From rice paddy to table – innovating a commodity that is as old as China.
A commodity staple in China with thousands of years of history, rice has been cultivated, processed, and distributed the same way for decades. Harvest founder Bing Wang saw the changing sentiment of a new generation of consumers and seized the opportunity to re-imagine how this every day food is consumed.
Originally founded in 2012, Harvest operates from the famed Wuchang region – known as the “Bordeaux” of rice – seeking to produce only the highest quality rice. Bing’s vision to “deliver the freshest possible rice to our customers” resulted in a fundamental change of the supply chain and distribution for rice in China, and has turned the commodity staple into a lifestyle product.
Today, Harvest is one China’s largest rice distributors, with over CNY 5 billion in annual revenue. Their omnichannel distribution model dominates online sales (over 40% of rice sales on JD.com), and with increased traction through its own branded stores.
Our data-driven approach and access to proprietary data gave us an edge in finding this emerging brand, at a time when Harvest sought to establish its initial online sales channels. While other investors saw rice as a commodity with little growth, we saw the potential for Harvest to shake-up an otherwise stagnant industry. Understanding and sharing this vision ultimately helped secure our partnership. Harvest has been one of the most prominent deals sourced through GenBridge’s data-driven method of selecting investments.
Harvest is a model example of how new generation brands break the mold of traditional players. Agricultural companies are not known for their digital prowess. Our work with Harvest’s management is to strengthen its partnership with JD.com and become the #1 online rice brand. At the same time, we are supporting its offline efforts with branded stores, creating a powerful omni-channel model, and establishing itself as a leading national food brand in China.
Consumers are attracted to Harvest for its reputation as a “seasonal” rice producer – able to deliver rice fresh in-season, as opposed to last year’s crop. Their vacuum-sealed packaging is compact and locks in freshness, a departure from traditional rice packaging. Additionally, the idea of rice delivered to your door is novel and has saved customers the heavy work of carrying sacks of rice from supermarket to home.