But the company has turned down the offers and, instead, under the leadership of 40-year-old Andrew Tsuei
, it is aggressively putting its business online in a bid to become not just an online catalog company but China's # 1 e-commerce company, bar none.
The Taiwan-born, Rutgers University-educated Tsuei
wants nothing more than to build his
company into the Amazon.com of China - with one crucial difference.Namely, it has to work entirely differently from Amazon.
The Amazon model can not work in China, because merchants here can not just hand off the goods to Federal Express, Tsuei says while strolling down an endless aisle of sky-high shelves stuffed with merchandise to ship.But the mail order model works.We have a functioning business in place with every necessary link, from getting orders to payment, fulfillment, and shipment..
As we walk briskly past a long row of desks manned by young women answering customer e-mails on their PC's, I asked Tsuei
plans to compete against the likes of these behemoths.
Their view of China is that the market be not ready, but let's open an office, learn about the country and see how it goes, Tsuei said.But that be far too slow.The opportunity is there now, and we be going for it.They are giant companies that move very slowly.We can move fast, and we be way ahead.
Slow-moving they may be, but Tsuei
acknowledges that if one of the German giants suddenly decided to plunk US $ 50 million or $ 75 million into the business, Mecox Lane would have a real fight on its hands.that be why he
and Warburg Pincus are planning to take the company public, either on the NASDAQ or the Hong Kong GEM exchange, late this summer.
It will take us US $ 100 million to win this war, Tsuei says.
A month ago they were planning to raise the money on the NASDAQ exchange ; the recent fabulous success of tom.com on Hong Kong's new GEM exchange has made that capital market more attractive.
In December last year, Mecox Lane conducted a test-run of its new Internet-based business.On the back page of the company's latest catalog, it ran a full page advertisement announcing it be prototype Web site.