As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 3, 2019
Registration No. 333-
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933
REEBONZ HOLDING LIMITED
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
|Cayman Islands||5961||Not Applicable|
Incorporation or Organization)
Classification Code Number)
5 Tampines North Drive 5
+65 6499 9469
(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of Registrant’s principal executive offices)
850 Library Avenue, Suite 204
Newark, DE 19715
(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)
With copies to:
|David Dinner, Esq.||Ira L. Kotel, Esq.|
|Dentons Cayman||Brian Lee, Esq.|
|3rd Floor, One Capital Place||Greg Carney, Esq.|
|Shedden Road||Dentons US LLP|
|George Town||1221 Avenue of the Americas|
|Grand Cayman||New York, NY 10020|
|Cayman Islands||(212) 768-6700|
Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: As soon as practicable after this registration statement becomes effective.
If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, check the following box. ☒
If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐
If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐
If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐
CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE
|Title of Each Class of Securities to be Registered||Amount to be Registered(1)||Proposed Maximum Offering Price Per Share(2)||Proposed Maximum Aggregate Offering Price(2)||Amount of Registration Fee|
|Ordinary shares, par value $0.0001 per share||452,671||$||4.415||(2)||$||1,998,542.25||(2)||$||242.22||(2)|
|Ordinary shares, par value $0.0001 per shares (underlying warrants)||200,000||$||6.50||(3)||$||1,300,000||(3)||$||157.56||(3)|
|Ordinary shares, par value $0.0001 per shares (underlying warrants)||9,309||$||92.00||$||856,428||$||103.80|
|Represents the maximum number of ordinary shares that may be offered for resale by selling shareholders pursuant to the prospectus contained herein. Pursuant to Rule 416 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, this registration statement also covers any additional ordinary shares that may be offered or issued in connection with any stock split, stock dividend or similar transaction.|
With regard to the securities included hereby, the offering price and registration fee are estimated pursuant to Rule 457(c) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, based upon the average high and low prices for the ordinary shares of Reebonz Holding Limited, as reported by the NASDAQ Stock Market, on July 2, 2019.
|(3)||Represents the higher of: (i) the exercise prices of the convertible security and (ii) the offering price of securities of the same class as the common stock underlying the convertible security calculated in accordance with Rule 457(c) under the Securities Act, for the purpose of calculating the registration fee pursuant to Rule 457(g) under the Securities Act.|
The Registrant hereby amends this registration statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this registration statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or until the registration statement shall become effective on such date as the Securities and Exchange Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.
The information in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. The selling shareholders may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and we are not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.
Subject to Completion, dated July 3, 2019
661,980 Ordinary Shares
This prospectus relates to the 661,980 ordinary shares, par value $.0008 per share (including 209,309 ordinary shares which may be issued upon exercise of currently outstanding warrants) which may be offered for sale from time to time by the selling shareholders, including their transferees, pledgees or donees or their successors named in this prospectus. We are a public company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. We are not selling any shares in this offering. We, therefore, will not receive any proceeds from the sale of the shares by the selling shareholders. The selling shareholders may offer all or part of the shares for resale from time to time through public or private transactions, at either prevailing market prices or at privately negotiated prices. If all of the selling shareholders holding warrants exercised them for cash, we would receive $2,156,428. The selling shareholders are not obligated to exercise the warrants. Although we will receive proceeds from the cash exercise of the warrants, we will not receive any of the proceeds from the sale of the common stock sold by the selling shareholders.
The ordinary shares, par value $0.0008 per share are currently listed on the NASDAQ Capital Market (the “NASDAQ”) under the symbol “RBZ”. On June 21, the closing price for the ordinary shares on the NASDAQ was $4.39 per ordinary share. We currently have outstanding warrants traded on the over the counter market under the symbol “RBZWF” (which we refer to as the “SPAC Warrants”). The last reported sale price of the SPAC Warrants on June 21, 2019 was $0.01 per warrant.
The selling shareholders may be deemed underwriters of the shares of common stock, which they are offering. The selling shareholders will receive all proceeds from the sale of stock held by them in this offering. We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares by the selling shareholders.
We may amend or supplement this prospectus from time to time by filing amendments or supplements as required. You should read this entire prospectus and any amendments or supplements carefully before you make your investment decision.
We are an “emerging growth company” as that term is defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 and, as such, are subject to reduced public company reporting requirements.
Investing in our ordinary shares involves risks. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 11 of this prospectus.
Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
Prospectus dated [__________], 2019.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|SELECTED CONSOLIDATED HISTORICAL AND OTHER FINANCIAL INFORMATION||10|
|CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS||42|
|USE OF PROCEEDS||43|
|DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES||108|
|CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED PERSON TRANSACTIONS||115|
|PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION||126|
|SHARES ELIGIBLE FOR FUTURE SALE||127|
|SERVICE OF PROCESS AND ENFORCEMENT OF CIVIL LIABILITIES UNDER U.S. SECURITIES LAWS||130|
|CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT||131|
|INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS||F-1|
You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus, any amendment or supplement to this prospectus or any free writing prospectus prepared by or on our behalf. Neither we, nor the selling shareholders, have authorized any other person to provide you with different or additional information. Neither we, nor the selling shareholders, take responsibility for, nor can we provide assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may provide. The selling shareholders are not making an offer to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. The information contained in this prospectus is accurate only as of the date of this prospectus or such other date stated in this prospectus, and our business, financial condition, results of operations and/or prospects may have changed since those dates.
Except as otherwise set forth in this prospectus, neither we nor the selling shareholders have taken any action to permit a public offering of these securities outside the United States or to permit the possession or distribution of this prospectus outside the United States. Persons outside the United States who come into possession of this prospectus must inform themselves about and observe any restrictions relating to the offering of these securities and the distribution of this prospectus outside the United States.
This prospectus contains references to our trademarks and to trademarks belonging to other entities. Solely for convenience, trademarks and trade names referred to in this prospectus, including logos, artwork and other visual displays may appear without the ® or TM symbols, but such references are not intended to indicate, in any way, that their respective owners will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, their rights thereto. We do not intend our use or display of other companies’ trade name or trademarks to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us by, any other companies.
CONVENTIONS WHICH APPLY TO THIS PROSPECTUS
In this prospectus, unless otherwise specified or the context otherwise requires:
“$,” “US$” and “U.S. dollar” each refers to the United States dollar; and
“S$,” “SGD” and “Singapore Dollar” each refers to the Singapore dollar, the official currency of Singapore.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT IFRS AND NON-IFRS FINANCIAL MEASURES
Reebonz’s audited financial statements are prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board and referred to in this prospectus as “IFRS.” Reebonz refers in various places within this prospectus to EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin, which are non-IFRS measures that are calculated as earnings before interest, tax and depreciation and amortization and more fully explained in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of Reebonz—Certain Non-IFRS Measures.” The presentation of this non-IFRS information is not meant to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for Reebonz’s consolidated financial results prepared in accordance with IFRS.
FREQUENTLY USED TERMS
In this document:
“accumulated buyers” means, as of the end of the period specified, the number of total buyers on a cumulative basis since inception.
“ateliers” means our team of appraisers, trained gemologists and watch technicians who provide certain services including authentication, valuation and grading services.
“AUD” means the legal currency of Australia.
“average GMV per user” represents online transacted GMV for the period divided by the number of total buyers who purchased online during the period (we currently do not track offline orders from buyers using their unique customer identification number), regardless of the order being returned or canceled or discounts and credits being applied.
“average order value” or “AOV” represents online transacted GMV for the period divided by the number of online orders from buyers during the period (we currently do not track the number of offline orders), regardless of the order being returned or canceled or discounts and credits being applied.
“B2C” means “business to consumer” and refers to business or transactions conducted directly between a company and consumers who are the end-users of its products or services.
“B2C Merchandise Business” means our core merchandise sales business, which consists primarily of our B2C “e-tailing” business, through which we sell authentic new and pre-owned luxury goods to buyers through our platform.
“B2C Merchant’s Marketplace” means our B2C marketplace which was launched in Singapore in May 2015.
“C2C” means “consumer to consumer” and refers to business or transactions conducted directly between consumers of certain products or services.
“C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace” means collectively, our C2C marketplaces, Reebonz Closets and White Glove Service.
“Code” means the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
“Companies Law” means the Companies Law (2018 Revision) of the Cayman Islands.
“Core Asia Pacific Market” means a region consisting solely of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand, and excluding among others, China, India and Japan.
“Exchange Act” means the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
“€” means Euro, the legal currency of the European Union.
“GMV” for a specified period represents gross merchandise value and is an operating metric, which is the total value of online orders placed and offline merchandise sold through our Merchandise Business or our Marketplace Business that are generally initiated through our platform.
“HK$” means the legal currency of Hong Kong.
“IDR” means the legal currency of Indonesia.
“IFRS” refers to International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).
“KRW” means the legal currency of South Korea.
“Marketplace Business” or “marketplaces” means collectively, Reebonz’s C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace and B2C Merchant’s Marketplace.
“MYR” means the legal currency of Malaysia.
“new buyer” means any unique buyer, as identified by his or her unique customer identification number in Reebonz’s system, who made his or her first online purchase in the specified period (Reebonz currently does not track offline orders from buyers using their unique customer identification number), regardless of the buyer returning or cancelling the order.
“NT$” means the legal currency of Taiwan.
“online sales” mean sales made through Reebonz’s online platform, including our websites and mobile application.
“Reebonz Closets” means one of Reebonz’s C2C marketplaces, where individual members primarily use Reebonz’s mobile application to sell pre-owned luxury goods directly to other members in the same country.
“registered members” means the number of Reebonz accounts that have been registered as of the end of a period.
“repeat buyer” means any buyer, as identified by his or her unique customer identification number in Reebonz’s system, who made an online purchase in the specified period and had previously made one or more online purchase through our platform from Reebonz’s inception to the end of the specified period (Reebonz currently does not track offline orders from buyers using their unique customer identification number), regardless of the buyer returning or cancelling the order. A new buyer that makes his or her first purchase and then a repeat purchase during the same period would be considered a “repeat buyer” for such period and would also be considered a “new buyer” for such period.
“SGD,” “Singapore dollar” and “S$” mean the legal currency of Singapore.
“Singapore” means the Republic of Singapore.
“SKUs” mean stock keeping units. For new products sold by Reebonz through our B2C Merchandise Business, a line of products has a single stock keeping unit, while for pre-owned goods sold by Reebonz, or goods sold through our Marketplace Business, each item available for sale has its own unique stock keeping unit. SKU data is presented for the period specified and not as of a specific date.
“Southeast Asia” means a region consisting solely of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
“THB” means the legal currency of Thailand.
“total buyers” for a specified period means, collectively, the unique buyers, as identified by his or her unique customer identification number in Reebonz’s system, who have made online purchases through our platform during the specified period (Reebonz currently do not track offline orders from buyers using their unique customer identification number), regardless of the buyer returning or cancelling the order.
“total orders” for a specified period means total online orders (Reebonz currently do not track the number of offline orders), regardless of the order being returned or cancelled.
“U.S.” means the United States of America.
“U.S. dollar,” “US$” and “$” mean the legal currency of the United States.
“White Glove Service” means one of Reebonz’s C2C marketplaces which primarily caters to premium individual sellers, where Reebonz takes pre-owned luxury goods on consignment from individuals and offer them for sale on our platform.
INDUSTRY AND MARKET DATA
In this prospectus, we rely on and refers to industry data, information and statistics regarding the markets in which it competes from research as well as from publicly available information, industry and general publications and research and studies conducted by third parties such as data by International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook database and Bain & Company (“Bain”). We have supplemented this information where necessary with our own internal estimates and information obtained from discussions with our customers, taking into account publicly available information about other industry participants and our management’s best view as to information that is not publicly available. This information appears in “Prospectus Summary,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Business of Reebonz” and other sections of this prospectus. We have taken such care as we consider reasonable in the extraction and reproduction of information from such data from third-party sources.
Industry publications, research, studies and forecasts generally state that the information they contain has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but that the accuracy and completeness of such information is not guaranteed. Forecasts and other forward-looking information obtained from these sources are subject to the same qualifications and uncertainties as the other forward-looking statements in this prospectus. These forecasts and forward-looking information are subject to uncertainty and risk due to a variety of factors, including those described under “Risk Factors.” These and other factors could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in the forecasts or estimates from independent third parties and us.
An investment in our ordinary shares carries a significant degree of risk. You should carefully consider the following risks and other information in this prospectus, including our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus, before you decide to purchase our ordinary shares. Additional risks and uncertainties of which we are not presently aware or that we currently deem immaterial could also affect our business operations and financial condition. If any of these risks actually occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects could be materially affected. As a result, the trading price of our ordinary shares could decline and you could lose part or all of your investment.
Risks Related to Our Business and Operations
Our independent registered public accounting firm has included an explanatory paragraph relating to our ability to continue as a going concern in its report on our audited consolidated financial statements included in this registration statement.
Our audited consolidated financial statements were prepared assuming that we will continue as a going concern. However, the report of our independent registered public accounting firm included elsewhere in this prospectus contains an explanatory paragraph on our consolidated financial statements stating there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern, meaning that we may not be able to continue in operation for the foreseeable future or be able to realize assets and discharge liabilities in the ordinary course of operations. Such an opinion could materially limit our ability to raise additional funds through the issuance of new debt or equity securities or otherwise. There is no assurance that sufficient financing will be available when needed to allow us to continue as a going concern. The perception that we may not be able to continue as a going concern may also make it more difficult to raise additional funds or operate our business due to concerns about our ability to meet our contractual obligations.
Based on current operating plans, assuming the continuation by our bankers to provide access to us to drawdown, roll forward existing short term financing facilities, and access to public market financing, we believe that we have resources to fund our operations for at least the next twelve months, but will require further funds to finance our activities thereafter. We may also consider potential financing options with banks or other third parties.
Any harm to our brand or reputation may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Brand recognition and reputation are invaluable assets in the luxury goods market. We believe that the recognition and reputation of our Reebonz brand among buyers of luxury goods, our suppliers, marketplace merchants and individual sellers have contributed significantly to the growth and success of our business. Maintaining and enhancing such brand recognition and reputation are critical to our business and competitiveness. Many factors, including those beyond our control, are important to maintaining and enhancing our brand. These factors include our ability to:
|●||provide a compelling online buying and selling experience to customers;|
|●||maintain the authenticity, quality and diversity of the products it offers in sufficient quantities;|
|●||maintain the efficiency, reliability and security of our fulfillment services and payment systems;|
|●||maintain or improve buyer satisfaction with our after-sale services;|
|●||enhance brand awareness through marketing and brand promotion activities;|
|●||preserve our reputation and goodwill in the event of any negative publicity involving our product authenticity and quality, customer service, cybersecurity, data protection, authorization to sell products or other issues affecting it; and|
|●||maintain positive relationships with our suppliers, marketplace merchants, individual sellers and other service providers.|
Any public perception (i) that counterfeit goods, pre-owned goods that are in a worse-than-described condition or unauthorized or stolen goods are sold on our website, (ii) that we, or our third-party service providers, do not provide satisfactory customer service or (iii) that we infringe upon any brand owners’ intellectual property rights could damage our reputation, diminish our brand value, undermine our credibility and adversely impact our business. If we are unable to maintain our reputation, enhance our brand recognition or increase positive awareness of our website, products and services, we may be difficult to maintain and grow our customer base, and our business and growth prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
We operate in a competitive environment and may lose market share and customers if we fail to compete effectively.
The online luxury goods industry in the Asia Pacific region is competitive. We compete for customers, third-party merchants and individual sellers. Our current and potential competitors include other specialist online luxury retailers, general online retailers, fashion online retailers, luxury brand owners’ online stores, luxury department retailers’ online stores, as well as physical stores that sell luxury goods, including retail stores owned and operated by the brands that we carry. See “Our Business— Competition.” In addition, new technologies may increase or even transform the competitive landscape in the online luxury goods industry. New competitive business models may appear, such as business models based on new forms of social media, and we may not adapt quickly enough, or at all, to changing industry trends.
Increased competition may reduce our margins, market share and brand recognition, or result in significant losses. For example, when we set prices, we consider how competitors have set prices for the same or similar products. When they cut prices or offer additional incentives to compete with it, we may have to lower our own prices or offer comparable incentives or risk losing market share. When we have products that do not sell, we often reduce prices to clear inventory. Competitive price reduction on certain luxury items lowers prices and benefits buyers, but in the longer term may hurt the perceived prestige of those luxury goods and dampen consumer interest. In addition, third-party merchants are crucial in broadening our product listings, and we compete with other companies for these sellers.
We also compete on the basis of non-price terms. For example, in our B2C Merchandise Business, we offer free international shipping for orders above a certain minimum value and aim to make deliveries within three to seven business days depending on the country of delivery. We plan to employ a variety of strategies to shorten delivery times, such as increased monitoring of third-party courier performance and implementation of a “local sourcing and local sale” model. If these strategies do not succeed, and one or more of our significant competitors manage to shorten delivery times, we may lose any competitive advantage.
Some of our current or future competitors may have longer operating histories, greater brand recognition, better supplier relationships and sourcing expertise, including direct relationships with brand owners, larger customer bases or greater financial, technical or marketing resources than we do. Those smaller companies or new entrants may be acquired by, receive investment from or enter into strategic relationships with well-established and well-financed companies or investors which would help enhance their competitive positions. We cannot assure you that we will be able to compete successfully against current or future competitors, and competitive pressures may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we are unable to manage our growth or execute our strategies effectively, our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
Our business has grown substantially since its inception in 2009. We continue to introduce new lines of business and plan to continue to grow our business. Specifically, we launched our Reebonz Closets, a C2C marketplace, in February 2015, our Merchant’s Marketplace, a B2C marketplace, in May 2015, and introduced the “Sell Back” feature in May 2017. In addition, in the past few years, we have expanded into new markets and increased our product offerings. Expanding our business has entailed and will continue to entail significant risks as we work with new suppliers, expands into new markets and offers new products. As the business grows and our product offerings increase, we will need to continue to work with a large number of merchants and an even larger number of individual sellers efficiently and establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with them. We will also need to perform sufficient due diligence and other checks to prevent the sale of counterfeit or unauthorized goods on our platform. To support our growth, we also plan to implement a variety of new and upgraded managerial, operating, financial and human resource systems, procedures and controls. All of these efforts will require significant financial, managerial and human resources. In addition, our number of employees has increased since our inception, and may continue to increase in the future. We cannot assure you that we will be able to effectively manage our growth or to implement desired systems, procedures and controls successfully, particularly as the size of our organization grows, or that our system will perform as expected or that our new business initiatives will be successful. If we are not able to manage our growth or execute our strategies effectively, our growth may be interrupted and our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
Our limited operating history makes it difficult to evaluate our business and prospects, and we may not be able to sustain our historical growth rates.
We commenced our Reebonz business in May 2009 and have a limited operating history. Since our inception, we have experienced rapid growth in our business. Our revenue was US$88.4 million in 2018. We have incurred losses every year since inception. Our business has undergone significant changes each year since its inception, including through acquisitions and the introduction of new products and services, and therefore our historical growth rate may not be indicative of future performance. We cannot assure you that we will be able to achieve similar results or grow at a similar rate as we have in the past. Growth may slow, revenue may decline and losses may increase for a number of possible reasons, some of which are beyond Reebonz’s control, including decreased consumer spending, greater competition, slower growth of the luxury goods market in the Asia Pacific region, negative perceptions about product quality or authenticity, fulfillment bottlenecks, sourcing difficulties, emergence of alternative business models, changes in government policies, tax policies or general economic conditions. It is difficult to evaluate our prospects, as we may not have sufficient experience in addressing the risks to which companies operating in rapidly evolving markets may be exposed. If our growth rate declines, investors’ perceptions of our business and business prospects may be adversely affected and the market price of our securities could decline. You should consider our prospects in light of the risks and uncertainties that fast-growing companies with a limited operating history may encounter.
We have limited control over sellers in our Reebonz Closets and B2C Merchant’s Marketplace platform.
In 2015, we started Reebonz Closets, a C2C marketplace, and B2C Merchant’s Marketplace in Singapore. In our Marketplace Business, we do not source goods ourselves and instead provide a platform for sellers and buyers to directly buy and sell goods using our platform. We have limited control over the actions of sellers in our marketplaces and their interactions with buyers. Many of the buyers in our Marketplace Business are our existing customers and any negative experience buying through our marketplaces could adversely impact their trust in our Reebonz brand. For example, sometimes sellers advertising a product on our platform may no longer have the product available for sale. A significant percentage of sellers using our Reebonz marketplace platform may identify buyers and then transact with them outside our platform, thereby avoiding the payment of commissions, which would result in lower revenue and GMV.
Furthermore, if any seller on our platform does not control the quality of the goods that we sell, does not deliver the goods on time or at all, delivers goods that are materially different from our description of them, sells counterfeit, unlicensed or stolen goods on our platforms, or sells certain goods in violation of relevant laws and regulations or in violation of brand owners’ distribution restrictions, the reputation of our Marketplace Business and our brand may be materially and adversely affected, and we could face claims that we should be held liable for any losses. Any perception that counterfeit goods are sold on our platform could severely harm our brand and reputation. Third-party sellers may offer certain goods that are the same as, or similar to, the products that we directly offer for sale, thereby competing with our B2C Merchandise Business. In addition, expanding into these new businesses has required, and will continue to require, significant management attention and other resources. In order for our online marketplace to be successful, we must also continue to identify and attract third-party sellers, and we may not be successful in this regard. While every item sold through our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace is authenticated by our ateliers, we may still fail to detect some counterfeit goods and we are generally unable to detect stolen goods as there is typically no way to ascertain this.
We have a history of losses, operating losses and negative cash flow from operating activities, and we may continue to incur losses and operating losses, and experience negative cash flow from operating activities, in the future.
We have incurred significant losses and negative cash flow from operating activities since our inception. In 2017 and 2018, we had negative cash flow from operating activities of US$8.1 million and US$6.5 million, respectively. Our loss for the year in 2018 was US$35.5 million. We cannot assure you that we will be able to generate profits, operating profits or positive cash flow from operating activities in the future or that we will be able to continue to obtain financing (and in particular trust receipt financing, which is our primary source of financing for inventory purchases) on acceptable terms or at all. Our ability to achieve profitability and positive cash flow from operating activities will depend on a mix of factors, some of which are beyond our control, including our ability to grow and retain our buyer and seller base, our ability to secure favorable commercial terms from suppliers, our ability to spot trends in the luxury goods market and manage our product mix accordingly and our ability to expand our new lines of business and offer value-added services with higher profit margins. In addition, we intend to continue to invest heavily in the foreseeable future in order to grow our business in the Asia Pacific online luxury goods market. As a result, we believe that we may continue to incur losses for some time in the future.
We do not have direct contractual or business relationships with luxury brand owners except in limited circumstances, and as a result we may face legal risks from potential liability for goods sold by us, or individuals or merchants in our marketplaces, outside brand owners’ authorized distribution channels and potential claims related to “parallel import” activities, and we may also face commercial risks from actions by luxury brand owners.
We do not have direct contractual or business relationships with luxury brand owners except in limited circumstances. Instead, we source new luxury goods in our B2C Merchandise Business primarily from authorized distributors and luxury wholesalers in various countries. The contractual arrangements between some luxury brand owners and certain of our suppliers could contain restrictions on the price, geographic region and manner in which goods may be resold. We also source luxury goods through distribution channels outside the control of brand owners, which are often referred to as “parallel imports.” We believe that the import and sale of parallel import goods is generally permitted under the laws and regulations of the primary jurisdictions in which we operate, subject to certain exceptions. If our sourcing from any supplier is in violation of contractual arrangements with brand owners or legal restrictions on parallel import activities, we could be subject to claims of intellectual property rights infringement, tortious interference or inducement of contract breach, among others, and face significant liabilities. Any such perception that we are a parallel importer may undermine our reputation among buyers and sellers of luxury goods.
We are also subject to the commercial risks that brand owners may instruct our suppliers not to sell goods to us or may cease selling goods to our suppliers completely or in sufficient quantities to meet our sourcing needs. In particular, brand owners may object to our pricing practices, especially the discounts to the retail prices fixed or suggested by brand owners. If we are successful in increasing the scale of our business and becomes more prominent in the luxury goods industry, the risk that brand owners may take legal or commercial action against us or our suppliers may increase. Any such actions could harm our reputation and adversely impact our product offerings, which could have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations and growth prospects.
Authorized distributors and luxury wholesalers have entered into framework supply agreements with us, which contain representations that they are not restricted from selling such goods us and indemnities for losses we suffer or costs we incur in connection with the agreement. We are actively seeking to enter into such agreements with all of our suppliers from which we source new luxury items, but there can be no assurance that such suppliers will agree to the proposed terms. In addition, there can be no assurance that the representations made by our suppliers are accurate, and we may not be able to successfully enforce our contractual rights, including any indemnities, and may need to initiate costly and lengthy legal proceedings to protect our rights. Enforcing our contractual rights under those agreements may require us to incur significant costs and effort, and may divert our management’s attention from day-to-day operations. With our other suppliers that have not entered into any framework supply agreements, we place spot purchase orders, and any contractual rights or other recourse we may have against them in the event their sales to it are in violation of the rights of brand owners are highly limited and unlikely to provide sufficient compensation for any losses we suffer or costs we incur.
With respect to our online Marketplace Business, although we plan to implement standard terms and conditions requiring individual sellers and merchants to confirm to us that, among other things, their sale of luxury goods on our platforms is not in violation of any distribution agreements and does not infringe the intellectual property rights of brand owners, there can be no assurance that these confirmations will be accurate, and we may not be able to successfully enforce any contractual rights or other recourse we may have against them in the event such confirmations are not accurate.
We have in the past received and may continue to receive claims alleging that sales of luxury goods by us, or individuals or merchants in our marketplaces, are not through brand owners’ authorized distribution channels. In March 2013, November 2015 and in March 2016, we received letters from a brand owner demanding that we cease selling our products and claiming we are not part of its authorized distribution network. Although such allegations and claims have not had a material adverse impact on our business, we might be required to allocate significant resources and incur material expenses to address such claims in the future. Irrespective of the validity of such claims, we could incur significant costs and effort in either defending or settling such claims, which could divert our management’s attention from day-to-day operations. If a successful claim is made against us, we might be required to pay substantial damages or refrain from further sale of the relevant products. Regardless of whether we successfully defend against such claims, we could suffer negative publicity, our reputation could be severely damaged and our product offerings could be significantly reduced. Any of these events could have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.
If we fail to manage and expand our relationships with suppliers of luxury goods, or otherwise fail to procure products on favorable terms, our business and growth prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
For our B2C Merchandise Business, we source substantially all new luxury items from authorized distributors and luxury wholesalers, and we source pre-owned items from individuals, pre-owned luxury goods dealers and auction houses. Maintaining strong relationships with these suppliers is important to the growth of our business. In particular, we depend on our ability to procure products from authorized distributors and luxury wholesalers and, to a lesser extent, brand owners, on favorable pricing terms. In the past, we typically entered into spot purchase orders and did not have long-term arrangements for the supply of products. We are actively seeking to enter into framework supply agreements with all of the authorized distributors and wholesalers that we source new luxury items from. In addition, there is no assurance that all of our relevant suppliers will enter into our standard supply agreements with us or that our efforts to enter into such agreements will not adversely affect our relationships with our suppliers. We may also choose to discontinue our relationship with a supplier that declines to enter into such agreements, which would reduce the pool of suppliers that we source luxury goods from and could materially and adversely affect our business and growth prospects. We cannot assure you that our current suppliers will continue to sell products to us on commercially acceptable terms, if at all. Even if we maintain good relations with our suppliers, their ability to supply products to us in sufficient quantity and at competitive prices may be adversely affected by changes in their relationship with brand owners, economic conditions, labor unrest, regulatory or legal decisions, natural disasters or other contingencies. In addition, it is possible that our Marketplace Business will not be able to retain existing sellers or to attract sufficient new sellers in the future. In the event that we are not able to source luxury goods at favorable prices, our revenue and cost of revenue may be materially and adversely affected. If we are unable to develop and maintain good relationships with suppliers that would allow us to obtain a sufficient amount and variety of luxury merchandise on commercially acceptable terms, it may inhibit our ability to offer sufficient products sought by luxury goods buyers, or to offer these products at competitive prices. Any adverse developments in our relationships with our suppliers, as well as with merchants and individual sellers on our marketplaces, could materially and adversely affect our business and growth prospects.
If counterfeit products are inadvertently sold by us or through our platform, we may be subject to legal claims from brand owners, and our reputation and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
We are subject to the risk that counterfeit goods could be sold through our platform. Although we conduct due diligence on most of our suppliers and have quality control procedures in place to ensure that new luxury goods sold through our B2C Merchandise Business are authentic, we do not authenticate each item that we take in our inventory and sell and therefore rely on suppliers to sell us authentic luxury goods. Although we authenticate pre-owned luxury goods sold by us or through our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace (consisting of Reebonz Closets and our White Glove Service), our authentication procedures may not be effective in all circumstances. In addition, we do not authenticate products sold through our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace. Any sale of counterfeit goods through our platform could significantly harm our reputation and could result in brand owners making legal claims against us for infringement of trademark, copyright or other intellectual property rights. From time to time in the ordinary course of our business, buyers, brand owners or other third parties have alleged and may allege that counterfeit products have been sold by us or through our platform. Any perception that our platform may contain counterfeit goods, even without merit, could have a material and adverse impact on our reputation.
When we receive complaints or allegations regarding infringement or counterfeit goods, we typically verify the nature of the complaint and the relevant facts. Our procedures could result in delays in de-listing products. In the event that alleged counterfeit or infringing products are listed or sold through our platform, we could face claims relating thereto for alleged failure to act in a timely or effective manner or to otherwise restrict or limit such sales or infringement. We may implement further measures in an effort to strengthen our protection against these potential liabilities, which could require us to spend substantial resources or discontinue certain service offerings. In addition, these changes may reduce the attractiveness of our marketplaces and other services to buyers, sellers or other users. A seller whose content is removed or whose services are suspended or terminated by us, regardless of its compliance with the applicable laws, rules and regulations, may dispute our actions and commence action against us for damages based on breach of contract or other causes of action or make public complaints or allegations. Any costs incurred as a result of liability or asserted liability relating to the sale of unlawful goods or other infringement could harm our business.
Companies that operate merchandise sales and online marketplace businesses, particularly those in the Asia Pacific region, have been subject to claims regarding counterfeit goods, and we could be subject to such claims in the future. For example, in January 2015, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce accused a major e-commerce company of failing to implement adequate procedures to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods on its platforms, and in May 2015, Kering, owner of Gucci and other luxury brands, filed a claim in U.S. federal court against this major e-commerce company alleging that it profited from the sale of counterfeit goods on its online marketplaces. Manufacturers and distributors of counterfeit goods are also increasingly sophisticated, making their products increasingly difficult to detect as counterfeits. If we were to be held to have sold or facilitated the sale of counterfeit goods, potential legal sanctions may include injunctions to cease infringing activities, rectification, compensation, administrative penalties and even criminal liability, depending on the governing law and the seriousness of the misconduct.
We may be subject to intellectual property infringement claims, especially claims alleging unauthorized use of brand names or trademarks, 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 may be subject to legal proceedings and claims relating to the intellectual property rights of others, especially those relating to luxury brand owners’ brand names, logos and trademarks. Although our practice is not to display those brand names, logos and trademarks on our website (except in product photos), we have received complaints in the past that we have displayed certain brand names and trademarks without authorization or in a misleading manner, including from brand owners whose goods have accounted for a significant percentage of our revenues.
For example, we received a letter of complaint in June 2012 from the legal counsel of a luxury brand, alleging that we had displayed certain trademarks on our website without authorization and demanding that we cease the sale of its products. We also received a letter of complaint in February 2013 from the legal counsel of a luxury brand alleging that one of our promotional events used certain trademarks without authorization and conveyed a false impression that such event had its endorsement. Based on advice from our intellectual property law counsel, we generally believe that our actions referred to in those letters have not infringed on the brand owners’ rights, and we have responded as such to those letters through our legal counsel. We also have intellectual property rights policies and take-down procedures in place to deal with claims that we believe have merit. However, we cannot assure you that our policies and practices will be successful in averting similar complaints in the future, or that our legal interpretation or other defenses against claims that we believe are without merit will be upheld in a court of law or otherwise successful. Even if none of the claims are successful, defending our rights against such claims could involve significant costs and effort and divert our management’s attention from day-to-day operations. Actively defending against such claims could also lead brand owners to take commercial or other actions against us, such as instructing our suppliers not to sell goods to us or ceasing to sell goods to our suppliers completely or in sufficient quantities to meet our sourcing needs.
In addition, other third-party intellectual property may be infringed by our products, services or other aspects of our business. Holders of patents purportedly relating to some aspect of our technology platform or business, if any such holders exist, may seek to enforce such patents against us in the United States or any other jurisdictions. Further, the application and interpretation of patent laws and the procedures and standards for granting patents in certain jurisdictions in which we operate are still evolving and are uncertain, and we cannot assure you that the courts or regulatory authorities would agree with our analysis.
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. For instance, we were alerted in September 2012 by Getty Images, the copyright licensee of certain images we had used on our website, that those images were used without proper licensing and we subsequently paid licensing fees to Getty Images. 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. Any ensuing negative publicity may severely damage our brand and reputation, regardless of the merits of the claims. 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. 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.
We may not be able to secure trademark registrations, which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business.
We file trademark applications with the proper authorities in each country in which we operate and will continue to do so if and when we expand into other jurisdictions. Trademark applications where we may file may not be allowed registration, and we may not be able to maintain or enforce our registered trademarks. If there are trademark registration proceedings, we may receive rejections. Although trademark applicants are given an opportunity to respond to those rejections, we may be unable to overcome such rejections. In addition, third parties are given an opportunity to oppose pending trademark applications and to seek to cancel registered trademarks. Opposition or cancellation proceedings may be filed against our applications and/or registrations, and our applications and/or registrations may not survive such proceedings. For example, we received a notice of opposition to our U.S. trademark application number 79189277 relating to the registration of “Reebonz” for, inter alia, business organization and business management of sales of products and services via a global computer network in the field of luxury fashion. The opponent alleges that our registration would result in likelihood of confusion and dilution of the “Reebok” mark. Based on advice from our intellectual property law counsel, we generally believe that such allegations are unfounded and are working with the opponent, through our legal counsel, to address the opponent’s concerns so that our mark can be registered in the U.S. for the aforementioned goods and services. Failure to secure such trademark registrations could adversely affect our ability to operate our business in a specific jurisdiction.
Failure to safeguard private and confidential information of our buyers and sellers and protect our network against security breaches could damage our reputation and brand and substantially harm our business and results of operations.
An important challenge to the online retail industry in general, and the online luxury retail market in particular, is the safekeeping and secure transmission of private and confidential information. Through third-party cloud computing service providers, we maintain a large database of confidential and private information as a result of buyers of luxury goods placing orders and inputting payment and contact information online, and sellers listing products and accepting payments, all through our website and our mobile application. In addition, we accept a variety of payment methods such as major credit cards networks, bank transfers and third party payment service providers, and online payments are settled through third-party online payment services. We also share certain personal information about our customers with contracted third-party couriers, such as their names, addresses, phone numbers and transaction records in order to facilitate pickups and deliveries. Maintaining complete security for the storage and transmission of confidential information in our system presents us with significant challenges.
Given the high monetary value of the luxury goods we carry and the relatively high average net worth of our buyers, safeguarding consumer privacy is essential to maintaining customer confidence. Advances in technology and the sophistication of cyber-attackers, new discoveries in cryptography or other developments could result in a compromise or breach of the technology that we use to protect confidential information, which could lead to third parties illegally obtaining private and confidential information we hold as a result of our customers’ visits to our website and use of our mobile application, which could significantly affect consumer confidence in our platform and harm our business. In a Facebook post in November 2014, a satirical group, SMRT Ltd (Feedback), claimed that the personal data of 400,000 customers from Zalora, 440,000 customers from us and 650,000 records from deal.com.sg, were being peddled. Although we and other retailers have refuted this claim, such report or any similar reports in the future, whether factual or not, could negatively impact consumer perceptions of the safety and security of our platform or online shopping generally as well as our relationships with third parties, such as payment platforms. In addition to external threats, leaks of private and confidential information may result from operational errors. For instance, there have been instances where our staff have inadvertently sent e-mails with information regarding particular customers to the wrong customer. There can be no assurance that similar instances will not occur in the future.
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 our customers may elect to make or accept payments. Any negative publicity on our website’s or mobile application’s safety or privacy protection mechanisms and policies, and any claims asserted against us or fines imposed upon it 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. 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 and transmission of personal information by companies operating over the internet and mobile platforms have recently come under increased public scrutiny in the various jurisdictions in which we and our subsidiaries operate. In addition to already existing stringent laws and regulations in such jurisdictions applicable to the solicitation, collection, processing, sharing or use of personal or consumer information, we may become subject to newly enacted laws and regulations that could affect how we store, process and share data with our customers, suppliers and third-party sellers. 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, managerial resources 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 cyber-attackers 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 e-commerce or the privacy of customer information is becoming increasingly unsafe or vulnerable to attacks could inhibit the growth of online luxury retail and other online services generally, which could have a material and adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
If we fail to manage our inventory effectively, our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity may be materially and adversely affected.
We take inventory risk in our B2C Merchandise Business, which requires us to effectively manage a large volume of high-value inventory. We depend on our demand forecasts for various kinds of luxury items and the subjective judgments of our merchandising team regarding fashion and style trends to make sourcing decisions and to manage our inventory. Demand, however, can change unexpectedly between the time inventory is ordered and the time by which we intend to sell it. Demand may be affected by changes in consumer tastes, new product launches, changes in product cycles and pricing, product defects and many other factors, and luxury goods buyers may not order products in the quantities that we expect. In such circumstances, given that we do not typically have the right to return unsold items to our suppliers, we may decide to clear our inventory by reducing prices and making sales at a loss. In addition, when we begin selling a new product, it may be difficult to establish supplier relationships, determine appropriate product selection and accurately forecast demand. The acquisition of certain types of inventory may require significant lead time and prepayment that is typically nonrefundable. We are also subject to the risk that our inventory may be lost or damaged in storage or in transit, to the extent that such loss or damage is outside the coverage of our insurance.
If we fail to manage our inventory effectively, we may face inventory obsolescence, a decline in inventory value and significant inventory write-downs or write-offs. Such decline in inventory value may be substantial, especially given the high monetary value of the luxury goods we sell. We may be required to lower sale prices or conduct additional marketing activities in order to reduce inventory levels, which may lead to lower margins. High inventory levels may also tie up substantial capital resources, preventing us from using that capital for other purposes. 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 and as a result, lost sales and damage to our reputation. Any of the above may materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
If we are unable to provide a high level of customer service, our business and reputation may be materially and adversely affected.
Our ability to ensure an enjoyable, efficient and user-friendly buying and selling experience for customers is crucial to our success. The quality of our customer service depends on a variety of factors, including our ability to continue to offer a wide range of authentic luxury goods at affordable prices, source products to respond to ever-changing buyer demands and preferences, maintain the quality of our products and services, provide a secure and user-friendly website interface and mobile application for our buyers and sellers, and provide timely delivery and pick up and satisfactory after-sales service. If our customers are not satisfied with any aspect of our goods or services, or the prices we offer, or if our internet platform is interrupted or otherwise fails to meet our customers’ requests, our reputation and customer loyalty could be materially and adversely affected.
We depend on our customer service center and online customer service representatives to provide live assistance to our buyers and sellers. Each member of our loyalty programs with Reebonz Black or Reebonz Solitaire status, which are the two statuses achievable by members of our loyalty program being earned either by spending beyond certain thresholds, has access to our team of relationship managers and customer service representatives whom he or she can contact for any of his or her customer service needs. If our customer service representatives, including relationship managers, 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.
We also rely on contracted third-party delivery service providers, including global logistics providers and smaller local logistics providers, to pick up and deliver various high-value luxury goods. We also rely on these and other third parties to act as collection locations for our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace. If product pick up or delivery is not on time, or if the product is damaged in transit or while held at a collection location, customers’ confidence in our fulfillment capabilities could be diminished, particularly given the high monetary value of the goods sold on our platform. Furthermore, the personnel of contracted third-party delivery service providers act on our behalf and interact with our customers personally. Any failure to provide high-quality services to our customers may negatively impact the experience of our customers, damage our reputation and cause us to lose customers.
As a result, if we are unable to continue to maintain our customer experience and provide high-quality customer service, we may not be able to retain existing customers or attract new customers, which will have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We use third-party couriers to deliver orders, and rely heavily on them for our fulfillment services we provide to sellers and buyers in our online marketplace. Any failure on the part of these couriers to provide reliable services may materially and adversely affect our business and reputation.
We maintain arrangements with 16 third-party logistics providers, including multinational delivery companies and local couriers. We use our services to deliver our products to buyers and pick up goods from individual sellers. In addition, our Reebonz marketplaces, including both the B2C Merchant’s Marketplace and the C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace, requires us to build and maintain a compelling platform, on which it provides fulfillment services to sellers and buyers. We rely heavily on the third-party couriers to provide pick-up and delivery services, which form an integral part of our fulfillment services.
Interruptions to, or failures of the delivery or collection services, could prevent the timely and successful pick-up and delivery of products. We may not be in a position to forestall or minimize the impact of these interruptions or failures, given that we are not in direct control of the third-party couriers. In addition, these interruptions or failures may be due to unforeseen events that are beyond our control or the control of the couriers, such as inclement weather, natural disasters or labor unrest.
We also encountered situations in the past where shipments were lost or stolen in transit and in certain cases we may choose not to utilize insurance coverage (such as where we believe paying the claim directly may be more beneficial than paying the deductible and electing to use insurance coverage) to cover losses or such losses may not be covered by insurance. Given the high monetary value of the luxury merchandise we handle, the reliability of third-party courier services and the quality of services they provide are crucial factors that merchants and individual sellers consider when determining whether to do business on our platform, and any mistake or interruption on the part of those couriers could severely dampen their confidence in our services and the Reebonz brand. Relatively small local couriers may be less reliable than long-established multinational delivery companies. For example, if our third-party couriers, especially those relatively small local couriers, fail to comply with applicable rules and regulations in their respective jurisdictions, our fulfillment services may be materially and adversely affected. We may not be able to find alternative delivery companies to provide pick-up and delivery services in a timely and reliable manner, if at all. Delivery of our products could also be affected or interrupted by merger, acquisition, insolvency or shut-down of the delivery companies it engages, especially those local companies with relatively small business scales. If our products are not delivered in proper condition or on a timely basis, or if our fulfillment services are disrupted by service failure of the third-party couriers, our business and reputation could be materially and adversely affected.
Our delivery, return and warranty policies and those of luxury brand owners may adversely affect our results of operations.
We generally provide free three- to seven-business day shipping for luxury items we directly sells to buyers. We also have adopted buyer-friendly return policies that make it convenient for buyers to return the purchase and obtain a refund. We may also be required by law to adopt new or amend existing return and exchange policies from time to time. Our return policy is even more generous for members of our loyalty programs, Reebonz Black and Reebonz Solitaire. In addition, luxury watches purchased from us come with a one-year warranty. These return, exchange and warranty policies could subject us to additional costs and expenses which may not be offset by increased revenue. Our ability to handle a large volume of returns is unproven. If our return and exchange policy is abused by a significant number of buyers, 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 at a desirable pace, which may materially and adversely affect our results of operations. Some of the new and pre-owned luxury goods we sell may not be covered by the relevant manufacturer’s or brand owner’s original warranty, and such manufacturers or brand owners may refuse to provide replacement, repair, cleaning or other services for goods purchased on our platform. Although we intend to improve our disclosure of this risk to our buyers, we may be subject to consumer claims under applicable consumer protection or other laws and regulations in connection with limitations on manufacturer’s or brand owner’s warranties.
If we fail to implement and maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud. As a result, our security holders could lose confidence in our financial and other public reporting, which would harm our business and the trading price of our securities.
Until consummation of the Business Combination, Reebonz was not a publicly listed company and we had limited accounting personnel and other resources with which to address our internal controls and procedures. Effective internal control over financial reporting is necessary for it to provide reliable financial reports and, together with adequate disclosure controls and procedures, are designed to prevent fraud. Effective internal controls can be particularly important to preparing consolidated financial results for the company since we operate in multiple markets with varying financial reporting rules and standards, such that it may have to make adjustments to our subsidiaries’ financial results as part of the consolidation process. If in subsequent years we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, which could have a material adverse effect on the price of our securities.
Reebonz’s internal controls relating to financial reporting have not kept pace with the expansion of our business. Reebonz’s financial reporting function and system of internal controls are less developed in certain respects than those of similar companies that operate in fewer or more developed markets and may not provide our management with as much or as accurate or timely information. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, has defined a material weakness as “deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.”
In connection with the preparation and external audit of Reebonz’s consolidated financial statements as of and for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2018, Reebonz and KPMG LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, noted a material weakness in Reebonz’s internal control over financial reporting. The material weakness identified relates to the control environment and risk assessment: due to insufficient accounting resources important to the Company’s compliance with financial reporting requirements of International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”), as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), and inadequate oversight and assessment of risks by management that could significantly impact internal control over financial reporting, to ensure accountability for the design, implementation, and performance of controls, including general information technology controls. This material weakness could allow errors to go undetected and resulted in corrected and uncorrected audit misstatements. As a result of the identification of this material weakness, we plan to take measures to remedy this control deficiency. However, we can give no assurance that our planned remediation will be properly implemented or will be sufficient to eliminate such material weakness or that material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting will not be identified in the future. Our failure to implement and maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting could result in errors in our financial statements that could result in a restatement of our financial statements, cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations and cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which may result in volatility in and a decline in the market price of our securities.
Our independent registered public accounting firm did not undertake an audit of the effectiveness of Reebonz’s internal controls over financial reporting. Our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 until our annual report on Form 20-F following the date on which we cease to qualify as an “emerging growth company,” which may be up to five full fiscal years following the first sale of common equity securities pursuant to an effective registration statement, which occurred on September 15, 2017. The process of assessing the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting may require the investment of substantial time and resources, including by members of our senior management. As a result, this process may divert internal resources and take a significant amount of time and effort to complete. In addition, we cannot predict the outcome of this determination and whether we will need to implement remedial actions in order to implement effective control over financial reporting. If in subsequent years we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or if our auditors express an opinion that our internal control over financial reporting is ineffective, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, which could have a material adverse effect on the price of our securities. We will be implementing a number of measures to address the material weakness including: (i) hiring a number of financial reporting and internal control with IFRS and SEC financial reporting expertise, (ii) conducting training for our personnel with respect to IFRS and SEC financial reporting requirements. We intend to remediate material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting by the end of 2020.
We are an “emerging growth company” and as a result of the reduced disclosure and governance requirements applicable to emerging growth companies, our ordinary shares may be less attractive to investors.
We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act, and we intend to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We cannot predict if investors will find our ordinary shares less attractive because Reebonz will rely on these exemptions. If some investors find Reebonz’s ordinary shares less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our ordinary shares and our stock price may be more volatile. We may take advantage of these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an emerging growth company. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of (1) the last day of the fiscal year (a) following the fifth anniversary of the completion of our Business Combination on December 19, 2018, (b) in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.07 billion, or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which means the market value of our ordinary shares that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the prior June 30, and (2) the date on which it has issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period.
We rely on online sale of luxury handbags for a major portion of our revenue.
Online sales of luxury handbags have historically accounted for a majority of our revenue. Substantially all of these handbags are designed for and marketed to women, which limits our demographic reach. Our business depends, to a certain extent, on the fashion trends and desirability of luxury handbags. We expect that sales of these products will continue to represent a significant portion of our revenue in the near future. We have increased our offerings to include other product categories, such as a wide array of luxury watches, small leather goods and shoes. We expect to continue to expand our product offerings to diversify our revenue sources in the future. However, our sales of these new products may not reach a level that would substantially reduce our dependence on the sales of handbags. Sales of luxury handbags accounted for more than 70% of our revenue in each of 2017 and 2018. Any event that results in a reduction in our sales of luxury handbags could materially and adversely affect our ability to maintain or increase our current level of revenue and maintain or improve our business prospects.
A substantial portion of our revenue is derived from luxury goods manufactured by three luxury conglomerates.
In 2017 and 2018, we derived an aggregate of 50% to 60% of our revenue from brands owned by three major luxury conglomerates. Each conglomerate consists of multiple brand owners, and these three conglomerates in aggregate account for more than forty brands. We source luxury goods made by these brand owners primarily from luxury wholesalers and authorized distributors in Europe. We do not have direct relationships with any of these brand owners and therefore do not have explicit permission from these conglomerates or their brand owners to resell their goods. Although none of these conglomerates have taken any action at the conglomerate or parent company level seeking to stop us from selling their products, certain of the individual brand owners within these conglomerates have issued letters alleging intellectual property infringement or asking us to stop selling their products. For example, in March 2013, November 2015, and March 2016 we received letters from a brand owner demanding that we cease selling its products. Although we believe these letters have not affected our ability to source these brands from luxury wholesalers and authorized distributors, if for any reason we were to experience reduced supply of luxury goods produced by the brand owners which are part of these three major conglomerates, or if any of such conglomerates or their brand owners were to take any action to prevent us from acquiring or selling their products, or if demand for the brands produced by these brand owners falls, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be materially and adversely affected.
Fluctuations in exchange rates between and among the Singapore dollar, the Australian dollar, the Euro, the Hong Kong dollar, the Malaysian ringgit, the Indonesian rupiah, the Korean won, the New Taiwan dollar, the Thai baht and the U.S. dollar, as well as other currencies in which we do business, may adversely affect our operating results.
We operate in various countries in the Asia Pacific region, including Singapore, Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia, among other countries. We make inventory purchases primarily in Euros and U.S. dollars, incurs employee compensation expenses and administrative expenses primarily in Singapore dollars, and incur certain other expenses in various other currencies. We derive a significant portion of our revenue from sales denominated in Singapore dollars as well as in various local currencies other than the Singapore dollar.
Recently, currency exchange rates in Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia in particular have experienced volatility, including as a result of volatility in the Chinese Renminbi. For example, the exchange rate for the Chinese Renminbi to the U.S. dollar as of December 31, 2018 was 6.878, and was 6.506 as of December 31, 2017. The Singapore dollar has generally weakened compared to the U.S. dollar in recent years, and in particular in 2015 and 2016. The exchange rate for the Singapore dollar to the U.S. dollar as of December 31, 2016 was 1.447, as of December 31, 2017 was 1.337, and as of December 31 2018 was 1.347.
Our margins may be affected and we may otherwise be affected by foreign exchange differences in connection with fluctuations in the value of currencies against the Singapore dollar and managing multiple currency exposures. For example, we must pay fees to convert proceeds in foreign currencies to Singapore dollars. In addition, foreign exchange controls may restrict us from repatriating income earned in certain foreign countries to Singapore. Any such delay in revenue repatriation may cause us to incur losses due to the volatility of these currencies compared to the Singapore dollar. Because we report our results in Singapore dollars, the difference in exchange rates in one period compared to another directly impacts period-to-period comparisons of our operating results. Because currency exchange rates have been especially volatile in the recent past, these currency fluctuations may make it difficult for us to predict our results.
Currently, we have not implemented any comprehensive strategy to mitigate risks related to the impact of fluctuations in currency exchange rates. Implementing hedging strategies can prove costly. Even if we were to implement hedging strategies, not every exposure is or can be hedged, and, where hedges are put in place based on expected foreign exchange exposure, they are based on forecasts which may vary or which may later prove to have been inaccurate. Failure to hedge successfully or anticipate fluctuations in the value of currencies and other currency risks accurately could adversely affect our operating results.
As we expand our business internationally, we will face additional business, political, regulatory, operational, financial and economic risks, any of which could increase our costs and hinder our growth.
We expect to continue to devote significant resources to international expansion in the Asia Pacific region through organic growth. Expanding our business internationally will require considerable management attention and resources and is subject to the particular challenges of operating a rapidly growing business in an environment of multiple languages, cultures, customs and legal and regulatory systems. Entering new international markets or expanding our operations in existing international markets will involve substantial cost, and our ability to gain market acceptance in any particular market is uncertain. There can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully grow our business internationally. For example, we may become subject to risks that it has not faced before or an increase in the risks that we currently face, including risks associated with:
|●||localizing our operations and platform, and gaining customer acceptance;|
|●||recruiting and retaining talented and capable management and employees in various countries;|
|●||language barrier and cultural differences;|
|●||negotiating agreements that are economically beneficial to us and protective of our rights, such as contracting with various third parties for the localization of our services;|
|●||competition from home-grown businesses with significant local market share and a better understanding of consumer preferences;|
|●||protecting and enforcing our intellectual property rights;|
|●||the inability to extend proprietary rights in our brand, content or technology into new jurisdictions;|
|●||complying with applicable foreign laws and regulations, such as those relating to intellectual property, privacy, consumer protection, e-commerce, customs and anti-money laundering;|
|●||currency exchange rate fluctuations, and foreign exchange controls that might restrict or prevent us from repatriating income earned in foreign countries;|
|●||challenges in maintaining internal controls and managing accounting personnel in the countries where we operate;|
|●||protectionist laws and business practices that favor local businesses in some countries;|
|●||various forms of online fraud, such as credit card fraud;|
|●||foreign and local tax consequences;|
|●||political, economic and social instability; and|
|●||higher costs associated with doing business internationally.|
Any failure to meet the challenges associated with international expansion could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we are unable to maintain a strong buyer base by offering luxury goods that attract new buyers and repeat purchases from existing buyers, or if we are unable to build and sustain an integrated ecosystem for luxury goods, 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 buyers as well as new purchases from existing buyers. More importantly, our future growth also depends on our ability to leverage our platform and build an integrated ecosystem for luxury goods where customers are able to become both buyers and sellers. Ever-changing consumer preferences have affected and will continue to affect the online luxury goods market. We must stay abreast of emerging consumer preferences and anticipate upcoming trends. In addition, maintaining effective marketing is important for our business. We increasingly plan to use technology to enable our systems to make recommendations to buyers based on past purchases or on goods viewed but not purchased. Our ability to make individually tailored recommendations is dependent on our business intelligence system, which tracks, collects and analyzes our customers’ browsing and purchasing behavior, to provide accurate and reliable information. We believe that buyers choose to purchase authentic and quality luxury goods on our platform because we offer a wide selection of goods, and they may choose to shop elsewhere if we cannot match the range of goods or the prices offered by other websites or by physical stores. If buyers cannot find their desired luxury goods on our websites or through our mobile application, they may lose interest in us and visit us less frequently or stop visiting us altogether. Likewise, if our buyer base diminishes, fewer buyers could potentially be converted to sellers on our platform, hindering the growth of our Marketplace Business. It could also cause existing luxury goods sellers in our marketplace to perceive our platform as less valuable and leave our platform. In addition, potential merchants and individual sellers could be deterred from joining us. Sellers may also regard us as less valuable for various other reasons, such as the perceived ineffectiveness of our marketing efforts or the emergence of alternative platforms that charge lower commissions and fees. Any of the above scenarios in turn may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we are unable to conduct our marketing activities in a successful and cost-effective manner, our results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.
We believe that consistent marketing communication supports our level of sales and brand identity as a trusted name for buying and selling luxury goods. As a result, we have incurred significant expenses on a variety of marketing and brand promotion campaigns, both broad-based and targeted, that are designed to enhance our brand recognition and increase sales. Our brand promotion and marketing activities may not be well received by customers and may not result in the levels of product sales that we anticipate. We incurred USD$7.6 million and USD$5.4 million of marketing expenses in 2017 and 2018, respectively. We expect that we could incur higher amounts of expenses in the foreseeable future, as our customer acquisition cost increases over time as a result of greater competition and market saturation. Marketing approaches and tools in the luxury goods market in the Asia Pacific region are evolving. This further requires us to enhance our marketing approaches and experiment with new marketing methods to keep pace with industry developments and consumer preferences. Failure to refine our existing marketing approaches, failure to introduce new marketing approaches in a successful and cost-effective manner, or failure of our innovative marketing initiatives, such as Reebonz Mobil (a truck that features a mobile luxury goods boutique), to bring about desired results could reduce our market share, cause our revenue to decline and negatively impact our profitability.
If our senior management is unable to work together effectively or efficiently, or if we lose their service, our business may be severely disrupted.
Our success depends heavily upon the continued services of our management. In particular, we rely on the expertise and experience of Mr. Samuel Lim, our Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, and other executive officers. If our senior management cannot work together effectively or efficiently, our business may be severely disrupted. If one or more members of our senior management were unable or unwilling to serve in their current positions, we might not be able to locate an appropriate replacement, if at all, and our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. If any member of our senior management joins a competitor or forms a competing business, we may lose customers, suppliers, know-how and key professionals and staff. Our senior management has entered into employment agreements with us, which contain confidentiality and non-competition provisions. There can be no assurance that any such non-competition provision will be enforceable in the Singapore courts. In addition, under these agreements, members of our senior management team can resign by giving us prior notice or through forfeiture of compensation during the notice period in lieu of giving prior notice. We currently do not maintain any insurance coverage for loss of key management personnel. If any dispute arises between our senior management and us, especially one that results in any resignation, we may suffer negative publicity and erosion of investor confidence, and we may have to incur substantial costs and expenses in order to enforce such agreements, or we may be unable to enforce them at all.
We depend on talented, experienced and committed personnel to grow and operate our business, and if we are unable to recruit, train, motivate and retain qualified personnel or sufficient workforce while controlling our labor costs, our business may be materially and adversely affected.
A fundamental driver of our continued success is our ability to recruit, train and retain qualified personnel with deep experience in the luxury retail industry, particularly in areas of technology, authentication, marketing and operations. For example, we face difficulty recruiting experienced technology personnel, whose responsibility is to design and maintain user-friendly websites and mobile applications.
Our senior management and 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 services, customer service centers and other back office functions also depends on the knowledge and diligence of our management and employees. Since the online luxury retail industry is characterized by high demand and intense competition for talent, 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. We plan to hire additional employees both in our technology department, in order to enhance user experience for all our online touch points, and in our finance department. We have observed an overall tightening of the labor market and an emerging trend of shortage of labor supply and this requires us to be more creative and pro-active in our talent sourcing rather than only depending on traditional recruitment channels. Failure to obtain experienced and dedicated employees may lead to underperformance of these functions and cause disruption to our business. Labor costs in the countries in which we operate have increased with the economic development in the Asia Pacific region. In addition, 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 in a timely fashion, if at all, and rapid expansion may impair our ability to maintain a dynamic corporate culture. Furthermore, additional employees that we plan to hire may be located at our offices and facilities outside Singapore. As a result, we may have less control over these employees, and we may experience increased difficulty in integrating them into our corporate culture.
We depend on our Reebonz ateliers, our in-house team of trained experts, to ensure the authenticity of the luxury goods we carry on our platform. If Reebonz ateliers fail to identify counterfeit goods or it is unable to recruit and train qualified professionals for the atelier team, our business may be materially and adversely affected.
We believe that an important measure to maintain buyer confidence in the Reebonz brand is to provide buyers with the assurance that the items they purchase are authentic. Reebonz ateliers, which consist of our in-house team of appraisers, trained gemologists and watch technicians, authenticate all pre-owned luxury goods sold by us or through our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace. Each pre-owned item sold through our B2C Merchandise Business and our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace is authenticated, appraised, valued and graded by an atelier. Our ateliers also support other areas of our business by, for example, providing authentication services to sellers and buyers using our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace in the event of a dispute.
There can be no assurance that Reebonz ateliers will identify all counterfeit goods and not certify such goods as genuine. Any failure by Reebonz ateliers to identify counterfeit goods could significantly harm our reputation and could result in brand owners making legal claims for infringement of trademark, copyright or other intellectual property rights, which in turn could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and prospects. In the event counterfeit goods are sold in our marketplaces, the authentication services we provide may also expose us to a heightened risk of contributory liability compared to other online marketplace operators that do not offer such services. In addition, our atelier team authenticates products sold through our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace, consisting of Reebonz Closets and our White Glove Service, which could lead to a backlog if we are unable to increase the size and efficiency of our atelier team as our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace grows. In our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace, we do not, except in certain circumstances, authenticate products sold by merchants to buyers, which increases the possibility that counterfeit products could be sold through our platform.
Our team of ateliers currently consists of 11 professionals located across our collection spokes. As our business grows, we may need to retain additional ateliers, and we could experience a backlog if we are unable to increase the size and efficiency of our atelier team as our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace grows. The market competition for experienced luxury goods authentication professionals is intense, and there is no assurance that we will be able to hire and retain a sufficient number of professionals with the required experience on acceptable terms or that our training programs for new ateliers will be effective. Furthermore, counterfeiters and the products they produce are increasingly sophisticated, such that there can be no assurance that our ateliers will be able to consistently differentiate between authentic and counterfeit goods. If we are unable to grow our team of ateliers at the rate, and with the degree of sophistication, that we expect to require as our business grows, our authentication capabilities could be impacted, which could result in counterfeit or defective products being sold on our platform. Any of the foregoing could have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations and prospects.
Customer behavior on mobile devices is rapidly evolving, and if we fail to successfully adapt to these changes, our competitiveness and market position may suffer.
In line with the significant growth in smartphone usage and the global shift in online activity towards mobile devices, a significant portion of our sales are made through mobile devices. In addition, our Reebonz Closets, which we launched in February 2015, is significantly dependent on our mobile application for a number of its functions, including uploading items for sale and interaction among customers. Use of mobile devices and platforms is relatively new and developing rapidly, and we may not be able to continue to increase the level of mobile access to, and engagement on, our business. The variety of technical and other configurations across different mobile devices and platforms increases the challenges associated with this environment. our ability to successfully expand the use of mobile devices to access our platform is affected by the following factors:
|●||our ability to continue to provide a compelling e-commerce and mobile commerce platform and tools in a multi-device environment;|
|●||our ability to successfully deploy and update our application on popular mobile operating systems that we does not control, such as iOS and Android;|
|●||its ability to adapt to the device standards used by third-party manufacturers and distributors; and|
|●||the attractiveness of alternative platforms.|
If we are unable to attract significant numbers of new mobile buyers and increase levels of mobile engagement, our ability to maintain or grow our business would be materially and adversely affected.
The proper functioning of our information technology platform is essential to our business. Any failure to maintain the satisfactory performance of our website, mobile application 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 buyers and sellers of luxury goods and provide superior customer service. Substantially, all of our sales of products are made online through our websites and mobile application, and the fulfillment services we provide to merchants and individual sellers is related to sales of their products through our website and mobile applications. Any system interruptions caused by telecommunications failures, computer viruses, software errors, third party services, cloud computing providers, cyberattack or other attempts to harm our systems that result in the unavailability or slowdown of our websites or mobile application or reduced orders and fulfillment performance could reduce the volume of products sold and the attractiveness of product offerings on our website. Our cloud servers may also be vulnerable to computer viruses, physical or electronic break-ins and similar disruptions, which could lead to system interruptions, websites or mobile application slowdown or shutdown, delays or errors in transaction processing, loss of valuable data or the inability to accept and fulfill orders. In December 2014, we were the victim of a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack, which overloaded our servers and resulted in approximately three hours of downtime. While we have implemented security measures for DDOS prevention and full-time security monitoring, there can be no assurance that our websites will not be victimized by such attacks in the future. Security breaches, computer viruses, software errors and cyberattacks have become more prevalent in our industry. Because of our brand recognition in the online luxury retail industry in our Core Asia Pacific Market, we believe it is a particularly attractive target for such attacks. We have experienced in the past, and may experience in the future, such attacks and unexpected interruptions. We can provide no assurance that our current security mechanisms will be sufficient to protect our information technology systems from any third-party intrusions, viruses or cyberattacks, 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, and failure to do so could impede our growth. However, we cannot assure you that we will be successful in executing these system upgrades, improvement strategies or updates by our third party technology service providers. In particular, our systems may experience windows of down time during upgrades, and the new technologies or infrastructures may not be fully integrated with the existing systems on a timely and reliable basis, if at all. In October 2012, a system administrator erroneously made a configuration change at the database level, which resulted in approximately 25 hours of downtime for our websites. While we have implemented standard operating procedures to prevent such incidents, there can be no assurance that human error will not result in website downtime or any other technological problems in the future. In addition, we experience surges in online traffic associated with promotional activities and holiday seasons, which could strain our technology platform. During a certain sales event in 2011, our server was unable to handle the volume of traffic to our websites and we experienced three days of downtime as our websites were moved to a dedicated hosting site. While we have implemented procedures to add server capacity prior to such events, there can be no assurance that our servers will not be overloaded in the future due to the popularity of sales events or for any other reason. If our existing or future technology platform does not function properly, it could cause 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.
The costs of fulfillment services that we incur may increase, and we may not be able to pass the increased costs on to our buyers and sellers.
We provide fulfillment services both in our B2C Merchandise business and in our Marketplace Business. We incur significant costs in providing fulfillment services, such as logistics center labor costs and third-party courier costs. We cannot assure you that these costs will stay at the current level in the future, and if they increase, we may not be able to pass the increased costs on to our buyers and sellers. For example, shipping costs are currently borne by the buyer in our Reebonz Closets and B2C Merchant’s Marketplace, and if one or more of our third-party couriers decide to charge it increased shipping fees, we may decide to absorb the increased cost ourselves in order to stay competitive and retain customers. This may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Uncertainties relating to the growth and profitability of the online luxury goods industry in the Asia Pacific region could adversely affect our revenues and business prospects.
We generate substantially all of our revenues from online sales of new and pre-owned luxury goods. While the online retail business has existed in the Asia Pacific region since the 1990s and has flourished in recent years, the long-term viability and prospects of various online B2C and C2C luxury retail business models in the Asia Pacific region remain relatively untested. Reebonz’s future results of operations will depend on numerous factors affecting the development of the online luxury retail industry in the Asia Pacific region, which may be beyond our control. These factors include:
|●||the growth of internet, broadband and mobile penetration and usage in the Asia Pacific region, and the rate of such growth;|
|●||the trust and confidence of online luxury retail consumers in the Asia Pacific region, as well as changes in customer demographics and consumer tastes and preferences;|
|●||the selection, price and popularity of luxury goods that we and our competitors offer online and offline;|
|●||whether alternative retail channels or business models that better address the needs of existing and potential luxury buyers emerge in the Asia Pacific region;|
|●||the development of fulfillment, payment and other ancillary services associated with online purchases;|
|●||government policies that affect the luxury goods industry, such as tax policies in connection with online sales, luxury goods, or both; and|
|●||governmental actions that affect the luxury goods industry, such as the introduction or relaxation of anti-corruption campaigns (similar to the ongoing anti-corruption campaign in China), which could be implemented by countries in which we operate.|
A decline in the popularity of online shopping in general, or any failure by us to adapt our websites and improve the online customer experience in response to trends and consumer requirements, may adversely affect our revenue and business prospects.
The accessories, footwear and apparel industries are heavily influenced by general macroeconomic cycles that affect consumer spending and a prolonged period of depressed consumer spending could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The accessories, footwear and apparel industries have historically been subject to cyclical variations, recessions in the general economy and uncertainties regarding future economic prospects that can affect consumer spending habits. Purchases of discretionary luxury items, such as our products, tend to decline during recessionary periods when disposable income is lower. The success of our operations depends on a number of factors impacting discretionary consumer spending, including general economic conditions, consumer confidence, wages and unemployment, housing prices, consumer debt, interest and tax rates, fuel and energy costs, taxation and political conditions. A worsening of the economy may negatively affect consumer and wholesale purchases of our products and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Any deficiencies in the internet infrastructure of any particular country in which we operate or any disruption in our arrangements with third-party providers of communications and storage capacity 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 of products are made online through our websites and mobile application, and the fulfillment services we provide to merchants and individual sellers are related to sales of their products through our websites and mobile application. Our business depends on the performance and reliability of the internet infrastructure in the Asia Pacific countries in which we operate. The availability of our websites depends on telecommunications carriers and other third-party providers of communications and storage capacity, including bandwidth and server storage, among other things. If we are unable to enter into and renew agreements with these providers on 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. For example, on July 8, 2015 our website in Hong Kong experienced an outage which lasted approximately two hours, due to communication breakdown between its telecommunications provider and our internet service provider. Service interruptions prevent our buyers and sellers from accessing our websites and mobile application, and frequent interruptions could frustrate them 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 websites, mobile application 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 websites and mobile application. 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 its 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 manner. 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 websites, mobile application, proprietary technologies and systems to meet 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.
We have seen an increase in the use of mobile devices by buyers to place orders and by sellers to showcase their products (through, for example, our Reebonz Closets), and we expect this trend to continue. To optimize the mobile shopping experience, we guide our customers to download our mobile application to their 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 application into mobile devices or if problems arise with our relationships with providers of mobile operating systems or mobile application download stores, if our applications receive unfavorable treatment compared to competing applications on the download stores, or if we face increased costs to distribute or have customers use our mobile application. 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 give preferential treatment to competitive products could adversely affect the usage of our sites on mobile devices. In the event that it is more difficult for our customers to access and use our websites or application on their mobile devices, or if our customers choose not to access or to use our websites or application on their mobile devices or to use mobile products that do not offer access to our websites or application, our customer growth could be harmed and our business, financial condition and operating results may be adversely affected.
The wide variety of payment methods that we accept subjects us to third-party payment processing-related risks.
We accept payments using a variety of methods, including major credit card networks, bank transfers and payment gateways such as Adyen, Alipay and PayPal. For certain payment methods, including credit cards, we pay transaction fees, which may increase over time and increase 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. We also rely on third parties to provide payment processing services. If these service providers fail to provide adequate services or if our relationships with them were to terminate, we and our third party merchants’ ability to accept payments could be adversely affected, and our business could be harmed. One of our payment service providers has experienced a network failure in the past, and we cannot assure you that similar incidents will not occur in the future. 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 lose our ability to accept credit 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 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 luxury retail in particular. Our sales have historically been higher during festive periods, especially the December holiday season, as our business tends to benefit from consumers’ increased leisure time and discretionary spending (as a result of, for example, year-end bonuses). Our sales during the fourth quarter tend to be higher than the other quarters. In addition, certain luxury brand owners and their authorized distributors tend to reduce the retail prices of their luxury goods during end-of-season sales events, and we may be forced to reduce our prices of these goods in order to remain competitive. As a result, our profit margin during such periods may be impacted. Our financial condition and results of operations for future periods may continue to fluctuate. As a result, the trading price of the ordinary shares may fluctuate from time to time due to seasonality.
Future strategic alliances, joint ventures, investments or acquisitions may have a material and adverse effect on our business, reputation and results of operations.
We have in the past and may in the future enter into strategic alliances or joint ventures with various third parties from time to time to further our business purposes. Strategic alliances or joint ventures 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 or joint ventures, any of which may materially and adversely affect our business. We may have little ability to control or monitor our partners’ actions. To the extent our partners 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. 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 and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may need additional capital, and financing may not be available on terms acceptable to us, if at all.
We may, from time to time, require additional cash resources. For example, we use trust receipt loans to fund a portion of our ongoing liquidity requirements. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations and Financial Condition — Liquidity and Capital Resources.” In the future, to fund our liquidity requirements, acquisitions, marketing efforts or other corporate actions, we may seek to obtain additional credit facilities or offer additional equity or debt securities for sale. The sale of additional equity securities could result in dilution of our existing shareholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased debt service obligations and could result in operating and financing covenants that would restrict our operations. It is uncertain whether financing, if required, will be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all, in the future. Any non-compliance with the terms of our financing agreements in the future could trigger the acceleration of other indebtedness and could make it more difficult and costly to obtain additional financing.
Our major shareholders will have the ability to significantly influence the outcome of shareholder actions.
Our Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Samuel Lim, beneficially owns approximately 8.9% of our ordinary shares and voting power. Furthermore, several of our shareholders are entities affiliated with the Singapore Government, namely Vertex Asia Growth Ltd., Vertex Asia Investments Pte. Ltd, Vertex Co-Investment Fund Ptd Ltd, MediaCorp Pte. Ltd. and SGInnovate, collectively beneficially own approximately 11.9% of our ordinary shares. Their voting power gives those shareholders the ability to significantly influence actions that require shareholder approval under the laws of the Cayman Islands, the Articles of Association or NASDAQ requirements, including the election of our board of directors, significant mergers and acquisitions and other business combinations, amendments to the Articles of Association, and amendments to our equity incentive plans.
Such concentration of voting control may cause transactions to occur that might not be beneficial to you, and may prevent transactions that would be beneficial to you. For example, such significant shareholders may prevent a transaction involving a change of control of the company, including transactions in which you might otherwise receive a premium for your securities over the then current market price. In addition, our major shareholders are not prohibited from selling a controlling interest in us to a third party and may do so without your approval and without providing for a purchase of your securities.
We do not own a majority of the shares in certain of our subsidiaries.
We operate our businesses in Korea and Thailand through subsidiaries that are not wholly owned by us. We own, directly or indirectly, 58.4% of Reebonz Korea Co., Ltd. and a legal interest of 49% in Reebonz (Thailand) Limited. Pursuant to a shareholders agreement, we are entitled to appoint the majority of the directors of Reebonz Korea Co., Ltd. Revenues from Korea accounted for 24.7% of our revenue in 2018 (FY 2017 :19.6%). The remaining 51% interest in Reebonz (Thailand) Limited is legally owned by local Thai shareholders who we have entered into loan agreements with and who have assigned their power to direct relevant activities and the right to variable returns to us. Revenues from Thailand accounted for 1.4% of our revenue in 2018 (FY2017: 1.2%). However, to the extent there are disagreements between us and the other holders of equity interests in our subsidiaries regarding the business and operations of these companies, we cannot assure you that we will be able to resolve them in a manner that will be in our best interests. Our partners in our subsidiaries may be unable or unwilling to fulfill our obligations, whether of a financial nature or otherwise; have economic or business interests or goals that are inconsistent with us; take actions contrary to our instructions or requests, or contrary to our policies and objectives; take actions that are not acceptable to regulatory authorities; or experience financial difficulties. Furthermore, there are restrictions on foreign ownership in Thai companies and it is possible that regulatory authorities may challenge our ownership structure for Reebonz (Thailand) Limited and may deem such structure as non-compliant with applicable law. Any dispute or regulatory action that results in our inability to control these entities could result in us having to de-consolidate these entities in our results of operations. Any of the foregoing could have an adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we may operate our business in other countries using similar arrangements in the future, which could impact our business and expose us to additional risks.
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, 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 that attempt to cause confusion or divert traffic from us at the moment, we may become an attractive target to such schemes in the future because of our brand recognition in the online luxury retail industry in the Asia Pacific region. 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 pace of technological change 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 may be difficult to register, maintain and enforce intellectual property rights in the jurisdictions in which we have operations. 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, invention assignment 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. 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 and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We do not have, and may be unable to obtain, sufficient insurance to insure against certain business risks. As a result, we may be exposed to significant costs and business disruption.
The insurance industry in certain jurisdictions where we operate is not yet fully developed, and many forms of insurance protection common in more developed countries are not available on comparable or commercially acceptable terms, if at all. We do not currently maintain insurance coverage for business interruption, product liability, or loss of key management personnel. We do not hold insurance policies to cover for any losses resulting from counterparty and credit risks and fraudulent transactions, nor for losses from cyberattacks, software failures and data loss. Our lack of insurance coverage or reserves with respect to business-related risks may expose us to substantial losses. As to those risks for which we have insurance coverage, the insurance payouts we are entitled to in case of an insured event are subject to deductibles and other customary conditions and limitations. For instance, we store a large volume of luxury goods in our seven logistics centers throughout the Asia Pacific region, and cannot rule out the possibility that natural disasters, fire or theft would destroy valuable inventory in one or more logistics centers, in which case the damages we suffer may exceed the insurance payouts to which we would be entitled. This, and various other scenarios, if materialized, could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may be the subject of anti-competitive, harassing, or other detrimental conduct by third parties including complaints to regulatory agencies, negative blog postings, negative comments on social media and the public dissemination of malicious assessments of our business that could harm our reputation and cause us to lose market share, customers and revenues and adversely affect the price of our ordinary shares
In the future we may be the target of anti-competitive, harassing, or other detrimental conduct by third parties. Such conduct includes complaints, anonymous or otherwise, to regulatory agencies. 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 websites by anyone, whether or not related to us, on an anonymous basis. Consumers value readily available information concerning retailers, manufacturers, and their goods and services and often act on such information without further investigation or verification and without regard to its accuracy. The availability of information on social media platforms and devices is virtually immediate, as is its impact. Social media platforms and devices immediately publish the content their subscribers and participants post, often without filters or checks on the accuracy of the content posted. Information posted may be inaccurate and adverse to us, and it may harm our financial performance, prospects or business. Given that the comments and posts on social media also tend to spread broadly and quickly, 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 securities.
Any natural or other disasters, including outbreaks of health epidemics, and other extraordinary events could severely disrupt our business operations.
Our operations are vulnerable to interruption and damage from natural and other types of disasters, including earthquakes, fire, typhoons, floods, environmental accidents, power loss, communication failures and similar events. If any natural disaster or other extraordinary events were to occur in the area where we operate, our ability to operate our business could be seriously impaired. Our business could be materially and adversely affected by any outbreak of H7N9 bird flu, H1N1 swine influenza, avian influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, Ebola virus disease, Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, or another epidemic. Any prolonged occurrence of these adverse public health developments in the Asia Pacific region could severely disrupt our business operations and adversely affect our results of operations. Our operations could also be severely disrupted if our suppliers, buyers and sellers, or business partners are affected by such natural disasters or health epidemics.
We may be (or become) classified as a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which could subject United States investors in our ordinary shares to significant adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences.
We will be classified as a “passive foreign investment company,” or “PFIC” if, in the case of any particular taxable year, either (a) 75% or more of our gross income for such year consists of certain types of “passive” income or (b) 50% or more of the average quarterly value of our assets (as determined on the basis of fair market value) held during such year produce or are held for the production of passive income (the “asset test”). No determination has been made as to whether we were a PFIC for a prior taxable period. It is possible that we may become a PFIC for the current taxable year. Because the value of our assets for purposes of the asset test will generally be determined by reference to the market price of our ordinary shares, fluctuations in the market price of our ordinary shares may cause us to become a PFIC for the current taxable year or subsequent taxable years. The determination of whether we will be or become a PFIC will also depend, in part, on the composition of our income and assets, which will be affected by how, and how quickly, we use our liquid assets. Under circumstances where we determine not to deploy significant amounts of our liquid assets for active purposes, our risk of being classified as a PFIC may substantially increase. For this purpose, we will be treated as owning our proportionate share of the assets and earning our proportionate share of the income of any other corporation in which we own, directly or indirectly, 25% or more (by value) of the stock. Because there are uncertainties in the application of the relevant rules and PFIC status is a factual determination made annually after the close of each taxable year, there can be no assurance that we will not be a PFIC for the current taxable year or any future taxable year.
If we are classified as a PFIC in any taxable year, a U.S. Holder (as defined in “Taxation — Material United States Federal Income Tax Considerations to U.S. Holders”) may incur significantly increased U.S. income tax on gain recognized on the sale or other disposition of our ordinary shares and on the receipt of distributions on the shares to the extent such gain or distribution is treated as an “excess distribution” under the U.S. federal income tax rules and such holders may be subject to burdensome reporting requirements. Further, if we are classified as a PFIC for any year during which a U.S. Holder holds our ordinary shares, we generally will continue to be treated as a PFIC for all succeeding years during which such U.S. Holder holds our ordinary shares. For more information see “Taxation — Material United States Federal Income Tax Considerations to U.S. Holders — Passive Foreign Investment Company Considerations.”
The IRS may not agree with the conclusion that we should not be treated as a U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
For U.S. federal income tax purposes, a corporation generally is considered a U.S. corporation if it is created or organized in the United States or under the law of the United States or of any state thereof or the District of Columbia. Entities treated as U.S. corporations are generally subject to U.S. federal income tax on their worldwide income, and U.S. reporting and withholding tax rules may apply to dividends that they pay. Because we were formed and organized under the law of the Cayman Islands, we would ordinarily not be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a U.S. corporation. Section 7874 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (“Code”), however, contains special rules that could result in a non-U.S. corporation being taxed as a U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes where the corporation, directly or indirectly, re-domiciles from the U.S. to another country.
Section 7874 of the Code is generally implicated when a non-U.S. corporation acquires all of the stock of a U.S. corporation. If, immediately after such an acquisition, former shareholders of the U.S. corporation are considered to hold, for purposes of Section 7874 of the Code, 80% or more (by vote or value) of the stock of the acquiring non-U.S. corporation, and certain other circumstances exist, the acquiring non-U.S. corporation will be treated as a U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
The determination of the percentage of stock of the acquiring non-U.S. corporation treated as held by former shareholders of the U.S. corporation for purposes of Section 7874 of the Code, or the “Section 7874 ownership percentage,” is subject to various adjustments and exceptions, and when they apply, generally operate to increase the Section 7874 ownership percentage (and the likelihood that the acquiring non-U.S. corporation will be treated as a U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes).
In the Business Combination, we acquired DOTA, a U.S. corporation, and Reebonz, a non-U.S. corporation, pursuant to which the shareholders of DOTA received less than 50% of our shares. We believe that the Business Combination does not implicate Section 7874 of the Code. Accordingly, we expect that we will not be treated as a U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the determination of the Section 7874 percentage and the application of the various exceptions are complex and subject to factual and legal uncertainties. Moreover, changes to Section 7874 of the Code or the Regulations promulgated thereunder (or other relevant provisions of U.S. federal income tax law), which could be given prospective or retroactive effect, could adversely affect the analysis under Section 7874 of the Code with respect to our status as a non-U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, there can be no assurance that the IRS will agree with the position that we should not be treated as a U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
The discussion in “Taxation — Material United States Federal Income Tax Considerations to U.S. Holders” assumes that we will not be treated as a U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
We could face uncertain tax liabilities in various jurisdictions where it operates, and suffer adverse financial consequences as a result.
We believe we are in compliance with all applicable tax laws in the various jurisdictions where we are subject to tax, but our tax liabilities, including any arising from restructuring transactions, could be uncertain, and we could suffer adverse tax and other financial consequences if tax authorities do not agree with our interpretation of the applicable tax laws. Although we are domiciled in Singapore, we and our subsidiaries collectively operate in multiple tax jurisdictions and pay income taxes according to the tax laws of these jurisdictions. Various factors, some of which are beyond our control, determine our effective tax rate and/or the amount we are required to pay, including changes in or interpretations of tax laws in any given jurisdiction and changes in geographical allocation of income. We accrue income tax liabilities and tax contingencies based upon our best estimate of the taxes ultimately expected to be paid after considering our knowledge of all relevant facts and circumstances, existing tax laws, our experience with previous audits and settlements, the status of current tax examinations and how the tax authorities view certain issues. Such amounts are included in income taxes payable or deferred income tax liabilities, as appropriate, and are updated over time as more information becomes available. We believe that we are filing tax returns and paying taxes in each jurisdiction where we are required to do so under the laws of such jurisdiction. However, it is possible that the relevant tax authorities in the jurisdictions where we do not file returns may assert that we are required to file tax returns and pay taxes in such jurisdictions. There can be no assurance that our subsidiaries will not be taxed in multiple jurisdictions in the future, and any such taxation in multiple jurisdictions could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we may, from time to time, be subject to inquiries from tax authorities of the relevant jurisdictions on various tax matters, including challenges to positions asserted on income and withholding tax returns. We cannot be certain that the tax authorities will agree with our interpretations of the applicable tax laws, or that the tax authorities will resolve any inquiries in our favor. To the extent the relevant tax authorities do not agree with our interpretation, we may seek to enter into settlements with the tax authorities which may require significant payments and may adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition. We may also appeal against the tax authorities’ determinations to the appropriate governmental authorities, but we cannot be sure we will prevail. If we do not prevail, we may have to make significant payments or otherwise record charges (or reduce tax assets) that could adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Similarly, any adverse or unfavorable determinations by tax authorities on pending inquiries could lead to increased taxation on us that may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to extensive government regulation in the countries where it operates, including regulations with respect to e-commerce, intellectual property rights, consumer protection and fair trade.
We are subject to extensive government regulation in the countries where we operate that cover many aspects of our sales practice. In particular, we are subject to laws relating to e-commerce, intellectual property rights, consumer protection and fair trade in jurisdictions such as Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. We may be subject to regulatory investigations by governmental agencies and may be subject to fines or sanctions by those governmental agencies or other claims from third parties in the event of non-compliance with relevant statutory or regulatory requirements. Any such claims or sanctions, including the costs of settling claims and operational impacts, could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations. Our business may also be materially and adversely affected by changes in laws or regulations that may be introduced concerning various aspects of our sale practices, including in relation to online content, e-commerce, foreign ownership of internet or retail companies operating in a particular jurisdiction, liability for third-party activities and user privacy.
Our business and results of operations are also affected by taxation legislation and other fiscal policies adopted by the governments in the countries where we operate. For example, the sales of stock, financing and administration or management service arrangements between us and our Australian subsidiary must be consistent with the relevant provisions of Australian taxation laws relating to transfer pricing. Future changes in taxation laws or changes in the way in which taxation laws may be interpreted may adversely affect our business, financial position and results of operations.
Our only significant asset is our ownership of Reebonz and affiliates and such ownership may not be sufficient to pay dividends or make distributions or loans to enable us to pay any dividends on our ordinary shares or satisfy other financial obligations.
We are a holding company and do not directly own any operating assets other than our ownership of interests in Reebonz. We depend on Reebonz for distributions, loans and other payments to generate the funds necessary to meet our financial obligations, including our expenses as a publicly traded company and to pay any dividends. The earnings from, or other available assets of, Reebonz may not be sufficient to make distributions or pay dividends, pay expenses or satisfy our other financial obligations.
Fluctuations in operating results, quarter to quarter earnings and other factors, including incidents involving Reebonz’s customers and negative media coverage, may result in significant decreases in the price of our securities.
The stock markets experience volatility that is often unrelated to operating performance. These broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the trading price of our ordinary shares and, as a result, there may be significant volatility in the market price of our ordinary shares. If Reebonz is unable to operate profitably as investors expect, the market price of our ordinary shares will likely decline when it becomes apparent that the market expectations may not be realised. In addition to operating results, many economic and seasonal factors outside of our or Reebonz’s control could have an adverse effect on the price of our ordinary shares and increase fluctuations in our quarterly earnings. These factors include certain of the risks discussed herein, operating results of other companies in the same industry, changes in financial estimates or recommendations of securities analysts, speculation in the press or investment community, negative media coverage or risk of proceedings or government investigation, the possible effects of war, terrorist and other hostilities, adverse weather conditions, changes in general conditions in the economy or the financial markets or other developments affecting the luxury goods retail industry.
We will incur higher costs as a result of being a public company.
We will incur significant legal, accounting, insurance and other expenses, including costs associated with public company reporting requirements. We will incur higher costs associated with complying with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), and related rules implemented by the SEC and NASDAQ. The expenses incurred by public companies generally for reporting and corporate governance purposes have been increasing. We expect these laws and regulations to increase our legal and financial compliance costs and to render some activities more time-consuming and costly, although we are currently unable to estimate these costs with any degree of certainty. We may need to hire more employees or engage outside consultants to comply with these requirements, which will increase our post-Business Combination costs and expenses. These laws and regulations could make it more difficult or costly for us to obtain certain types of insurance, including director and officer liability insurance, and we may be forced to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. These laws and regulations could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors, board committees or as executive officers. Furthermore, if we are unable to satisfy our obligations as a public company, we could be subject to delisting of our ordinary shares, fines, sanctions and other regulatory action and potentially civil litigation.
The earnout provisions of our Business Combination Agreement and the Management Performance Plan may affect management decisions and incentives.
Under the Business Combination Agreement and the Management Performance Plan, the Sellers thereunder and our management will receive up to an additional 312,500 ordinary shares upon achieving certain consolidated revenue targets and share price targets for the calendar years 2019 and 2020 (with a share price lookback in each subsequent year). As a result, our management may focus on increasing consolidated revenue for us and our subsidiaries for such years rather than on the net income during such period, and may be incentivized to incur additional expenses to increase revenues without increasing net income during such periods. Additionally, the share price target can be achieved at any time during the applicable year, and the share price targets could be achieved early in the year and the revenues targets could be achieved, but the share price could fall later in the applicable year and the earnout shares would still be required to be delivered.
We do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future.
We intend to retain future earnings, if any, for use in the business or for other corporate purposes and do not anticipate that cash dividends with respect to our ordinary shares will be paid in the foreseeable future. Any decision as to the future payment of dividends will depend on our results of operations, financial position and such other factors as our board of directors, in its discretion, deems relevant. As a result, capital appreciation, if any, of our ordinary shares will be a shareholder’s sole source of gain for the foreseeable future.
A market for our securities may not develop, which would adversely affect the liquidity and price of our securities.
The price of our securities may vary significantly due to general market or economic conditions. Furthermore, an active trading market for our ordinary shares may never develop or, if developed, it may not be sustained. You may be unable to sell your securities unless a market can be established and sustained.
The price of our ordinary shares may be volatile.
The price of our ordinary shares may fluctuate due to a variety of factors, including:
|●||actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly and annual results and those of other public companies in industry;|
|●||mergers and strategic alliances in the e-commerce and luxury retail industries;|
|●||market prices and conditions in the e-commerce and luxury retail markets;|
|●||changes in government regulation;|
|●||potential or actual military conflicts or acts of terrorism;|
|●||the failure of securities analysts to publish research about us, or shortfalls in our operating results compared to levels forecast by securities analysts;|
|●||announcements concerning us or our competitors; and|
|●||the general state of the securities markets.|
These market and industry factors may materially reduce the market price of our ordinary shares, regardless of our operating performance.
Reports published by analysts, including projections in those reports that differ from our actual results, could adversely affect the price and trading volume of our common shares.
We currently expect that securities research analysts will establish and publish their own periodic projections for our business. These projections may vary widely and may not accurately predict the results we actually achieve. Our share price may decline if our actual results do not match the projections of these securities research analysts. Similarly, if one or more of the analysts who write reports on us downgrades our stock or publishes inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our share price could decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of us or fails to publish reports on us regularly, our share price or trading volume could decline. While we expect research analyst coverage, if no analysts commence coverage of us, the trading price and volume for our common shares could be adversely affected.
We may issue additional ordinary shares or other equity securities without your approval, which would dilute your ownership interests and may depress the market price of the Company’s ordinary shares.
We may issue additional ordinary shares or other equity securities of equal or senior rank in the future in connection with, among other things, future vessel acquisitions, repayment of outstanding indebtedness or our equity incentive plan, without shareholder approval, in a number of circumstances.
Our issuance of additional ordinary shares or other equity securities of equal or senior rank would have the following effects:
|●||our existing shareholders’ proportionate ownership interest in us will decrease;|
|●||the amount of cash available per share, including for payment of dividends in the future, may decrease;|
|●||the relative voting strength of each previously outstanding common share may be diminished; and|
|●||the market price of our common shares may decline.|
We are a Cayman Islands exempted company and, because judicial precedent regarding the rights of shareholders is more limited under Cayman Islands law than under U.S. law, you could have less protection of your shareholder rights than you would under U.S. law.
Our corporate affairs are governed by our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association, the Cayman Islands Companies Law, and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by noncontrolling shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from English common law, which has persuasive, but not binding, authority on a court in the Cayman Islands. Your rights as a shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under Cayman Islands law are different from under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a different body of securities laws from the United States and may provide significantly less protection to investors. In addition, some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have different bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands.
We have been advised by our Cayman Islands legal counsel, Dentons, that the courts of the Cayman Islands are unlikely (i) to recognise or enforce against us judgments of courts of the United States predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any State and (ii) in original actions brought in the Cayman Islands, to impose liabilities against us predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any State, so far as the liabilities imposed by those provisions are penal in nature. In those circumstances, although there is no statutory enforcement in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the United States, the courts of the Cayman Islands will recognise and enforce a foreign money judgment of a foreign court of competent jurisdiction without retrial on the merits based on the principle that a judgment of a competent foreign court imposes upon the judgment debtor an obligation to pay the sum for which judgment has been given provided certain conditions are met. For a foreign judgment to be enforced in the Cayman Islands, such judgment must be final and conclusive and for a liquidated sum, and must not be in respect of taxes or a fine or penalty, inconsistent with a Cayman Islands judgment in respect of the same matter, impeachable on the grounds of fraud or obtained in a manner, and or be of a kind the enforcement of which is, contrary to natural justice or the public policy of the Cayman Islands (awards of punitive or multiple damages may well be held to be contrary to public policy). A Cayman Islands Court may stay enforcement proceedings if concurrent proceedings are being brought elsewhere. There is recent Privy Council authority (which is binding on the Cayman Islands Court) in the context of a reorganization plan approved by the New York Bankruptcy Court which suggests that due to the universal nature of bankruptcy/insolvency proceedings, foreign money judgments obtained in foreign bankruptcy/insolvency proceedings may be enforced without applying the principles outlined above. However, a more recent English Supreme Court authority (which is highly persuasive but not binding on the Cayman Islands Court), has expressly rejected that approach in the context of a default judgment obtained in an adversary proceeding brought in the New York Bankruptcy Court by the receivers of the bankruptcy debtor against a third party, and which would not have been enforceable upon the application of the traditional common law principles summarized above and held that foreign money judgments obtained in bankruptcy/insolvency proceedings should be enforced by applying the principles set out above, and not by the simple exercise of the Courts’ discretion. Those cases have now been considered by the Cayman Islands Court. The Cayman Islands Court was not asked to consider the specific question of whether a judgment of a bankruptcy court in an adversary proceeding would be enforceable in the Cayman Islands, but it did endorse the need for active assistance of overseas bankruptcy proceedings. Holdco understands that the Cayman Islands Court’s decision in that case has been appealed and it remains the case that the law regarding the enforcement of bankruptcy/insolvency related judgments is still in a state of uncertainty.
You will have limited ability to bring an action against us or against our directors and officers, or to enforce a judgment against us or them, because we are incorporated in the Cayman Islands, because we conduct a majority of our operations in Singapore and because a majority of our directors and officers reside outside the United States.
We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands and conduct a majority of our operations through our subsidiary, Reebonz, in Singapore. All of our assets are located outside the United States. A majority of our officers and directors reside outside the United States and a substantial portion of the assets of those persons are located outside of the United States. As a result, it could be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the Cayman Islands or in Singapore in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the applicable securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of Singapore could render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers.
Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies such as us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records and accounts or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders of these companies. Our directors have discretion under Cayman Islands law to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records could be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This could make it more difficult for you to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.
As a result of all of the above, public shareholders might have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a U.S. company.
There can be no assurance that our securities, including our ordinary shares, will continue to be listed on Nasdaq or, if listed, that we will be able to comply with the continued listing standards of Nasdaq, which could limit investors’ ability to make transactions in our securities and subject us to additional trading restrictions.
To continue listing our ordinary shares on The Nasdaq Stock Market, we will be required to demonstrate compliance with Nasdaq’s continued listing requirements.
We cannot assure you that we will be able to meet Nasdaq’s continued listing requirement or maintain other listing standards. If our ordinary shares or warrants are delisted by Nasdaq, and we are not able to list our securities on another national securities exchange, we expect our securities could be quoted on an over-the-counter market. If this were to occur, then we could face significant material adverse consequences, including:
|●||less liquid trading market for our securities;|
|●||more limited market quotations for our securities;|
|●||determination that our ordinary shares and/or warrants are a “penny stock” that requires brokers to adhere to more stringent rules and possibly resulting in a reduced level of trading activity in the secondary trading market for our securities;|
|●||more limited research coverage by stock analysts;|
|●||loss of reputation; and|
|●||more difficult and more expensive equity financings in the future.|
The National Securities Markets Improvement Act of 1996, which is a federal statute, prevents or preempts the states from regulating the sale of certain securities, which are referred to as “covered securities.” If our ordinary shares remain listed on NASDAQ, our ordinary shares will be covered securities. Although the states are preempted from regulating the sale of our securities, the federal statute does allow the states to investigate companies if there is a suspicion of fraud, and, if there is a finding of fraudulent activity, then the states can regulate or bar the sale of covered securities in a particular case. If our securities were no longer listed on Nasdaq and therefore not “covered securities”, we would be subject to regulation in each state in which we offer our securities.
Provisions in our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association may inhibit a takeover of us, which could limit the price investors might be willing to pay in the future for our securities and could entrench management.
Our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association contain provisions that may discourage unsolicited takeover proposals that our shareholders may consider to be in their best interests. Among other provisions, the staggered board of directors may make it more difficult for our shareholders to remove incumbent management and accordingly discourage transactions that otherwise could involve payment of a premium over prevailing market prices for our securities. Other anti-takeover provisions in our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association include the ability of our board of directors to issue preferred shares with preferences and voting rights determined by the board without shareholder approval, the indemnification of our officers and directors, the requirement that directors may only be removed from our board of directors for cause and the requirement for the affirmative vote of holders of at least two-thirds of the voting power to amend provisions therein that affect shareholder rights. These provisions could also make it difficult for our shareholders to take certain actions and limit the price investors might be willing to pay for our securities.
As a “foreign private issuer” under the rules and regulations of the SEC, we are permitted to, and will, file less or different information with the SEC than a company incorporated in the United States or otherwise subject to these rules, and will follow certain home country corporate governance practices in lieu of certain Nasdaq requirements applicable to U.S. issuers.
We are considered a “foreign private issuer” under the Exchange Act and is therefore exempt from certain rules under the Exchange Act, including the proxy rules, which impose certain disclosure and procedural requirements for proxy solicitations for U.S. and other issuers. Moreover, we are not required to file periodic reports and financial statements with the SEC as frequently or within the same time frames as U.S. companies with securities registered under the Exchange Act. We currently prepare our financial statements in accordance with IFRS. We are not required to file financial statements prepared in accordance with or reconciled to U.S. GAAP so long as our financial statements are prepared in accordance with IFRS as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board. We are not required to comply with Regulation FD, which imposes restrictions on the selective disclosure of material information to shareholders. In addition, our officers, directors and principal shareholders are exempt from the reporting and short-swing profit recovery provisions of Section 16 of the Exchange Act and the rules under the Exchange Act with respect to their purchases and sales of our securities. Accordingly, you may receive less or different information about us than you currently receive about us.
In addition, as a “foreign private issuer” whose ordinary shares are listed on the NASDAQ, we are permitted to follow certain home country corporate governance practices in lieu of certain NASDAQ requirements. A foreign private issuer must disclose in its Annual Reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, each NASDAQ requirement with which it does not comply followed by a description of its applicable home country practice. We currently intend to follow the corporate governance requirements of NASDAQ. However, we cannot make any assurances that we will continue to follow such corporate governance requirements in the future, and may therefore in the future, rely on available NASDAQ exemptions that would allow us to follow our home country practice. Unlike the requirements of the NASDAQ, the corporate governance practice and requirements in the Cayman Islands do not require us to have a majority of our board of directors to be independent; do not require us to establish a nominations committee; and do not require us to hold regular executive sessions where only independent directors shall be present. Such Cayman Islands home country practices may afford less protection to holders of our Ordinary Shares.
We could lose our status as a “foreign private issuer” under current SEC rules and regulations if more than 50% of our outstanding voting securities become directly or indirectly held of record by U.S. holders and one of the following is true: (i) the majority of our directors or executive officers are U.S. citizens or residents; (ii) more than 50% of our assets are located in the United States; or (iii) our business is administered principally in the United States. If we lose our status as a foreign private issuer in the future, we will no longer be exempt from the rules described above and, among other things, will be required to file periodic reports and annual and quarterly financial statements as if it were a company incorporated in the United States. If this were to happen, we would likely incur substantial costs in fulfilling these additional regulatory requirements and members of our management would likely have to divert time and resources from other responsibilities to ensuring these additional regulatory requirements are fulfilled.
Risks Related to Doing Business in Countries in Which We Operate
Developments in the social, political, regulatory and economic environment in Singapore, or other countries where we operate, may have a material and adverse impact on it.
Our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by social, political, regulatory and economic developments in countries in which it operates. Such political and economic uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the risks of war, terrorism, nationalism, nullification of contract, changes in interest rates, imposition of capital controls and methods of taxation. For example, we derive a substantial portion of our revenue from the Singapore market, and negative developments in Singapore’s socio-political environment may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Although the overall economic environment in Singapore and other countries where we operate appears to be positive, there can be no assurance that this will continue to prevail in the future.
Disruptions in the international trading environment may seriously decrease our international sales.
The success and profitability of our international activities depend on certain factors beyond our control, such as general economic conditions, labor conditions, political stability, macro-economic regulating measures, tax laws, import and export duties, transportation difficulties, fluctuation of local currency and foreign exchange controls of the countries in which we sell our products, as well as the political and economic relationships among the jurisdictions where we source products and jurisdictions where our customers are located. As a result, our services will continue to be vulnerable to disruptions in the international trading environment, including adverse changes in foreign government regulations, political unrest and international economic downturns. For example, certain countries in which we sell our products may require that our customers or freight forwarders obtain import licenses, and there can be no assurance that, where required, our customers or freight forwarders will be aware of or obtain such licenses. If licenses are not obtained by our customers or freight forwarders, this may subject our sales transactions to greater scrutiny and could result in more stringent regulations being applied to it in the future. It may also subject us to additional costs and expenses in the event it experiences returns and may cause us to lose existing customers or discontinue or re-design some of our fulfilment processes in some or all of our business lines in certain countries, all of which may materially and adversely affect our results of operations.
Any disruptions in the international trading environment may affect the demand for our products, which could impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Some of the statements in this prospectus constitute forward-looking statements that do not directly or exclusively relate to historical facts. You should not place undue reliance on such statements because they are subject to numerous uncertainties and factors relating to our operations and business environment, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. Forward-looking statements include information concerning our possible or assumed future results of operations, including descriptions of our business strategy. These statements are often, but not always, made through the use of words or phrases such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “could,” “may,” “would,” “should,” “intend,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “project,” “positioned,” “strategy,” “outlook” and similar expressions. All such forward-looking statements involve estimates and assumptions that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results expressed in the statements. Among the key factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements are the following:
|●||our ability to maintain the listing of our securities on Nasdaq;|
|●||our ability to adapt to technology and other changes in our highly competitive industry;|
|●||management of growth;|
|●||general economic conditions, especially changes in disposal income in our markets;|
|●||our business strategy and plans; and|
|●||the result of future financing efforts.|
These and other factors are more fully discussed in the “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this prospectus. These risks could cause actual results to differ materially from those implied by forward-looking statements in this prospectus.
You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date hereof. New risks and uncertainties come up from time to time, and it is impossible for us to predict these events or how they may affect us. We do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements after the date of this prospectus, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. In light of these risks and uncertainties, you should keep in mind that any event described in a forward-looking statement made in this prospectus or elsewhere might not occur.
We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of any ordinary shares by the selling shareholders.
The selling shareholders will receive all of the net proceeds from the sale of any ordinary shares offered by them under this prospectus. However, if all of the selling shareholders holding warrants exercised them for cash, we would receive $2,156,428. The selling shareholders are not obligated to exercise the warrants. Although we will receive proceeds from the cash exercise of the warrants, we will not receive any of the proceeds from the sale of the common stock sold by the selling shareholders. The selling shareholders will pay any underwriting discounts and commissions and expenses incurred by the selling shareholders for brokerage, accounting, tax, legal services or any other expenses incurred by the selling shareholders in disposing of these ordinary shares. We will bear all other costs, fees and expenses incurred in effecting the registration of the ordinary shares covered by this prospectus.
We currently expect to retain all future earnings for use in the operation and expansion of our business and do not plan to pay any dividends on our ordinary shares in the near future. The declaration and payment of any dividends in the future will be determined by our board of directors in its discretion, and will depend on a number of factors, including our earnings, capital requirements, overall financial condition, applicable law and contractual restrictions. In addition, as a holding company, our ability to pay dividends depends on our receipt of cash dividends from our operating subsidiaries, which may further restrict our ability to pay dividends as a result of the laws of their respective jurisdictions of organization, agreements of our subsidiaries or covenants under future indebtedness that we or they may incur.
The following table sets forth Reebonz’s cash and cash equivalents and capitalization as of December 31, 2018:
You should read this table in conjunction with our financial statements and related notes included in this prospectus, and the information under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
|Cash and cash equivalents||2,604|
|Share capital (2,642,720 ordinary shares issued and outstanding)||82,530|
|Other components of equity||10,853|
|Total shareholders’ deficit||(21,545||)|
Post year end, net proceed of $9,774,630 was received by the Company from the sale of 2,150,000 ordinary shares and warrants at the April 2019 public offering price of $5.00 per ordinary share and one warrant (“April 2019 Warrants”) less 7% underwriting discount.
We were incorporated solely for the purpose of effectuating the Business Combination. We were incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands as an exempted company on July 27, 2018. Prior to the Business Combination, we owned no material assets and did not operate any business. The mailing address of our registered office is PO Box 309, Ugland House, Grand Cayman KY1-1104, Cayman Islands. Our principal executive office is located at 5 Tampines North Drive 5, #07-00, Singapore 528548 and our telephone number is (+65) 6499 9469.
On December 19, 2018, the Company consummated the Business Combination, and changed its name to “Reebonz Holding Limited” in connection with the closing of the Business Combination.
Our goal is to make luxury accessible, build a leading global luxury brand and become a trusted platform to buy and sell luxury goods.
We believe we are a leading player in the online luxury market in our markets of Southeast Asia and Core Asia Pacific Market, based on GMV. Our Core Asia Pacific Market consists of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand, collectively. “Southeast Asia” is comprised of only Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. We make luxury accessible to consumers through our internet platform, which includes localized versions of our website, www.reebonz.com, and our Reebonz mobile app, complemented by our offline channels. Through our core B2C Merchandise Business, we curate and sell authentic new and pre-owned luxury goods, including handbags, small leather goods and other accessories, shoes, watches, and jewelry from the world’s leading luxury brands. We also provide a marketplace for individuals to sell new and pre-owned luxury goods. We believe our buyer and seller promises, transaction fulfillment services, returns and refunds policies and product authentication capabilities have helped us build a trusted reputation that encourages buyers and sellers to use our platform. With the introduction of our White Glove Service, a consignment marketplace, in 2012 and Reebonz Closets, a C2C marketplace, in February 2015, and the launch of our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace in Singapore in May 2015, we have grown our Marketplace Business to complement our B2C Merchandise Business by enabling our buyers to become sellers, and sellers to become buyers, thereby transforming our business into an integrated ecosystem for luxury goods that increases engagement and enhances the lifetime value of our customers. We provide buyers and sellers an omni-channel experience to buy and sell luxury goods through our integrated websites, mobile app and offline channels. As of December 31, 2018, we offered more than 800 thousand SKUs and greater than 1,000 brands through our platform. Our business has grown substantially since its launch in May 2009. In 2018, we achieved a GMV of US$234.5 million and revenue of US$88.4 million.
The following diagram depicts our organizational structure:
|1.||A 51% interest in Reebonz (Thailand) Limited is legally owned by local Thai shareholders, who have assigned their power to direct relevant activities and rights to variable returns to us. As a result, we consolidate Reebonz (Thailand) Limited as a subsidiary. Revenues from Thailand accounted for 1.4% of our revenue in 2018.|
|2.||We are entitled to appoint a majority of the board of directors of Reebonz Korea Co., Ltd. We have concluded that we have control over Reebonz Korea Co., Ltd. and its key activities, and own rights to a majority of its variable returns and accordingly we consolidate Reebonz Korea Co., Ltd. as a subsidiary. The remaining interest in Reebonz Korea Co., Ltd. is owned by ISE Commerce Inc. and a number of other shareholders which each own less than 5% of the shares of Reebonz Korea Co., Ltd. Revenues from Korea accounted for 24.7% of our revenue in 2018.|
Our business model is summarized below:
B2C Merchandise Business. Currently, our core business is our B2C Merchandise Business, through which we sell authentic new and pre-owned luxury goods to buyers through our platform. We source new items primarily from authorized distributors and luxury wholesalers and pre-owned items from individuals, pre-owned luxury dealers and auction houses. Unlike our Marketplace Business, in our B2C Merchandise Business, we purchase new and pre-owned items as inventory for sale to our buyers. Our sales are largely made through limited-time curated sales events and open-catalogue listings on our online platform as well as offline channels. In 2018, our B2C Merchandise Business accounted for 53.0% of our GMV and 94.4% of our Revenue.
Marketplace Business. Our Marketplace Business consists of our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace and our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace. Our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace allows individual sellers to sell luxury goods to buyers through Reebonz Closets or our White Glove Service. Our Reebonz Closets, launched in February 2015, is a C2C marketplace, where individual members use our mobile app to sell pre-owned luxury goods directly to other members in the same country, with the added benefit of authentication by our ateliers before delivery to the buyer. Reebonz Closets currently operates in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand, and we intend to launch Reebonz Closets in other markets in the future. Our White Glove Service, which we launched in 2012, caters to premium individual sellers. Through our White Glove Service, we take luxury goods on consignment from individuals, offer them for sale on our platform and, in addition to authentication, provide certain services such as valuation, grading, photographing, writing product descriptions, and interfacing with buyers. In May 2015, we launched our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace in Singapore. Our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace is a B2C marketplace that aggregates multi-brand boutiques, shops that sell pre-owned luxury goods and vintage luxury dealers curated by us from around the world and allows them to sell new and pre-owned luxury goods on our websites. As of December 31, 2018, products have been shipped through our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace to, among other locations, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, the Middle East, North America, and Taiwan. In 2018, our Marketplace Business accounted for 47.0% of our GMV and 5.1% of our Revenue.
Our platform consists of our websites and mobile app, complemented by our offline channels. Our international website is www.reebonz.com and we also operate ten websites fully localized for language, currency, payment gateways, sales events, promotions and customer service, and 33 additional websites that are localized for language and/or currency. We also offer a mobile app that can be downloaded in 42 countries. We also sell luxury goods through offline channels, such as our retail lounges and limited-time, invitation-only pop-up events. We believe that our offline channels complement our online sales by enhancing our overall branding, attracting traditional offline shoppers, encouraging traditional offline shoppers to try online shopping, and have otherwise helped us create an online-to-offline and offline-to-online omni-channel experience for buying and selling luxury goods.
We believe our business has been driven by a variety of factors, including: our eco-system strategy that enables buyers to become sellers, and sellers to become buyers, our ability to offer a wide range of goods from leading brands at competitive prices across online, offline, and mobile channels; the continued development of our pioneering product authentication, appraisal, and grading capabilities, which has helped us build a trusted reputation among our buyers and sellers; our provision of a seamless customer experience that makes payment, delivery, and returns fast and easy; and our ability to tailor and personalize our advertising and marketing communications to our members.
Our business volume has changed substantially in recent years. For example, (i) our GMV decreased from USD$250.1 million in 2017 to USD$234.5 million in 2018, (ii) our number of accumulated buyers and registered members increased from 441,612 and 5,536,652, respectively, in 2017 to 523,057 and 5,875,887, respectively, in 2018, (iii) repeat buyers decreased from 54,329 in 2017 to 49,932 in 2018, and (iv) average order value increased from USD$672 in 2017 to US$675 in 2018. The decreases were primarily due to scale back of marketing expenses.
In addition, from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2018, our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace had 49,195 unique sellers who had uploaded 401,849 SKUs available for sale. As of December 31, 2018, our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace had 180 merchants.
We recorded revenues of US$107.7 million and US$88.4 million and operating losses of US$11.3 million and US$13.2 million in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Our negative Adjusted EBITDA was US$7.7 million and US$8.3 million in 2017 and 2018, respectively and our net profit for 2017 was US$54.9 million and our net loss for 2018 was US$35.5 million. See “Selected Consolidated Financial Data and Selected Operating Data” section for a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to loss for the year.
Our goal is to make luxury accessible, build a leading global luxury brand and become the most trusted platform to buy and sell luxury goods. We plan to achieve this goal by implementing the following strategies:
Enhance and Scale our Marketplace Business. We introduced two marketplaces in 2015, namely Reebonz Closets in February 2015 and launched our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace in Singapore in May 2015. We believe there are significant advantages from growing our Marketplace Business, including expansion of the range of luxury goods available on our platform across multiple categories, price points and brands. In addition, because products sold through our marketplaces are sold directly from sellers to buyers, our Marketplace Business does not require us to maintain inventory or include cost of inventory in our cost of revenue providing higher margins and potentially higher return on capital compared with our B2C Merchandise Business. In addition, we believe our core B2C Merchandise Business provides us with a strong customer base to attract individual sellers. As of December 31, 2018, our ecosystem included over 5.9 million registered members. We seek to reduce customer acquisition costs by leveraging our ecosystem to convert buyers into sellers and sellers into buyers. To that end, we plan to increase our seller base by leveraging the scalability and compelling value proposition that Reebonz Closets, White Glove, Sell Back and Sell Back Guarantee offers.
In May 2018, we launched a new feature in beta called “Sell Back Guarantee” through which we provide a guaranteed sell back price upfront for a product if a customer wishes to sell it back to us within six months of purchase. The sell back price is determined based on a combination of factors including brand and product category, amongst others. We will continue to test and experiment on other product features to increase number of individual sellers in the ecosystem.
We plan to use data on past transactions, buyers’ style preferences and current wish lists to incentivize customers to monetize their unused items and encourage the purchase of pre-owned merchandise through our platform. Our “Sell Back” and “Sell Back Guarantee” feature encourages existing customers to sell back their selected Reebonz purchase(s) made through B2C Merchandise Business or White Glove Service for payment in Reebonz Credits to offset future purchases.
In addition, since mobile devices serve as the first point of entry for internet access and online commerce in many Southeast Asian countries, we intend to leverage mobile technology to promote the benefits of Reebonz Closets, which is a social marketplace that encourages discovery of pre-owned luxury goods using mobile devices. Reebonz Closets has a “Prices” feature that presents the history of products sold, with transacted prices. This encourages potential sellers to price their product according to the market prices and encourages buyers to discover valuable products. Reebonz Closets currently operates in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand, and we intend to launch Reebonz Closets in other markets in the future.
An important part of our strategy is to grow our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace. We are working directly with brands and have added local “Asian Designers” and other “Independent Brands” to our platform to expand our product selection and be a platform of discovery for new and unique designers. We have direct collaborations with 33 Asian Designers and 25 Independent Brands and are their authorized online retailers. We plan to leverage our existing base of buyers to attract merchants of new and pre-owned products as well as local designers and independent brands to our platform. We believe this will create a wider range of high-quality luxury goods available on our platform, without the need for us to purchase additional inventory. As of December 31, 2018, we had 180 merchants on our platform.
Continue to Expand the Product Categories, Brands and Number of SKUs Available on our Platform. We plan to further expand the range and number of products available for purchase through our platform, as we believe this will help attract more buyers and sellers. In our B2C Merchandise Business, we plan to establish relationships with additional suppliers, particularly in additional countries in Europe, the United States and Japan, and enhance relationships with existing suppliers in order to increase our product range. A key element of our strategy is to continue to expand the range of products and number of SKUs available through our marketplaces, which we believe will provide us with a sourcing “long tail” (being the ability to sell a large number of unique items with relatively small quantities sold of each) to complement our B2C Merchandise Business by allowing us to increase the number of SKUs available without the need to take on additional inventory. We plan to market to additional third-party sellers to offer more product categories, brands and SKUs in our marketplaces while maintaining our standards for trust and customer service. See “— Enhance and Scale our Marketplace Business.”
Continue to Enhance Customer Experience and Loyalty. We attract new buyers and sellers and foster loyalty through exceptional service and exclusive loyalty programs. We plan to continue to enhance our customer experience through, among others, continuing to add more new and pre-owned products to the platform, increase product categories, curate desirable luxury goods at attractive prices, continuing to implement enhancements to our platform, improving fulfillment and logistics services, providing improved delivery times and offering additional collection locations, expanding our customer hotline hours and introducing new payment options, including Reebonz Credits and improving payment times to sellers.
We intend to continue to implement our data analytics and personalization strategy through additional aggregation and analytics of buyer and seller data using our proprietary technology and algorithms to optimize search, customer interface, product design and personalized marketing in order to better direct buyers to relevant sellers’ listings and better market listings to the right set of buyers. These also provide an attractive return on investment by enabling us to attract more buyers and increase sales without the need to incur significant marketing expenses. We intend to continue to utilize data analytics to capture customer behavior, improve product personalization, and convert more buyers into sellers. As our mobile platform remains key to our customer experience and growth, we plan to continue to increase our mobile customer base and engagement through additional innovations and improvements in our mobile offerings. We encourage web users to utilize our mobile app which offers “push” updates and periodically scheduled releases with new features. We conduct special offers and events to encourage mobile users to download and use our mobile app with a view to increasing access to our business across the platform. Improving our mobile app is a key part of our strategy to access buyers and sellers through multiple touch points, serving as an additional marketing channel to encourage customer loyalty and as a direct sourcing channel for new customers.
Our Business Model
Our Mission is to create the easiest way to buy and sell luxury.
Our core brand vision is to make luxury accessible as illustrated in the diagram below.
Our business model is described below:
B2C Merchandise Business. Currently, our core business is our B2C Merchandise Business, where we sell authentic new luxury goods sourced from authorized distributors and luxury wholesalers at competitive prices and authenticated pre-owned luxury goods sourced from individuals, pre-owned luxury dealers and auction houses. Our online direct sales are made through our websites, including www.reebonz.com, and our mobile app to registered members. Leveraging our understanding of buyers’ preferences as well as our merchandizing capabilities, we sell our luxury goods primarily through limited-time curated sales events and through open catalogue shopping on our websites. Our limited-time curated sales events consist of a carefully selected collection of luxury goods that typically focus on a certain brand or product type and are available at a discount for a limited period of time. On average, we launch eight to ten curated sales events per day for new luxury goods and one to two daily events for pre-owned goods across all countries we ship to, which typically last one to five days. Members of our loyalty programs are provided with early access to certain exclusive sales events including new arrivals.
We provide buyers with free delivery within an average of three business days (in the case of delivery within Singapore) or five business days (in the case of delivery outside Singapore, except Indonesia, Thailand, Korea and China where we deliver within seven business days), and our prices include all duties, taxes and landing costs. Depending on the country, we charge a nominal shipping fee for orders below a certain minimum value. We also provide buyers with free shipping on returns. Offline direct sales are made through our offline channels, which include our retail lounges and pop-up events. In 2018, 16.2% of our revenue was generated through offline channels. In 2018 sales through our B2C Merchandise Business accounted for 53.0% of our GMV and our GMV from our B2C Merchandise Business was US$124.4 million. In 2018, revenue from our B2C Merchandise Business accounted for 94.4% of our Revenue and our revenue from our B2C Merchandise Business was US$83.4 million.
Marketplace Business. Our Marketplace Business consists of our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace and C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace.
B2C Merchant’s Marketplace
In May 2015, we launched our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace in Singapore. Our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace aggregates multi brand boutiques, shops that sell new and pre-owned luxury goods and vintage luxury dealers curated by us from around the world. Merchants are able to use our websites to sell new and pre-owned luxury goods and can also open an online boutique. We require merchants to meet certain standards for authenticity and reliability, and all merchants that sell in our marketplace are pre-qualified by us. We are also working directly with brands and have added local designers and other independent brands to our platform to expand our product selection and be a platform of discovery for new and unique young designers.
Goods are sold and shipped directly from sellers to buyers using our fulfillment services, which we provide through third party logistics providers. These fulfillment services include pick up from the merchant, delivery to the buyer and processing of payments, returns and refunds. We provide Reebonz packaging to each of the merchants we work with. Customer payments are wired securely through Reebonz, through which we keep our commissions and pay the merchant upon mutually agreed number of days. We earn revenue through charging commissions and plan to charge annual listing fees.
From the date of our inception to December 31, 2018, our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace offered 251,556 SKUs from 180 merchants for sale. We also have direct collaborations with 33 Asian Designers and 25 Independent Brands. As of December 31, 2018, products have been shipped through our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace to, among other locations, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, the Middle East, North America and Taiwan.
C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace
Our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace allows individuals to sell luxury goods to buyers. In February 2015, we launched Reebonz Closets, which is a marketplace that allows members to sell authenticated, pre-owned luxury goods directly to buyers in the same country through our platform. Reebonz Closets is a social marketplace that encourages social discovery of pre-owned luxury goods using mobile devices. We make it convenient for sellers to photograph, upload information about and sell their luxury goods. Customers can comment on, “like” and share items posted for sale by other customers. Sellers and buyers can use the chat function in our mobile app to exchange product information and negotiate pricing.
We provide payment, fulfillment, and authentication services by our team of ateliers at a collection spoke. Our collection spokes function as collection locations for our White Glove Service, explained below, as warehouses to store pre-owned items until they are sold and as authentication points in countries with Reebonz Closets.
We currently allow products from 160 brands to be sold through Reebonz Closets, which we authenticate and assist in fulfillment and payment between buyer and seller and each item must exceed a minimum value threshold. We also allow products to be sold from 1,955 brands which we don’t authenticate but assist in fulfillment and payment between buyer and seller. We currently charge a maximum of 10% commission on the sales price, which represents our revenue. Commission is tiered and dependent on the selling price of the product, regardless of the brand. See an example of commission paid per the table below of a product that is sold for $3,000.
|Selling Price||Example||Commission Scheme|
|The commission payable for a $3,000 item will be as follows:|
|First $300: Fixed $30||First $300; $30 fixed commission||$||30|
|On the next $301 to $2,000; 10% rate||On the next $1,700; 10% of $1,700||$||170|
|On the next $2,001 onwards: 7% rate||On the next $1,000; 7% of $1,000||$||70|
|Total Commission ($30 + $170 + $70)||$||270|
Our Reebonz Closets also allows customers to transact directly with other customers whereby we do not provide payment, fulfilment nor authentication services. For those transactions, we do not charge commission.
We also provide return and refund processing services where the cost of shipping for returns is borne by the buyer. The selling price is exclusive of taxes and a flat shipping fee paid for by the buyer. Once a payment is received by us, we hold it until expiration of the return period, whereupon we remit payment, less our commission, shipping and taxes payable, to the seller. In the case of a return, once the seller receives the returned item, we refund the purchase price to the buyer, net of return shipping costs and we do not receive a commission.
As of December 31, 2018, our Reebonz Closets platform is available in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysian, Thailand, and Indonesia.
We also provide individual sellers with our premium White Glove Service for higher-end luxury goods. We take goods meeting certain criteria on consignment from individuals in countries where we have collection spokes, namely Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and Australia, and offer them for sale through our online catalogue (where such goods are not distinguishable from pre-owned goods sold directly by us as we do not mention the individual seller’s identity), and, in addition to authentication, provide valuation, photography, carefully written product descriptions and fulfillment services. We currently charge a 10% to 30% commission on the sales price, depending on the sales price and category of the item being sold, which represents our revenue.
From January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2018, our Individual Sellers Marketplace had 49,195 unique sellers who had uploaded 401,849 SKUs with an aggregate listing value of US$478.5 million.
We believe our ecosystem, which is our seamless, integrated platform for buying and selling luxury goods, complemented by our offline channels and localization, increases customer engagement and maximizes the lifetime value of customers. As of December 31, 2018, most of our sellers through our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace were existing Reebonz members.
The diagram below illustrates our business model.
Integration of B2C Merchandise Business and B2C and C2C Marketplaces to reinforce the luxury ecosystem
We are capitalizing on a growing demand for luxury goods from a range of demographics across Asia Pacific that historically did not have a platform to purchase and sell luxury products, especially online.
Product Categories The new and pre-owned branded luxury goods we sell through our core B2C Merchandise Business include the following:
|●||small leather goods and other accessories;|
Through our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace and our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace, sellers also sell apparel as well as other products that are not listed above.
Our goal is to make luxury goods accessible to a wide range of buyers.
For new and pre-owned luxury goods sold by us through our B2C Merchandise Business, we set pricing based on, among other things, quarterly analyses of market prices and market demand prepared by our in-house team. We use a dynamic multi-pricing model, which allows us to set different prices in different countries based on local demand and other pricing considerations. We centralize the pricing of our products to manage coordination of pricing decisions between our merchandising team in Singapore and our other country teams, which we believe better enables us to control prices across our markets. Prices are inclusive of shipping, taxes and duties, providing buyers with an “all in” price. We typically price our goods at discounts to retail prices, which may vary and typically range from 15% to 30% off original retail prices for new luxury goods and up to 70% off original retail prices for clearances and pre-owned goods, although for certain popular or “limited edition” items we may set the price at or above the original retail price. Our competitive pricing is made possible by cost savings achieved through our sourcing and business model, including volume discounts, the absence of significant physical retail space and related overhead costs and, in certain cases, sourcing goods from prior seasons’ collections.
For goods sold through Reebonz Closets, the seller sets an initial price, which buyers and sellers may negotiate using the chat function on our mobile app. The selling price is exclusive of taxes and any shipping costs, which is a flat fee paid by the buyer. For goods sold through our White Glove Service, we and the seller set a base sales price, and the buyer pays a final “all in” price that includes shipping, duties and taxes, which may vary from country to country. If an item sold through our White Glove Service remains unsold after 90 days, we send a system-generated notification e-mail to the seller suggesting a price reduction. In Singapore, should the product be unsold for more than 120-days, an automatic price reduction between 10% – 50% of the original price is applied to the product, depending on the product category and initial selling price.
For goods sold through our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace, prices are set by merchants, and buyers are provided with an “all in” price inclusive of shipping, taxes and duties, which may vary from country to country.
Our customer base is key to our success. Customers of our B2C Merchandise Business are primarily individual buyers of luxury goods. In our Marketplace Business, our customers are sellers of goods through our platform, from which we earn commissions from the sales of goods to buyers.
Due to the nature of our products, most of our buyers are women. We believe women gradually increase spending on luxury goods as their age and incomes increase. The loyalty of our buyers is demonstrated by our sales to repeat buyers. We had 131,677 and 119,659 total buyers in 2017 and 2018, respectively, among which 41.3% and 41.7%, respectively, were repeat buyers. Orders placed by our repeat buyers accounted for 64.1% and 64.9% of our total orders in 2017 and 2018. We believe that our ecosystem of a seamless, integrated platform for buying and selling luxury goods increases engagement and loyalty and maximizes the lifetime value of our customers.
To increase buyer retention, we have established a two-tier loyalty program for our most important, or VIP, members, namely Reebonz Solitaire and Reebonz Black. Loyalty status is achieved by spending beyond certain thresholds. Benefits include, among other things, exclusive access to new arrivals and sales events, accelerated accumulation of loyalty credits, extended return periods and assignment of dedicated Relationship Manager.
In our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace, sellers are individuals with Reebonz memberships. As of December 31, 2018, most of our sellers through our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace were prior members. In 2018, our C2C Individual Seller’s Marketplace had 14,862 unique sellers. In our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace, our sellers include multi-brand boutiques, shops selling new and pre-owned items and vintage luxury dealers curated by us and located around the world. As of December 31, 2018, our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace had 180 merchants.
Our Internet Platform
Our internet platform consists of localized and international versions of our website and mobile app. In countries where we have a local website, customers are automatically redirected to our local website. 10 of our local websites are localized for language, currency, payment gateways, sales events, promotions and customer service, while 33 of our websites are localized for language and/or currency. Each localized website has localized pricing and allows for payments and refunds in local currency. Our mobile-optimized websites are localized in line with the local website. We also offer a mobile app that can be downloaded in 42 countries. The application is generally in English (except in South Korea, where it is in Korean) and can be set to the local language for Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Thailand. The table below sets forth certain information about our websites in certain key markets as of December 31, 2018.
|Singapore||Hong Kong||Taiwan||South Korea||Malaysia||Australia||Indonesia||Thailand||China||N. America|
|Year of Launch||2009||2009||2010||2010||2011||2009||2011||2011||2016||2016|
|Local Sales Events & Promotions||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Local Payment Gateway||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Local Customer Service Hotline||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Local Returns & Refund Policies||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|B2C Merchant’s Marketplace||x||x||x||x||x||x|
Our www.reebonz.com home page and most of our local websites are arranged with tabs for New In, Women, Men, Outlet, and Sale. In addition, most localized websites have a tab for selling. Below is an example of our South Korea localized website:
|(1)||Mobile apps are generally available in English language, except in South Korea where it is in Korean.|
|(2)||Price for the same product varies across different countries; price variance not only results from currency conversion but also reflects supply and demand dynamics as well as taxes and duties.|
Shopping. Authentic new and pre-owned goods that are sold directly by us through our B2C Merchandise Business, B2C Merchant’s Marketplace and White Glove Service are sold through limited-time, curated sales events displayed on our homepage or through open catalogue shopping, which allows buyers to search for goods using certain parameters, such as brand, price, gender and product type. On average, we launch eight to ten curated sales events per day for new luxury goods and one to two daily events for pre-owned goods across all countries we ship to, each of which typically last one to five days. We also host local online sales events on local websites in select countries from time to time. Each luxury item sold through our B2C Merchandise Business, B2C Merchant’s Marketplace and White Glove Service has a page with detailed product information, including product specifications, photographs, pricing and savings information, loyalty credits earned, sell back value if relevant, information about shipping and returns and our authenticity guarantee.
Selling. Individual sellers have two options for selling goods through our platform: our Reebonz Closets and White Glove Service. Currently, sellers in the Reebonz Closets begin the sales process through our mobile app where they can upload pictures of and information on the goods being sold. For our White Glove Service, sellers with goods that meet our selective criteria contact us through a form on our webpage, which our team commits to respond to usually within one business day, and if we elect to take the item on consignment, the item is offered for sale on platform.
Personalized Services. We offer personalized services to buyers through our account management system by allowing them to customize their payment and delivery preferences. Buyers can link their Reebonz accounts with other popular social networks such as Facebook and payment platforms such as Paypal. In certain cases, localized payment channels are available for our members. To further ease the checkout process for our repeat buyers, our database keeps track of their preferred delivery address, shipping method and payment option based on information previously provided to us. Buyers can also log in to keep track of their loyalty point balances and order status. We allow buyers to subscribe to future sales notices through text messages, e-mails and mobile “push” notifications. We believe these features improve the shopping experience of our buyers and help deepen their loyalty.
Our Mobile App
We believe buyers of luxury goods are increasingly shopping online through mobile devices. Accordingly, we have invested substantial resources to build a mobile platform dedicated to providing a superior shopping experience. Sales through our mobile platform have grown significantly since its launch in June 2010. 62.1% of our online revenue was generated from our mobile app in 2018, as compared to 55.1% in 2017. Our mobile app has more than 2 million downloads as of December 31, 2018.
The layout of products offered on our mobile app is designed to be intuitive and easy to use. We view our Android and iOS-based mobile app as a key part of our strategy of providing an ecosystem where buyers are able to become sellers and sellers are able to become buyers. Our mobile app allows buyers to quickly and efficiently search, view, select and purchase products and upload pictures and descriptions of items for sale through our Reebonz Closets. It facilitates interaction between buyers and sellers using our Reebonz Closets by allowing customers to create profiles, “like” and comment on products for sale by other customers. Buyers are also able to interact with sellers using our chat function and negotiate prices. Sellers using Reebonz Closets can also request courier pick up for items that have been sold. A direct dial feature on our mobile app allows customers to call our customer service with a single touch. We periodically send product promotional information to users using our mobile app through text messages and “push” notifications, including providing “push” notifications to users when new events are launched and targeted “push” notifications based on behavioral data.
We believe our offline channels complement our online sales by enhancing our overall branding, attracting traditional offline shoppers, encouraging conversion to online shopping and providing online shoppers with the opportunity to physically view products, thereby helping us create an online-to-offline and offline-to-online omni-channel for buying and selling luxury goods. Our offline channels include retail lounges in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, as well as pop-up events throughout the markets in which we operate. We also sell products to our VIP members through exclusive private sales coordinated by our relationship managers. Offline sales contributed 21.2% and 16.2% of our revenue in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Retail Lounges. To complement our internet platform, as of December 31, 2018, we have a retail lounge in each of Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. Our retail lounges provide us with a physical presence to provide customer service to our members, including the opportunity to touch and feel products viewed online before making a purchase, and with a physical venue for events and private sales. Our retail lounges are boutiques that are open to the public and attracts walk-in buyers, or where existing members may shop. Periodically, we offer member-only events in our retail lounges. Our retail lounges also function as buyer service centers where buyers can interact with our staff, and as collection locations for our White Glove Service. They carry both new and pre-owned products. We have established an omni-stock approach by which products in our retail lounges are continued to be displayed online, allowing the product to have the maximum chance of being purchased since a customer can purchase the stock in the offline channel or the online channel.
Pop-up events. Our pop-up events consist of events held for a limited time in certain cities as part of our marketing efforts. They are invitation-only events targeted at certain categories of buyers (such as holders of certain higher-tiered credit cards) and held at hotel ballrooms or other similar locations. Our pop-up events carry both new and pre-owned products. In certain circumstances, we also invite third-party merchants curated by us to sell at our pop-up events. We believe these events attract traditional offline shoppers and encourage their conversion to online shopping by making them aware of our online platform.
We believe our emphasis on customer service creates a positive buying and selling experience and encourages repeat visits, purchases and sales through our platform.
Localization. We offer localized services to our buyers and sellers. Ten of our local websites are fully localized for language, currency, payment gateways, sale events, promotions and customer service, while 33 of our websites are localized for language and/or currency. Each localized website has localized pricing and allows payments and refunds in local currency. In addition, certain local websites have additional features offered only in certain key markets. For example, some of our localized websites have a feature through which buyers and sellers can speak with customer service representatives. In some countries, through our partnerships with 62 financial institutions, we offer qualified buyers free credit card installment plans, which allows buyers to pay for products through installment payments which are made to the partner bank, while we receive full payment up front. Through our third-party logistics providers, local collection spokes and collection locations, we offer sellers convenient pickup and drop-off for their items.
We provide our highest level of customer service to our Reebonz Black (our highest tier of membership) and selectively to our Reebonz Solitaire (our second highest tier of membership) programs. Each member of our loyalty programs has access to our team of dedicated relationship managers that can be contacted for any customer service needs. Our relationship managers perform a number of functions, such as assisting buyers with inquiries while providing support and recommendations to buyers, resolving returns, refunds and other buyer issues by e-mail, messages and telephone, educating buyers on products, helping to promote brands and offerings, and assisting members with to consign their products. As of December 31, 2018, we had two relationship managers.
Sourcing and Authentication
We believe our multi-layer sourcing model is a key driver for the growth of our ecosystem. We source our new luxury goods from a wide range of suppliers, primarily comprising authorized distributors and luxury wholesalers. The pre-owned luxury goods we sell are sourced from individuals, pre-owned luxury dealers and auction houses. Our marketplaces enhance our product offerings by providing an extensive selection of products with a variety of SKUs, without the need for us to take on inventory risk.
B2C Merchandise Business.
Suppliers. Substantially all of the new luxury goods sold through our B2C Merchandise Business and offline channels are sourced from authorized distributors and luxury wholesalers (which either have direct relationships with brand owners or purchase from authorized distributors) in Europe, the United States and Asia. We generally seek to enter into framework supply agreements with our suppliers based on our standard form, and we purchase on the basis of purchase orders. We typically make prepayments to our suppliers at the time we place orders. We have implemented a systematic selection process for suppliers. Our merchandizing team is responsible for identifying potential suppliers globally based on our selection guidelines. Our supplier selection criteria include size, reputation, sales records in offline and online channels and product offerings. We also conduct screening and inspection of SKUs arriving at our Singapore logistics center for quality control and maintain the ability to return or reject low quality or counterfeit goods. In addition, we source pre-owned goods from individuals, pre-owned luxury dealers and auction houses. In each case, we pay our suppliers upfront.
Product selection. As of December 31, 2018, we have a 26-member merchandising team that considers and analyzes historical sales data, forward trends, seasonality and buyer demand and feedback. Our overall purchasing volume is also significantly affected by our sales targets and the budgets that we set. We pre-order certain models and for others we are able to make weekly purchases of in-season goods based on market demand. For pre-owned goods, our product selection is also based on the analysis performed by our merchandising team and product availability.
Inventory management. Goods sold through our B2C Merchandise Business are the only products that we purchase and hold as inventory. Title to the goods and risk of loss transfer to us upon pick up. We have implemented an inventory management system to manage the information related to stock receipt from suppliers, stock maintenance, stock preparation for delivery and stock deliveries. We also use an enterprise resource planning system to manage information related to procurement and quality control upon receipt, monitor and actively track sales data and invoicing. This system helps us make timely adjustments to our purchasing decisions and plans and minimizes excess inventory. When we have unsold inventory, we prioritize our sales efforts, such as through discounts, to drive inventory turnover.
The products sold through our Reebonz Closets are sold directly by individual sellers that are our members, to other members in the same country. Our ateliers at the in-country collection spoke authenticate each relevant item sold through our Reebonz Closets prior to delivery to the buyer.
For our White Glove Service, we source pre-owned luxury goods from our members in the countries where we maintain our collection spokes, namely Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and Australia. We hold these products on a consignment basis and such products are not accounted for as inventory. Our ateliers at the collection spoke where the product is sourced authenticate each item sold through our White Glove Service prior to delivery to the buyer.
The products sold through our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace are sold directly by multi-brand boutiques, shops that sell new, pre-owned luxury goods and vintage luxury dealers curated by us from around the world, and brands. When selecting sellers for our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace, we use criteria which include the seller’s sales profile, product offering, number of SKUs available for sale and the brands offered with a focus primarily on quality over quantity.
We have ateliers located at each collection spoke. We introduced our atelier service in 2013 and as of December 31, 2018, we had 11 ateliers, who are full time appraisers, trained gemologists and watch technicians and worked with certain additional watch technicians who are not our employees. Each pre-owned item sold through our B2C Merchandise Business and our White Glove Service is authenticated, appraised, valued and graded by our ateliers at one of our collection spokes and then photographed with a description provided for display in our online catalogue, while every item sold through Reebonz Closets is authenticated and the condition of the item is also checked by our ateliers prior to delivery to the buyer. Currently, we are able to provide authentication services for 160 brands. Our ateliers have an average of 8 years of experience in the luxury goods industry. All pre-owned items, except for those sold through our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace, undergo testing, product identification and security tagging. Watches and certain categories of jewelry are provided with a certificate of authenticity and we issue a 12 month limited warranty for watches. For each type of luxury product, our ateliers are guided by an authentication checklist that provides a step-by-step guide to authenticating products. For certain luxury brands, we have developed more detailed in-house authentication manuals. We use this manual to train prospective ateliers and plan to set up an atelier training academy to grow the size of our team as our business grows.
Set forth below are examples of our jewelry and watch certifications:
Set forth below is a summary of the process of authenticating, appraising, valuing and grading for pre-owned items sold through our B2C Merchandise Business and items sold through our White Glove Service.
A comprehensive Reebonz atelier grading report is issued upon close examination and each pre-owned item sold through our B2C Merchandise Business and White Glove Service is given a grading of either “unused,” “pristine,” “mint,” or “good.” We also perform repairs and restorations on such products in order to deliver the best price to sellers and high quality to buyers. Our ateliers also support other areas of our business by, for example, providing authentication services to sellers and buyers using our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace in the event of a dispute and authenticating products sold on Reebonz Closets. Our ateliers also assist in quality checks on new products that we purchase from time to time. While historically it has been rare for one of our customers to allege the product they purchased was not authentic, we follow internal guidelines to verify claims that an item is not authentic, which may include our ateliers performing a second inspection of the item. Depending on the outcome of such inspections, we work with the customer to take appropriate steps to address the claim.
Payment and Fulfillment
We provide multiple payment options for buyers including online payment with credit cards, payment through major third-party online payment platforms, such as Adyen, Paypal and Alipay, payment through internet banking and through bank transfers. We allow payment in local currency in 27 countries. We are also able to process refunds through the same payment method used by the buyer and in the same currency in the form of Reebonz Credits.
In some countries, through our partnerships with 62 financial institutions, we offer buyers free credit card installment plans that allow buyers to pay for products through installment payments which are made to the partner bank, while we receive full payment up front. We believe the flexibility of our payment options and installment payment plan provide us with a competitive advantage in attracting buyers.
In addition, as part of our marketing efforts, we award Reebonz loyalty credits which can be used to deduct from the purchase price of our products. Furthermore, buyers can use the account balances accumulated from prior product refunds or sales to make future purchases.
We use a mix of third-party international and local delivery companies to ensure reliable and timely pick up from, and delivery to, our customers. We leverage our large-scale operations and reputation to obtain favorable contractual terms from our third-party logistics providers. We regularly monitor and review the logistics providers’ performance and compliance with contractual terms. We typically negotiate and enter into logistics agreements on an annual basis.
Our logistics network consists of one centralized logistics center and two additional collection spokes in Singapore, and seven logistics centers located in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand, all of which also serve as our collection spokes. In Singapore, our management system enables us to closely monitor each step of the fulfillment process from the time a purchase order is confirmed and the product stocked in our logistics centers, up to when the product is packaged and picked up by the delivery service provider for delivery to a customer. Inventory is bar-coded and tracked through our management information system, allowing real-time monitoring of inventory levels and item tracking. Our logistics center management system in Singapore is specifically designed to support the frequent curated sales events on our internet platform and a large volume of inventory turnover.
For pre-owned items, we have eight collection spokes which also function as logistics centers, in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Australia and Thailand. These collection spokes serve as collection locations for our White Glove Service, as warehouses to store pre-owned items until they are sold and as authentication points in countries where we have set up Reebonz Closets. We also work with several networks of luxury bag spas in Singapore, to serve as collection points for our customers to drop off their pre-owned items for consignment.
We have ateliers located at seven of our collection spokes to provide authentication, appraisal, valuation and grading services as well as repair and restoration services. We also partner with logistics providers to provide sellers with an extensive network of more than 600 collection locations as of December 31, 2018 to supplement our collection spokes. In 2017, we completed the construction of a 215,000 square foot headquarters that also houses our primary logistics center in Singapore specifically designed for our luxury goods business.
Payment and Fulfillment by Business Line
B2C Merchandise Business. For the majority of items sold through our B2C Merchandise Business, shipments from suppliers first arrive at our centralized logistics center in Singapore, following which quality checks are performed by our team. In the case of pre-owned products, the product may be delivered to a collection spoke in the country where the product is sourced. Once an order is received, the product is selected from our inventory by our staff, packaged, and then delivered directly to the buyer from our Singapore logistics center or collection spoke. In certain cases, we also aggregate and collectively send certain SKUs to collection spokes for dispatch to buyers. If a buyer returns a product within the applicable return period, our third-party logistics provider will pick up the item or the item can be dropped off at a collection location and we refund the payment to the purchaser.
For our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace, once the boutique receives the order, the product is selected by the merchant, packaged in Reebonz branded packaging, fulfilled by our third party logistics provider and then delivered directly to the buyer from the merchant location. All payments are processed by us and held for a specified period given the possibility of returns, and within a mutually agreed period after the applicable return period has expired we remit the payment, less our commission and shipping, duties and taxes payable, to the merchant.
For our Reebonz Closets, once a seller and buyer agree on a sales price and the sale is confirmed in our system, the seller then inputs the pickup date and time into our mobile app. The item is then picked up by our logistics provider and delivered to one of our collection spokes for authentication. The seller may also choose to drop off the item at one of our collection spokes or collection locations. Once authenticated, we then ship the item to the buyer through our logistics provider. Currently, items in our Reebonz Closets may only be bought and sold in the same country.
For our White Glove Service, once acceptance of a request to sell a pre-owned product is confirmed, we provide the seller with the option of dropping the product off at one of our collection locations or complimentary pick up by us through our logistics providers. At our collection spoke, the item is authenticated, appraised, valued and graded by our ateliers and then photographed and a description is provided for display in our online catalogue. Once a purchase order is received, the item is packaged and then delivered directly to the buyer from our relevant collection spoke. All payments are processed by us and held for a specified period given the possibility of returns, and within a period of up to seven business days after the applicable return period has expired we remit the payment, less our commission and shipping, duties and taxes payable, to the seller. We maintain records of all transactions, which we share with the relevant authorities if there is any allegation or investigation into possible stolen or counterfeit goods being traded on our platform.
Our technology systems are designed to enhance efficiency and scalability, and play an important role in the success of our business. We rely on a combination of internally developed proprietary technologies and commercially available licensed technologies to improve our websites and management systems in order to optimize every aspect of our operations for the benefit of buyers and sellers.
We have adopted a micro-service architecture that is built on top of our highly scalable cloud infrastructure that spans across multiple data centers to ensure its availability at all times. We have full redundancy at each data center to ensure information is properly stored and backed up.
Our front-end modules facilitate the online shopping processes of buyers. Our front-end modules are supported by our content distribution network with dynamic image optimization on the fly (which allows images to be optimized based on the user’s connection speed), providing buyers with quicker access to the product display they are interested in, and facilitating faster processing of their purchases. We have designed our systems to cope with our maximum peak concurrent visitors with a view to providing a consistently smooth online shopping experience. Our mid-end modules support our daily administrative and business operations and our back-end modules support our supply chain and greatly enhance the efficiency of our operations.
We have developed centralized payment services allowing for multiple localized payment methods. We have also developed a unique and customized fraud detection algorithm as well and have implemented fraud prevention measures. Our fraud detection and prevention algorithm triggers email alerts to our internal fraud detection team based on certain red flags (e.g. suspicious customer behavior or certain types of credit cards that are considered high risk) that our system automatically detects, so that our team can review and follow up.
In order to manage cybersecurity risks, we have hired third parties to manage and monitor the security of networks, servers, and applications against distributed denial-of-service (DDOS), hacking and sniffing attacks. In addition, we have also adopted rigorous security policies and measures to protect our proprietary data and customer information.
Our business intelligence systems enable us to effectively gather, analyze and use internally-generated customer behavior and transaction data. We regularly use this information in planning our marketing initiatives for upcoming curated sales and merchandizing for our online shopping mall. Our business intelligence systems are configured to support decision-making intelligence such as dashboard, operation, operational analysis, market analysis, sales forecasts and products such as precision marketing, and other application-oriented products that facilitate data-driven decision-making and increase our product sales.
We have developed most of our key business modules in-house. We also license software from reputable third-party providers, and work closely with these third-party providers to customize the software for our operations. We have implemented a number of measures to prevent data failure and loss. We have developed a disaster tolerant system for our key business modules which includes real-time data mirroring, real-time data back-up and redundancy and load balancing.
We plan to use the blockchain technology to provide authentication capabilities for luxury goods, using cryptographic NFC chips and a decentralized marketplace.
Our marketing objectives include enhancing our brand recognition, enhancing our trusted reputation among buyers and sellers, increasing word-of-mouth referrals, increasing organic traffic and stimulating repeat purchases. In addition, we aim to encourage further participation in our ecosystem for buying and selling luxury goods by marketing to existing customers in order to encourage buyers to become sellers and sellers to become buyers. In designing our marketing initiatives, our marketing team looks at customers at varying income levels and browsing and purchasing patterns. Specifically, we analyze customer acquisition, retention, length of relationship and attrition. We look at different customer groups and analyze the customer acquisition cost through marketing activities in the context of the revenue each group of customers is likely to provide.
We conduct marketing activities online through major search engines, portals, social media, online video and other major websites. We also conduct marketing activities specifically aimed at customers through mobile devices. Using mobile device IDs or user profiles, we track browsing and buying behavior and use the information to create a customized browsing experience in order to market to existing buyers. We aim to keep our customer base engaged by providing reminders of upcoming events and providing special mobile-only offers. We also use messaging channels such as WhatsApp and Line, to engage with our customer base and send them notifications on special events and promotions for the messaging application community.
To enhance our brand awareness, we also have engaged in brand promotion activities such as partnerships with major banks and brand ambassadors, including local celebrities, reputable fashion stylists and bloggers. We engage in ad campaigns (including television commercials) and social media engagements to build awareness and trust in our brand. In four countries we have a multi-year online luxury shopping partnership with MasterCard. We also send “push” notifications to buyers using our mobile app, notifying them of certain sales events. In addition, we engage in brand-building campaigns, such as promotional contests with prizes and our viral campaigns, such as “Reebonz Mobil” where we temporarily converted a truck into a mobile luxury boutique.
We also provide various incentives to our existing customers to increase their engagement. Our buyers earn loyalty credits for each purchase they make in our B2C Merchandise Business, B2C Merchant’s Marketplace and White Glove Service, and may redeem the credits towards purchases made of products sold by us in our B2C Merchandise Business, B2C Merchant’s Marketplace, White Glove Service and Reebonz Closets. We believe that an effective form of marketing is to continually enhance our customer experience, as customer satisfaction engenders word-of-mouth referrals and additional purchases and sales. We use a personalized approach based on a member’s browsing and buying behavior to provide notifications on products or promotions specific to their behavior.
We believe we have been able to build a large base of loyal buyers primarily by providing superior customer experience, including through our loyalty programs and conducting marketing and brand promotion activities. We provide various incentives to buyers to increase their spending and loyalty, and we send e-mails to buyers periodically with targeted product recommendations or events and to customers who have been inactive for certain periods of time.
We had 119,659 total buyers in 2018, which 41.7%, were repeat buyers.
In addition to our promotional and brand building activities, we market to individual sellers by reaching out to experienced sellers using other platforms and by marketing to existing buyers and encouraging them to become sellers through our Sell Back feature. For our B2C Merchant’s Marketplace, we plan to conduct targeted marketing activities aimed at merchants, brands, and designers curated by us. Once we identify a seller that we believe would made a good addition to our marketplace, we will reach out to the seller about the possibility of selling through our platform.
As of December 31, 2018, our sales and marketing team consisted of 30 employees, located in Singapore and our other regional offices. We incurred US$5.4 million of marketing expenses in 2018.
The luxury goods market, both online and offline, is very competitive, however, there is no direct competitor that offers the ecosystem of buying and selling, new and pre-owned luxury products in our Core Asia Pacific Market. Our primary competitors include global and regional online general retailers and marketplaces, global and regional online fashion retailers, luxury department retailers’ online stores, luxury brand owners’ online stores, regional multi-label concept retailers, and specialist online luxury retailers, such as Yoox Net-A-Porter and Farfetch. Our primary offline competitors include pre-owned luxury retailers, auction houses selling luxury goods and traditional brick-and-mortar retail channels including those operated by the luxury brands themselves and department stores. We believe we compete primarily on the basis of:
|●||geographic focus in Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific;|
|●||focus on luxury segment only;|
|●||ability to identify products in demand among consumers and source these products on favorable terms from suppliers;|
|●||providing an ecosystem to buy and sell luxury goods;|
|●||providing new and pre-owned products;|
|●||breadth and quality of product offerings;|
|●||pricing and local payment options;|
|●||website features and mobile app;|
|●||value-added services such as authentication;|
|●||localization, customer service, fulfillment capabilities and returns and refunds processing; and|
|●||reputation among suppliers as well as among both buyers and sellers of luxury goods.|
We believe that our size, market positioning and platform give us a competitive advantage in the markets where we operate. However, some of our current and potential competitors may have longer operating histories, larger customer bases, better brand recognition, more reliable sourcing, including from luxury brand owners directly, stronger platform management and fulfillment capabilities and greater financial, technical and marketing resources than we do. See “Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Our Business — We operate in a competitive environment and may lose market share and customers if we fail to compete effectively.”
As of December 31, 2018 we had a total of 302 employees. The following tables give breakdowns of our employees as of December 31, 2018 by function and by region:
|General and Administrative||60||Malaysia||10|
|Sales and Marketing||30||Australia||17|
We place great emphasis on our corporate culture and seek to maintain consistently high standards everywhere we operate and to help us to realise our goals. We invest significant resources in the recruitment of employees to support our business operations. In 2019 and beyond, we plan to recruit additional employees in connection with the increasing staffing needs of our technology department, the expansion of our Marketplace Business and for our digital marketing team.
We provide a number of employee benefits, including social insurance funds, a medical insurance plan, a work-related injury insurance plan and a maternity insurance plan, and as required by local regulations, a mandatory provident fund.
We enter into labor contracts with our employees. We also enter into confidentiality and non-compete agreements with certain of our employees and senior management. The non-compete restricted period typically expires one to two years after the termination of employment, subject to local laws.
We believe that we maintain a good working relationship with our employees, and we have not experienced any major labor disputes.
We have our headquarters in Singapore and logistics centers in Singapore and six other cities. The table below summarizes our facilities as of December 31, 2018.
|Singapore||5 Tampines North Drive 5 Reebonz Building Singapore 528548||19,974||Headquarters, office space, operations and logistics center||01/12/2014||30/11/2044|
|Singapore||1 Habourfront Walk #01-138/139 Vivo City Singapore 098585||332||Retail||29/04/2018||11/02/2019|
|Korea||Samjin Building 7F, 113 Achasanro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, Korea||709||Office, Warehouse||01/06/2015||31/05/2019|
|Korea||Daereuk Building 5F 501, 636-43, Deongchon-dong, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea||129||Invitree Office, Warehouse||24/09/2018||23/09/2019|
|Australia||Unit 8/888 Bourke St, Zetland, NSW 2017, Australia||349||Headquarters, office space, operations and logistics center||08/11/2016||08/10/2019|
|Australia||Shop G01, 570 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000 , Australia||208||Retail||18/09/2015||16/09/2020|
|Indonesia||Prince Center Building, 3rd Floor Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 3-4 Jakarta 10220||720||Office, Reebonz Space||18/12/2018||17/12/2019|
|Malaysia||100.3.007 & 100.3.009 129 Office Block J Jaya One No 72A Jalan Universiti 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia||366||Office Space, operations and logistics center||01/09/2017||31/08/2019|
|Malaysia||S4-S11 Second Floor, Lot 10 Shopping Centre , 50 Jalan Sultan Ismail 50250 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia||396||Retail||03/04/2017||02/04/2019|
|Japan||Reebonz Japan KK 2-15-3 Yoshikawa Bldg 2F Hakataekimae Hakata-ku Fukuoka Japan 812-0011||48||Office Space and operations||01/06/2018||31/05/2020|
|Thailand||Unit 903, 9th Floor RSU Tower, 571 Sukhumvit Road Klong Ton Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand||13||Office Space, operations and logistics center||01/10/2018||30/09/2019|
|Hong Kong||Unit D&E , 18/F Seabright Plaza , 9-23 Shell Street, North Point||182||Office Space and operations||02/01/2019||31/01/2020|
|Taiwan||3F-1 No.97 Songren Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei City 110, Taiwan||103||Office Space, operations and logistics center||01/01/2018||31/12/2019|
|USA||Galvanize Ste 400, 1644 Platte St, Denver CO80202||N/A Shared Space||Office Space and operations||No Fixed Term|
To expand our warehouse space and accommodate future growth, we constructed a new 215,000 square foot headquarters in Singapore, which was completed in 2017. Our new headquarters houses our logistics center, which is specifically designed for our luxury goods business, increasing our warehouse space in Singapore by nearly threefold. We spent a total of US$28.0 million on land acquisition, construction and warehousing equipment purchase in connection with this project, which included US$5.4 million paid in 2014 for the land rights for our headquarters. We financed this project through a loan facility of US$20.7 million granted by a local bank in Singapore and cash from operations.
We regard our trademarks, copyrights, domain names, know-how, proprietary technologies, and similar intellectual property as critical to our success, and we rely on copyright and trademark law and confidentiality, invention assignment and non-compete agreements with our employees and others to protect our proprietary rights. As of December 31, 2018, we owned one computer software copyright, held one perpetual license agreement to use a software platform relating to various aspects of our operations and maintained 10 trademark registrations in Singapore and 62 trademark registrations outside Singapore. We had 18 trademark applications pending outside Singapore. As of December 31, 2018, we had 46 domain name registrations, including reebonz.com, among others.
We maintain various insurance policies to safeguard against risks and unexpected events. We have purchased industrial all-risk property insurance covering our inventory and fixed assets such as equipment, furniture and office facilities. We maintain inventory insurance to cover items held on consignment through our White Glove Service. We also maintain marine insurance covering our inventory in transit. We maintain public liability insurance for our business activities. We also provide work injury compensation insurance and medical insurance for our employees. Additionally, we provide group hospitalization insurance for all employees and specialist coverage for our management staff. We also cover our board of directors through the directors and officers liability insurance. We consider our insurance coverage to be sufficient for our business operations.
From time to time, we may be involved in legal proceedings in the ordinary course of our business. We are currently not a party to any material legal or administrative proceedings.
We are subject to laws and regulations in the jurisdictions where we conduct our business. This section summarizes certain rules and regulations that significantly affect our business activities.
All internet content providers (all persons who maintain websites), including us, are governed by an automatic class license, pursuant to the Broadcasting Act of Singapore (Chapter 28) and the Broadcasting (Class License) Notification. Internet content providers must comply with internet codes of practice as the Singapore Media Development Authority, or the MDA, may issue from time to time, and must ensure that its services are not used for any purpose or contain any program that is against the public interest, public order or national harmony or offends good taste or decency. Internet content providers also have obligations to assist certain investigations of the MDA and remove programs included in its service where the MDA informs the licensee that the program is contrary to a code of practice, is against public interest, public order or national harmony or offends against good taste or decency.
The Personal Data Protection Act 2012
The Personal Data Protection Act 2012 of Singapore, or the PDPA, generally requires organizations to give notice and obtain consents prior to collection, use or disclosure of personal data (data, whether true or not, about an individual who can be identified from that data or other accessible information). The PDPA also imposes various obligations upon organizations, or the Main Data Protection Obligations, that relate to, among other things, the access to, the correction of, the protection of, the retention of and the transfer of, personal data. In addition, the PDPA requires organizations to check national “Do-Not-Call” registries prior to sending marketing messages addressed to Singapore telephone numbers through voice calls, fax or text message.
The PDPA specifies various offenses that apply for failure to comply with PDPA requirements, which could apply to both organizations and their officers, depending on the circumstances. The PDPA also created a regulatory agency, the Personal Data Protection Commission, which has the power to give directions to organizations for compliance with the PDPA, including the power to require an organization to pay a penalty of up to S$1 million for breach of PDPA requirements. Apart from this, an individual has a right of private action against an organization for breach of the Main Data Protection Obligations if the individual suffers loss or damage directly as a result of a contravention of the Main Data Protection Obligations by an organization. The relief which a court may grant includes damages, injunctions and relief by way of declaration.
Laws affecting the sale of goods to consumers in Singapore
The Unfair Contract Terms Act of Singapore (Chapter 396), or the UCTA, provides that exclusion clauses in standard terms of business or where one of the contracting parties is a consumer are subject to a condition of “reasonableness.” Also, when a business deals with a consumer, the business cannot render contractual performance substantially different from what was reasonably expected of it, or render no performance at all in respect of the whole or part of any contractual obligation. The Sale of Goods Act of Singapore (Chapter 393), or the SOGA, regulates the sale of goods in Singapore. The SOGA implies certain terms into contracts of sale of goods, which include implied conditions that the seller has or will have the right to sell the goods and that goods supplied are of satisfactory quality. The SOGA also provides that where a seller wrongfully neglects or refuses to deliver goods, the buyer may sue for non-delivery. The damages available are the estimated loss directly and naturally resulting from the seller’s breach of contract in the ordinary course of events. Rights, liabilities and implied conditions arising under a contract of sale pursuant to SOGA may be excluded or varied by contract, subject to the requirements of the UCTA.
The Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act of Singapore (Chapter 52A), or the CPFTA, provides a buyer who has entered into a transaction involving an unfair practice with the right to bring an action against the supplier. This right to bring an action does not apply where the remedy or relief sought exceeds S$30,000. Unfair practices include situations where the supplier does or says anything which reasonably would result in the consumer being deceived or misled, or where the supplier makes false claims as to origin, performance characteristics or method of manufacture of the product.
The CPFTA also provides that if goods do not conform to the applicable contract at the time of delivery, the buyer would have the right to require the seller to repair or replace the goods, reduce the amount to be paid for the sale by an appropriate amount or to rescind the contract with regard to the goods in question. Goods which do not conform to the applicable contract at any time within the period of six months from the date on which the goods were delivered will be regarded as not having conformed to the applicable contract at the time of delivery.
Electronic Transactions Act
The Electronic Transactions Act of Singapore (Chapter 88), or the ETA, makes clear that, in general, transactions conducted using paper documents and transactions conducted using electronic communications will be treated equally by the law. While the ETA allows for certain rebuttable presumptions in connection with electronic transactions, which are generally helpful to us, we do not rely on these rebuttable presumptions on our website or platform in Singapore.
The Secondhand Goods Dealers Act
As a seller of pre-owned luxury goods, we are subject to the Secondhand Goods Dealers Act (Chapter 288A) of Singapore, or the SGDA, which requires dealers of certain secondhand goods, including watches and certain types of jewelry, to obtain a license or an exemption from the Singapore police before commencing operations. As of the date hereof, we have successfully registered and obtained exemption from the requirement to obtain a license for the purpose of dealing in secondhand goods on our website, www.reebonz.com, and we are currently applying for an exemption for our retail lounge. Any person who deals in secondhand goods except under and in accordance with the conditions of a license issued under the SGDA would be guilty of an offense. Any person who is guilty of an offense under the SGDA would be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$20,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to both.
In addition, dealers of secondhand goods are also required to comply with other rules of the SGDA and the regulations thereunder, including but not limited to record keeping requirements. Further, under the SGDA, if any person is convicted in any court of an offense under Chapter XVII of the Penal Code (Chapter 224) in respect of any property, and it appears to the court that the property has been sold to a secondhand goods dealer, such as our company, the court may, in certain circumstances, order the delivery of the property to the original owner either on payment to the secondhand goods dealer of the amount of the purchase price or any part thereof, or without payment thereof or of any part thereof, depending on the circumstances. The court may also adjourn the proceedings for the attendance of the secondhand goods dealer and may summon the secondhand goods dealer to attend the adjourned hearing. If after hearing the secondhand goods dealer, the court is satisfied that the secondhand goods dealer, before purchasing the property referred to above, (i) ought reasonably to have known or suspected that the property was stolen property, and (ii) did not exercise due care and diligence to ascertain that the property was not stolen property, the court may order the secondhand goods dealer to pay a financial penalty not exceeding S$2,000.
The Trade Marks Act
The Trade Marks Act (Chapter 332), or the TMA, establishes the law for trademarks in Singapore, including infringement of registered trademarks and the position of parallel-imported luxury goods. There are civil reliefs (such as injunction or damages) and criminal sanctions (such as fines) stipulated in the TMA for the import, sale or other commercial dealings in goods that infringe or counterfeit the registered trademarks belonging to brand owners.
The Copyright Act (Chapter 63) sets out the protection of literary, dramatic, artistic and musical works, as well as entrepreneurial works (published editions, sound recordings, cinematograph films, broadcasts, performances and cable programs). Generally, only the owner of a copyright work has the right to reproduce, publish, perform, communicate and adapt his work, unless consent or authorization to do these acts have been obtained. The term of protection varies according to the type of work involved, and infringement of copyright will arise where there has been substantial reproduction or adaptation of the work. Company names are generally not regarded as literary works although brand logos are capable of protection as artistic works.
The sale and marketing of branded products to the Australian market by us, either through our Australian or non-Australian websites or through our Australian subsidiary’s operation of a physical store, is generally permitted subject to compliance with various laws and regulations in Australia. In particular our operations in Australia are subject to compliance with laws aimed at advancing consumer rights, protecting consumer privacy, regulating direct marketing practices, promoting fair trading, protecting the rights of owners of intellectual property and regulating the importation of goods in to Australia. In general, these laws prevent the making of misrepresentations in relation to products being offered for sale and the unauthorized sale of products that contravene intellectual property rights, such as the sale of branded products in the Australian market in circumstances where the brand owner has not consented to the application of its brand on products for sale in the Australian market. Further, Australian privacy laws govern the collection, handling and protection of personal information by a company. Our operations in Australia are also subject to Australian direct marketing laws that regulate how personal information can and cannot be used by a company for direct marketing purposes. Our Australian sales are also affected by taxation legislation and other fiscal policies adopted by the Australian government. In particular, sales of stock, financing and administration or management service arrangements between us and our Australian subsidiary must be consistent with the relevant provisions of Australian taxation laws relating to transfer pricing.
Consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law, or ACL, apply in Australia for the supply of goods to consumers where (i) the price is less than AUD$40,000 or (ii) the goods are of a type ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic or household consumption. Relevant consumer guarantees include that the goods are of acceptable quality (fit for purpose), acceptable in appearance and finish, free from defects, safe and durable. An importer may be liable directly to the consumer if the manufacturer has no place of business in Australia. Liability for consumer guarantees cannot be excluded or limited.
Misleading and Deceptive Conduct and Passing Off
In general, Australian laws prevent the making of misrepresentations in relation to products being offered for sale in Australia. Under the ACL, it is unlawful for a person or corporation, in trade or commerce, to engage in conduct that is misleading and deceptive or likely to mislead and deceive. The sale in Australia of goods that were intended by the manufacturer for sale only overseas has the potential to give rise to representations that are misleading or deceptive, particularly where there is a difference in quality in the goods. In addition, the common law tort of passing off forms part of the law in Australia and prevents a person from misrepresenting that his goods are those of another trader where that misrepresentation is likely to deceive the public that the goods are the other’s party’s goods, and where the first trader suffers damage to its business, reputation or goodwill as a result of the misrepresentation.
Sale of Goods Ordinance & Control of Exemption Clauses Ordinance
The Sale of Goods Ordinance (Chapter 26 of the Laws of Hong Kong), or the SGO, implies certain terms into contracts of sale of goods in Hong Kong, which include implied conditions that the seller has or will have the right to sell the goods and that goods supplied are of satisfactory quality, fit for the buyer’s purposes, match the descriptions provided by the seller and any samples. The SGO also provides for circumstances where buyers may be deemed to have accepted goods and the actions that a buyer may take for any breach of contract by a seller.
Where any right, duty or liability would arise under a contract of sale of goods by implication of the SGO, the contract may (subject to the Control of Exemption Clauses Ordinance (Chapter 17 of the Laws of Hong Kong), or the CECO) be negated or varied by express agreement, or by the course of dealings between the parties, or by usage if the usage is such as to bind both parties to the contract. The CECO provides that exemption clauses in standard terms of business or where one of the contracting parties is a consumer in Hong Kong may have no effect to void a claim against the seller if such clauses are proved to be unreasonable.
Unconscionable Contracts Ordinance
The Unconscionable Contracts Ordinance (Chapter 458 of the Laws of Hong Kong), or the UCO, applies to a contract for the sale of goods or supply of services in which one of the contracting parties is a consumer. Under the UCO, if it is proven that the contract or any part thereof was unconscionable (unfair or not sensible) in circumstances relating to the contract at the time when it was made, the Hong Kong courts may refuse to enforce the contract, to only enforce the other provisions of the contract without the unconscionable part, or to limit the application of, or to revise or alter, any unconscionable part of the contract so as to avoid any unconscionable result.
Trade Descriptions Ordinance
The Trade Descriptions Ordinance (Chapter 362 of the Laws of Hong Kong), or the TDO, prohibits false trade descriptions, false, misleading or incomplete information, false marks and misstatements in respect of goods provided in the course of trade and false trade descriptions in respect of services supplied by traders in Hong Kong. Generally speaking, violations of the TDO are considered to be an offense under Hong Kong law, unless a defense is available.
Electronic Transactions Ordinance
The Electronic Transactions Ordinance (Chapter 553 of the Laws of Hong Kong) in general accords electronic record and electronic signature the same legal status as that of their paper-based counterparts.
Laws relating to intellectual property
The sale of branded products to the Hong Kong market by us either through our websites or through our Hong Kong subsidiary’s operation of offline pop-up events in Hong Kong are subject to compliance with laws aimed at protecting the rights of owners of intellectual property (including the Trade Marks Ordinance (Chapter 559 of the laws of Hong Kong), the Copyright Ordinance (Chapter 528 of the laws of Hong Kong) and the Registered Designs Ordinance (Chapter 522 of the laws of Hong Kong)). In general, these laws offer protection to brand owners that own intellectual property rights that are contravened by any unauthorized sale of the branded products in the Hong Kong market.
Laws of tort in respect of passing-off, procuring a breach of contract and conversion
The sale of branded products to the Hong Kong market by us either through our websites or through our Hong Kong subsidiary’s operation of offline pop-up events in Hong Kong are also subject to compliance with the common laws of tort in respect of passing-off (where a person misrepresents that his goods are those of another person and the misrepresentation is likely to so deceive or confuse the public, resulting in the latter to suffer damage to its business, reputation or goodwill), procuring a breach of contract (where there is a contractual arrangement in place between the trademark owner and an authorized dealer restricting the latter from selling the goods for re-sale outside a particular territory, a person who takes part in acts effecting the breach of that contractual arrangement in a concerted effort with such authorized dealer commits a tort) and conversion (where a person purchases stolen goods from his suppliers and sells them, even if that person neither knows nor ought to have known that it is acting unlawfully, or that person acts entirely without negligence).
Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance
The Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Chapter 486 of the Laws of Hong Kong), or the PDPO, covers any personal data that relates to a living person and can be used to identify that person, which exists in a form in which access or processing is practicable. It applies to a data user who, either alone or jointly or in common with other persons, controls the collection, holding, processing or use of the data. Pursuant to the PDPO, Hong Kong’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, or the Commissioner, can investigate complaints of breaches of the PDPO, as well as initiate investigations and, at the conclusion of an investigation, issue an enforcement notice against the data user, requiring it to take remedial action. The Commissioner can institute civil or criminal proceedings against any data user that fails to comply with an enforcement notice, depending on the nature of the breach.
Contravention of an enforcement notice is an offense which could result in a maximum fine of HK$50,000 and imprisonment for two years.
The PDPO also criminalizes, among others, misuse or inappropriate use of personal data in direct marketing activities; non-compliance with data access request and unauthorized disclosure of personal data obtained without data user’s consent. The maximum penalty for breach under the PDPO is a fine of up to HK$1,000,000 and imprisonment for up to five years.
Pursuant to section 24 of the Theft Ordinance (Chapter 210 of the laws of Hong Kong), a person handles stolen goods if (otherwise than in the course of the stealing) knowing or believing them to be stolen goods he dishonestly receives the goods, or dishonestly undertakes or assists in their retention, removal, disposal or realization by or for the benefit of another person, or if he arranges to do so.
Such person shall be guilty of an offense and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for up to 14 years.
Act on Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce Transactions, etc.
The Act on Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce Transactions, etc., or the E-Commerce Consumer Protection Act, provides a general framework for regulation of e-commerce businesses, and sets forth legal requirements with the goal of providing consumer protection for sale of goods and services by any means not involving direct, face-to-face contact between a seller and a buyer. This is referred to as “distance selling,” which includes transactions conducted through telecommunications and any other means of distance communication, such as the internet. Under the E-Commerce Consumer Protection Act, a business seeking to engage in distance selling must comply with the following legal requirements:
Reporting requirements: The distance selling trader must report information including, among other things, its contact details, internet domain name and the location of its host server to the Korea Fair Trade Commission, or the KFTC, or other relevant government entities;
Notification requirements to customers: The distance selling trader must notify and provide its counterparty with documents (electronic or otherwise) containing basic descriptions of the transactions prior to supplying or providing the products or services, and the information contained in such documents needs to include, among others (i) details of sellers and suppliers, (ii) name, type and contents of as well as other information relating to the products or services being sold, (iii) pricing and payment information, (iv) time and method of supply, (v) method of, deadline for and effect of withdrawal of the order or termination of the contract (including standard form of documents for such withdrawal or termination), (vi) terms and procedures regarding return, exchange, guarantees, refund and compensation in case of delay in refund of the products or services, (vii) certain types of customer service policies, (viii) standard terms and conditions for the transaction (including methods of how to find such standard terms and conditions to verify them), (ix) in case of distance selling under which the consumer pays all or part of the products’ price in advance of the products or services, the fact that such consumer may use certain escrow payment as specified in the E-Commerce Consumer Protection Act and (x) other terms of transaction that may affect the consumer’s decision on the purchase;
Timing requirements: The distance selling trader must take action on the supply of the products or services within seven days, or three business days if advance payment is made (or any other period mutually agreed between the distance selling trader and the consumer) from the date the consumer placed the order. If the distance selling trader becomes aware of any problem in the supply of the products or services ordered, it must promptly notify the consumer of the reason, and in case of distance selling with advance payment, must refund, or take measures necessary for such refund, the amount paid by the consumer within three business days from the date of payment;
Cancellation: Subject to certain exceptions, a consumer may cancel an order or return the products or services ordered within specific time periods; and
Refunds: Upon cancellation of the purchase and return of the products or services by the consumer, the distance selling trader must return the purchase price within three business days from the date it has received the returned products or services. If the products or services are returned without cause, the consumer must bear the delivery expenses. If the cause of the return of products is attributable to the distance selling trader, then the distance selling trader must bear the delivery expenses.
The E-Commerce Consumer Protection Act also regulates businesses which are considered to be “distance selling intermediaries.” These businesses facilitate the distance selling by third parties by making available for use to such third parties a website or other means of distance selling. As an online marketplace provider for distance selling by third parties, regulations relating to “distance selling intermediaries” in the E-Commerce Consumer Protection Act are applicable to our business in South Korea. For example, under the E-Commerce Consumer Protection Act, unless a distance selling intermediary expressly disclaims liability by notice or agreement regarding sales of products, the distance selling intermediary bears joint and several liability with such distance selling trader for damages caused to such trader’s consumers if such damages are caused by willful misconduct or negligence.
Investigation of Breach
The KFTC, the head of city government or the provincial government may, on its own authority or upon petition, conduct necessary investigations relating to violations of the E-Commerce Consumer Protection Act and, in case of any violation, order the violating entity or person to cease and desist, order compliance or take other corrective measures. If the violating entity or person repeats the violation or does not comply with the ordered corrective measure, the KFTC may suspend all or part of the business of the violating entity or person for up to one year or impose a penalty surcharge up to an amount not exceeding the sales amount related to the violation. Not responding to the correction order may also result in imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of up to KRW100 million.
The E-Commerce Consumer Protection Act prohibits distance selling traders and distance selling intermediaries from engaging in certain actions, including among others, misrepresentation, fraud, supplying products without an order and demanding payment, and using consumer information without permission or beyond the scope permitted. A failure to comply with such requirements could result in a fine of up to KRW10 million and a correction order from the KFTC.
Telecommunications Business Act
The Telecommunications Business Act classifies telecommunications service providers into three categories: a network service provider, a specific service provider and a value-added service provider.
An operator of an online marketplace, such as Reebonz Korea Co., Ltd., is classified as a value-added service provider under the Telecommunications Business Act. Value-added service providers are subject to certain reporting requirements and must notify users, among others, of any suspension or closure of all or part of their business and report such events to the relevant authority at least 30 days in advance.
Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection, etc.
The Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection, etc., or the Information Communication Network Act, requires online service providers to protect consumer information maintained by such service providers. When gathering personal information, online service providers must notify the user of (i) the purpose of gathering and using the personal information, (ii) the items of personal information that it intends to gather among others, and (iii) the period of time during which it intends to retain and use the personal information, and obtain consent from the user. Furthermore, in case such information is provided to a third party, online service providers must obtain consent from the user after providing certain notifications. Also, the online service provider may only gather the minimum necessary information directly related to the service it provides. Any use or disclosure of information to a third party beyond the scope notified to the user or agreed in a contract with the user is allowed only when the user consents to such use or disclosure or when such use or disclosure is permitted under any other laws or regulations of South Korea. Certain exceptions to the consent requirement apply. Using or receiving personal information beyond the scope notified to the user or as set forth in the contract or providing personal information to a third party may be punishable by imprisonment of up to five years or a penalty of up to KRW50 million.
After the online service provider has achieved its purpose of collecting or receiving personal information or after the period during which the third party was allowed to hold and use such information has expired, subject to the Information Communication Network Act’s requirement for retention of certain information on contracts, sales, consumer complaints, among others, the online service provider must immediately destroy the personal information, provided, that the same must not apply where it is required to preserve the personal information in accordance with any other laws. A user may claim damages against an online service provider for the harm suffered as a result of the online service provider’s breach of the requirement to protect personal information under the Information Communication Network Act. In such cases, the online service provider may not be discharged from liability, unless it proves that such harm was not due to its willful or negligent act.
Laws Relating to Intellectual Property or Prohibited Items
Certain laws relating to intellectual property rights, such as the Copyright Act or the Trademark Act, regulate items being sold in online marketplaces that infringe on third-party intellectual rights. For example, under the Copyright Act, importers or distributors of authentic luxury goods are prohibited from using others’ images or descriptions of such products. However, if the images or descriptions are created by them and do not constitute a reproduction or transmission of others’ images or descriptions, such use of images or descriptions of the products may be allowed.
Under the Trademark Act, parallel importation is not prohibited and does not itself constitute a trademark infringement if (i) the imported product is a “genuine product” bearing the trademark which was attached by a foreign trademark owner or licensee of such trademark, (ii) such foreign trademark owner or licensee and a domestic trademark owner or licensee (if any) are the same person or entity, or have a close legal or economic relationship (for example, the domestic trademark owner or licensee is an exclusive dealer or distributor or an affiliate of the foreign trademark owner or licensee), and (iii) there is no substantial difference between the product imported by a parallel importer and the products distributed in Korea by a domestic dealer or distributor having the domestic trademark right or license, in terms of product quality (such as the product’s functionality or durability) but not in terms of ancillary services (such as customer service support for the product or replacement of the product). Any person who knowingly infringes a trademark right or an exclusive license to trademark could be subject to imprisonment of up to seven years or a fine of up to KRW100 million. An entity whose representative, agent or employee infringed the trademark right or exclusive license to trademark could also be subject to a fine of up to KRW300 million.
In case the trademark on a product imported by a parallel importer is used as a business mark of the parallel importer and, as a result, misleads others to believe that the parallel importer is an official domestic agent or licensee of the foreign trademark owner or licensee, such use of trademark may constitute an act of unfair competition that is prohibited under the Unfair Competition Prevention and
Trade Secret Protection Act. However, if the parallel importer exercises due care to avoid such confusion by, for example, clarifying on its website that it is not an owner or licensee of the trademark of luxury goods imported and distributed by it or an agent or dealer of the foreign owner or licensee of such trademarks, and that it has no relationship whatsoever with such foreign trademark owner or licensee, the parallel importer’s such use of trademark is not likely to constitute a prohibited unfair competition. An individual who violates the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act by knowingly engaging in an act of unfair competition could be punished by imprisonment of up to three years or a criminal fine of up to KRW30 million, and an entity whose representative, agent or employee commits an act of unfair competition could also be subject to a criminal fine of up to KRW30 million.
Consumer Protection Act
A business operator who engages in the business of designing, producing, manufacturing, importing or distributing goods, or providing services to consumers, is subject to the Consumer Protection Act of Taiwan, or the CPA. With respect to a business operator of an online retail business, the following rules under the CPA apply:
Seven-day Return Period for Online Sales
A consumer who purchases goods online, through telephone, by mail order or in any other similar manner which does not allow a consumer to examine the goods physically (“mail order sale” or “distance sale”) is entitled to return the goods within seven days from the receipt without stating any reasons or paying any expenses or the purchase price under the CPA. Any agreement limiting the seven day return period will be deemed null and void under the CPA.
Regulations on Standardized Contracts
Under the CPA, if a business operator enters into a standardized contract with consumers, the interpretation of the terms and conditions therein should be based on the principles of equality and reciprocity, and if ambiguity exists, interpretations shall be made favorable to consumers. In addition, the CPA authorizes competent authorities to promulgate mandatory and prohibitory provisions of a standardized contract to be used in certain industries. Any terms and conditions contained in the standardized contract used by a business operator violating the mandatory and prohibitory provisions shall be null and void, and such provisions would automatically constitute part of the agreement between the business operator and the consumer. For online retail businesses, the “Mandatory and Prohibitory Provisions Governing Standardized Contracts for the Online Retail Industry” will apply. For online marketplace businesses, if the marketplace operator withholds payment pending the expiration of the return period and remitting the same to the seller, the “Mandatory and Prohibitory Provisions Governing Standardized Contracts for Third-Party Payment Service” will apply. According to the CPA, a business operator who violates the mandatory and prohibitory provisions of the standardized contract will be subject to, unless otherwise provided by law, an administrative fine of NT$30,000 to NT$300,000 if it fails to rectify the violation within the period specified by the competent authority. The fine can be further increased to NT$50,000 to NT$500,000 if it fails to rectify the violation pursuant to the subsequent order, and such fines m