at the end of the product page based on their feedback of the products. Our customers can also share their shopping experiences with us on various social media platforms and networking websites through links on the product page. We have launched some of our sales events a few hours earlier on our mobile applications and offered selected products and sales events exclusively on our mobile applications to further boost mobile traffic and purchases. To enhance customer loyalty, increase cross-selling opportunities and help customers make informed purchase decisions, our online platform also features literature on fashion trends, wardrobe tips and product recommendations, such as Tiaoli.

 

·                  Personalized Services:  We offer personalized services via our account management system, which allows our customers to customize their payment and delivery preferences. To facilitate the ease of the checkout process for our repeat customers, our database keeps track of their preferred delivery address, shipping method and payment option based on information they previously provided. Additionally, the direct dial feature on our mobile applications allows our mobile application users to call our customer service representatives with a single click.

 

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To satisfy our existing customers’ shopping preferences and attract new customers with more unique shopping experience, we offer a variety of online sales formats, including customization, flash sales and auction.

 

·                  Through customization, we offer our customers with custom-made products that are specially made according to our customers’ needs and tastes. Our personalized customization services are a testament to our dedication to serve our customers.

 

·                  Our flash sales embody value, quality and convenience that are well-suited to brand-conscious consumers in China seeking upscale products at competitive price. Through our flash sales, we offer limited quantities of deeply discounted upscale products for limited periods of time. In addition to being an effective sales channel, our flash sales are also a key entry point for attracting online user traffic and allow us to efficiently gauge the marketability of different products by analyzing sales data.

 

·                  Through auction, we offer a mix of new and used upscale products, watches, using auction sales to provide our customers with a more varied and exciting shopping experience. Our auction sales have been proven an effective channel for our SKUs management.

 

Offline Experience Centers

 

Our offline experience centers complement our online platform to provide superior customer and membership services and experience. We generated 10.3%, 5.9% and 4.0% of our total GMV through our offline experience centers in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.

 

With our experienced customer service team and latest technologies, our offline experience centers provide one-stop service that addresses customers’ varying needs for luxury products. Our offline experience centers feature a comprehensive suite of customer services, including product curation, pick-up, return, authentication and maintenance. Assisted by our sales representatives, customers may purchase products on display directly or make purchases on our website seamlessly using our tablets. Our sales representatives establish close relationships with our customers and provide them with continuing after-sales service. Furthermore, our offline experience centers serve warehousing functions, allowing customers to pick-up or return products they ordered online. Owners may also bring their new or used products to our offline experience centers for auction on our platform.

 

We currently have seven offline experience centers located in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Tianjin, Xiamen, Qingdao and Malaysia. As of December 31, 2018, our seven offline experience centers occupied a total of approximately 6,292 square meters in area and were staffed with over 79 sales representatives. To enhance our customer experience and to further broaden our brand awareness, we intend to selectively launch new offline experience centers in popular shopping destinations, domestic cities with significant consumption demand for luxury products and third- and fourth-tier cities with potential market for luxury products. We intend to expand our customers services in overseas offline experience centers, such as free concierge services to our members when they travel to these cities. In addition, we also collaborated with major players in other industries to expand offline experience centers and our brand reach. For example, in June 2016, we entered into strategic cooperation partnership with one of China’s largest real estate developers, Country Garden, and jointly incorporated Secoo Garden Tradings Sdn. Bhd., or Secoo Garden, and opened our offline experience center in Malaysia to tap into southeast Asian market. Pursuant to the joint venture agreement between Country Garden and us, Country Garden holds 15% of the equity share capital of Secoo Garden, whereas we hold 85%. We provide technical knowledge, operate the duty free business, bring in high-end brand products, and agree to operate the business for at least three years. Country Garden is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals for the operation of the duty free business in Malaysia.

 

Omni-Channel Commerce Solutions

 

Our omni-channel commerce solutions connect our customers and offline retailers in China, through which physical stores offer their products on our online platform and our customers have the options to either receive their orders being delivered directly from our partnering stores or pick up their orders at the physical stores conveniently located in the shopping destinations of the cities they stay, such as Versace boutiques. We are currently expanding our cooperation with physical stores and shopping malls to build up online and offline omni-channel sales service network by capitalizing on our strong online presence and our established fulfillment infrastructure.

 

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Our Customers

 

Since our inception in 2011, we have built a large and loyal customer base with high purchasing power. We have accumulated more than 27.0 million registered members as of December 31, 2018 and approximately 8.3 million registered members in 2018. We believe that the majority of our customers are well-educated professionals belonging to middle and high income population in China.

 

Customer Services and Membership Program

 

Customer Services

 

Customer service representatives.    We believe our strong emphasis on customer service enhances our brand image and customer trust and loyalty. Our customer service center provides real-time and butler-style assistance to our customers. Leveraging insight into customer behavior, our customer service representatives provide targeted product recommendations, product purchasing and sourcing assistance, as well as reminders to customers for routine product maintenance. Our sales representatives at our offline experience centers establish close relationships with our customers and provide customers with continuing after-sales service, such as paid cleaning and maintenance services. We recruit customer service representatives with substantial experience in the luxury retail product industry. Each representative is required to complete mandatory training on product knowledge, complaint handling and communication skills. We regularly monitor and evaluate the performance of each representative to ensure superior quality.

 

Product after-sales maintenance service.    We believe our after-sales maintenance service is among the best in the e-commerce industry in China. Different from brand after-sales services, our after-sales services have the advantage of shorter service time, and integrate domestic and multi-brand maintenance services. We currently provide such service for three categories of products, namely watches, leather products and jewelry, at our offline experience centers.

 

Return policy.    We generally allow customers to return or exchange unopened products within seven days upon receipt of the product by submitting a return request online. Our customer service representatives will review and process the request and contact the customer by e-mail or by phone if there are any follow-up questions. Customers have the option to mail the products to our logistics center or bring them to one of our offline experience centers. Upon receipt of the returned or to-be-exchanged product, we credit the customer’s member or payment account with the purchase price or deliver the replacement product to customers after inspection.

 

Membership Program

 

We have established a membership system to cultivate customer loyalty and encourage additional purchases by offering a variety of exclusive membership benefits and awards. Our membership program featured five membership levels before November 2018, i.e., regular, silver, gold, diamond and black, and customers were automatically upgraded to higher levels based on their total spending with us annually. Our members received a variety of exclusive benefits according to their membership levels, such as product coupons and discounts, Secoo Check installment payments services, free gift packing and domestic delivery, cleaning and maintenance services, fast return and refund services and customized ordering of brand products. Our premier members, i.e., diamond and black members, enjoyed a variety of premium services, such as exclusive birthday presents, priority ordering of our new, rare and popular products, tryout-first-and-buy-later privilege, exclusive use of our offline experience centers for personal events and expanded access to offline experience center lounges and dedicated one-to-one customer representative services, who are familiar with their shopping tastes and preferences. We also select and offer premier members exclusive access to brand collaboration and art events hosted by us. In November 2018, we implemented a new paid membership program, which is divided into monthly membership, quarterly membership and annual membership, in a effort to enhance the stickiness of members. Membership rights include membership discount, bonus points, freight subsidy, tax subsidy, luxury maintenance and other perks. Our previous membership levels and benefits still apply to our old members. In addition, we refined our award membership program in October 2017, after which our members can now earn loyalty points when making purchase on our Secoo platforms. Members can redeem their membership loyalty points into credits towards their future purchases.

 

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Payment

 

We provide our customers with a variety of payment options on our online platform, including Secoo Check, online payments with credit cards and debit cards issued by major banks in China, payment through major third-party online payment platforms, such as Alipay, UnionPay and WeChat Pay, bank transfers, cash on delivery (for products with low purchase prices) and payment using our store credits. Recognizing our brand reputation as an upscale products and services platform, WeChat Pay allows our platform to process up to RMB30,000 per order, which we believe is higher than that allowed for most other e-commerce platforms.

 

In 2016, we launched Secoo Check at our online platform, through which our customers can make payments for our merchandise products in one, three, six or twelve monthly installments. Currently, the Company does not charge installment service fees or interests to our customers. Secoo Check gives our customers more convenience and faster approval speed.

 

Product Offerings

 

Product Categories

 

We offer a full range of upscale products and services on our platform. Since we commenced our current business operations in 2011, we have sold over 400,000 SKUs of upscale products, and we currently offer over 400,000 SKUs of such products on our platform. In 2018, sales of watches, bags, clothing/footwear/accessories and jewelries accounted for 24.3%, 14.8%, 31.3% and 12.3% of our total GMV, respectively. The following table illustrates the categories of upscale lifestyle products we offer:

 

Product category

 

Product description

 

 

 

Bags

 

Top-handle bags, shoulder bags, cross-body bags, evening bags, purses, clutches, wristlets, wallets, cosmetics bags, satchels, rucksacks, luggage and waist bags

 

 

 

Watches

 

Automatic self-wind, mechanical hand-wind and quartz wrist watches for men and women with leather or metal bands for social, outdoors and various other occasions, as well as watch accessories

 

 

 

Womenswear

 

A variety of apparel and styles, including gowns, dresses, coats, casual wear, jeans, outerwear, swimsuits and lingerie

 

 

 

Menswear

 

A variety of apparel and styles, including formal suits, coats, casual and smart-casual T-shirts, polo shirts, jackets, pants and underwear

Footwear

 

Designer shoes for women and men for both casual and formal occasions

 

 

 

Children’s wear

 

Apparel and footwear for boys, girls, infants and toddlers

 

 

 

Sportswear

 

Sports apparel, gear and footwear

 

 

 

Cosmetics and skin care

 

Lip gloss, nail polish, perfume, makeup remover, cosmetic applicators, facial cleansers, moisturizers, facial masks, lotions, toners, shampoos, conditioners and body washes

 

 

 

Jewelry

 

Fashion jewelry in a variety of styles and materials, including ear-rings, brooches, necklaces and pendants, bracelets, charms, rings, gold bullions and gold derivative products for investment purpose

 

 

 

Accessories

 

Belts, scarfs, eyewear, gloves, ties, hats and umbrella

 

 

 

Home goods

 

Home furnishings, including bedding and bath products, home decor, dining and tabletop items, kitchenware, electronics and small household appliances, lighting, maternity products, toys and games, musical instruments and wine

 

 

 

Fine food and beverage

 

High-end chocolate, tea, coffee, soft drinks, soda water and wine

 

 

 

3C electronic devices

 

High-end laptop, tablet, smartphone and smart consumer electronics

 

 

 

Lifestyle services

 

Fine dining, vacation packages, hotel stays, chartered flights, private jet rentals and drones

 

 

 

Art

 

Paintings, drawings and sculptures, and related services, such as customization, authentication and certification

 

 

 

High-end Chinese original products

 

Handcraft, Chinese designer apparel, furniture, tea, and famous Chinese brand products

 

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General Pricing Policy

 

We set our prices based on the retail prices set by brands and distributors to be competitive with those on other major online retail websites and in physical stores in China. Benefiting from our economies of scale, we are able to negotiate with our suppliers for prices that are competitive with those they offer to other sales channels.

 

Authentication and Quality Control Procedures

 

We believe we have one of the most stringent authentication and quality control procedures in the Chinese e-commerce industry. Almost all products sold on our platform are subject to our ISO-9001 certified authentication process. We are the first online upscale products and services platform that was authorized to jointly establish a work station with the Chinese National Leather Products Quality Supervision and Examination Center to authenticate leather products in Beijing, China.

 

Product sourcing.    We diligently examine the product sourcing channels and qualification of our suppliers. Our form supply agreement requires suppliers to represent that the products they supply are authentic, are from legitimate sources and do not infringe upon rights of third parties, and to indemnify us for any damages resulting from any breach of such representations.

 

Inspection.    After the products arrive at our logistics centers, we carefully inspect the exterior of the products and immediately reject or return products that do not meet the purchase order specifications or our quality standards, such as products with broken or otherwise compromised packaging.

 

Authentication.    After the products have been inspected, they generally undergo our standard authentication procedures.

 

For our first-level authentication, our experienced authentication professionals carefully examine the physical traits of products according to our standard authentication protocols to ensure their authenticity. Our authentication professionals, a number of whom hold senior engineer titles and governmental certifications, have an average of 15 years of work experience in the luxury retail product industry. Our authentication professional team is one of the largest full-time authentication teams in Asia among online upscale products retail platforms. Our second-level authentication leverages our sophisticated laboratory equipment to examine the chemical characteristics of the products. Additionally, products that have been determined to be authentic by the first two levels of authentication remain subject to our random selection for further testing in order to ensure the genuineness of the products we offer.

 

Proprietary database.    Leveraging our rich experience in the luxury product retail industry, we have built a comprehensive database featuring detailed product information covering a wide range of brands, which, as of December 31, 2018, contained detailed product information covering over 3,800 domestic and international brands. Our proprietary database guides every step of our authentication procedures. We continuously update our database by gathering information on the latest products debuted by luxury brands.

 

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Online authentication.    Building on our big data technology and proprietary database, we are able to provide online authentication services of luxury products to our customers and customs offices throughout China. Online authentication services are used as a preliminary authentication check against our authentication standards and additional physical authentication will be conducted before we accepted the products or send the products to our customers.

 

Fulfillment

 

We have established a logistics and delivery network with nationwide coverage. We engage reputable global and domestic third-party delivery companies to ensure reliable and timely delivery. We offer free shipping on all products fulfilled domestically. Customers also have the option to pick up products at one of our offline experience centers or partnered brand stores. For overseas direct sales, we incentivize customers to pick up the products at our overseas offline experience center by offering special discounts or perks.

 

Logistics Network and Warehouse Management System

 

Our logistics network consists of logistics centers strategically located in Beijing, Yichun, Hong Kong and Milan. Our Beijing logistics center handles essentially all products sold through our online shopping mall, flash sales and auction formats. Our Hong Kong logistics center processes all orders placed through our overseas direct sales format. Our offline experience centers also perform certain warehousing functions.

 

Our WMS enables us to closely monitor each step of the fulfillment process from the time a purchase order is confirmed and the product arrives in one of our logistics centers to the time the product is packaged and picked up by delivery service providers for delivery to a customer. Shipments from suppliers generally first arrive at or are first directed to one of our logistics centers. At each logistics center, each product is bar-coded and tracked through our WMS, allowing real-time monitoring of inventory levels across our logistics network and item tracking at each logistics center. We repackage all products to our standardized boxes before the products are shipped to our customers.

 

Delivery Services

 

We believe that timely and convenient delivery is essential towards customer satisfaction. We deliver orders placed on our online platform across China through reputable third-party delivery companies with global and nationwide coverage, including S.F. Express, DHL, YTO Express, Yunda Express and China Post EMS. For higher-priced products, we offer customers with delivery addresses within the urban areas of Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu the option to have their products delivered by our own employees in order to ensure product safety and to provide product introductions upon delivery. Alternatively, our customers, who prefer to pick up their order themselves, can also pick up products they ordered online at our conveniently located offline experience centers. Also, they may pick up certain products from collaborated branded store.

 

We typically negotiate and enter into service agreements with delivery service providers on an annual basis. We regularly monitor and evaluate the performance of our delivery partners and their compliance with our contractual terms.

 

Suppliers

 

We have built a trusted global supply chain for upscale products and services, for which we provide a variety of technological and service support. Since we commenced our current business operation, we have attracted a broad group and large base of suppliers of upscale products and services, including brands, brand authorized distributors and individual and corporate suppliers. We believe our ability to generate significant sales and to provide high-quality after-sales customer service helps us attract new suppliers and build stronger relationship with our existing ones. Our comprehensive global supply system is designed to meet the diverse purchase preferences and needs of our customers, varying from in-season luxury products to highly sought-after classic styles and vintage and rare products.

 

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We have established direct product sourcing relationships with a broad range of brands around the world, including Europe, the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, as well as Hong Kong. Leveraging our scale in China, we have also become the first e-commerce partner with a number of global brands in order to help such brands establish a presence in the China market. Our overseas direct sourcing offers Chinese consumers convenient access to luxury products sourced at attractive prices and fulfilled directly from overseas, without the need to travel abroad, and allow our consumers to make payments in Renminbi. We synchronize our order and logistics information with the local customs bureau in China, which together with our expertise in overseas direct products sourcing and logistics, enable us to provide fast and convenient delivery and customs clearance services for our customers.

 

Maintaining strong relationships with our suppliers is important to the growth of our business. Any negative developments in our relationships with our existing suppliers could materially and adversely affect our business and growth prospects. If we fail to attract new suppliers and third-party merchants, our business and growth prospects may be materially and adversely affected. See “Item 3.D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business — If we fail to manage and expand our relationships with suppliers, or otherwise fail to procure products at favorable terms, our business and growth prospects may suffer.”

 

Supplier Selection

 

Our merchandizing team is responsible for identifying potential suppliers based on our supplier selection guidelines. For brand suppliers, we consider their industry positions since we aim to prioritize selling top brands, whereas for brand authorized distributor suppliers, we favor level one distributors because level one distributors usually guarantee the authenticity of their products. Additionally, we follow an internal suppliers selection system that considers pricing, profits, credibility, services and potential long-term collaboration. Once a potential supplier is identified, we conduct regular due diligence reviews on its qualifications based on our selection criteria.

 

For other individual and corporate suppliers who apply to have their products on our online platform, our merchandizing team first determines whether to accept the application based on the marketability of such products and their compatibility with our auction sales format. For approved applications, we require the owners to deliver the products to us for authentication. Once the products have been authenticated, we determine the initial bidding prices in consultation with the owners based on a number of factors such as marketability, the initial purchase price, brand and wear and tear.

 

Supply Arrangements

 

For products fulfilled domestically, we generally enter into standard supply agreements with suppliers. We stock the products at our warehouses before orders are placed on such products by our customers. Our suppliers can monitor the inventory level of the products they supplied using our system and timely respond to our sales demands. In anticipation of major sales events, we provide advance notice to the relevant suppliers so that they can reserve sufficient stock to meet potential surge in demand.

 

For products fulfilled overseas and sold through our overseas direct sales format, we only purchase a product from our supplier when an order has been placed and paid for by a customer.

 

Product Selection

 

Our merchandizing team possesses insights and deep understanding of our existing and potential customers’ evolving needs and preferences. Before selecting a product to be offered on our platform, we consider and analyze historical sales data, latest fashion trends, seasonality and customer reviews and feedbacks to estimate the quantity sales format for a particular product. We carefully plan our product mix to achieve a balanced and complementary product offering across different upscale product categories.

 

Inventory Management

 

While we pay for products fulfilled from overseas at the time we purchase them, we generally do not pay in advance for other upscale products that we purchase or source from our domestic suppliers. For some of our suppliers, we only have to settle payment after the products we sourced from such suppliers are sold.

 

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Our WMS allows us to efficiently manage our inventories, track products, and deliver products to our customers on a timely basis. We use an ERP system to monitor and actively track sales data. This system helps us make timely adjustments to our procurement plan and minimize excess inventory.

 

Marketing

 

We believe that the most effective form of marketing is to continuously enhance our customer experience, as customer satisfaction leads to word-of-mouth referrals and recurring purchases. We have been able to build a large and loyal customer base primarily through comprehensive customer services and a variety of advertising and brand promotion activities.

 

For our most loyal customers and members, we host periodic online and offline events, including seminars, aimed at providing them with useful information about fashion trends and wardrobe tips, which serve as cross-selling opportunities for us. We provide various incentives to our customers and members to increase their spending and loyalty, and we send targeted e-mails and text messages to our customers periodically with product recommendations and promotions based on their online shopping habits and behavior. For example, we offer a selection of deeply discounted products on special occasions, such as our annual Luxury Festival beginning on December 17 of each year and Secoo anniversary sales on July 7 each year and Double 11 singles day shopping festival, and on major holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chinese New Year. We also hold daily sales events for selected brands and products for a limited period of time through our flash sales. We have continued to realize cross-selling opportunities from our existing customer base by creating more diversified sales formats and increasing our product offerings. In addition to sales events, we also joined hands with a number of popular entertainers and artists to improve Secoo’s brand awareness and deepen customer insights in the high-end consumption market, especially among the younger generation. For example, we engaged NEXT7, a young Chinese idol group, to endorse our 2018 anniversary sales event as celebrity spokesmen.

 

Leveraging our sophisticated business intelligence system and big data technology, we are able to generate a deep understanding of the characteristics of our target customer group. With this knowledge, we precisely direct our marketing efforts through both online and offline channels in order to efficiently reach our new customers. We also collaborate with other major online platforms in China to innovate current online marketing model. For example, in December 2016, we began to cooperate with a leading internet company in China to through which we exchanged non-sensitive customer information to further enhance understanding of our consumers’ online behavior and patterns. Through our collaboration, we are able to backtrack our customers’ online habits and behavior in addition to their online shopping preferences. We work with prestigious brands, to use our innovative marketing model. If this innovative marketing model proves to be successful, we will not only be able to more precisely improve and upgrade our marketing model, but also transfer ourselves into a marketing data and model provider and generate revenues through feeding valuable marketing data to brands and other companies. We intend to further apply our big data technology to explore upscale products and services consumers’ online behavior and patterns so that we can expand our advertising, marketing and promotion cooperation with other major online platforms and brands.

 

Building on our foundation as a reputable and trusted brand, we continue to use cost-effective and expanded branding initiatives nationwide to reinforce our reputation in the online luxury consumption industry. We believe that our China Luxury E-commerce Whitebooks published since 2016 have been recognized as an authority in luxury product retail industry in China. We conduct online marketing activities through major social networks, social media portals, online video, search engines and other major websites in China. To enhance our brand awareness, we have also engaged in brand promotion activities such as advertising on national television networks and on billboards in residential and commercial complexes in major cities in China. Additionally, our cooperation with luxury brands, omni-channel commerce solutions, entertainment stars and other major industry players also greatly enhanced our brand credibility and reputation in the market.

 

Technology

 

We have built our technology platform relying primarily on software and systems that we have developed in-house and to a lesser extent on third-party software that we have modified and incorporated. Our strong technology platform is vital in supporting our pursuit of a continually improving customer experience, including the customer experience of our mobile users. From our website, the primary customer interface, to the back end management systems, our technology platform supports smooth and accurate operational execution as well as seamless information flow, data consistency and analytics. We have adopted a service-oriented architecture supported by cloud-based big data technology, which consist of front-end and back-end modules. Our network infrastructure is built on self-owned servers located in data centers operated by a major PRC internet data center provider. We are implementing enhanced cloud architecture and infrastructure for our core data processing system to augment our existing virtual private network as we continue to expand our operations, enabling us to achieve significant operational efficiency through a virtual and centralized network platform. The principal components of our technology platform include:

 

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Website and mobile applications.    Our website, together with our mobile applications, is our primary customer interface, which mainly include product display, account management, category browsing, shopping cart, order processing and payment functions. Our website and mobile applications are supported by our proprietary content distribution network, dynamic and distributed cluster and two core databases on merchandise and customers, providing our customers with quicker access to the product display in which they are interested, and facilitating faster check outs. We have designed our systems to cope with our maximum peak concurrent visitors at all times. As a result, we are able to provide our customers constantly smooth online shopping experience.

 

Business intelligence system.    Our business intelligence systems enable us to effectively collect, analyze and make use of internally generated customer behavioral and transaction data. We use this information for merchandizing, product sourcing, customer profiling, recommendation and marketing. Our business intelligence system is built with the proprietary cloud computing infrastructure, providing decision-making intelligence such as dashboard operation, operational analysis, market analysis, sales forecasts and products such as anti-fraud filters, precision marketing, and other application-oriented intelligent products that facilitate data-driven decision-making and increase our product sales. We will continue to develop and upgrade our sophisticated business intelligence system to effectively utilize the large amount of user behavioral data generated through our website and mobile applications.

 

Big data technology.    We have developed our consumer behavior data analysis capabilities, which enable us to conduct customer profiling to enhance segmentation and personalization. Leveraging our big data technology, we are able to create customized product recommendations to support push and targeted marketing, allowing us to efficiently attract new customers as well as new purchases from existing customers. We have collaborated with other online platform to further apply our big data technology to precise and targeted marketing in the luxury product retail industry. Leveraging this consumer behavior data, we are able to more precisely target our potential customers through online marketing.

 

CRM, ERP and WMS.    Our customer service system mainly consists of our CRM and our customer data analysis and membership management system. Our customer relationship management system tracks customer information, including customers’ outstanding orders, order and payment history, and settings and preferences, as well as all interaction between our customer service representatives and our customers, to ensure consistent and high quality customer service. Through our membership management system, we are able to increase our customers’ loyalty and fully utilize our platform to fulfil their all high-end lifestyle needs. Our ERP system integrates our management of suppliers, accounting and product distribution information. We use our ERP system to monitor and actively track sales and inventory data. This system helps us make timely adjustments to our procurement plan and minimize excess inventory. Our WMS allows us to efficiently manage our inventories, track products, and deliver products to our customers on a timely basis. Our WMS allows us to efficiently manage our inventories, track products, and deliver products to our customers on a timely basis.

 

We have developed most of the key business platform through our in-house IT department. We also license certain software from reputable third-party providers and work closely with them to customize the software for our operations. We have implemented a number of measures to protect against system failure and data loss. We have developed a disaster tolerant system for our key business modules which includes real-time data mirroring, daily off-line data back-up and redundancy and load balancing.

 

We believe that our module-based systems are highly scalable, which enable us to quickly expand system capacity and add new features and functionality to our systems in response to evolving business needs and customer demands without affecting the operation of existing modules. We have also adopted rigorous security policies and measures, including encryption technology, to safeguard our proprietary data and customer information.

 

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For our offline experience centers, we have developed a suite of smart and innovative technology that enhances shopping experience and our customer service. Our Bluetooth smart devices track customer locations and behavior throughout the offline experience centers. When a customer scans the QR code of a product with our mobile application or simply moves a smart phone close to the product, it will show up in the online shopping cart of the customer. This facilitates one-click check-outs later on.

 

Intellectual Property

 

We consider our patents, trademarks, software copyrights, service marks, domain names, trade secrets, proprietary technologies and similar intellectual property rights as critical to our success, and we rely on patents, trademark, copyright and trade secret protection laws in the PRC and overseas, as well as confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions with our employees, service providers, suppliers and others to protect our intellectual proprietary rights. As of December 31, 2018, we owned 9 patents, 250 registered trademarks, copyrights to 18 software programs developed by us relating to various aspects of our operations and 51 registered domain names, including secoo.com. Of the 250 registered trademarks, 220 are registered in the PRC, 16 are registered in Hong Kong, 4 are registered in the US, 4 are registered in Spain, and 6 are registered in Europe. We are in the process of applying for 14 patents in the PRC.

 

Competition

 

We face competition from traditional offline upscale product retailers and their online platforms, domestic and global brand online platforms, major domestic e-commerce platforms and global online upscale product retailers, such as Net-A-Porter.com.

 

We anticipate that the retail market of upscale products will continually evolve and will continue to experience rapid technological change, evolving industry standards, shifting customer requirements, and frequent innovation. We must continually innovate to remain competitive. We believe that we compete primarily on the basis of large and loyal customer base with high purchasing power, proprietary business intelligence system and big data technology, global supply chain, authentication, quality control and after-sales services capabilities and our brand reputation.

 

Employees

 

As of December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018, we had 544, 829 and 1,329 full-time employees, respectively. The following table sets forth the number of our full-time employees categorized by areas of operations as of December 31, 2018:

 

Function

 

Number of employees

 

Business development, sales and marketing

 

857

 

 

Technology support

 

205

 

 

Fulfillment

 

99

 

 

Administration and management

 

168

 

 

Total

 

1,329

 

 

 

Our success depends to a large extent on our ability to attract, train, motivate and retain qualified personnel. We believe we offer our employees competitive compensation packages and an environment that encourages self-development and, as a result, have generally been able to attract and retain qualified personnel and maintain a stable core management team.

 

As required by laws and regulations in China, we participate in various employee social security plans that are organized by municipal and provincial governments, including pension, unemployment insurance, childbirth insurance, work-related injury insurance, medical insurance and housing insurance. We are required under PRC law to make contributions to employee benefit plans at specified percentages of the salaries, bonuses and certain allowances of our employees, up to a maximum amount specified by the local government from time to time. To date, we have not been involved in any significant labor disputes.

 

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Insurance

 

We maintain certain insurance policies to safeguard against risks and unexpected events. We have purchased property insurance covering our high-valued inventory in our logistics centers. We also purchased property insurance to cover our products sold under our cash-on-delivery payment method while in transit. We also provide social security insurance including pension insurance, unemployment insurance, work-related injury insurance and medical insurance for our employees. We consider our insurance coverage to be sufficient for our business operations in China.

 

Regulations

 

Regulations Relating to Foreign Investment

 

Industry Catalog Relating to Foreign Investment; the 2018 Negative List.    Investment activities in the PRC by foreign investors are principally governed by the Guidance Catalog of Industries for Foreign Investment, or the Catalog, which was promulgated and is amended from time to time by the Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission, and the 2018 Negative List, which became effective on July 28, 2018 and partially amended the Catalog. The Catalog divides industries into three categories: encouraged, restricted and prohibited. Industries not listed in the Catalog are generally open to foreign investment unless specifically restricted by other PRC regulations. The 2018 Negative List replaced the Catalog in respect of the restricted and prohibited industries, which lists, in a unified manner, the special management measures for the market entry of foreign investment, such as equity requirements and senior manager requirements.

 

Establishment of wholly foreign-owned enterprises is generally permitted in encouraged industries. Some restricted industries are limited to equity or contractual joint ventures, and in some cases the Chinese partners are required to hold the majority interests in such joint ventures. In addition, industries in the restricted category of the  2018 Negative List are subject to higher-level government approvals. Foreign investors are not allowed to invest in industries in the prohibited category. The latest amended Catalog, which took effect on July 28, 2017 and the 2018 Negative List, further relaxes market access through regulatory reforms such as allowing foreign investors to have complete ownership of equity interest in e-commerce businesses.

 

On October 8, 2016, the Ministry of Commerce issued the Interim Measures for Record-filing Administration of the Establishment and Change of Foreign-invested Enterprises, or FIE Record-filing Interim Measures, which became effective on the same day and was further amended in July 2017. Pursuant to FIE Record-filing Interim Measures, the establishment and change of FIEs are subject to record filing procedures, instead of prior approval requirements, provided that the establishment or change does not involve special entry administration measures. If the establishment or change of FIE matters is subject to the special entry administration measures under the 2018 Negative List, the approval of the Ministry of Commerce or its local counterparts is still required.

 

Currently, the business scope of our wholly-owned subsidiary in the PRC, Kutianxia contains the business of development of computer software and technology, which falls within the encouraged category under the Catalog.

 

Foreign Investment Law.   On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress promulgated the Foreign Investment Law, which will come into effect on January 1, 2020 and replace the trio of existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, namely, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-invested Enterprise Law, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations. The Foreign Investment Law embodies an expected regulatory trend in PRC to rationalize its foreign investment regulatory regime in line with prevailing international practice and the legislative efforts to unify the corporate legal requirements for both foreign and domestic investments. The Foreign Investment Law, by means of legislation, establishes the basic framework for the access, promotion, protection and administration of foreign investment in view of investment protection and fair competition.

 

According to the Foreign Investment Law, foreign investment shall enjoy pre-entry national treatment, except for those foreign invested entities that operate in industries deemed to be either “restricted” or “prohibited” in the “negative list.” The Foreign Investment Law provides that foreign invested entities operating in foreign “restricted” or “prohibited” industries will require entry clearance and other approvals. However, it is unclear whether the “negative list” will differ from the 2018 Negative List. In addition, the Foreign Investment Law does not comment on the concept of “de facto control” or contractual arrangements with variable interest entities, however, it has a catch-all provision under definition of “foreign investment” to include investments made by foreign investors in China through means stipulated by laws or administrative regulations or other methods prescribed by the State Council. Therefore, it still leaves leeway for future laws, administrative regulations or provisions to provide for contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment.

 

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Furthermore, the Foreign Investment Law provides that foreign invested enterprises established according to the existing laws regulating foreign investment may maintain their structure and corporate governance within five years after the implementing of the Foreign Investment Law, which means that foreign invested enterprises may be required to adjust the structure and corporate governance in accordance with the current PRC Company Law and other laws and regulations governing the corporate governance.

 

Foreign Investment in Value-Added Telecommunications Businesses.    The Regulations for Administration of Foreign-invested Telecommunications Enterprises, which was promulgated by the PRC State Council in December 2001 and subsequently amended in September 2008 and February 2016, respectively, set forth detailed requirements with respect to capitalization, investor qualifications and application procedures in connection with the establishment of a foreign-invested telecommunications enterprise. Subject to several exceptions, these regulations prohibit a foreign entity from owning more than 50% of the total equity interest in any value-added telecommunications service business in China and require the major foreign investor in any value-added telecommunications service business in China to have a good and profitable record and operating experience in this industry.

 

In July 2006, the Ministry of Information Industry, the predecessor of the MIIT, issued the Circular on Strengthening the Administration of Foreign Investment in the Operation of Value-added Telecommunications Business, pursuant to which a domestic PRC company that holds an ICP License or an EDI license is prohibited from leasing, transferring or selling the ICP License or EDI license to foreign investors in any form and from providing any assistance, including resources, sites or facilities, to foreign investors that conduct a value-added telecommunications business illegally in China. Further, the domain names and registered trademarks used by an operating company providing value-added telecommunications services must be legally owned by that company or its shareholders. In addition, the company’s operational premises and equipment must comply with the approved coverage region on its ICP License or EDI license, and the company must establish and improve its internal internet and information security policies and standards and emergency management procedures. If an ICP License or an EDI license holder fails to comply with the above requirements and also fails to remediate such non-compliance within a specified period of time, the MIIT or its local counterparts have the discretion to impose administrative measures on such license holder, including revoking its ICP license or EDI license.

 

To comply with the PRC regulations discussed above, we operate our website and commercial value-added telecommunications services through Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction, our PRC consolidated variable interest entities, each of which holds an ICP License and Beijing Secoo also holds an EDI license. Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction, the operator of our website, secoo.com, secoo.cn, siku.cnsecooing.com and etc., also owns the relevant domain names and trademarks used in our value-added telecommunications businesses.

 

On June 19, 2015, the MIIT issued the Circular on Lifting the Restriction to Foreign Shareholding Percentage in Online Data Processing and Transaction Processing Business (Operational E-commerce), or the New E-commerce Circular, pursuant to which, foreign investors are allowed to hold up to 100% equity interest of an entity operating online data processing and transaction processing business (operational e-commerce) in China. Although the New E-commerce Circular relieved shareholding percentage restriction for foreign investors in the online data processing and transaction processing business (operational e-commerce), such “operational e-commerce” is not defined in either the New E-commerce Circular or other relevant laws and regulations, and meanwhile relevant requirements provided by the Regulations for Administration of Foreign-invested Telecommunications Enterprises shall still apply. For example, the requirement that the major foreign investor needs to have a good track record and operating experience in the value-added telecommunications service industry will still apply when applying for the license for online data processing and transaction processing business (operational e-commerce). So far, there remain significant uncertainties with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the New E-commerce Circular by the competent authorities and the application for the license regarding online data processing and transaction processing business (operational e-commerce) by a wholly owned foreign invested enterprise in practice.

 

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Considering the uncertainty of the implementation of the New E-Commerce Circular, we have kept on operating our website and commercial value-added telecommunications services through Beijing Secoo.

 

Licenses and Permits

 

We are required to hold a variety of licenses and permits in connection with various aspects of our business, including the following:

 

Value-added Telecommunication Licenses.    The Telecommunications Regulations promulgated by the State Council and its related implementation rules, including the Catalog of Classification of Telecommunications Business issued by the MIIT, categorize various types of telecommunications and telecommunications-related activities into basic or value-added telecommunications services, and internet information services, or ICP services, and online data processing and transaction processing services, or EDI services, are classified as value-added telecommunications businesses. Under the Telecommunications Regulations, commercial operators of Internet information services must first obtain an ICP License from the MIIT or its provincial level counterparts. In September 2000, the State Council also issued the Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services, which was amended in January 2011. According to these measures, a commercial ICP service operator must obtain an ICP License from the relevant government authorities before engaging in any commercial ICP service in China. When the ICP service involves areas of news, publication, education, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, and if required by law or relevant regulations, specific approval from the respective regulatory authorities must be obtained prior to applying for the ICP License from the MIIT or its provincial level counterpart. In March 2009, the MIIT promulgated the Administrative Measures on Telecommunications Business Operating Licenses, or the Administrative Measures on Telecommunications Business Operating Licenses (2009 version), which set forth the specific types of licenses required to operate value-added telecommunications services, the qualifications and procedures for obtaining such licenses and the administration and supervision of such licenses. In June 2017, the MIIT promulgated a new version of the Administrative Measures on Telecommunications Business Operating Licenses, which took effect and superseded the Administrative Measures on Telecommunications Business Operating Licenses (2009 version). The new Administrative Measures on Telecommunications Business Operating Licenses simplifies the procedures to apply for telecommunications business operating license and strengthen the supervision of daily operation of telecommunications business. Each of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction, as our ICP operator, holds an ICP License issued by the Beijing Telecommunications Administration for the operation of our Internet information business. Beijing Secoo also holds an EDI License issued by the Beijing Telecommunications Administration for the operation as an e-commerce transaction platform. See “Item 3.D. Risk Factors — Any lack of requisite approvals, licenses or permits applicable to our business may have a material and adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.”

 

Auction License.    Pursuant to the Auction Law of the PRC, an enterprise engaging in the bidding and auction of various products as permitted by auction-related laws of the PRC other than cultural relics shall satisfy various criteria, such as having registered capital of at least RMB 1 million and having sufficient number of professionals among whom at least one should be the auction master. The auction activities shall be carried out by the auctioneer with qualification certificate. To engage in the bidding and auction business, domestic auctioneers shall first be verified and authorized by the auction administration department of the provincial government, and subsequently registered with the local counterparts of the State Administration for Market Regulation, or SAMR, while the foreign-invested auctioneers, whose business does not involve auction of cultural relics, shall directly register with the local counterparts of SAMR and make after-registration filing with competent local counterparts of the Ministry of Commerce, and also obtain auction business permit from the competent local counterparts of the Ministry of Commerce before the operation of their auction business. Entities engaging in auction business without approval and registration may be ordered to cease business and face monetary penalties. Beijing Auction has obtained an auction license from Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce for our auction business.

 

Food Distribution Permit.    China has adopted a licensing system for food supply operations under the Food Safety Law and its implementation rules. Entities or individuals that intend to engage in food production, food distribution or food service businesses must obtain licenses or permits for such businesses. Under the Food Safety Law of the PRC, as amended and effective in December 29, 2018, the sale of food or beverages must be licensed in advance. Pursuant to the Administrative Measures on Food Operation Licensing as amended and effective on November 17, 2017, an enterprise needs to obtain a Food Operation Permit from the local food and drug administration, and the permits already obtained by food business operators prior to the effective date of these new measures will remain valid for their originally approved validity period. Beijing Secoo holds a food distribution permit issued by the Xicheng Branch of Beijing Food and Drug Administration for our food distribution business, including distribution of health care food and baby and infant formula milk powder.

 

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Publication Operation Permit.    Pursuant to the Administrative Measures for the Publication Market which were promulgated by the General Administration of Press and Publication, Radio, Film and Television and the Ministry of Commerce and became effective in June 2016, any entity or individual engaging in the distribution of publications, including books, newspapers, magazines and audio-video products, must obtain an approval from the competent press and publication administrative authority and receive the Publication Operation Permit. Beijing Secoo has obtained a Publication Operation Permit for the retail sale and online sale of books, magazines, periodicals, electronic publications and audiovisual products.

 

Medical Device Operation Record-filing.    The Regulations on Supervision and Administration of Medical Devices, issued by the State Council in 2000 and further amended in March 2014 and November 2017, divide medical devices into three types. Enterprises engaging in the sale of (i) Type I medical devices do not need any license or recording-filing, (ii) Type II medical devices must file with the relevant drug supervision and administration authority, and (iii) Type III medical devices must obtain a Medical Device Operation Enterprise Permit from the relevant drug supervision and administrative authority. Beijing Secoo has completed the Medical Device Operation Record-filing with Beijing Food and Drug Administration for the sale of several types of Type II medical devices.

 

Travel Agency License.  Pursuant to the Regulation on Travel Agencies, issued by the PRC State Council in February 2009, and amended in February 2016, July 2016, and March 2017, a travel agency must obtain a license from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to conduct cross-border travel business and a license from the provincial-level cultural and tourism administration to conduct domestic travel company business. Beijing Guanda International Travel Agency Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Beijing Secoo has obtained a Travel Agency License from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

 

Regulations Relating to E-Commerce, Internet Content and Information Security and Privacy

 

China’s e-commerce industry is at an early stage of development and there are few PRC laws or regulations specifically regulating this industry. In May 2010, the SAMR adopted the Interim Measures for the Administration of Online Commodities Trading and Relevant Services, which took effective in July 2010. Under these measures, enterprises or other operators which engage in online commodities trading and other services and have been registered with SAMR or its local branches must make the information stated in their business licenses available to the public or provide links to their business licenses on their websites. Online distributors must adopt measures to ensure the safety of online transactions, protect online shoppers’ rights and prevent the sale of counterfeit goods. Information on products and transactions released by online distributors must be authentic, accurate, complete and sufficient. The above measures were replaced by the Measures for the Administration of Online Commodities Trading issued by the SAMR on January 26, 2014 which became effective on March 15, 2014. These newly issued measures further impose more stringent requirements and obligations on the online trading or service operators. Where the online distributors also act as marketplace platforms that provide service to third-party merchants, the online distributors are obligated to examine the legal status of the third-party merchants and make the information stated in the business licenses of such third-party merchants available to the public or provide a link to their business licenses on the website, as well as make clear distinction between their online direct sales and sales of third-party merchant products on the marketplace platform. We are subject to such rules as a result of our online merchandised sales and online marketplace business. In January 2017, the SAMR adopted the Interim Measures for Seven-day Unconditional Return of Online Purchased Goods, which took effective in March 2017, pursuant to which, customers are entitled to return goods without a cause, except for customized goods, fresh and perishable goods, audio-visual products, computer software and other digital products, which are downloaded online or of which the packages have been opened by customers, and delivered newspapers or periodicals.

 

On August 31, 2018, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the E-Commerce Law, which became effective on January 1, 2019. The E-commerce Law strengthens the regulation on E-commerce operators relating to consumer protection, personal data protection and intellectual property rights protection. As an e-commerce operator, we are required under the E-commerce Law, (1) to refrain from conducting false or misleading commercial promotion by fabricating transactions, making up user comments or otherwise, to defraud or mislead consumers, (2) to allow consumer to opt out of search results targeting his or her personally characteristics such as hobbies and shopping patterns and simultaneously show the consumers with options not targeting his or her personally characteristics, (3) to alert consumers of tie-in sale of commodities or services, and shall not set the tied-in commodities or services as a default option, (4) to obtain and maintain business license and other applicable licenses as required, and disclose information of such license at our front-page, (5) to clearly detail the refund procedure for the deposit we received from customers, and not set any unreasonable conditions to refund, (6) to take the risks and responsibilities in the transportation of the products, unless the consumer chooses a courier logistics service provider other than the default service provider, etc. We are subject to the provisions of the E-Commerce Law as a result of our online direct sales and online marketplace businesses.

 

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The Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services specify that internet information services regarding news, publication, education, pharmacy and medical appliances, among others, are to be examined, approved and regulated by the relevant authorities. Internet information providers are prohibited from providing services beyond those included in the scope of their ICP Licenses or filings. We issued prepaid cards which can be used to buy products on our websites. Pursuant to the Administrative Measures for Single-purpose Commercial Prepaid Cards, which was promulgated by the PRC Ministry of Commerce in September 2012, and subsequently amended in August 2016, card issuers shall go through record-filing procedures in relation to their single-pay or prepaid cards service. Beijing Secoo has completed the record-filing procedures in relation to the single-pay prepaid cards service.

 

Furthermore, the Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services clearly specify a list of prohibited content. Internet information providers are prohibited from producing, copying, publishing or distributing information that is humiliating or defamatory to others or that infringes the lawful rights and interests of others. Internet information providers that violate the prohibition may face criminal charges or administrative sanctions by the PRC authorities. Internet information providers must monitor and control the information posted on their websites. If any prohibited content is found, they must remove such content immediately, keep a record of it and report it to the relevant authorities.

 

Internet information in China is also regulated and restricted from a national security standpoint. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s national legislative body, has enacted the Decisions on Maintaining Internet Security, which may subject violators to criminal punishment in China for any effort to: (i) gain improper entry into a computer or system of strategic importance; (ii) disseminate politically disruptive information; (iii) leak state secrets; (iv) spread false commercial information; or (v) infringe intellectual property rights of third parties. The Ministry of Public Security has promulgated measures that prohibit use of the internet in ways which, among other things, result in a leakage of state secrets or a spread of socially destabilizing content.

 

In recent years, PRC government authorities have enacted laws and regulations on internet use to protect personal information from any unauthorized disclosure. The Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services prohibit ICP service operators from insulting or slandering a third party or infringing upon the lawful rights and interests of a third party. Under the Several Provisions on Regulating the Market Order of Internet Information Services, issued by the MIIT in 2011, an ICP service operator may not collect any personal information of its users or provide any such information to third parties without the consent of such users. An ICP service operator must expressly inform the users of the method, content and purpose of the collection and processing of their personal information and may only collect such information necessary for the provision of its services. An ICP service operator is also required to properly keep user’s personal information confidential, and in case of any leakage or potential leakage of the information of its users, the ICP service operator must take immediate remedial measures and, in severe circumstances, make an immediate report to the telecommunications regulatory authority. In addition, pursuant to the Decision on Strengthening the Protection of Online Information issued by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in December 2012 and the Order for the Protection of Telecommunication and Internet User Personal Information issued by the MIIT in July 2013, any collection and use of personal information must be subject to the consent of the relevant user, abide by the principles of legality, rationality and necessity and be within the specified purposes, methods and scopes. An ICP service operator must also keep such information strictly confidential, and is further prohibited from divulging, tampering or destroying of any such information, or selling or providing such information to other parties. Any violation of the above regulation may subject the ICP service operator to warnings, fines, confiscation of illegal gains, revocation of licenses, cancellation of filings, closedown of websites or even criminal liabilities. We have required our users to consent to our collection and use of their personal information, and have established information security systems to protect user’s privacy. Pursuant to the PRC Cyber Security Law, which was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on November 7, 2016 and took effect on June 1, 2017, network operators shall take technical and other necessary measures pursuant to the laws, regulations and compulsory national requirements to safeguard the safe and stable operation of the networks, respond to network security incident effectively, prevent illegal and criminal activities and maintain the integrity, confidentiality and usability of network data. The Cyber Security Law sets forth various security protection obligations for network operators, which are defined as “owners and administrators of networks and network service providers”, including, among others, complying with a series of requirements of tiered cyber protection systems, verifying users’ real identity, localizing the personal information and important data gathered and produced by key information infrastructure operators during operations within the PRC, and providing assistance and support to government authorities where necessary for protecting national security and investigating crimes. Furthermore, in June 2016, the Cyberspace Administration of China issued the Administrative Provisions on Mobile Internet Applications Information Services, which became effect on August 1, 2016, to further strengthen the regulation of the mobile app information services

 

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Regulations Relating to Product Quality and Consumer Protection

 

The PRC Product Quality Law applies to all production and sale activities in China. Pursuant to this law, products offered for sale must satisfy the relevant quality and safety standards. Enterprises may not produce or sell counterfeit products in any fashion, including forging brand labels or giving false information regarding a product’s manufacturer. Violations of state or industrial standards for health and safety and any other related violations may result in civil liabilities and administrative penalties, such as compensation for damages, fines, suspension or shutdown of business, as well as confiscation of products illegally produced and sold and the proceeds from such sales. Severe violations may subject the responsible individual or enterprise to criminal liabilities. Where a defective product causes physical injury to a person or damage to another person’s property, the victim may claim compensation from the manufacturer or from the seller of the product. If the seller pays compensation and it is the manufacturer that should bear the liability, the seller has a right of recourse against the manufacturer. Similarly, if the manufacturer pays compensation and it is the seller that should bear the liability, the manufacturer has a right of recourse against the seller.

 

The PRC Consumer Protection Law, as amended on October 25, 2013 and effective on March 15, 2014, sets out the obligations of business operators and the rights and interests of the consumers. Pursuant to this law, business operators must guarantee that the commodities they sell satisfy the requirements for personal or property safety, provide consumers with authentic information about the commodities, and guarantee the quality, function, usage and term of validity of the commodities. Failure to comply with the Consumer Protection Law may subject business operators to civil liabilities such as refunding purchase prices, exchange of commodities, repairing, ceasing damages, compensation, and restoring reputation, and even subject the business operators or the responsible individuals to criminal penalties if business operators commit crimes by infringing the legitimate rights and interests of consumers. The amended PRC Consumer.

 

The Consumer Protection Law further strengthens the protection of consumers and imposes more stringent requirements and obligations on business operators, especially on the business operators through the internet. For example, the consumers are entitled to return the goods (except for certain specific goods) within seven days upon receipt without any reasons when they purchase the goods from business operators via the internet. The consumers whose interests are harmed due to their purchase of goods or acceptance of services on online marketplace platforms may claim damages from the sellers or service providers. As to legal liabilities of the online marketplace platform operator, the PRC Consumer Protection Law and the Regulations of Several Issues on the Application of Laws in the Trial of Food and Drugs Cases issued by the Supreme People’s Court of the PRC on December 23, 2013 set forth that, where a consumer purchases products or accepts services via an online trading platform and his or her interests are prejudiced, if the online trading platform operator fails to provide the name, address and valid contact information of the seller, the manufacturer or the service provider, the consumer is entitled to demand compensation from the online trading platform operator. If the online trading platform operator gives an undertaking that is more favorable to consumers, it shall perform such undertaking. Once the online trading platform operator has paid compensation, it shall have a right of recourse against the seller, the manufacturer or the service provider. If an online trading platform operator is aware or ought to have been aware that a seller, manufacturer or service provider is using the online platform to infringe upon the lawful rights and interests of consumers and it fails to take necessary measures, it shall bear joint and several liabilities with the seller, the manufacturer or service provider for such infringement.

 

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The Tort Liability Law of the PRC, which was enacted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on December 26, 2009, also provides that if an online service provider is aware that an online user is committing infringing activities, such as selling counterfeit products, through its internet services and fails to take necessary measures, it shall be jointly liable with the said online user for such infringement. If the online service provider receives any notice from the infringed party on any infringing activities, the online service provider shall take necessary measures, including deleting, blocking and unlinking the infringing content, in a timely manner. Otherwise, it will be jointly liable with the relevant online user for the extended damages.

 

We are subject to the above laws and regulations as an online retailer of commodities and a marketplace service provider and believe that we are currently in compliance with these regulations in all material aspects.

 

Regulations Relating to Pricing

 

In China, the prices of a very small number of products and services are guided or fixed by the government. According to the Pricing Law, business operators must, as required by the government departments in charge of pricing, mark the prices explicitly and indicate the name, origin of production, specifications and other related particulars clearly. Business operators may not sell products at a premium or charge any fees that are not explicitly indicated. Business operators must not commit the specified unlawful pricing activities, such as colluding with others to manipulate the market price, using false or misleading prices to deceive consumers to transact, or conducting price discrimination against other business operators. Failure to comply with the Pricing Law may subject business operators to administrative sanctions such as warning, ceasing unlawful activities, compensation, confiscating illegal gains and fines. The business operators may be ordered to suspend business for rectification or have their business licenses revoked under severe circumstances. We are subject to the Pricing Law as an online retailer and believe that our pricing activities are currently in compliance with the law in all material aspects.

 

Regulation on Leasing

 

Pursuant to the Law on Administration of Urban Real Estate, when leasing premises, the lessor and lessee are required to enter into a written lease contract, containing such provisions as the leasing term, use of the premises, rental and repair liabilities, and other rights and obligations of both parties. Both lessor and lessee are also required to register the lease with the real estate administration department. If the lessor and lessee fail to go through the registration procedures, both lessor and lessee may be subject to fines.

 

According to the PRC Contract Law, the lessee may sublease the leased premises to a third party, subject to the consent of the lessor. Where the lessee subleases the premises, the lease contract between the lessee and the lessor remains valid. The lessor is entitled to terminate the lease contract if the lessee subleases the premises without the consent of the lessor. In addition, if the lessor transfers the premises, the lease contract between the lessee and the lessor will still remain valid.

 

Regulation on Intellectual Property Rights

 

The PRC has adopted comprehensive legislation governing intellectual property rights, including trademarks, domain names and copyrights.

 

Trademark.    The PRC Trademark Law and its implementation rules protect registered trademarks. The PRC Trademark Office of National Intellectual Property Administration is responsible for the registration and administration of trademarks throughout the PRC. The Trademark Law has adopted a “first-to-file” principle with respect to trademark registration. As of December 31, 2018, we owned 250 registered trademarks in different applicable trademark categories and were in the process of applying to register 98 trademarks in China.

 

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In addition, pursuant to the PRC Trademark Law, counterfeit or unauthorized production of the label of another person’s registered trademark, or sale of any label that is counterfeited or produced without authorization will be deemed as an infringement to the exclusive right to use a registered trademark. The infringing party will be ordered to stop the infringement immediately, a fine may be imposed and the counterfeit goods will be confiscated. The infringing party may also be held liable for the right holder’s damages, which will be equal to the gains obtained by the infringing party or the losses suffered by the right holder as a result of the infringement, including reasonable expenses incurred by the right holder for stopping the infringement. If the gains or losses are difficult to determine, the court may render a judgment awarding damages of no more than RMB3 million.

 

Domain Name.    Domain names are protected under the Administrative Measures on the Internet Domain Names promulgated by the MIIT on August 24, 2017. The MIIT is the major regulatory body responsible for the administration of the PRC internet domain names and the China Internet Network Information Center, or CNNIC, is responsible for the daily administration of .cn domain names and Chinese domain names. CNNIC adopts the “first to file” principle with respect to the registration of domain names. We have registered a number of domain names including secoo.com.

 

Copyright.    Pursuant to the PRC Copyright Law and its implementation rules, creators of protected works enjoy personal and property rights, including, among others, the right of disseminating the works through information network. Pursuant to the relevant PRC regulations, rules and interpretations, internet service providers will be jointly liable with the infringer if they (i) participate in, assist in or abet infringing activities committed by any other person through the internet, (ii) are or should be aware of the infringing activities committed by their website users through the internet, or (iii) fail to remove infringing content or take other action to eliminate infringing consequences after receiving a warning with evidence of such infringing activities from the copyright holder. In addition, where an ICP service operator is clearly aware of the infringement on certain content against another’s copyright through the internet, or fails to take measures to remove relevant contents upon receipt of the copyright owner’s notice, and as a result, it damages the public interest, the ICP service operator could be ordered to stop the tortious act and be subject to other administrative penalties such as confiscation of illegal income and fines. To comply with these laws and regulations, we have implemented internal procedures to monitor and review the content we have licensed from content providers before they are released on our platform and remove any infringing content promptly after we receive notice of infringement from the legitimate rights holder.

 

Software Copyrights.    In order to further implement the Computer Software Protection Regulations promulgated by the State Council in December 2001 and amended subsequently, the State Copyright Bureau issued the Computer Software Copyright Registration Procedures in February 2002 and amended subsequently, which apply to software copyright registration, license contract registration and transfer contract registration. We have registered 18 computer software copyrights in China as of December 31, 2018.

 

Regulation on Employment

 

The PRC Labor Contract Law and its implementation rules provide requirements concerning employment contracts between an employer and its employees. If an employer fails to enter into a written employment contract with an employee within one year from the date on which the employment relationship is established, the employer must rectify the situation by entering into a written employment contract with the employee and pay the employee twice the employee’s salary for the period from the day following the lapse of one month from the date of establishment of the employment relationship to the day prior to the execution of the written employment contract. The Labor Contract Law and its implementation rules also require compensation to be paid upon certain terminations. In addition, if an employer intends to enforce a non-compete provision in an employment contract or non-competition agreement with an employee, it has to compensate the employee on a monthly basis during the term of the restriction period after the termination or expiry of the labor contract. Employers in most cases are also required to provide severance payment to their employees after their employment relationships are terminated.

 

Enterprises in China are required by PRC laws and regulations to participate in certain employee benefit plans, including social insurance funds, namely a pension plan, a medical insurance plan, an unemployment insurance plan, a work-related injury insurance plan and a maternity insurance plan, and a housing provident fund, and contribute to the plans or funds in amounts equal to certain percentages of salaries, including bonuses and allowances, of the employees as specified by the local government from time to time at locations where they operate their businesses or where they are located.

 

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On December 28, 2012, the PRC Labor Contract Law was amended to impose more stringent requirements on labor dispatch which became effective on July 1, 2013. Pursuant to amended PRC Labor Contract Law, the dispatched contract workers shall be entitled to equal pay for equal work as a fulltime employee of an employer, and they shall only be engaged to perform temporary, ancillary or substitute works, and an employer shall strictly control the number of dispatched contract workers so that they do not exceed certain percentage of total number of employees. “Temporary work” means a position with a term of less than six months; “auxiliary work” means a non-core business position that provides services for the core business of the employer; and “substitute worker” means a position that can be temporarily replaced with a dispatched contract worker for the period that a regular employee is away from work for vacation, study or for other reasons. According to the Interim Provisions on Labor Dispatch, or the Labor Dispatch Provisions, promulgated by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security on January 24, 2014, which became effective on March 1, 2014, (i) the number of dispatched contract workers hired by an employer should not exceed 10% of the total number of its employees (including both directly hired employees and dispatched contract workers); (ii) in the case that the number of dispatched contract workers exceeds 10% of the total number of its employees at the time when the Labor Dispatch Provisions became effective (i.e., March 1, 2014), the employer shall formulate a plan to reduce the number of its dispatched contract workers to below the statutory cap prior to March 1, 2016, and (iii) such plan shall be filed with the local bureau of human resources and social security. Nevertheless, the Labor Dispatch Provisions do not invalidate the labor contracts and dispatch agreements entered into prior to December 28, 2012. In addition, the employer shall not hire any new dispatched contract worker before the number of its dispatched contract workers is reduced to below 10% of the total number of its employees.

 

Regulations on Tax

 

The PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law imposes a uniform enterprise income tax rate of 25% on all PRC resident enterprises, including foreign-invested enterprises, unless they qualify for certain exceptions. The enterprise income tax is calculated based on the PRC resident enterprise’s global income as determined under PRC tax laws and accounting standards. If a non-resident enterprise sets up an organization or establishment in the PRC, it will be subject to enterprise income tax for the income derived from such organization or establishment in the PRC and for the income derived from outside the PRC but with an actual connection with such organization or establishment in the PRC.

 

The PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules permit certain “high and new technology enterprises strongly supported by the state” that independently own core intellectual property and meet statutory criteria, to enjoy a reduced 15% enterprise income tax rate. In January 2016, the SAT, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Finance jointly issued the Administrative Rules for the Certification of High and New Technology Enterprises specifying the criteria and procedures for the certification of High and New Technology Enterprises.

 

Pursuant to the PRC Provisional Regulations on Value-Added Tax and their implementation regulations, unless otherwise specified by relevant laws and regulations, any entity or individual engaged in the sale of goods, provision of processing, repairs and replacement services and importation of goods into China is generally required to pay a value-added tax, or VAT, at the rate of 17% on revenues generated from sales of goods, less any deductible VAT already paid or borne by such entity. On April 4, 2018, the Ministry of Finance and the SAT jointly issued the Circular on Adjusting Value-added Tax Rates, or Circular 32. Under Circular 32, which became effective on May 1, 2018, the VAT rate of 17% were reduced to 16%. On March 20, 2019, the Ministry of Finance, the SAT and the General Administration of Customs issued the Circular on Relevant Policies for Deepening Value-added Tax Reform, which further reduced the VAT rate to 13%, effective as April 1, 2019.

 

Prior to January 1, 2012, pursuant to the PRC Provisional Regulations on Business Tax and its implementing rules, taxpayers providing taxable services that fall under the category of service industry in China are required to pay a business tax at a normal tax rate of 5% of their revenues with certain exceptions. Our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated variable interest entities were subject to business tax at the rate of 5% for their marketplace services. Since January 1, 2012, the PRC Ministry of Finance and the SAT have been implementing the VAT pilot program, which imposes VAT in lieu of business tax for certain industries in Shanghai, and since September 1, 2012, such pilot program has been expanded to eight other provinces or municipalities in the PRC. Since August 2013, this tax pilot program has been expanded to other areas on the nationwide basis in the PRC. Under the current tax rules, sales of used goods by our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated variable interest entities shall be subject to VAT at effective rate of 2%, while VAT is applicable at a rate of 3% for the sale of consigned goods by our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated variable interest entities. Sales of brand new merchandise purchased from entities is generally subject to VAT at the rate of 17% prior to May 1, 2018 and 16% since May 1, 2018 to March 30, 2019 and 13% since April 1, 2019. Service revenue for value-added telecommunications business is subject to VAT at the rate of 6%.

 

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Pursuant to the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules, if a non-resident enterprise has not set up an organization or establishment in the PRC, or has set up an organization or establishment but the income derived has no actual connection with such organization or establishment, it will be subject to a withholding tax on its PRC-sourced income at a rate of 10%.

 

Pursuant to the Arrangement between the Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Tax Evasion on Income, the withholding tax rate in respect to the payment of dividends by a PRC enterprise to a Hong Kong enterprise is reduced to 5% from a standard rate of 10% if the Hong Kong enterprise directly holds at least 25% of the PRC enterprise. Pursuant to the Notice of the SAT on the Issues concerning the Application of the Dividend Clauses of Tax Agreements, or Circular 81, a Hong Kong resident enterprise must meet the following conditions, among others, in order to enjoy the reduced withholding tax: (i) it must directly own the required percentage of equity interests and voting rights in the PRC resident enterprise; and (ii) it must have directly owned such percentage in the PRC resident enterprise throughout the 12 months prior to receiving the dividends. Furthermore, the Administrative Measures for Tax Convention Treatment for Non-resident Taxpayers, which became effective in November 2015 and replaced Administrative Measures for Non-Resident Enterprises to Enjoy Treatments under Tax Treaties (For Trial Implementation), provide that any non-resident enterprise meeting conditions for enjoying the convention treatment may be entitled to the convention treatment itself when filing a tax return or making a withholding declaration through a withholding agent, subject to the subsequent administration by the tax authorities.

 

Pursuant to the Law on the Administration of Tax Collection of the PRC which was enacted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on September 4, 1992 and amended in April 2015, if a taxpayer fails to pay tax within the time limit pursuant to applicable tax laws or regulations, the tax authorities may, subject to the specific circumstances in each case, impose penalties on such taxpayer, including without limitation, imposing surcharge or imposing a fine of not more than five times the amount of the underpaid tax.

 

Regulations Relating to Foreign Exchange

 

The principal regulations governing foreign currency exchange in China are the Foreign Exchange Administration Regulations, most recently amended in August 2008. Under the PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, such as profit distributions and trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. By contrast, approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities or banks designated by SAFE is required where RMB is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of foreign currency-denominated loans.

 

In November 2012, SAFE promulgated the Circular of Further Improving and Adjusting Foreign Exchange Administration Policies on Foreign Direct Investment which substantially amends and simplifies the current foreign exchange procedure. Pursuant to this circular, the SAFE improves foreign exchange administration in direct investment by repealing or adjusting certain approval items for foreign exchange administration in direct investment.

 

On March 30, 2015, SAFE promulgated Circular on Reforming the Management Approach regarding the Settlement of Foreign Exchange Capital of Foreign-invested Enterprises, or SAFE Circular No. 19, which came into effect on June 1, 2015. According to SAFE Circular No. 19, the foreign currency capital contribution to a foreign invested enterprise, or an FIE, in its capital account may be converted into RMB on a discretional basis. Furthermore, on June 15, 2016, SAFE promulgated Circular on Reforming and Regulating Policies on the Control over Foreign Exchange Settlement of Capital Accounts, or SAFE Circular No. 16. SAFE Circular No 16 provides, in addition to foreign currency capital, enterprises registered in the PRC may also convert their foreign debts, as well as repatriated funds raised through overseas listing, from foreign currency to RMB on a discretional basis. SAFE Circular No. 16 also reiterates that the use of capital so converted shall follow “the principle of authenticity and self-use” within the business scope of the enterprise. According to SAFE Circular No. 16, the RMB funds so converted shall not be used for the purposes of, whether directly or indirectly, (i) paying expenditures beyond the business scope of the enterprises or prohibited by laws and regulations; (ii) making securities investment or other investments (except for banks’ principal-secured products); (iii) granting loans to non-affiliated enterprises, except as expressly permitted in the business license; and (iv) purchasing non-self-used real estate (except for the foreign-invested real estate enterprises).

 

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Regulations Relating to Dividend Distribution

 

Wholly foreign-owned companies in the PRC may pay dividends only out of their accumulated profits after tax as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards. Remittance of dividends by a wholly foreign-owned company out of China is subject to examination by the banks designated by SAFE. Wholly foreign-owned companies may not pay dividends unless they set aside at least 10% of their respective accumulated profits after tax each year, if any, to fund certain reserve funds, until such time as the accumulative amount of such fund reaches 50% of the wholly foreign-owned company’s registered capital. In addition, these companies also may allocate a portion of their after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to employee welfare and bonus funds at their discretion. These reserve funds and employee welfare and bonus funds are not distributable as cash dividends. Our PRC subsidiaries are wholly foreign-owned enterprises subject to the described regulations.

 

SAFE and NDRC Regulations on Offshore Special Purpose Companies Held by PRC Residents

 

SAFE Circular on Relevant Issues Relating to Domestic Resident’s Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular No. 37, issued by SAFE and effective in July 2014, regulates foreign exchange matters in relation to the use of special purpose vehicles, or SPVs, by PRC residents or entities to seek offshore investment and financing and conduct round trip investment in China. Under SAFE Circular No. 37, a SPV refers to an offshore entity established or controlled, directly or indirectly, by PRC residents or entities for the purpose of seeking offshore financing or making offshore investment, using legitimate domestic or offshore assets or interests, while “round trip investment” refers to the direct investment in China by PRC residents or entities through SPVs, namely, establishing foreign-invested enterprises to obtain the ownership, control rights and management rights. SAFE Circular No. 37 requires that, before making contribution into an SPV, PRC residents or entities are required to complete foreign exchange registration with the SAFE or its local branch. SAFE Circular No. 37 further provides that option or share-based incentive tool holders of a non-listed SPV can exercise the options or share incentive tools to become a shareholder of such non-listed SPV, subject to registration with SAFE or its local branch. SAFE Circular No. 37 was issued to replace the Notice on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Administration for PRC Residents Engaging in Financing and Roundtrip Investments via Overseas Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular No. 75. SAFE promulgated the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving the Administration of the Foreign Exchange Concerning Direct Investment, or SAFE Circular No. 13, in February 2015, which took effect on June 1, 2015. SAFE Circular No. 13 has amended SAFE Circular No. 37 by requiring PRC residents or entities to register with qualified banks instead of SAFE or its local branch in connection with their establishment of an SPV.

 

PRC residents who have contributed legitimate domestic or offshore interests or assets to SPVs but have yet to obtain SAFE registration before the implementation of SAFE Circular No. 37 shall register their ownership interests or control in such SPVs with SAFE or its local branch. An amendment to the registration is required if there is a material change involving the SPV registered, such as any change of basic information (including change of such PRC residents, change of name and operation term of the SPV), increases or decreases in investment amount, transfers or exchanges of shares, or mergers or divisions. Failure to comply with the registration procedures set forth in SAFE Circular No. 37 and SAFE Circular No. 13, misrepresent on or failure to disclose controllers of foreign-invested enterprise that is established through round-trip investment, may result in restrictions on the foreign exchange activities of the relevant foreign-invested enterprises, including payment of dividends and other distributions, such as proceeds from any reduction in capital, share transfer or liquidation, to its offshore parent company or affiliates and the capital inflow from the offshore parent company, and may also subject the relevant PRC residents or entities to penalties under PRC foreign exchange administration regulations.

 

Mr. Richard Rixue Li and Ms. Zhaohui Huang, our founders, have completed required registrations with the local counterpart of SAFE in relation to our financing and restructuring and the subsequent changes to our shareholding structure.

 

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Administrative Measures for Outbound Investment by Enterprises, or NDRC Measures No. 11, promulgated by NDRC on December 26, 2017 and effective as of March 1, 2018, regulates that the NDRC Measures No. 11 shall be implemented by reference to PRC citizens residing in mainland China who seek offshore investments via overseas enterprises under their control. Under the NDRC Measures No. 11, such PRC citizens’ overseas investments shall be subject to administration by record-filing with NDRC or its local counterparts or shall be subject to approval of NDRC if such overseas investments are sensitive projects, such as projects in sensitive countries and regions or involving sensitive industries. Currently there remains significant uncertainties on the interpretation and implementation of the NDRC Measures No. 11 by the competent authorities in practice with respect to whether our founders’ current investments in us via their offshore holding company or their future transaction with our shares will be subject to the administration or approval of NDRC.

 

SAFE Regulations on Employee Stock Incentive Plan

 

In February 2012, SAFE promulgated the Notices on Issues concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in Stock Incentive Plan of Overseas Publicly-Listed Company, replacing earlier rules promulgated in March 2007, to regulate the foreign exchange administration of PRC citizens and non-PRC citizens who reside in the PRC for a continuous period of not less than one year, with a few exceptions, who participate in stock incentive plans of overseas publicly-listed companies. Pursuant to these rules, these individuals who participate in any stock incentive plan of an overseas publicly-listed company, are required to register with SAFE through a domestic qualified agent, which could be the PRC subsidiaries of such overseas listed company, and complete certain other procedures. We and our executive officers and other employees who are PRC citizens or non-PRC citizens who reside in the PRC for a continuous period of not less than one year and have been granted options are subject to these regulations upon the completion of our initial public offering. We have completed the filing procedures with respect to our employee stock incentive plan in 2018.

 

The SAT has issued certain circulars concerning employee share options or restricted shares. Under these circulars, our employees working in the PRC who exercise share options or are granted restricted shares will be subject to PRC individual income tax. Our PRC subsidiaries have obligations to file documents related to employee share options or restricted shares with relevant tax authorities and to withhold individual income taxes of those employees who exercise their share options. If our employees fail to pay or we fail to withhold their income taxes according to relevant laws and regulations, we may face sanctions imposed by the tax authorities or other PRC government authorities.

 

C.                                    Organizational Structure

 

Corporate Structure

 

The following diagram illustrates our corporate structure, including our major subsidiaries and variable interest entities, as of the date of this annual report:

 

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Contractual Arrangements with our Variable Interest Entities and Their Shareholders

 

The following is a summary of the currently effective contractual arrangements by and among our wholly owned subsidiary, Kutianxia, our variable interest entities, Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction, and the shareholders of Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction.

 

Agreements that provide us with effective control over Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction

 

Equity Pledge Agreements.    On May 24, 2011, Kutianxia, Beijing Secoo and the shareholders of Beijing Secoo entered into equity pledge agreements which was renewed on May 8, 2017. Pursuant to these equity pledge agreements, each of the shareholders of Beijing Secoo pledges all of their equity interests in Beijing Secoo to guarantee Beijing Secoo’s performance of its obligations under the exclusive business cooperation agreement. If Beijing Secoo breaches its contractual obligations under the exclusive business cooperation agreement, Kutianxia, as pledgee, will have the right to dispose of the pledged equity interests. The shareholders of Beijing Secoo agree that, during the term of the equity pledge agreements, they will not dispose the pledged equity interests or create or allow any encumbrance on the pledged equity interests, and they also agree that Kutianxia’s rights relating to the equity pledge shall not be prejudiced by the legal actions of the shareholders, their successors or their designees. During the term of the equity pledge agreements, Kutianxia is entitled to all of the dividends and profits distributed on the pledged equity interests. The equity pledge agreements have a term of ten years which will be automatically extended corresponding to the extension of the exclusive business cooperation agreement, where applicable. The pledge on Beijing Secoo’s equity interests contemplated in the equity pledge agreements became effective on January 11, 2012 when it was registered with Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce (currently known as Beijing Administration for Market Regulations), and the equity pledge registration was subsequently renewed on June 12, 2017. The equity pledge agreements shall be terminated as and when the exclusive business cooperation agreement terminates.

 

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On September 15, 2014, Kutianxia, Beijing Auction and the shareholders of Beijing Auction entered into equity interest pledge agreements. Pursuant to these equity interest pledge agreements, each of the shareholders of Beijing Auction pledges all of their equity interests in Beijing Auction to guarantee their and Beijing Auction’s performance of obligations under the exclusive business cooperation agreement and the loan agreements. If Beijing Auction or their shareholders breach their contractual obligations under these agreements, Kutianxia, as pledgee, will have the right to dispose of the pledged equity interests. The shareholders of Beijing Auction agree that, during the term of the equity interest pledge agreements, they will not dispose of the pledged equity interests or create or allow any encumbrance on the pledged equity interests without prior written consent of Kutianxia, and they will notify Kutianxia if its rights relating to the equity interest pledge might be prejudiced by any events. During the term of the equity interest pledge agreements, Kutianxia has the right to receive all of the dividends and profits distributed on the pledged equity interests. The pledge on Beijing Auction’s equity interests contemplated in the equity pledge agreements became effective on February 15, 2015 when it was registered with Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce (currently known as Beijing Administration for Market Regulations) in accordance with the PRC Property Rights Law, and will remain effective until Beijing Auction and its shareholders discharge all their obligations under the exclusive business cooperation agreement and the loan agreements.

 

Exclusive Option to Purchase Agreements.    On May 24, 2011, Kutianxia, Beijing Secoo and the shareholders of Beijing Secoo entered into exclusive option to purchase agreements. Pursuant to these exclusive options to purchase agreements, each of the shareholders of Beijing Secoo irrevocably grants Kutianxia an exclusive option to purchase, or have its designated person to purchase, at its discretion, to the extent permitted under PRC law, all or part of the shareholders’ equity interests in Beijing Secoo at the lowest price permitted by applicable PRC law. Beijing Secoo and its shareholders agree not to undertake any acts which may adversely affect the interests and rights of Kutianxia in Beijing Secoo without the prior consent of Kutianxia. The shareholders of Beijing Secoo commit that without the prior written consent of Kutianxia, they will not sell, pledge or dispose of their equity interests in Beijing Secoo to any other parties. Beijing Secoo commits that without the prior written consent of Kutianxia, it will not increase or decrease its registered capital, amend its articles of association, sell, pledge, dispose of or permit a lien to be created on its assets, commit to any debts or liabilities not arising in the ordinary course of business, grant any loans or credit to any person, enter into any material contracts not in the ordinary course of business, enter into any investments, business acquisitions or combinations, dissolving Beijing Secoo, or distribute dividends to the shareholders. Beijing Secoo and the shareholders of Beijing Secoo shall procure that individuals recommended by Kutianxia will be appointed as directors of the company. Beijing Secoo shall provide financial information to Kutianxia at the request of Kutianxia and ensure the continuance of the business. The Agreement has an initial term of ten years and is renewable at the election of Kutianxia.

 

On September 15, 2014, Kutianxia, Beijing Auction and the shareholders of Beijing Auction entered into exclusive option agreements. Pursuant to these exclusive option agreements, each of the shareholders of Beijing Auction irrevocably grants Kutianxia an exclusive option to purchase, or have its designated person to purchase, at its discretion, to the extent permitted under PRC law, all or part of the shareholders’ equity interests in Beijing Auction. In addition, the purchase price shall be RMB 1 million in aggregate, which equals the amount that the shareholders contributed to Beijing Auction as registered capital for the equity interests to be purchased, or if the PRC law requires a minimum price higher than the aforesaid price, be the lowest price permitted by applicable PRC law. Beijing Auction and its shareholders agree not to undertake any acts which may adversely affect the interests and rights of Kutianxia in Beijing Secoo without the prior written consent of Kutianxia and must guarantee Beijing Auction’s continuance. Without the prior written consent of Kutianxia, Beijing Auction may not increase or decrease the registered capital, dispose of its material assets, enter into any material contract, engage in merger and acquisitions, invest in third parties, distribute dividends to the shareholder, amend its articles of association and provide any loans or credits to any third parties. The shareholders of Beijing Auction agree that, without the prior written consent of Kutianxia, they will not transfer or otherwise dispose of their equity interests in Beijing Auction or create or allow any encumbrance on the equity interests. The exclusive purchase option agreement will remain effective until all equity interests in Beijing Auction held by its shareholders are transferred or assigned to Kutianxia or its designees.

 

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Powers of Attorney.    Pursuant to the powers of attorney, each of the shareholders of Beijing Secoo irrevocably appoints Kutianxia as its attorney-in-fact to exercise on its behalf any and all rights that such shareholders have in respect of their equity interests in Beijing Secoo conferred by relevant laws and regulations and the articles of associate of Beijing Secoo. The power of attorney became effective on May 24, 2011 and will remain effective as long as long as these shareholders remain as shareholders of Beijing Secoo.

 

Pursuant to the powers of attorney, the shareholders of Beijing Auction each irrevocably appointed Kutianxia as their attorney-in-fact in respect of their shareholdings, including voting on their behalf on all matters of Beijing Auction that requires shareholder approval under PRC laws and regulations as well as Beijing Auction’s articles of association. The power of attorney became effective on September 15, 2014 and will remain effective until the date the shareholders of Beijing Auction cease to hold any equity interest in Beijing Auction.

 

Loan Agreements.    Under the loan agreements between Kutianxia and each of the shareholders of Beijing Auction dated as of September 15, 2014, Kutianxia made interest-free loans in an aggregate amount of RMB1 million to the shareholders of Beijing Auction exclusively for the purpose of the initial capitalization of Beijing Auction. The loans can only be repaid with the proceeds derived from the sale of all of the equity interests in Beijing Auction to Kutianxia or its designated representatives pursuant to the exclusive option agreements. The term of the loan agreement is ten years from the date of the loan agreement and may be extended upon mutual consent of the parties.

 

Agreements that allows us to receive economic benefits from Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction

 

Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreement.    Under the exclusive business cooperation agreement between Kutianxia and Beijing Secoo dated May 24, 2011, and as amended on March 26, 2015 with a retrospective effect, Kutianxia is appointed as the exclusive service provider for the provision of business support and technology and consulting services to Beijing Secoo. The service fees payable by Beijing Secoo to Kutianxia depend on the amount of services provided and the market value for those services. Beijing Secoo is required to provide its financial statements and all the related records of operations, business contracts and financial information to Kutianxia within a stipulated period of time subsequent to the financial year end. Kutianxia shall exclusively own the intellectual property rights created by Kutianxia or Beijing Secoo, as a result of the performance of this agreement. The agreement has an initial term of ten years and can be extended at the sole election of Kutianxia. Beijing Secoo is not permitted to terminate the agreement unless Kutianxia commits gross negligence or fraud.

 

Under the exclusive business cooperation agreement between Kutianxia and Beijing Auction dated September 15, 2014, and as amended on March 26, 2015 with a retrospective effect, Kutianxia is appointed as the exclusive service provider for the provision of business support and technology and consulting services to Beijing Auction. The service fees payable by Beijing Auction to Kutianxia depend on the amount of services provided and the market value for those services. Beijing Auction is required to provide its financial statements and all the related records of operations, business contracts and financial information to Kutianxia within a stipulated period of time subsequent to the financial year end. Kutianxia shall exclusively own the intellectual property. The agreement shall remain effective unless terminated by Kutianxia pursuant to the provisions of the agreement.

 

Exclusive Option Agreement to Purchase Intellectual Properties.    On May 24, 2011, Kutianxia and Beijing Secoo entered into an exclusive option agreement to purchase intellectual properties, pursuant to which Beijing Secoo granted to Kutianxia or its designees an exclusive and irrevocable right to purchase, to the extent permitted by the PRC law, a list of specified intellectual properties at any time Kutianxia would desire. The intellectual properties comprise domain names, copyright of the design or content of the websites, trademarks owned by Beijing Secoo and all intellectual properties purchased or developed by Beijing Secoo during the term of the Agreement, including but not limited to trademarks, trademark applications, patents, patent applications, software copyright, domain names, websites and technology knowhow. The agreement has a term of ten years and is renewable at the option of Kutianxia for another ten years.

 

In the opinion of Han Kun Law Offices, our PRC legal counsel:

 

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·                  the ownership structures of Kutianxia Information, our PRC Subsidiary, and our variable interest entities and Beijing Secoo and Beijing Auction will not result in any violation of PRC laws or regulations currently in effect; and

 

·                  the contractual arrangements among our PRC Subsidiary, our variable interest entities and their respective shareholders governed by PRC law are valid, binding and enforceable, and will not result in any violation of PRC laws or regulations currently in effect.

 

However, there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations and rules. Accordingly, the PRC regulatory authorities may in the future take a view that is contrary to the above opinion of our PRC legal counsel. If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our online retail or auction businesses do not comply with PRC government restrictions on foreign investment in e-commerce and related businesses, including but not limited to online retail or auction businesses, we could be subject to severe penalties including being prohibited from continuing operations. See “Item 3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government deems that the contractual arrangements in relation to Beijing Auction and Beijing Secoo do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations.” and “Item 3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.”

 

D.                                    Property, Plant and Equipment

 

As of the date of this report, we are headquartered in Beijing, where we have leased an aggregate of approximately 13,023 square meters of office, offline experience centers, customer service center and logistics center space. As of the date of this annual report, we have also leased an aggregate of approximately 12,620 square meters of offline experience centers, office and logistics center space in Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Yichun, Xiamen, Qingdao, Hong Kong, Milan, Malaysia and New York. A summary of our leased properties as of the date of this annual report is shown below:

 

Location

 

Space (in
square
meters)

 

Use

 

Lease Term
(years)

Beijing

 

13,023

 

Office, offline experience center, customer service center and logistics center space

 

1 - 6

Chengdu

 

1,172

 

Offline experience center and office

 

3

Shanghai

 

1,635

 

Offline experience center and office

 

2 — 10

Shenzhen

 

971

 

Office

 

1 - 2

Tianjin

 

482

 

Offline experience center and office

 

2-5

Yichun

 

4,700

 

Office and logistics center space

 

4

Hong Kong

 

420

 

Office and logistics center space

 

1 — 2

Milan

 

950

 

Office and logistics center space

 

4-6

Malaysia

 

800

 

Offline experience center

 

3

New York

 

50

 

Office

 

1

Xiamen

 

800

 

Offline experience center

 

5

Qingdao

 

640

 

Offline experience center

 

5

 

We typically enter into leasing agreements renewable every one or five years with independent third parties. We believe our existing facilities are sufficient for our near-term needs.

 

ITEM 4A.                                       UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

None.

 

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ITEM 5.                                                OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

 

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this annual report. This discussion may contain forward-looking statements based upon current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth under “Item 3.D. Risk Factors” or in other parts of this annual report.

 

A.                                    Operating Results

 

Overview

 

We have experienced significant growth since we commenced our business operations in 2011.

 

Key Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations

 

Our business and operating results are affected by general factors affecting the online retail market in China, including China’s overall economic growth, the increase in per capita disposable income, the expansion of the urbanization, the growth of middle and high income classes, the growth in consumer spending and retail industry, governmental policies towards the cross-border e-commerce industry and the expansion of internet and mobile penetration. Unfavorable changes in any of these general factors could affect the demand for the products offered by us and could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

 

While our business is influenced by general factors affecting our industry, our operating results are more directly affected by certain company-specific factors, including:

 

·                  our ability to attract and retain customers at reasonable cost;

 

·                  our ability to establish and maintain strong and long-term relationships with suppliers, including top-tier brands, and procure products at favorable terms;

 

·                  our ability to manage our mix of product categories and high-end lifestyle services;

 

·                  our ability to sustain growth and increase revenues while improving operating efficiency;

 

·                  our ability to control marketing and sales expenses through precise and targeted marketing leveraging business intelligence system and big data technology capabilities, while promoting our brand and platform cost effectively; and

 

·                  our ability to compete effectively and to execute our strategies successfully.

 

Revenues

 

We derive revenues from the sale of upscale products and services offered on our online platforms and in our offline experience centers. We commenced our current merchandising sales business model in 2011. We currently generate substantially all of our revenues from merchandise sales, whereby we act as principal for the direct sale of upscale products to customers. Merchandise sales revenues are recorded on a gross basis, net of discount, sales return, surcharges and taxes.

 

We also generate marketplace services revenues, whereby we act as a service provider to third-party merchants and charge fees for the sales of upscale products and services on our online platform. We began to expand our marketplace services business in 2014. Our marketplace services revenues are recorded on a net basis. Further, we also generate other service revenue from providing repair and maintenance services and advertising service. We recognize other service revenue when the services are rendered.

 

The following table sets forth the key factors that directly affect our revenues for the periods indicated:

 

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Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

US$

 

%

 

 

 

GMV (in RMB millions)

 

Online GMV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mobile applications

 

2,600.1

 

74.9

 

4,396.8

 

83.5

 

6,621.3

 

963.0

 

82.3

 

Web

 

514.8

 

14.8

 

556.3

 

10.6

 

1,108.2

 

161.2

 

13.7

 

Total online GMV

 

3,114.9

 

89.7

 

4,953.1

 

94.1

 

7,729.5

 

1,124.2

 

96.0

 

Offline GMV

 

355.3

 

10.3

 

309.3

 

5.9

 

318.7

 

46.4

 

4.0

 

Total GMV (in RMB millions)

 

3,470.2

 

100.0

 

5,262.4

 

100.0

 

8,048.2

 

1,170.6

 

100.0

 

Total orders (in thousands)

 

953.7

 

 

 

1,437.0

 

 

 

2,301.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

US$

 

%

 

 

 

Revenue (in RMB thousands)

 

Online Revenue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mobile applications

 

1,826,312

 

70.4

 

2,973,116

 

79.5

 

4,406,244

 

640,862

 

81.8

 

Web

 

446,389

 

17.2

 

483,995

 

12.9

 

699,485

 

101,736

 

13.0

 

Total online revenue

 

2,272,701

 

87.6

 

3,457,111

 

92.4

 

5,105,729

 

742,598

 

94.8

 

Offline revenue

 

321,121

 

12.4

 

283,344

 

7.6

 

281,848

 

40,992

 

5.2

 

Total revenue

 

2,593,822

 

100.0

 

3,740,455

 

100.0

 

5,387,577

 

783,590

 

100.0

 

 

We monitor and strive to improve the following key business metrics to generate higher revenues:

 

Total number of orders.    Our total number of orders were 953.7 thousand in 2016, 1,437.0 thousand in 2017 and 2,301.5 thousand in 2018, respectively. The increases are contributed by our marketing strategy, more direct brand collaborations, the expansion of our product categories and promotions that increases the number of our new customers and active customers’ purchase frequency.

 

Total GMV.    We define GMV as the total value of all orders of products and services, excluding the value of whole car sales, placed on our online platform and in our offline experience centers, regardless of whether the products or services are delivered, returned or cancelled, as applicable. We consider GMV an important indicator of our growth and business performance as it measures the volume of transactions through our merchandise sales as well as marketplace services. Our GMV grew by 51.6% from RMB3,470.2 million in 2016 to RMB5,262.4 million in 2017 and grew by 52.9% from RMB5,262.4 million in 2017 to RMB8,048.2 million (US$1,170.6 million) in 2018, which is in line with our growth of total number of orders. Our total online GMV increased by 59.0% from RMB3,114.9 million in 2016 to RMB4,953.1 million in 2017 and increased by 56.1% from RMB4,953.1 million in 2017 to RMB7,729.5 million (US$1,124.2 million) in 2018 due to the change of customer’s preference to shop online. Our offline GMV decreased by 12.9% from RMB355.3 million in 2016 to RMB309.3 million in 2017, and increased by 3.0% from RMB309.3 million in 2017 to RMB318.7 million (US$46.4 million) in 2018.

 

Our revenue generated from mobile application, which contributed the majority of our revenue, increased from RMB1,826.3 million in 2016 to RMB2,973.1 million in 2017, and to RMB4,406.2 million (US$640.9 million) in 2018. We generated 87.6%, 92.4% and 94.8% of our total revenue through our online platform in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.

 

The table below sets forth a breakdown of our revenues from our merchandise sales, and marketplace and other services for the periods indicated:

 

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Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

US$

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Merchandise sales

 

2,566,872

 

3,680,795

 

5,244,446

 

762,773

 

Marketplace and other services

 

26,950

 

59,660

 

143,131

 

20,817

 

Total

 

2,593,822

 

3,740,455

 

5,387,577

 

783,590

 

 

In 2018, we generated approximately 97.3% and 2.7% of our revenue from our merchandise sales, and marketplace and other services, respectively. Other services mainly include advertising and maintenance services and amounted to RMB11.2 million, RMB17.5 million and RMB56.4 million (US$8.2 million) in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. We expect revenue contribution from our marketplace and other services to increase in the near future.

 

The table below sets forth the respective revenue contributions of (i) our company and our subsidiaries and (ii) our consolidated variable interest entities and their subsidiaries for the periods indicated as a percentage of total net revenues:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

2017

 

2018

 

Our company and our subsidiaries

 

8

%

6

%

7

%

Our variable interest entities and their subsidiaries

 

92

%

94

%

93

%

Total revenues

 

100

%

100

%

100

%

 

We expect to continue to generate a substantial majority of our revenues from our consolidated variable interest entities in the near future.

 

Cost of revenues

 

Our cost of revenues consists of primarily cost of merchandise sold and inventory write-downs, repair and maintenance staff payroll and related equipment depreciation. Our cost of goods sold does not include payment processing, packaging material and product delivery costs. Therefore, our cost of revenues may not be comparable to other companies which include such expenses in their cost of revenues.

 

Operating expenses

 

Our operating expenses consist of (i) fulfillment expenses, (ii) marketing expenses, (iii) technology and content development expenses, and (iv) general and administrative expenses. The following table sets forth the components of our operating expenses both in absolute amount and as a percentage of total revenues for the periods indicated:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

US$

 

%

 

 

 

(in thousands, except percentages)

 

Fulfillment

 

82,047

 

3.2

 

99,064

 

2.6

 

138,710

 

20,175

 

2.6

 

Marketing

 

218,759

 

8.4

 

245,989

 

6.6

 

410,548

 

59,712

 

7.6

 

Technology and content development

 

54,262

 

2.1

 

62,081

 

1.7

 

80,398

 

11,693

 

1.5

 

General and administrative

 

74,310

 

2.9

 

110,059

 

2.9

 

110,802

 

16,115

 

2.1

 

Total operating expenses

 

429,378

 

16.6

 

517,193

 

13.8

 

740,458

 

107,695

 

13.8

 

 

Fulfillment expenses.    Fulfillment expenses consist primarily of packaging material costs, shipping costs and costs incurred in operating and staffing our fulfillment/logistics and customer service centers, including costs attributable to receiving, inspecting and warehousing inventories; picking, packaging, and preparing customer orders for shipment; third-party payment platform charges and responding to customer inquiries. Fulfillment expenses also include amounts charged by third parties that assist us in product deliveries and payment collections. Expenses related to our product authentication procedures, including personnel and equipment expenses, are recorded also under fulfillment expenses. We will continue to invest in our fulfillment and delivery network to support our long-term growth and in the meantime seek to achieve lower delivery cost by establishing further cooperation with third party couriers as our bargaining power increases. We expect that our fulfillment expenses will continue to increase in absolute amount with per order fulfillment expenses decreasing as a result of our continued business growth.

 

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Marketing expenses.    Marketing expenses consist primarily of advertising expenses, rental charges, public relation costs, office expenses, depreciation costs, brand fee, payroll and related expenses for personnel engaged in marketing activities. Advertising expenses take up the biggest portion in marketing expenses. We continue to enhance our ability to conduct precise and targeted marketing leveraging our business intelligence system and big data technology in order to improve our advertising efficiency.

 

Technology and content development expenses.    Technology and content development expenses consist primarily of technology infrastructure expenses, payroll and related costs for employees involved in application development, category expansion, editorial content production on our online platform and system support expenses, as well as costs associated with computation, storage and telecommunication infrastructures. As we continue to expand our technological capabilities to support our anticipated growth and enhance customer experience, we expect our technology and content expenses to continue to increase in absolute amount in the foreseeable future.

 

General and administrative expenses.    General and administrative expenses consist primarily of payroll and related costs for employees involved in general corporate functions, including accounting, finance, tax, legal and human resources, professional fees for third parties and other general corporate costs, as well as costs associated with the use of facilities and equipment for these general corporate functions, such as depreciation and rental expenses. As our business further grows, we expect our general and administrative expenses to continue to increase in absolute amount in the foreseeable future.

 

Other expenses / (income)

 

Other expenses consist of (i) interest expense, net (ii) foreign currency exchange losses/(gains), and (iii) others. The following table sets forth the components of other expenses both in absolute amount and as a percentage of total revenues for the periods indicated:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

US$

 

%

 

 

 

(in thousands, except percentages)

 

Interest expense, net

 

3,923

 

0.2

 

6,562

 

0.2

 

42,533

 

6,186

 

0.8

 

Foreign currency exchange losses/(gains)

 

11,418

 

0.4

 

(9,477

)

(0.3

)

11,737

 

1,707

 

0.2

 

Others

 

 

 

(4,148

)

(0.1

)

(31,269

)

(4,548

)

(0.6

)

Total other expenses/(income)

 

15,341

 

0.6

 

(7,063

)

(0.2

)

23,001

 

3,345

 

0.4

 

 

Interest expense, net.    Our interest expense is comprised of interest costs and incidental charges associated with our bank borrowings net off by interest income.

 

Foreign currency exchange losses/(gains).    Foreign currency exchange losses/(gains) are primarily due to the foreign currency exchange losses/(gains) in association with cash, time deposits and restricted cash held by our Hong Kong subsidiary.

 

Total other expenses/(income).    Our total other expenses/(income) primarily comprised of net interest expenses, gains and losses from foreign currency exchange and subsidy income granted by local government authorities.

 

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Taxation

 

Cayman Islands

 

We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Under the current law of the Cayman Islands, we are not subject to income or capital gains tax in the Cayman Islands. In addition, our payment of dividends to our shareholders, if any, is not subject to withholding tax in the Cayman Islands.

 

Hong Kong

 

Before 2018, our subsidiary incorporated in Hong Kong was subject to the uniform tax rate of 16.5% on taxable income generated from the operations in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s two-tier income tax system was officially implemented on April 1, 2018. For the first HK$2.0 million, the company’s income tax rate is 8.25%, and the subsequent profits are taxed at 16.5%. There is an anti-fragmentation measure where each group will have to nominate only one company in the group to benefit from the progressive rates. Under the Hong Kong tax laws, it is exempted from the Hong Kong income tax on its foreign-derived income and there are no withholding taxes in Hong Kong on the remittance of dividends.

 

PRC

 

Our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated variable interest entities are companies incorporated under PRC law and, as such, are subject to PRC enterprise income tax on their taxable income in accordance with the relevant PRC income tax laws. Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law which became effective on January 1, 2008 and was further amended on February 24, 2017 and December 29, 2018, respectively, and its implementation rules, which became effective on January 1, 2008, a uniform 25% enterprise income tax rate is generally applicable to both foreign-invested enterprises and domestic enterprises, unless they qualify for certain exceptions. Our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated variable interest entities are all subject to the tax rate of 25% for the periods presented in the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report.

 

Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules, dividends from our PRC subsidiaries paid out of profits generated after January 1, 2008, are subject to a withholding tax of 10%, unless there is a tax treaty with China that provides for a different withholding tax rate. Distributions of profits generated before January 1, 2008 are exempt from PRC withholding tax. Pursuant to the Arrangement between Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Tax Evasion on Income, the withholding tax rate with respect to the payment of dividends by a PRC enterprise to a Hong Kong enterprise is reduced to 5% from a standard rate of 10%, if such Hong Kong enterprise directly holds at least 25% equity interest in the PRC enterprise. Pursuant to the Notice of the State Administration of Taxation on the Issues concerning the Application of the Dividend Clauses of Tax Agreements, or Circular 81, a Hong Kong resident enterprise must meet the following conditions, among others, in order to enjoy the reduced withholding tax rate: (i) it must be a company; (ii) it must directly own the required percentage of equity interest and voting rights in the PRC resident enterprise; and (iii) it must have directly owned such required percentage in the PRC resident enterprise throughout the 12 months prior to receiving the dividends. Furthermore, the Administrative Measures for Tax Convention Treatment for Non-resident Taxpayers, which became effective in November 2015 and replaced the Administrative Measures for Non-Resident Enterprises to Enjoy Treatments under Tax Treaties (For Trial Implementation), provide that any non-resident enterprise meeting conditions for enjoying the convention treatment may be entitled to the convention treatment itself when filing a tax return or making a withholding declaration through a withholding agent, subject to the subsequent administration by the tax authorities. There are also other conditions for enjoying the reduced withholding tax rate according to other relevant tax rules and regulations. Accordingly, Hong Kong Secoo may be able to benefit from the 5% withholding tax rate for the dividends it receives from Kutianxia, if it satisfies the conditions prescribed under Circular 81 and other relevant tax rules and regulations, and obtains the approvals as required. However, according to Circular 81, if the relevant tax authorities consider the transactions or arrangements we have are for the primary purpose of enjoying a favorable tax treatment, the relevant tax authorities may adjust the favorable withholding tax. Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, an enterprise established outside of the PRC with “de facto management bodies” within the PRC is considered a resident enterprise and will be subject to the enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% on its global income. The implementation rules define the term “de facto management bodies” as the body that exercises full and substantial control and overall management over the business, production, personnel, accounts and properties of an enterprise. Circular 82 provides certain specific criteria for determining whether the “de facto management body” of a Chinese-controlled offshore-incorporated enterprise is located in China. Although Circular 82 only applies to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises, not those controlled by PRC individuals, the determining criteria set forth in Circular 82 may reflect the SAT’s general position on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax resident status of offshore enterprises, regardless of whether they are controlled by PRC enterprises, non-PRC enterprises, or individuals. Although we do not believe that our legal entities organized outside of the PRC constitute PRC resident enterprises, it is possible that the PRC tax authorities could reach a different conclusion. However, if one or more of our legal entities organized outside of the PRC were characterized as PRC resident enterprises, it would be subject to enterprise income tax on its worldwide income at a rate of 25%. See also “Item 3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—If we are classified as a PRC resident enterprise for PRC income tax purposes, such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders or ADS holders. In addition, any noncompliance with PRC tax laws may adversely affect us.”

 

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Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

 

An accounting policy is considered critical if it requires an accounting estimate to be made based on assumptions about matters that are highly uncertain at the time such estimate is made, and if different accounting estimates that reasonably could have been used, or changes in the accounting estimates that are reasonably likely to occur periodically, could materially impact the consolidated financial statements.

 

We prepare our consolidated financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP, which requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect our reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the end of each reporting period, and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during each reporting period. We continually evaluate estimates and assumptions based on the most recently available information, our historical experiences and various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Use of estimates is an integral component of the financial reporting process, actual results could differ from our expectations as a result of changes in facts and circumstances leading to a change in our estimates.

 

The following are descriptions of our critical accounting policies and estimates. They should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and other disclosures included in this annual report.

 

Consolidation of Variable Interest Entities

 

We operate a website through which we distribute products and communicate with our customers. In order to ensure our internet operation complies with PRC laws and regulations, the necessary PRC operating license which we require for operating our website is held by Beijing Secoo, our affiliated PRC entity. The equity interests of Beijing Secoo are held by our founders, who are PRC individuals. A series of contractual arrangements have been entered into between our PRC subsidiary, Kutianxia, Beijing Secoo and the shareholders of Beijing Secoo. As a result of the contractual agreements, which include powers of attorney, an exclusive business cooperation agreement, an equity pledge agreement and exclusive option agreements, we have the ability to exercise control over Beijing Secoo and the subsidiaries of Beijing Secoo, direct their activities, receive substantially all of their economic benefits and have an option to purchase all of the equity interests and assets in Beijing Secoo when and to the extent permitted by PRC law at a minimum price. We consider that we are the primary beneficiary of Beijing Secoo and its subsidiaries, and accordingly these entities are our variable interest entities under U.S. GAAP. As such, we consolidate the results and financial position of Beijing Secoo and its subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements.

 

We launched our online auction sales format in July 2014. The current PRC laws and regulations also restrict foreign ownership in auction sales business. In order to comply with the PRC laws and regulations, the necessary PRC license for our auction business is held by Beijing Auction, our PRC affiliated entity. The equity interests of Beijing Auction are held by our founders. A series of contractual arrangements have been entered into between our PRC subsidiary, Kutianxia, Beijing Auction and its shareholders. Through the contractual arrangements which include powers of attorney, an exclusive business cooperation agreement, an equity pledge agreement, exclusive option agreement and loan agreements, we consider we are able to exercise effective control over, bear the risks of, enjoy substantially all of the economic benefits of Beijing Auction, and have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in Beijing Auction when and to the extent permitted by PRC law at the minimum price possible. We conclude that we are the primary beneficiary of Beijing Auction, and accordingly Beijing Auction is our variable interest entity under U.S. GAAP. As such, we consolidate the results and financial position of Beijing Auction in our consolidated financial statements with effect from September 15, 2014, the date on which the series of contractual agreements between Kutianxia, Beijing Auction and the shareholders of Beijing Auction become effective.

 

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Any changes in PRC laws and regulations that affect our ability to control Beijing Secoo and/or Beijing Auction might preclude us from consolidating the two entities and their subsidiaries in the future. We will continuously evaluate whether we are the primary beneficiary of our variable interest entities as facts and circumstances change.

 

Revenue Recognition

 

Our revenues are generated primarily from merchandise sales, marketplace services and other services.

 

Periods prior to January 1, 2018

 

Prior to January 1, 2018, revenues are recognized when the following four criteria are met: (1) persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists; (2) delivery has occurred or services have been rendered; (3) the selling price is fixed or determinable; and (4) collectability is reasonably assured.

 

Sales allowances for returns, which reduce revenues, are estimated based on historical experience. Revenues are recorded net of value-added taxes, business taxes and surcharges.

 

In accordance with ASC 605-45, Revenue Recognition: Principal Agent Considerations, we consider several factors in determining whether we act as the principal or as an agent in the arrangement of merchandise sales and provision of various related services and thus whether it is appropriate to record the revenue and the related cost of sales on a gross basis or record the net amount earned as service fees.

 

Merchandise Sales

 

We generate revenues mainly from merchandise sales when we act as principal for the sales of brand products to end customers online through our own internet platforms and offline at the offline experience centers. Online sales include sales through our online shopping mall, flash sales, auction and overseas sales.

 

We consider ourselves as a principal for the following reasons: (1) we are the primary obligor and are responsible for the acceptability of the products and the fulfillment of the delivery services; (2) we are responsible to compensate end customers if the products are counterfeit or defective goods; (3) we are also responsible for the loyalty program benefits offered in conjunction with the merchandise sales to the buyers; (4) we have latitude in establishing selling prices and selecting suppliers; (5) we assume credit risks on receivables; and (6) we have legal ownership of the inventory and have significant inventory risks even for those inventory with payment deferred until the following month after the inventory is sold as it has physical loss risk after acceptance of all the goods purchased from suppliers. Accordingly, we consider ourselves as the principal in the arrangement with the end customers and record revenue earned from merchandise sales on a gross basis.

 

With respect to proceeds from merchandise sales, before determining the timing of revenue recognition, we allocate proceeds from merchandise sales among sales of the products and customer loyalty program benefits based on relative fair value of each deliverable. Proceeds allocated to sales of goods are recognized as merchandise sales upon acceptance of delivery of products by buyers. Proceeds allocated to customer loyalty program benefits are recorded as deferred revenues.

 

We collect cash from end customers before or upon deliveries of products mainly through banks, third party online payment platforms or delivery companies. Cash collected from end customers before product delivery is recognized as advances from customers.

 

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Marketplace and other services

 

Service revenues include marketplace service revenue and other services revenue through the internet platform. Marketplace service revenue refers to the commission fee earned by us when we act as an agent for sales of vendors’ goods and lifestyle services. Vendor’s goods can be sold through auction or online ordering and lifestyle services can be sold through online ordering.

 

In addition, the other services revenue primarily consists of 1) advertising service revenue and 2) service fees from the provision of repair and maintenance services to products such as handbags and watches.

 

With respect to the marketplace service revenue, we do not have general inventory risk or latitude in establishing prices. Accordingly, we record the net amount as marketplace service fees earned.

 

We recognize other services revenue when the services are rendered. We recognize marketplace service revenue at the time that we have provided the services and are entitled to payment.

 

Period commencing January 1, 2018

 

Since the adoption of Accounting Standards Codification Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (“ASC 606”) starting from January 1, 2018, we recognize revenues upon the satisfaction of our performance obligation (upon transfer of control of promised goods or services to customers) in an amount that reflects the consideration to which we expect to be entitled to in exchange for those goods or services, excluding amounts collected on behalf of third parties. The adoption of new revenue standard did not impact retained earnings as of January 1, 2018. We have updated significant accounting policies and relevant disclosures hereinafter.

 

To achieve that core principle, we apply the five steps defined under Topic 606: (i) identify the contract(s) with a customer, (ii) identify the performance obligations in the contract, (iii) determine the transaction price, (iv) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract, and (v) recognize revenue when (or as) the entity satisfies a performance obligation. We assess our revenue arrangements against specific criteria in order to determine if we are acting as principal or agent. Revenue arrangements with multiple performance obligations are divided into separate distinct goods or services. We allocate the transaction price to each performance obligation based on the relative standalone selling price of the goods or services provided. Revenue is recognized upon the transfer of control of promised goods or services to a customer.

 

Revenue recognition policies for each type of revenue steam are as follows:

 

Merchandise Sales

 

We present the revenue generated from our sales of merchandise on a gross basis as we have control of the goods and have the ability to direct the use of goods to obtain substantially all the benefits. In making this determination, we also assess whether we are primarily obligated in these transactions, are subject to inventory risk, have latitude in establishing prices, or have met several but not all of these indicators.

 

Revenues are measured as the amount of consideration we expect to receive in exchange for transferring products to consumers. Consideration from merchandise sales is recorded net of value-added tax, discounts and return allowances. Return allowances which reduce revenue, are estimated based utilizing the most likely amount method based on historical data and updated at the end of each reporting period.

 

With respect to considerations from merchandise sales, we allocate proceeds from merchandise sales among sales of the products, customer loyalty program benefits and coupons with material rights based on relative standalone selling price. Proceeds allocated to sales of goods are recognized as revenue from merchandise sales when the receipt of merchandise is confirmed by the customer, which is the point that the control of the merchandise is transferred to the customer. Proceeds allocated to customer loyalty program benefits and coupons are recorded as Deferred revenues.

 

We utilize delivery service providers to deliver products to our consumers (“shipping activities”) but the delivery service is not considered as a separate obligation as the shipping activities are performed before the consumers obtain control of the products. Therefore, shipping activities are not considered a separate promised service to the consumers but rather are activities to fulfill our promise to transfer the products and are recorded as fulfillment expenses.

 

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Marketplace and other services

 

With respect to the marketplace service revenue, we do not consider we control the products before they are transferred to the customer or have the ability to direct the use of the goods and obtain substantially all of their benefits. We bear no physical and general inventory risk and have no discretion in establishing price, so we have determined that revenue from our sales of products under these arrangements are marketplace service fees in nature. Revenue is recognized when we have fulfilled our selling performance obligations on behalf of the principal in the transaction, which is when the products are accepted by the customer.

 

We recognize other service revenue when the services are rendered.

 

Income taxes

 

Current income taxes are provided on the basis of net income/loss for financial reporting purposes, adjusted for income and expense items which are not assessable or deductible for income tax purposes, in accordance with the regulations of the relevant tax jurisdictions. We follow the liability method in accounting for income taxes. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized on temporary differences between financial statements carrying amounts and tax bases of assets and liabilities by applying enacted statutory rates that will be in effect in the period in which the temporary differences are expected to reverse. The effect on deferred taxes as a result of a change in tax rate is recognized in the consolidated statement of comprehensive income / (loss) in the period of change. A valuation allowance is recorded to reduce the amount of deferred tax assets if based on the weight of available evidence, it is considered more likely than not that some portion of, or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized.

 

In assessing the recoverability of its deferred tax assets, we consider whether some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. The ultimate realization of deferred tax assets is dependent upon the generation of future taxable income during the periods in which those temporary differences become deductible. We consider the cumulative earnings and projected future taxable income in making this assessment. Recovery of substantially all of our deferred tax assets is dependent upon the generation of future income, exclusive of reversing taxable temporary differences.

 

As of December 31, 2016, we incurred accumulated net operating losses. We believe that it is more likely than not that the accumulated net operating losses and other deferred tax assets will not be utilized in the foreseeable future. Accordingly, we have provided full valuation allowance for the deferred tax assets as of December 31 2016. We made profit for the year ended December 31, 2017 and 2018. As of December 31, 2017 and 2018, the valuation allowance of RMB15.0 million and RMB19.9 million were provided for us and some subsidiaries, respectively. For those entities, we believe that it is more likely than not that the accumulated net operating losses of those entities will not be utilized in the foreseeable future.

 

As of December 31, 2018, we had net operating loss carry forwards of approximately RMB0.2 million attributable to the Hong Kong subsidiary, RMB0.3 attributable to the American subsidiary, RMB2.1 million attributable to the Malaysia subsidiary, RMB1.3 million attributable to the Italian subsidiary and of approximately RMB216.1 million attributable to the PRC subsidiaries, VIEs and VIEs’ subsidiaries. The loss carried forward by the Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Italian subsidiaries can be carried forward to net against future taxable income without a time limit; while the loss carried forward by the PRC companies will expire during the period from year 2019 to year 2023.

 

Results of Operations

 

The following table sets forth a summary of our consolidated results of operations for the periods indicated, both in absolute amounts and as percentages of total revenues. This information should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this annual report. The results of operations in any period are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for any future period.

 

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Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

US$

 

%

 

 

 

(in thousands, except percentages)

 

Revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merchandise sales

 

2,566,872

 

99.0

 

3,680,795

 

98.4

 

5,244,446

 

762,773

 

97.3

 

Marketplace and other services

 

26,950

 

1.0

 

59,660

 

1.6

 

143,131

 

20,817

 

2.7

 

Total revenues

 

2,593,822

 

100.0

 

3,740,455

 

100.0

 

5,387,577

 

783,590

 

100.0

 

Cost of revenues

 

(2,193,676

)

(84.6

)

(3,128,441

)

(83.6

)

(4,427,844

)

(644,003

)

(82.2

)

Gross profit

 

400,146

 

15.4

 

612,014

 

16.4

 

959,733

 

139,587

 

17.8

 

Operating expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fulfillment expenses

 

(82,047

)

(3.2

)

(99,064

)

(2.6

)

(138,710

)

(20.175

)

(2.6

)

Marketing expenses

 

(218,759

)

(8.4

)

(245,989

)

(6.6

)

(410,548

)

(59.712

)

(7.6

)

Technology and content development expenses

 

(54,262

)

(2.1

)

(62,081

)

(1.7

)

(80,398

)

(11.693

)

(1.5

)

General and administrative expenses

 

(74,310

)

(2.9

)

(110,059

)

(2.9

)

(110,802

)

(16.115

)

(2.1

)

Total operating expenses

 

(429,378

)

(16.6

)

(517,193

)

(13.8

)

(740,458

)

(107,695

)

(13.8

)

(Loss)/income from operations

 

(29,232

)

(1.1

)

94,821

 

2.6

 

219,275

 

31,892

 

4.0

 

Other income/ (expenses)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest expense, net

 

(3,923

)

(0.2

)

(6,562

)

(0.2

)

(42,533

)

(6,186

)

(0.8

)

Foreign currency exchange (losses)/gains

 

(11,418

)

(0.4

)

9,477

 

0.3

 

(11,737

)

(1,707

)

(0.2

)

Others

 

 

 

4,148

 

0.1

 

31,269

 

4,548

 

0.6

 

(Loss)/income before income tax

 

(44,573

)

(1.7

)

101,884

 

2.8

 

196,274

 

28,547

 

3.6

 

Income tax benefits/(expenses)

 

 

 

31,525

 

0.8

 

(40,728

)

(5,924

)

(0.8

)