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TABLE OF CONTENTS
DADA NEXUS LIMITED INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Filed Pursuant to Rule 424(b)(4)
Registration No. 333-251028
9,000,000 American Depositary Shares
Dada Nexus Limited
Representing 36,000,000 Ordinary Shares
This is a public offering of American depositary shares, or ADSs, of Dada Nexus Limited.
We are offering 9,000,000 ADSs. Each ADS represents four of our ordinary shares, par value US$0.0001 per share.
Our ADSs are listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "DADA."
One of our existing shareholders, JD Group, has subscribed for, and has been allocated by the underwriters, 850,000 ADSs in this offering, at the public offering price and on the same terms as the other ADSs being offered in this offering.
See "Risk Factors" beginning on page 17 for factors you should consider before buying the ADSs.
PRICE US$50.00 PER ADS
Neither the United States Securities and Exchange Commission nor any other regulatory body has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
Public offering price
Underwriting discounts and commissions
Proceeds, before expenses, to us
The underwriters have the option to purchase up to an additional 1,350,000 ADSs from us at the public offering price less the underwriting discounts.
The underwriters expect to deliver the ADSs against payment in New York, New York on December 7, 2020.
|Goldman Sachs||BofA Securities||Jefferies||Haitong International|
KeyBanc Capital Markets
Prospectus dated December 2, 2020
Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Use of Proceeds
Enforceability of Civil Liabilites
Corporate History and Structure
Selected Consolidated Financial Data
Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Related Party Transactions
Description of Share Capital
Description of American Depositary Shares
Shares Eligible for Future Sale
Expenses Related to this Offering
Where You Can Find Additional Information
Index to Consolidated Financial Statements
You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus or in any related free writing prospectus. We have not authorized anyone to provide you with information different from that contained in this prospectus or in any related free writing prospectus. We are offering to sell, and seeking offers to buy the ADSs, only in jurisdictions where offers and sales are permitted. The information contained in this prospectus is accurate only as of the date of this prospectus, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus or any sale of the ADSs.
Neither we nor any of the underwriters has taken any action to permit a public offering of the ADSs outside the United States or to permit the possession or distribution of this prospectus or any filed free writing prospectus outside the United States. Persons outside the United States who come into possession of this prospectus or any filed free writing prospectus must inform themselves about and observe any restrictions relating to the offering of the ADSs and the distribution of the prospectus or any filed free writing prospectus outside the United States.
Until December 27, 2020 (the 25th day after the date of this prospectus), all dealers that buy, sell or trade ADSs, whether or not participating in this offering, may be required to deliver a prospectus. This is in addition to the obligation of dealers to deliver a prospectus when acting as underwriters and with respect to their unsold allotments or subscriptions.
Investing in our ADSs involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the following risks and uncertainties and all other information contained in this prospectus before investing in our ADSs. Our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects could also be harmed by risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently do not believe are material. If any of the risks actually occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be adversely affected. In that event, the market price of our ADSs could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
Our business and growth are significantly affected by the future growth and proliferation of local on-demand retail and delivery industries, which are new and rapidly evolving.
We operate in two new and rapidly evolving industries. Our business and growth are highly dependent on the future growth and proliferation of local on-demand retail and delivery industries in China, which could be affected by many factors and beyond our control.
Firstly, the local on-demand retail industry in China could be affected by, from the merchant side, the close integration with and improvements in online infrastructure, efficient access to consumers, user base and insights, customer acquisition costs; and from the consumer side, by the continued formation of consumers' online retail consumption habits, the selection, price and popularity of products offered by retailers, the demand for convenience, the availability, reliability and security of on-demand retail channels and shopping experience.
Secondly, the local on-demand delivery industry in China could be affected by the development of local delivery infrastructure, sophistication of logistics technologies that improve operational efficiency, store digitalization and inventory optimization, enhanced picking and fulfillment capability, reduction of losses on perishables in transportation, and increasing level of price-sensitivity and time-sensitivity of merchants and individual senders.
In addition, other factors, such as changes in government policies, laws and regulations governing the retail and delivery industries, and changes in macroeconomic conditions resulting in economic recessions and inflation and deflation that affect consumer confidence in general can also influence the growth of the local on-demand retail and delivery industries in China. Our ongoing success depends on our ability to continue to adapt to evolving industrial trends, modify our strategies, and satisfy changing customer demands. If local on-demand retail and delivery industries in China fail to develop as we expect, our business and growth could be materially and adversely affected.
Our operation could also be significantly affected by the development of the e-commerce industry, an adjacent industry to local on-demand retail, in China. Major e-commerce platforms may start to offer or strengthen their offerings of daily necessities and other competing products that are of less time-sensitive nature to consumers at lower prices and in reliable storage conditions, where the consumers' willingness to wait longer time might be increased, such as next-day delivery. Demand for our advantageous on-demand retail and delivery in efficiency might be weaken due to possible lower prices charged by e-commerce platforms and our business and growth could be materially and adversely affected.
Our limited operating history and evolving business model makes it difficult to evaluate our business and future prospects and the risks and challenges we may encounter.
We commenced our commercial operation in 2014. As we only have limited historical financial data, it is difficult to predict our future revenues and appropriately budget for our costs and expenses, and the evaluation of our business and prediction about our future performance may not be as accurate as they would be if we had a longer operating history. In the event that actual results differ from our evaluation or we adjust our estimates in future periods, our results of operations and financial position could be materially affected and the investors' perceptions of our business and future prospects could differ materially from their expectations and the market price of our ADSs could decline.
We have been actively exploring boundaries and expanding our services. We started with Dada Now for local on-demand delivery service in July 2014, and began to tap into the local on-demand retail service in April 2016 upon the acquisition of JDDJ. Our evolving business make it difficult to evaluate the risks and challenges we may encounter. The risks and uncertainties we may face include challenges to our ability to successfully develop new platform features and expand our service offerings to enhance the experience of our various platform participants, to attract new retailers, merchants, consumers, individual senders and riders in a cost-effective manner, to anticipate and respond to macroeconomic changes and changes in local markets where we operate, to successfully expand our geographic reach, to forecast our revenue and manage capital expenditures for our current and future operations and to comply with existing and new laws and regulations applicable to our business. If we fail to address the risks and challenges that we face, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Any deterioration in our relationship with our major strategic investors may adversely affect our prospectus and business operations.
Our business has benefited from our collaborations with our major strategic investors, some of which are also our customers, such as JD Group and Walmart Group, and we expect to continue to be reliant on them for the foreseeable future. Immediately after the completion of this offering, JD Group and Walmart Group each will hold approximately 46.5% and 10.2% equity interests of our Company, respectively. For more details of JD Group's and Walmart Group's beneficial ownership in our equity securities, please see "Principal Shareholders."
We derive a significant portion of revenue from providing last-mile delivery services to JD Group, as well as from performing omni-channel services to Walmart Group. Please see "Our concentration on a small number of customers could adversely affect our business and results of operations." for more details of our reliance on these two strategic investors.
In addition, the JDDJ trademarks are licensed from JD Group. On April 26, 2016, we entered into a series of trademark licensing agreements with JD Group. Pursuant to the licensing terms, JD Group continues to own the relevant JDDJ trademarks and licenses the exclusive use of such trademarks to us infinitely until either of the earliest of (i) mutual agreement to terminate the trademark licensing; (ii) expiration of the terms of such trademarks; or (iii) JD Group's termination of the trademark licensing upon happening of certain triggering events, such as the decrease of JD Group's shareholding percentage in our company to a certain degree on a fully diluted basis, or any material adverse influence to JD Group's brand and reputation caused by our licensed use of such trademarks or the termination of JD Group's business cooperation agreement with us. If any of the event happens and JD Group terminates its license of the JDDJ trademarks to us, our business could be disrupted, and our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. In addition, if JD Group, as the owner of JDDJ trademarks, fails to maintain or renew the registration status of such trademarks, our use of
JDDJ brand will also be adversely affected. Further, to the extent the brand and reputation of JD Group suffers any negative publicity, especially those involving any similar trademarks or any other trademarks owned or used by JD Group, our reputation may be negatively affected by virtue of our various collaboration with JD Group.
We also rely on JD Group on certain operational support services, including traffic support, logistic cooperation, marketing and promotion services, and other managerial services. For example, approximately 31% of total traffic to JDDJ platform had come from JD.com in the twelve months ended September 30, 2020.
We cannot assure you that we will continue to maintain our cooperative relationships with our major strategic investors and their respective affiliates in the future. Our current cooperation landscape with JD Group and Walmart Group are set forth in our business cooperation agreements with them, respectively, covering our collaboration with JD Group regarding user traffic, supply chain, marketing and other cooperation, and our collaboration with Walmart Group regarding omni-channel initiative and expansion plan. However, we may not be able to successfully extend or renew our business cooperation agreements with JD Group and Walmart Group upon expiration of the current terms or early termination of the agreements on commercially reasonable terms or at all and may therefore be prohibited or restricted to conduct relevant business. This could materially disrupt our operations and result in significant alternative expenses, which could adversely affect our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations. For details of the terms of our business cooperation agreements with JD Group and Walmart Group, please see "BusinessOur Strategic Partners."
We have a history of net losses and negative cash flows from operating activities, which may continue in the future.
We have incurred net losses and negative cash flows from operating activities each year since our inception and we may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability or positive cash flow in the future. We incurred net losses of RMB1,449.1 million, RMB1,878.4 million, RMB1,669.8 million (US$245.9 million) and RMB1,170.8 million (US$172.4 million) in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the nine months ended September 30, 2020, respectively. Net cash used in our operating activities was RMB1,211.6 million, RMB1,819.4 million, RMB1,297.8 million (US$191.1 million) and RMB819.6 million (US$120.7 million) in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the nine months ended September 30, 2020, respectively.
Our costs and expenses will likely increase in the future as we expect to enhance our on-demand delivery capabilities, develop and launch new service offerings and solutions, expand customer base in existing market and penetrate into new markets, and continue to invest and innovate in our technology infrastructure. Any of these efforts may incur significant capital investment and recurring costs, have different revenue and cost structures, and take time to achieve profitability. In addition, these efforts may be more costly than we expect and may not result in increased revenue or growth in our business.
Our ability to achieve profitability depends on our ability to improve our market position and profile, expand our online platforms, maintain competitive pricing, increase our operational efficiency and obtain financing, which may be affected by numerous factors beyond our control. If we are unable to generate adequate revenue growth and manage our costs and expenses, we may not be able to achieve profitability or positive cash flow on a consistent basis, which may impact our business growth and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our concentration on a small number of customers could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We derive a substantial portion of our net revenue from a relatively small number of customers, including JD Group, Walmart Group and Yonghui. Although we plan to expand and diversify our customer base, we still expect to be reliant on our major customers, some of which are also our major strategic investors, including JD Group and Walmart Group, for the foreseeable future. In particular, we expect that JD Group will continue to account for a substantial portion of service revenues generated by Dada Now platform, and Walmart Group and Yonghui, collectively, will continue to account for an important portion of our revenues generated by JDDJ platform for the foreseeable future. In 2017, 2018, 2019 and the nine months ended September 30, 2020, 56.7%, 49.1%, 50.5% and 39.0% of our net revenues were derived from services provided to JD Group, respectively. Walmart Group became a related party of ours in August 2018, and in 2018, 2019 and the nine months ended September 30, 2020, 4.6%, 13.0% and 15.1% of our net revenues were derived from services provided to Walmart Group after it became our related party, respectively.
Such concentration of customers is primarily the result of our in-depth collaborations with JD Group and Walmart Group. We have entered into business cooperation agreements with JD Group and Walmart Group, respectively, for details of the terms of such business cooperation agreements, please see "BusinessOur Strategic Partners." If the business cooperation agreements with these two major customers were terminated or not renewed upon expiration, our business relationships might be adversely affected and our revenue deriving from serving these two major customers may decrease. In addition, concerns of our major customers such as their increasing reliance on us for local on-demand retail and delivery services may drive them to address their concentration risks through diversifying their vendor base and engage other firms besides us, under which circumstances they may also choose to reduce cooperation with us.
The decrease in the amount of orders placed by or services provided to any of these small number of our customers, the loss or reduction of any significant agreements, the deterioration of our relationships with any such customers, or any material negative trends of markets in which these customers operate, could materially disrupt our operations and our revenue and cash flows from operating activities could be significantly reduced. If we cannot find other potential customers on a cost-effective and timely basis, or at all, the loss of business from any one of such customers could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. In addition, any of the foregoing risks may strain our managerial, financial, operational and other resources. If we fail to manage such reduction in revenue or deterioration of our relationships with small number of major customers, our brand and reputation could also be materially harmed.
We face intense competition and could lose market share, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
The markets for local on-demand retail and local on-demand delivery are competitive and characterized by rapid market changes and technology evolution, giving rise to new market entrants and well-funded competitors and the introduction of new business models disruptive to our business. Although we are not aware of any peer companies in the industry that operate under a business model that directly resembles ours, our two platforms face competition in their respective markets. There are multiple existing market players that operates on-demand delivery and/or on-demand retail business, such as Ele.me, Meituan Dianping and SF Rush, and there may be new entrants emerging in each of the markets we operate in, and these market players compete to attract, engage and retain consumers and merchants. They may be well-established and be able to devote greater resources to the development, promotion and sale of offerings and offer lower prices than we do, which could adversely
affect our results of operations. If we cannot equip ourselves with necessary resources and skills, we may lose market share as competition increases.
Our current and potential competitors may also establish cooperative or strategic relationships amongst themselves or with third parties that may further enhance their resources and offerings. If we are unable to anticipate or react to these competitive challenges, our competitive position could weaken, or fail to improve, and we could experience a decline in growth that could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Further, certain large retailers may build or further develop their own on-demand delivery network leveraging on their established delivery capacities in selected high-density cities in order to gain control of the consumer touchpoint and to create synergies with their businesses. They may even expand to serve outside e-commerce platforms and compete with us for qualified riders and personnel at lower costs. In addition, our customers may also develop their own delivery capabilities, increase utilization of their in-house supply chain, reduce their logistics spending, or otherwise choose to terminate our services.
Any harm to Dada Now and JDDJ brands or reputation may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We believe that building a strong brand and reputation as an effective, safe, reliable and affordable platform and continuing to increase the strength of the network effects are critical to our business and competitiveness. The brand recognition and reputation of our "Dada Now" and "JDDJ" brands and the successful maintenance and enhance of our brand and reputation have contributed and will continue to contribute significantly to our success and growth.
Any negative perception and publicity, whether or not justified, such as complaints and accidents in relation to user experience, products sold on our platform, quality of delivery services and our brand awareness and recognition, and actual or perceived deterioration of our service quality could tarnish our reputation and reduce the value of our brand, which might result in loss of important customers. Further, our competitors may fabricate complaints or negative publicity about us and retailers, merchants and riders on our platforms for the purpose of vicious competition. With the increased use of social media, adverse publicity can be disseminated quickly and broadly, making it increasingly difficult for us to respond and mitigate effectively.
We are also subject to negative publicity regarding our platform participants, whose activities are out of our control. Negative public perception on the merchandise sold by retailers on our platform or that retailers on our platform do not provide satisfactory consumer services, even if factually incorrect or based on isolated incidents, could undermine the trust and credibility we have established and have a negative impact on our ability to attract new consumer or retain our current consumers. In addition, complaints regarding illegal, negligent, reckless or otherwise inappropriate behavior of the riders on our platform could also adversely and materially harm our reputation and brand.
If we are unable to maintain our reputation, enhance our brand recognition or increase positive awareness of our platforms, it may be difficult to maintain and grow our customer base, and our business, results of operations and growth prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
The status of our riders as independent contractors of retailers, merchants or individual senders on our platforms may be challenged.
We rely on the riders to deliver products sold on JDDJ and our other cooperated platforms and retailers, and to provide local on-demand delivery services to orders placed through Dada Now. However, such riders are independent contractors of the retailers and merchants selling or delivering products and individual senders delivering or fetching items on our platforms, instead of our employees.
As the platform connecting the retailers, merchants and individual senders with riders, we provide online platforms to these participants, and derive revenue from charging service fees from these parties. The riders can choose whether, when, and where to provide services on our platform and are free to provide services on other platforms.
However, we have been subject to and may continue to be subject to claims, lawsuits, arbitration proceedings, administrative actions and other legal and regulatory proceedings seeking to reclassify the riders. We prevail in a substantial majority of such lawsuits where the relevant judgments have confirmed that there were no employment relationships between the riders and us. However, laws and regulations that govern the status and classification of independent contractors are subject to changes and divergent interpretations by various authorities which can create uncertainty and unpredictability for us.
In the event of a reclassification of the status of riders as our independent contractors, we could be held liable for personal injuries and property damages caused by such riders to third parties. In the event of such reclassifications, we could also be held liable for any severe personal injuries or casualties occurred to such riders.
Further, a determination that reclassifies a rider as an employee of us could cause us to incur significant additional expenses resulting from the potential application of labor and employment laws to compensate riders, including employee benefits, social security contributions and housing provident funds, as well as the application of relevant taxes and governmental penalties or other legal sanctions. Further, any such reclassification would require us to fundamentally change our pricing methodologies and business model, and consequently have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our historical growth rate may not be indicative of our future performance and if we fail to effectively manage our growth, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
We have experienced rapid growth since our inception, particularly in terms of the number of riders, active consumers, GMV, daily delivery orders and peak day order volume, and our geographic reach. However, there is no assurance that we will be able to maintain our historical growth rates in future periods. Our growth may slow due to a number of reasons, including decreasing demand for our services or market saturation, increasing competition, emergence of alternative business models, changes in government policies, increasing regulatory costs, declining growth of the online retail industry in China, or changes in general economic conditions. If our growth slows or declines, investors' perceptions of our business and prospects may be adversely affected and the market price of our ADSs could decline.
We cannot assure you that we will be able to effectively manage our future growth. We have evolved from a local on-demand delivery service provider to a leading platform of local on-demand retail and delivery in China, and we expect to continue to experience business growth in the future. We
intend to achieve growth by enhancing our on-demand delivery capabilities, invigorating local on-demand retail platform and solidifying our leading position in supermarket, creating more values for brand owners, and continuing to invest and innovate in technologies. We cannot assure you that our growth initiatives will succeed. In addition, our rapid growth has placed, and may continue to place significant demands on our management and our technology systems, as well as our administrative, operational and financial systems. Our ability to manage our growth effectively and to integrate new technologies and participants into our existing business will also require us to continue to implement a variety of new and upgraded managerial, operating, technological and financial systems, procedures and controls. If we are not able to effectively manage the growth of our business and operations or execute our strategies effectively, our expansion may not be successful and our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
If we fail to cost-effectively attract new retailers and merchants to our platforms, or to maintain relationships with existing retailers and merchants, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.
We rely on retailers to offer products that appeal to our existing and potential consumers at attractive prices on our JDDJ platform and rely on merchants to generate delivery demands on our Dada Now local on-demand delivery platform. Our success depends in part on our ability to cost-effectively attract new retailers and merchants to our platforms and to maintain relationships with existing retailers and merchants. We must continue to provide retailers and merchants with on-demand delivery infrastructure, commercial support, technology support of comprehensive retail solutions and smart-offline store solutions, and operational insights. If we fail to provide these services comparable or superior to those of our competitors, we may fail to attract new retailers and merchants to our platforms, or to maintain relationships with existing retailers and merchants. Merchants may also choose our competitors if they charge lower service or other fees, or if our competitors provide more types of or more effective empowering services, or the merchants being acquired by or merged into our competitors, or form strategic alliance with our competitors.
The extent to which we are able to maintain and strengthen the attractiveness of our platforms to retailers and merchants also depends on our ability to provide and maintain platforms where retailers and merchants are able to develop mutually beneficial relationships with other participants. For example, if retailers or merchants are unsatisfied with the services performed by riders on our platforms, our ability to attract new retailers and merchants, or to maintain relationships with existing merchants could be adversely affected.
In addition, as we continue to expand into new geographic areas, we also rely in part on the expansion of our existing retailers and merchants to lower-tier cities, some of which operate national chain stores, to attract new retailers and merchants. If we fail to satisfy the needs of existing retailers and merchants, our ability to cost-effectively attract new retailers and merchants to our platforms could be adversely affected, and our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.
If we fail to cost-effectively attract and retain new consumers and increase engagement of existing consumers on our JDDJ platform, or to adapt our services to changing consumer needs, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.
The success of our JDDJ platform depends in part on our ability to cost-effectively attract and retain new consumers and increase engagement of existing consumers. We believe that our selling and marketing efficiency, consistent and reliable services and rapid responses to changing consumer preferences have been critical in promoting awareness of our services, which in turn drive new consumer growth and engagement. However, if our promotional activities and marketing strategies do not work efficiently and we cannot continue to lower our customer acquisition cost, if the consumers
cannot find products they are looking for on our JDDJ platform, or if our competitors offer more incentive promotions, or provide better, more convenient or more cost-effective services, they may lose interest in us and visit our mobile apps or websites less frequently or even stop placing orders with us.
We have been leveraging artificial intelligence technologies to generate personalized recommendations to consumers for products and incentives in which they may be potentially interested. For example, on our JDDJ platform, product and store information could be displayed in various orders, such as product categories, past sales volume, distance between offline stores to the consumer and estimated delivery time. In addition, we make individually tailored recommendations and incentives to consumers according to a comprehensive database. If our searching results display or tailored recommendations and incentives fail to satisfy individual consumer needs, we may lose potential or existing consumers and may experience decrease in orders.
Further, if the consumers do not perceive the services provided by riders on our JDDJ platform to be reliable and safe, we may not be able to attract and retain consumers and increase their utilization of our platform. The decrease in consumer base will affect our ability to provide the retailers on our platform with adequate consumer demands, which may reduce our platform's attractiveness to retailers, and the decrease in merchant base will, in turn, result in further decrease in consumer base. Therefore, if we fail to cost-effectively retain consumers and increase their utilization of our platform, our business and results of operations could be adversely and materially affected.
Any failure in delivery with efficiency could damage our reputation and substantially harm our business.
We are devoted to delivering items purchased from JDDJ or for orders placed through Dada Now with efficiency to ensure premium user experience. However, consumers and individual senders of local on-demand retail and delivery services are becoming more time-sensitive and price-sensitive, and their willingness to pay for local on-demand retail and delivery may decrease if the services are not conveniently and quickly available at reasonable price. Therefore, if we are unable to provide local on-demand retail and delivery services in a timely, reliable, safe and affordable manner, our reputation, customer loyalty, and business could be negatively affected.
We rely on our proprietary smart order recommendation and dispatching system to support our time management and instant rerouting based on traffic condition to estimate and ensure our delivery efficiency. However, our actual delivery time is subject to various factors that may beyond our control, including the regional traffic conditions and weather conditions that may affect the traffic, governmental activities that block the normal delivery route and unanticipated accidents. In addition, our platforms match and dispatch delivery tasks by computing a matching score between the order and each of the riders nearby. Although our smart order recommendation and dispatching system could simulate the optimal route and optimize the performance and efficiency of our delivery network, we may experience rider shortage in peak hours or for remote area, where delivery orders might not be accepted and picked up timely. If products and items are not delivered on time or are delivered in a damaged condition, our consumers and individual senders may lose confidence on us, which in turn may result in the merchants' less confidence on us. Our reputation and brand may be adversely damaged and we may lose customers.
We collect, process and use data, some of which contains personal information. Any privacy or data security breach could damage our reputation and brand and substantially harm our business and results of operations.
As a technology-based platform, our business generates and processes a large quantity of personal, transaction, behavioral and demographic data. We face risks inherent in handling and protecting large
volumes of data, including protecting the data hosted in our system, detecting and prohibiting unauthorized data share and transfer, preventing attacks on our system by outside parties or fraudulent behavior or improper use by our employees, and maintaining and updating our database. Any system failure, security breach or third parties attacks or attempts to illegally obtain the data that results in any actual or perceived release of user data could damage our reputation and brand, deter current and potential customers from using our services, damage our business, and expose us to potential legal liability.
We also have access to a large amount of confidential information in our day-to-day operations. Each waybill contains the names, addresses, phone numbers and other contact information of the sender and recipient of an order placed and delivered through our platforms. The content of the item delivered may also constitute or reveal confidential information. Although we have data security polices and measures in place, for example, leveraging on our encryption techniques, order code, instead of actual personal information, of each transaction on our platforms will be shown to our personnel as well as riders handling the orders, we cannot assure you that the information will not be misappropriated, as a large number of riders and our personnel handle the orders and have access to the relevant confidential information. All of the riders are not our employees, which makes it more difficult for us to implement adequate management, supervision and control over them.
We are subject to domestic laws and regulations relating to the collection, use, storage, transfer, disclosure and security of personally identifiable information with respect to our customers and employees including any requests from regulatory and government authorities relating to this data. Further, PRC regulators have been increasingly focused on regulation in the areas of data security and data protection. For example, in July 2020, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress published for public comment a draft Data Security Law, which provides that varying levels of data protection measures will be applied at the national level based on the level of importance of the data, and the collection and use of such data should not exceed the necessary limits. We expect that these areas will receive greater public scrutiny and attention from regulators and more frequent and rigid investigation or review by regulators, which will increase our compliance costs and subject us to heightened risks and challenges. If we are unable to manage these risks, we could become subject to penalties, fines, suspension of business and revocation of required licenses, and our reputation and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
We are subject to risks inherent in the logistics industry, including personal injury, product damage, and transportation-related incidents.
A large volume of products are being handled and delivered by a large number of our riders every day. We face the risks associated with carriage and transportation safety, which may result in property damages and personal injuries. Items carried and transferred by our riders may be stolen, damaged or lost for various reasons. In particular, delivery of fresh and perishable products entails inherent risks regarding item packing and stacking, storage condition in transit, and traffic condition.
Our failure to detect and prevent unsafe, prohibited or restricted items from entering into our delivery platform may harm our reputation and business, and subject us to penalties and civil liabilities if any personal injury or property damage take place. In addition, we cannot guarantee all unsafe items, such as flammables and explosives, toxic or corrosive items be detected and prevented, and those unsafe items may damage other products and items in our network, injure recipients and harm personnel and damage other properties.
Delivery of products also involves risks regarding transportation safety. We constantly have a large number of riders in transportation and most of them ride electric bicycles. From time to time, riders on
our platforms may be involved in transportation accidents, and the products and items carried by them may be lost or damaged. In addition, the riders and third-parties may also suffer personal injuries, where the insurance maintained by them may not fully cover the damages caused. We are regularly subject to claims, lawsuits, arbitrations and other legal proceedings seeking to hold us liable for property damages and personal injuries caused in the process of performing our local on-demand delivery services, which may be raised by item senders and recipients, consumers, merchants, riders and injured third-parties, the results of which cannot be predicted with certainty.
Any of the foregoing risks could disrupt our services, cause us to incur substantial expenses and divert the time and attention of our management. We may face claims and incur significant liabilities if found liable or partially liable for any injuries, damages or losses. Claims against us may not be covered by insurance at all. Government authorities may also impose significant fines on us or require us to adopt costly preventive measures. Furthermore, if our delivery services are perceived to be unsafe by consumers, individual senders, merchants and riders on our platforms, which may reduce our platforms' attractiveness, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.
We may fail to successfully roll out and expand our offerings of various value-added services to retailers and brand owners on our platforms.
We have been constantly introducing new value-added services to retailers and brand owners to solidify our relationship with them and increase customer stickiness. For example, we have utilized our big data technology to help retailers establish omni-channel membership programs. Together with our CRM tools, we empower retailers to target and communicate with their members and potential consumers for effective marketing. We also help brand owners broaden their consumer reach, deepen their consumer insights and run brand promotions on our platform. We have experienced rapid growth in this new business offering, however, our expansion of new service offerings may result in unseen risks, challenges and uncertainties along with our expansion into this relative new business area.
We may incur additional capital expenditure to support the expansion of our new value-added services to retailors and brand owners. In addition, due to the limited operating history of these new business offering, it is difficult to predict future revenues, which could be subject to seasonality. Any failure in managing expenditures and evaluating customer demands could materially and adversely affect the prospects of achieving profitability of and recouping our investments in this new business offering and our overall financial condition.
In addition, the expansion of service offerings may strain our managerial, financial, operational and other resources. If we fail to manage such expansion successfully, our growth potential, business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.
Any lack of requisite approvals, licenses or permits applicable to our business operation may have a material and adverse impact on our business and results of operations.
Our business is subject to intense regulation, and we are required to hold a number of licenses and permits in connection with our business operation, including, but not limited to, the License for Value-added Telecommunications Services, or VATS License, Food Operation License, Retail Liquor License, Internet Drug Information Service Qualification Certificate, Filing Certificate of the Single-purpose Prepaid Card and Filing Certificate of Third-party Platform of Medical Device Online Transaction. We hold all material licenses and permits described above and are applying for certain filings with the government authorities and modification of certain licenses and permits.
As of the date of this prospectus, information contained in certain licenses, certificates and permits we obtained has not been updated in a timely manner, such as the business address. We are in the process of applying for registration amendment, and any failure to complete the registration amendment in a timely manner may cause fines and penalties.
As of the date of this prospectus, we have not received any notice of warning or been subject to penalties or other disciplinary action from the relevant governmental authorities regarding the conducting of our business without the above-mentioned approvals, certificates and permits. However, we cannot assure you that the relevant governmental authorities would not require us to obtain the approvals, certificates or permits or take any other actions retrospectively in the future. If the relevant governmental authorities require us to obtain the approvals, certificates or permits, we cannot assure you that we will be able to do so in a timely manner or at all.
New laws and regulations may be enforced from time to time to require additional licenses and permits other than those we currently have. For example, our crowdsourced delivery business currently has no clear regulatory authority or governing laws and regulations as such industry are relatively nascent and is at its early stage of development, however, new requirements regarding approvals, licenses or permits may be implemented in the future along with rapid industrial evolution. In addition, Law of E-commerce promulgated by Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, which took effect on January 1, 2019, establishes additional standards in the e-commerce industry, and intensified the responsibility of third-party platforms. Further, the Foreign Investment Law, which was promulgated on March 15, 2019 and came into force on January 1, 2020, replaced the existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations. See "Risks Related to Our Corporate StructureOur current corporate structure and business operations may be substantially affected by the newly enacted Foreign Investment Law."
Changes to our pricing methodologies could adversely affect our ability to attract or retain retailers, merchants, consumers, individual senders and riders.
Demand for our services is highly sensitive to the delivery price, the rates for time and distance, the subsidies paid to consumers and the fees we charge retailers, merchants and individual senders. Many factors, including operating costs, legal and regulatory requirements or constraints and our current and future competitors' pricing, and marketing strategies, could significantly affect our pricing strategies. Certain of our competitors offer, or may in the future offer, lower-priced or a broader range of services. Similarly, certain competitors may use marketing strategies that enable them to attract or retain new qualified retailers, merchants and new riders at a lower cost than us. Although we do not intend to compete with aggressive pricing policies which are not beneficial to long-term growth, there can be no assurance that we will not be forced, through competition, regulation or otherwise, to reduce the price of delivery for riders, increase the subsidies we pay to consumers, reduce the fees we charge retailers, merchants, or increase our marketing and other expenses to attract and retain qualified merchants and riders in response to competitive pressures.
We have launched, and may in the future launch, new pricing strategies and initiatives, or modify existing pricing methodologies, any of which may not ultimately be successful in attracting and retaining retailers, merchants, consumers, individual senders and riders. Further, a determination in, or settlement of, any legal proceeding, whether we are party to such legal proceeding or not, that reclassifies a rider, who are independent contractor of the retailers, merchants or individual senders, as our employee, may require us to revise our pricing methodologies to account for such a change to rider reclassification which may result in significant increase in our operation costs. While we do and will attempt to set prices and pricing packages based on our past operating experience, our assessments may not be accurate or there may be errors in the pricing algorithms used and we could be
underpricing or overpricing our services. Any such changes to our pricing methodologies or our ability to efficiently price our services could adversely affect our ability to attract or retain retailers, merchants, consumers, individual senders and riders, as well as our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Any disruption to our technology systems and resulting interruptions in the availability of our website, applications, platform or services could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
The satisfactory performance, reliability and availability of our technology systems are critical to our success. We rely on our scalable technology infrastructure, which consists of a smart order recommendation and dispatching system, an automated order pricing system, a digitalized rider management system, a warehouse management system, a picking assistant app, systems for shopping experience customization and assortment recommendation, and corresponding mobile apps connecting our network with those of our various platform users. These integrated systems support the smooth performance of certain key functions of our business. However, our technology systems or infrastructure may not function properly at all times. We may be unable to monitor and ensure high-quality maintenance and upgrade of our technology systems and infrastructure, and users may experience service outages and delays in accessing and using our platforms as we seek to source additional capacity. In addition, we may experience surges in online traffic and orders associated with promotional activities and generally as we scale, which can put additional demand on our platform at specific times. Any disruption to our technology systems and resulting interruptions in the availability of our website, applications, platform or services could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Our technology systems may also experience telecommunications failures, computer viruses, failures during the process of upgrading or replacing software, databases or components, power outages, hardware failures, user errors, or other attempts to harm our technology systems, which may result in the unavailability or slowdown of our platform or certain functions, delays or errors in transaction processing, loss of data, inability to accept and fulfill orders, reduced gross merchandise volume and the attractiveness of our platform. Further, hackers, acting individually or in coordinated groups, may also launch distributed denial of service attacks or other coordinated attacks that may cause service outages or other interruptions in our business. Any of such occurrences could cause severe disruption to our daily operations. If we cannot successfully execute system maintenance and repair, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected and we could be subject to liability claims.
Failure to continue to improve our technology systems or develop new technologies to adapt to changing user needs could harm our reputation, business and prospects.
To remain competitive, we must continue to enhance and improve the functionality of our technology systems and to develop new features to adapt to changing market trends and user preferences. The on-demand retail and delivery industries are characterized by rapid technological evolution, including frequent introductions of new products and services embodying new technologies, such as potential future commercial implementation of unattended delivery technologies of package-delivering robots. Any technology development in the online retail and delivery industry may pressure both incumbent and new market players to implement cost-effective technologies even more rapidly. Our business operations and growth prospects depend, in part, on our ability to identify, develop, acquire or license advanced technologies and respond to technological innovations and emerging industry practices in a cost-effective and timely way.
In addition, we must regularly improve and upgrade our technology systems to keep pace with increased gross merchandise volume or expanded service offerings on our platforms to ensure more efficient capacity management through an integrated information flow through our entire network. However, while we have continuously enhanced our proprietary technology systems, we may fail to execute technology improvements corresponding to our business expansion or developing new technologies to adapt to changing user needs and industry breakthrough and the failure to do so could harm our reputation and business and may also impede our growth.
We have invested in the development of new technologies and business initiatives and obtained or applied for registered patent rights supporting various aspects of our operations. However, the development of websites, mobile apps and other proprietary technologies entails significant technical and business risks. We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully develop or effectively use new technologies, recoup the costs of developing new technologies or adapt our websites, mobile apps, proprietary technologies and systems to meet customer needs or emerging industry standards and any failure to do so may render our services less competitive or attractive, and our reputation, business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
Failure to deal effectively with any fictitious transactions or other fraudulent conduct that take place on our online platforms could harm our business.
We face risks with respect to fictitious transactions or other fraudulent conduct that take place on our online platforms. For example, our retailers may engage in fictitious transactions and fabricate store information in order to inflate their ratings and search results rankings on our platforms. This activity may harm other retailers by enabling the perpetrating retailers to be favored over others, and may harm our consumers by deceiving them into believing that a merchant is more reliable or trusted than it actually is. We may experience such fraudulent activities and suffer losses from distributing subsidies relating to fictitious transactions. Although we have implemented various measures to detect and reduce the occurrence of fraudulent activities on our platforms, there can be no assurance that such measures will be effective in combating fraudulent transactions among third-party retailers and other users and prevent resulting losses. In the event that we resort to litigation to enforce the return of any subsidies and benefits we distributed to such retailers, the litigation could result in a diversion of our managerial and financial resources.
Moreover, illegal, fraudulent or collusive activities by our employees could also subject us to liability or negative publicity and harm our business. Although we have internal controls and policies with regard to the review and approval of transactional activities and other relevant matters, we cannot assure you that such controls and policies will prevent fraud or illegal activity by our employees effectively. Negative publicity and user sentiment generated as a result of actual or alleged fraudulent or deceptive conduct on our platforms or by our employees would severely diminish consumer confidence in us, reduce our ability to attract new or retain current retailers and consumers, damage our reputation and diminish the value of our brand, and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our settlement mechanism with participants on JDDJ and Dada Now platforms may not be in full compliance with current PRC regulations.
We follow the industry practice to first receive payments from participants for all products sold on our JDDJ platform and the services provided on our Dada Now platform, and then settle with retailers on our JDDJ platform and riders on our Dada Now platform. This practice is under increasingly strict scrutiny from regulators, particularly the People's Bank of China, or the PBOC. For example, in June 2010, the PBOC promulgated the Administrative Measures on Payment Services Provided by
Non-Financial Institutions which provides that a non-financial institution offering payment services shall obtain the Payment Business License and qualify as a paying institution. Furthermore, in November 2017, the PBOC published a notice, or the PBOC Notice, on the investigation and administration of illegal offering of settlement services by financial institutions and third-party payment service providers to unlicensed entities. The PBOC Notice intended to prevent unlicensed entities from using licensed payment service providers as a conduit for conducting the unlicensed payment settlement services, so as to safeguard the fund security and information security. Subsequent to this regulation, we have established a payment safeguard and settlement mechanism together with commercial banks, through which the banks help open restricted settlement accounts to receive payments from our consumers or users first, and then distribute the total payment to retailers, riders and us, and we submit relevant transaction materials to the banks for their review. However, uncertainties still exist as to whether this system is considered fully compliant with the PRC laws and regulation, in particular the PBOC Notice. We cannot assure you that the PBOC or other governmental authorities will find our current or planned new settlement mechanisms to be in compliance with the PBOC Notice. If the PBOC or other relevant governmental authorities consider our current or planned new settlement mechanisms not fully compliant with the PRC regulations, we may need to adjust our business and cooperation model with the commercial banks and third-party payment service providers, and be subject to penalties and orders to rectify which may result in higher payment processing cost, and any of these events may materially and adversely affect our growth potential, business and results of operations.
We are regularly subject to claims, lawsuits and other proceedings that may adversely affect our reputation, business and results of operations.
We are regularly subject to claims, lawsuits, arbitration proceedings, government investigations and other legal and regulatory proceedings in the ordinary course of business, including those involving personal injury, property damage, labor and employment, commercial disputes, user complaints, intellectual property disputes, compliance with regulatory requirements and other matters. We may become subject to additional types of claims, lawsuits, government investigations and legal or regulatory proceedings as our business grows and as we deploy new business offerings. We are also regularly subject to claims, lawsuits, arbitration proceedings, government investigations and other legal and regulatory proceedings seeking to hold us liable for the actions of retailers, merchants and riders on our platforms. The results of any such claims, lawsuits, arbitration proceedings, government investigations or other legal or regulatory proceedings cannot be predicted with certainty. Any claims against us, whether meritorious or not, could be time-consuming, result in costly litigation, be harmful to our reputation, require significant management attention and divert significant resources. It is possible that a resolution of one or more such proceedings could result in substantial damages, settlement costs, fines and penalties that could adversely affect our reputation and brand, business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, a determination in, or settlement of, any legal proceeding, whether we are party to such legal proceeding or not, that involves our industry, could also harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We have limited insurance coverage which could expose us to significant costs and business disruption.
We maintain employer liability insurance and provide social security insurance to our employees, including pension insurance, maternity insurance, unemployment insurance, work-related injury insurance, and medical insurance. We also provide supplemental commercial medical insurance for our employees. We may be required to pay higher premiums for the coverage we obtain. For these insured risks, there can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully claim our losses under our current insurance policies on a timely basis, or at all. If we face claims in excess of our applicable aggregate coverage limits for insured risks, we would bear any excess and the compensated amount could be significantly less than our actual loss.
We do not maintain any operation-related insurance. As the insurance industry in China is still at an early stage of development, and insurance companies in China currently offer limited operation-related insurance products. We have determined that the costs of insuring for these risks and the difficulties associated with acquiring such insurance on commercially reasonable terms make it impractical for us to have such insurance. Risks associated with our business and operations primarily include business liability, business interruption, and damages to our technology infrastructure.
We do not maintain product liability insurance for products transacted on our platforms, and our rights of indemnity from the retailers may not adequately cover us for any liability we may incur. We also do not maintain key-man life insurance. In addition, we may not be able to, or may choose not to, acquire insurance for future risks related to our new and evolving business offerings.
For these uninsured risks, any of them may result in substantial costs and a diversion of resources, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
We depend on the interoperability of our platform across third-party applications and services that we do not control.
We depend on several third-party applications and services to ensure the smooth performance of certain key functions of our business. For example, we host our services on servers and network infrastructure rented from third-party cloud computing vendors. In addition, we collaborate with or receive open source software services from online map providers, social media access portal provider for embedding our mini-program, and payment processing providers.
Any interruption or delay, most of which are beyond our control, in the functionality of these third-party applications and services may lead to our system interruptions, website or mobile app slowdown or unavailability, delays or errors in transaction processing, loss of data or the inability to accept and fulfill orders. In addition, if any third-party application and service providers withdraw their authorization to us, or their services become limited, restricted, curtailed or less effective in any way or become unavailable to us for any reason, our business may be materially and adversely affected. We may not be able to promptly find alternative ways to provide services in a timely, reliable and cost-effective manner, or at all, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The wide variety of payment methods that we accept subjects us to third-party payment processing-related risks.
We accept a wide variety of payment methods, including bank transfers and online payments through various third-party online payment platforms such as Wechat Pay, JD Pay and UnionPay, in order to ensure smooth user experience. For certain payment methods, we pay varying service fees, which may increase over time and raise our operating costs and lower our profit margins. We may also be subject to fraud, money laundering and other illegal activities in connection with the various payment methods we accept.
We are also subject to various regulations, rules and requirements, regulatory or otherwise, governing online payment processing and fund transfers, which could change or be reinterpreted to make it difficult or impossible for us to comply with. 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 and debit card payments from our customers, process electronic fund transfers or facilitate other
types of online payments, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
User growth and activity on mobile devices depends upon effective use of our mobile applications and third-party mobile operating systems that we do not control.
Purchases using mobile devices by consumers generally, and by our consumers purchasing fresh products, our merchants and individual senders delivering items and our riders picking and delivering on our platforms specifically, have increased significantly, and we expect this trend to continue. In particular, our riders primarily rely on our mobile applications to plan, track and adjust the delivery route while on transportation. To optimize the mobile shopping and real-time item tracking and locating experience, we are somewhat dependent on our customers' downloading and effective use of our mobile applications for their particular devices. We are further dependent on the interoperability of our mobile applications with third-party 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 mobile applications could adversely affect the usage of our sites on mobile devices.
As new mobile devices and operating platforms are released, we may experience delay or difficulties in updating and integrating our mobile applications for these alternative devices and platforms and we may need to devote significant resources to the development, support and maintenance of such applications. Problems may also arise with our relationships with providers of mobile operating systems or mobile application download stores, such as our applications may receive unfavorable treatment compared to competing applications on the download stores. In the event that it becomes difficult for our customers to access and use our applications on their mobile devices, our customer growth could be harmed and our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Our riders are not our employees, over which we may not be able to exert adequate management, supervision and control.
We rely on our riders to provide local on-demand delivery to fulfill orders placed by merchants and individual senders online. Most of the riders work part-time. These riders are the actual carriers and have a significant amount of direct interactions with our merchants, individual senders and consumers, and their performance are directly associated with our brand.
However, since these riders are not our employees, our management, supervision and control over them is relatively limited as compared to our own employees. Although we have implemented mandatory trainings to all of our riders, established service standards across our network and provided incentives along with periodic evaluations, we may not be able to exert adequate management, supervision and control over their service quality. If any riders fail to perform in accordance with instructions, policies and business guidelines as requested by us, our merchants, individual senders, and consumers for item pick-up and delivery, our reputation, business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
If the riders violate any relevant requirements under the applicable laws and regulations or their agreements with merchants or individual senders, such merchants or individual senders may file claims against us, as the riders provide delivery services on our platforms. Any claims against us, whether meritorious or not, could be time-consuming, result in costly litigation, be harmful to our reputation, require significant management attention and divert significant resources, and therefore harm our business.
In addition, we constantly have a vast number of riders in transportation, performing local on-demand delivery services on both of our JDDJ platform and Dada Now platform. Therefore, we are subject to isolated complaints and negative publicity regarding the services and behaviors of these riders due to their mass even if we could exert adequate management, supervision and control over them, as such risks are inherently associated with companies operating in labor intensive industries.
We engage outsourced delivery agencies to provide riders for our operations and have limited control over these riders and may be liable for violations of applicable PRC labor laws and regulations by the outsourced delivery agencies.
We engage outsourced delivery agencies who send their employees to work as riders providing delivery services on our platforms. We enter into agreements with the outsourced delivery agencies and do not have any employment relationship with these riders. Since these riders are not directly employed by us, our control over them is relatively limited. If any riders fail to perform in accordance with instructions, policies and business guidelines for item pick-up or delivery set forth by us, the outsourced delivery agencies, our merchants and consumers, and individual senders, our reputation, business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
Our agreements with the outsourced delivery agencies provide that we are not liable to the riders if the outsourced delivery agencies fail to fulfill their contractual duties to these riders. However, if the outsourced delivery agencies violate any relevant PRC laws and regulations, including labor, employee benefits, housing provident funds and social security insurance, or their employment agreements with the riders, these riders may file claims against us as they provide their services on our platforms. As a result, we may incur legal liability, and our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
Real or perceived quality or health issues with the products sold on our JDDJ platform could harm our reputation and business.
Retailers on our JDDJ platform, including supermarkets, fresh produce marketplaces, pharmacies, flowers shops, bakeries and fashion stores, are the providers of products listed. Consumers on our JDDJ platform expect to be provided with fresh, high-quality products. Although we implement mandatory checks on licenses and permits when retailers apply for operating on our JDDJ platform, we cannot assure you that our employees are able to identify each non-compliance in the licenses and permits, neither do we have much control over the products sold by these third-party retailers on JDDJ, and our brand and reputation may be harmed by regulatory non-compliance of, or actions taken by these retailers.
If our employees fail to identify non-compliance in the license and permits submitted by any retailer, or any retailer does not control the quality of the products that it sells on our JDDJ platform, delivers products that are materially different from its description of them on our JDDJ platform, sells counterfeit or unlicensed products on our JDDJ platform, or sells certain products without licenses or permits as required by the relevant laws and regulations, the reputation of our JDDJ platform and our brand may be materially and adversely affected and we could be held liable for any losses or subject to administrative penalties.
In addition, negative publicity about concerns and accidents regarding the quality and health issues of products offered on our JDDJ platform, whether real or perceived, and whether or not involving products sold at our platform, could discourage consumers from purchasing certain products listed on JDDJ, even if the basis for the concern is outside of our control. Any loss in consumer and user confidence would be difficult and costly to reestablish, which could significantly reduce our brand value.
If our expansion into new geographical areas is not successful, our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
We have a track record of successfully expanding into new geographical areas, where we commenced our operation from covering first-tier cities in China and have continued to expand our geographical reach to smaller and less developed prefecture-level cities. Our expansion into new geographical areas involves new risks and challenges associated with such new markets, such as our business model may not be acceptable to residents in lower-tier cities and towns in China, there may be a lack of demand for local on-demand retail and delivery, the order density in those smaller, less developed areas may not be sufficient to allow us to operate in a cost-efficient manner, and we may need to adjust our pricing methodologies to adapt to local economic condition. We cannot assure that we will be able to execute on our business strategy or that our service offerings will be successful in such markets.
In addition, our lack of relevant customer personas or familiarity with retailers, merchants and market dynamic of these areas may make it more difficult for us to keep pace with local demands and preferences. Further, there may be one or more existing market leaders in any geographical area that we decide to expand into. Such companies may be able to compete more effectively than us by leveraging their experience in doing business in that market as well as their deeper data insight and greater brand recognition locally. Any failure in our expansion into new geographical areas could materially and adversely affect our business and prospects.
Further, as of the date of this prospectus, certain of our local branches with premises for business operations established along with our geographic expansion have not been registered with local administrations. In the PRC, if a company operates business outside its registered address, the company may be required to register those premises for business operation as branch offices with the relevant local market administrative regulation authorities at the place where the premises are located and obtain business licenses for them as branch offices. We may not be able to register the main premises for business operations as branch offices in a timely manner or at all due to complex procedural requirements and relocation of branch offices from time to time. While we have not received any government order or penalty resulting from such failure, we cannot assure you that we will not be subject to penalties, orders to rectify or other administrative proceedings. If we become subject to these penalties, our reputation, business, and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
Our business is subject to quarterly seasonality.
We experience seasonality in our business, mainly correlating to the seasonality patterns associated with online retail and delivery industries in China. We typically experience a seasonal surge in GMV for products sold on our local on-demand retail platform, as well as in items delivered through our local on-demand delivery platform during the second and fourth quarters of each year when major online retail and e-commerce platforms hold special promotional campaigns, for example, on June 18 and November 11 each year. We may experience capacity and resource shortages in fulfilling orders during the period of such seasonal surge in our business. On the contrary, activity levels across our business lines are typically lower around Chinese national holidays, including Chinese New Year in the first quarter of each year, primarily due to weaker consumer spending and user activity levels and the decreased availability of riders during these holiday seasons.
Seasonality also makes it challenging to accurately and timely estimate customer demands and manage our capacity accordingly. We make planning and spending decisions, including capacity management and other resource requirements based on our estimates of customer demand. Failure to meet demand associated with the seasonality in a timely manner may adversely affect our financial
condition and results of operations. Our financial condition and results of operations for future periods may continue to fluctuate. As a result, our results of operations and the trading price of our ADSs may fluctuate from time to time due to seasonality.
Our business depends on the continuing efforts of our management. If we lose their services, our business may be severely disrupted.
Our success heavily depends upon the continued efforts of our management. In particular, we rely on the expertise and experience of Mr. Philip Jiaqi Kuai, our chairman and chief executive officer, and other executive officers. If one or more of our senior management were unable or unwilling to continue in their present positions, we might not be able to replace them in a timely manner, or at all. We may incur additional expenses to recruit and retain qualified replacements. Further, if any of our senior management joins a competitor or forms a competing business, we may lose retailers, merchants, consumers, individual senders, know-how and key professionals and staff members. Although our senior management has entered into employment agreements and confidentiality and non-competition agreements with us, if any dispute arises between our officers and us, 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. In addition, we do not have key-man insurance for any of our executive officers or other key personnel. Events or activities attributed to our executive officers or other key personnel, and related publicity, whether or not justified, may affect their ability or willingness to continue to serve our company or dedicate their full time and efforts to our company. As a result, our business may be severely disrupted due to the loss of services of one or more members of our management, and our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.
If we are unable to attract, train and retain qualified personnel, as well as the riders, or if we experience any large-scale labor unrest, our business may be materially and adversely affected.
We intend to hire additional qualified employees to support our business operations and planned expansion. Our future success depends, to a significant extent, on our ability to attract, train and retain qualified personnel, particularly technical and operational personnel with expertise in the local on-demand retail and delivery industries or other areas we expand into. The effective operation of our managerial and operating systems, fulfillment infrastructure, customer service center and other back office functions also depends on the hard work and quality performance of our management and employees. However, we cannot assure you that we will be able to attract or retain qualified staff or other highly skilled employees that we will need in order to achieve our strategic objectives.
We also intend to expand our rider base. However, if we are unable to manage delivery capacity effectively, optimize order recommendation and dispatching process, provide incentives to or increase delivery charges for less favorable delivery tasks, or fully utilize the riders' delivery capacity in a timely manner, we may not be able to attract and retain riders, resulting in insufficient delivery resources, increased costs, and lower delivery service quality in certain regions of our network.
We and the outsourced delivery agencies we engage have been subject to labor disputes initiated by our or the outsourced delivery agencies' employees from time to time, although none of them, individually or in the aggregate, had a material adverse impact on us. We expect to continue to be subject to various legal or administrative proceedings related to labor dispute in the ordinary course of our business, due to the magnitude of labor force involved in our network. Any large-scale labor unrest directed against us or the outsourced delivery agencies could directly or indirectly prevent or hinder our normal operating activities, and if not resolved in a timely manner, lead to delays in our fulfillment performance. We and the outsourced delivery agencies are not able to predict or control any large-scale labor unrest, especially those involving labor not directly employed by us. Further, large-scale labor
unrest may affect general labor market conditions or result in changes to labor laws, which in turn could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We have granted and may continue to grant options, restricted share units and other types of awards under our share incentive plans, which may result in increased share-based compensation expenses.
We adopted our 2015 Equity Incentive Plan, as amended and restated, which we refer to as the 2015 Plan, and our 2020 Share Incentive Plan, as amended and restated, which we refer to as the 2020 Plan, for the purpose of granting share-based compensation awards to employees, directors and consultants to secure and retain the services of eligible award recipients and to provide incentives for such persons to exert maximum efforts for our success. We recognize expenses in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Under the 2015 Plan and the 2020 Plan, we are authorized to grant options, share appreciation rights, restricted share awards, restricted share unit awards and other types of share awards. As of the date of this prospectus, the maximum aggregate number of ordinary shares which may be issued pursuant to all awards under the 2015 Plan is 61,605,996 ordinary shares, and we have outstanding options with respect to 41,432,184 ordinary shares and 19,374,513 outstanding restricted share units granted to our employees, directors and consultants under the 2015 Plan. As of the date of this prospectus, the maximum aggregate number of ordinary shares which may be issued pursuant to all awards under the 2020 Plan is 45,765,386 ordinary shares, and options to purchase a total of 1,738,000 ordinary shares and 2,029,300 restricted share units are outstanding under the 2020 Plan. We have incurred and will continue to incur substantial share-based compensation expenses in the future. As a result, our expenses associated with share-based compensation may increase, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations. Further, we may re-evaluate the vesting schedules, lock-up period, exercise price or other key terms applicable to the grants under our equity incentive plan from time to time. If we choose to do so, we may experience substantial change in our share-based compensation charges in future reporting periods. For further information on our equity incentive plan and information on our recognition of related expenses, please see "ManagementShare Incentive Plans."
Any deficiencies in China's telecommunication and internet infrastructure could impair the functioning of our technology system and the operation of our business.
Our business depends on the performance, reliability and security of the telecommunications and internet infrastructure in China. Substantially all of our computer hardware and cloud computing services are currently located in China. Access to internet in China is maintained through state-owned telecommunications carriers under administrative control and regulatory supervision, and we obtain access to end-user networks operated by such telecommunications carriers to give user access to our platforms. We may not have access to alternative networks in the event of disruptions, failures or other problems with the telecommunication and internet infrastructure in China. The failure of telecommunication and internet network operators to provide us with the requisite bandwidth could also interfere with the speed and availability of our platforms. Any of such occurrences could delay or prevent our platform users from accessing our online platforms and mobile applications, and frequent interruptions could frustrate customers and discourage them from using our services, which could cause us to lose customers and harm our results of operations. In addition, we have limited control over the service fees charged by telecommunication and internet operators. If the prices we pay for telecommunications and internet services rise significantly, our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.
We are subject to laws and regulations, many of which are evolving, and failure to comply with such laws and regulations or manage the increased costs associated with such laws and regulations could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Our business is subject to governmental supervision and regulation by relevant PRC governmental authorities, including but not limited to the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State Administration for Market Regulation, the National Medical Products Administration, the Ministry of Commerce and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. Together, these governmental authorities promulgate and enforce regulations that cover many aspects of our day-to-day operations, including but not limited to online and mobile commerce and payments, online content, digital media, cybersecurity and privacy laws, labor and employment, intellectual property, consumer protection, taxation, competition, mobile application accessibility, money transmittal, product liability and personal injury, and we may fail to fully comply with these regulations. We are also subject to a number of retail and delivery industries regulations including, but not limited to, pricing, consumer protection, product quality, food safety, drug and medical device safety and public safety. Local regulatory authorities conduct periodic inspections, examinations and inquiries in respect of our compliance with relevant regulatory requirements. In addition, regulatory bodies may view matters or interpret laws and regulations differently than they have in the past or in a manner adverse to our business. We cannot assure you that we have obtained all the permits or licenses required for conducting our business or will be able to maintain our existing licenses or obtain new ones. If we fail to comply with these laws and regulations, we may be exposed to penalties, fines, the suspension or revocation of our licenses or permits to conduct business, administrative proceedings and litigation.
In addition, new laws and regulations may be enforced from time to time and substantial uncertainties exist regarding the interpretation and implementation of current and any future PRC laws and regulations applicable to our businesses. For example, our crowdsourced local on-demand delivery business currently has no clear regulatory authority or governing laws and regulations as such industry are relatively nascent and is at its early stage of development, and we expect to experience strengthened regulatory environment along with rapid industrial evolution. If the regulatory or administrative authorities impose new requirements relating to, among other things, new and additional licenses, permits and approvals or governance or ownership structures on us for operating crowdsourced delivery in the future, we will be subject to fines and penalties due to any past non-compliances, increased future compliance costs, heightened challenges and uncertainties, and restrictions upon our current or future operations. Furthermore, in early November 2020, the State Administration for Market Regulation further published a draft Anti-monopoly Guidelines for the Internet Platform Economy Sector that aims at specifying some of the circumstances under which an activity of Internet platform may be identified as monopolistic act as well as setting out merger controlling filing procedures involving variable interest entities. These draft guidelines are now open for public comment and are pending finalization and enactment, and we cannot assure you that there will not be any material changes in the final form of these draft guidelines. Due to the uncertainties associated with the evolving legislative activities and varied local implementation practices of anti-monopoly and competition laws and regulations in the PRC, it may be costly to adjust some of our business practice in order to comply with these laws, regulations, rules, guidelines and implementations, and any incompliance or associated inquiries, investigations and other governmental actions may divert significant management time and attention and our financial resources, bring negative publicity, subject us to liabilities or administrative penalties, and/or materially and adversely affect our financial conditions, operations and business prospects. In addition, our success, or perceived success, and increased visibility may also drive some businesses that perceive our business model negatively to raise their concerns to local policymakers and regulators. These businesses and their trade association groups or other organizations may take actions and employ significant resources to shape the legal and regulatory regimes, or seek to have, a market presence in an effort to change such legal and regulatory
regimes in ways intended to adversely affect or impede our business and the ability of riders to utilize our platforms. If we are unable to manage these risks, our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
We may be subject to intellectual property infringement claims, which may be expensive to defend and may disrupt our business.
We cannot assure you that our operations or any aspects of our business do not or will not infringe upon or otherwise violate patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights owned by others. We have been, and from time to time in the future may be, subject to legal proceedings and claims relating to the intellectual property rights of others. For example, our Dada trademark under category 39 of the China Trademark Law and relevant regulations has been sued and challenged for trademark infringement and we as a result purchased the relevant trademark from the plaintiff through settlement process. In addition, there may be third-party intellectual property that is infringed by products offered by the retailers on our platforms. There could also be existing intellectual property rights of which we are not aware that we may inadvertently infringe. Owners of intellectual property rights purportedly relating to some aspect of our business, if any such owners exist, would seek to enforce lawsuits and proceedings against us in China, the United States or any other jurisdictions.
As of the date of this prospectus, we are in the process of applying for the trademark registration of Dada Now under certain categories, including but not limited to categories of computer and computer software. Therefore, we face potential liability and expense for trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other trademarks similar to Dada Now.
Further, the application and interpretation of China's intellectual property laws are still evolving and are uncertain. If we are found to have violated the intellectual property rights of others, we may be subject to liability and penalty for our infringement activities or may be prohibited from using such intellectual property, and we may incur licensing fees or be forced to develop alternatives of our own. In addition, we may incur significant expenses, and may be forced to divert management's time and other resources from our business and operations to defend against these infringement claims, regardless of their merits. Successful infringement or licensing claims made against us may result in significant monetary liabilities and may materially disrupt our reputation, business and operations by restricting or prohibiting our use of the intellectual property at issue.
Our platforms contain software modules licensed to us by third-party authors, such as online map providers, under open source licenses. Companies that combine their proprietary software with open source software, from time to time, face claims challenging the ownership of open source software and compliance with open source license terms. Although we monitor our use of open source software to avoid subjecting our platform to conditions we do not intend, we may face suits by parties claiming ownership of what we believe to be open source software or noncompliance with open source licensing terms. If we are held to have breached or failed to fully comply with all the terms and conditions of an open source software license, we could face intellectual property infringement or other liability, or be required to seek costly licenses from third parties to continue providing our services on terms that are not economically feasible, to re-engineer our platforms, to discontinue or delay the provision of our services if re-engineering could not be accomplished on a timely basis or to make generally available, in source code form, our proprietary code, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
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 proprietary technologies, trademarks, copyrights, patents, domain names, know-how and similar intellectual property as critical to our success. 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. However, the functionality of our platforms might be reproduced and our source code might be copied. We have been and may continue to be an attractive target to attacks in the future because of our brand recognition in China. We have policies and measures in place to prevent unauthorized use of our intellectual property. However, any of our intellectual property rights could be challenged, invalidated, circumvented or misappropriated. It is often difficult to register, maintain and enforce intellectual property rights in China. Statutory laws and regulations are also 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 in China. Policing any unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult and costly and the steps we take may be inadequate to prevent the infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property. In the event that we resort to litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights, such litigation could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management and financial resources, and could put our intellectual property at risk of being invalidated or narrowed in scope. We can provide no assurance that we will prevail in such litigation, and even if we do prevail, we may not obtain a meaningful recovery. In addition, our trade secrets may be leaked or otherwise become available to, or be independently discovered by, our competitors. Any failure in maintaining, protecting or enforcing our intellectual property rights could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may fail to successfully make necessary or desirable strategic alliance, acquisition or investment, and we may not be able to achieve the benefits we expect from the alliances, acquisition or investments we make.
We may pursue selected strategic alliances and potential strategic acquisitions that are supplemental to our business and operations, including opportunities that can help us further expand our service offerings and improve our technology system. However, strategic alliances with third parties could subject us to a number of risks, including risks associated with sharing proprietary information, non-performance or default by counterparties, and increased expenses in establishing these new alliances, any of which may materially and adversely affect our business. In addition, we may have limited ability to control or monitor the actions of our strategic partners. To the extent a strategic partner suffers any negative publicity as a result of its business operations, our reputation may be negatively affected by virtue of our association with such party.
The costs of identifying and consummating strategic acquisitions may be significant and subsequent integrations of newly acquired companies, businesses, assets and technologies would require significant managerial and financial resources and could result in a diversion of resources from our existing business, which in turn could have an adverse effect on our growth and business operations. We may also incur significant expenses in obtaining necessary approvals from relevant government authorities in China and elsewhere in the world. In addition, investments and acquisitions could result in the use of substantial amounts of cash, potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities and exposure to potential unknown liabilities of the acquired business. The acquired businesses or assets may not generate the financial results we expect and may incur losses. The cost and duration of integrating newly acquired
businesses could also materially exceed our expectations. Any such negative developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The COVID-19 epidemic has had and could continue to have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition.
In recent years, there have been outbreaks of epidemics in China and globally. In early 2020, in response to intensifying efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Chinese government took a number of actions, which included extending the Chinese New Year holiday, quarantining individuals infected with or suspected of having COVID-19, prohibiting residents from free travel, encouraging employees of enterprises to work remotely from home and cancelling public activities, among others. As a result, our operations were impacted by delays in business activities, commercial transactions and general uncertainties surrounding the duration of the government's extended business and travel restrictions. In particular, the travel restrictions resulted in the short-term shortage of migrant workers in large cities, which had temporarily adversely affected our delivery capacity. Certain customers required and may require additional time to pay us, which temporarily increased and could temporarily increase the amount of accounts receivable and negatively affect our cash flows. Our acquisition of new consumers through referrals by staff at the retailer stores were adversely affected in February as people were highly encouraged by the local government to stay at home during that period. Moreover, we took a series of measures in response to the epidemic to protect our employees, including, among others, temporary closure of our offices, remote working arrangements for our employees and travel restrictions or suspension. These measures reduced the capacity and efficiency of our operations. We have also provided our riders with masks, hand sanitizers and other protective equipment immediately after the outbreak, which had increased and may continue to increase our operations and support costs. In addition, our business operations could be disrupted if any of our employees is suspected of contracting the COVID-19 or any other epidemic disease, since our employees could be quarantined and/or our offices be shut down for disinfection.
The potential downturn brought by and the duration of the COVID-19 epidemic may be difficult to assess or predict where actual effects will depend on many factors beyond our control. Although there is no immediate material negative effect on us, the extent to which the COVID-19 epidemic impacts our long-term results remains uncertain, and we are closely monitoring its impact on us. Our business, results of operations, financial conditions and prospects could be adversely affected directly, as well as indirectly to the extent that COVID-19 or any other epidemic harms the Chinese economy in general.
We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics and other outbreaks, which could significantly disrupt our operations.
In addition to the impact of COVID-19, our business could be materially and adversely affected by natural disasters, such as snowstorms, earthquakes, fires or floods, the outbreak of other widespread health epidemic, such as swine flu, avian influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, Ebola, Zika or other events, such as wars, acts of terrorism, environmental accidents, power shortage or communication interruptions. The occurrence of such a disaster or prolonged outbreak of an epidemic illness or other adverse public health developments in the PRC or elsewhere could materially disrupt our business and operations. Such events could also significantly affect our industry and cause a temporary closure of the facilities we use for our operations, which would severely disrupt our operations and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our operations could be disrupted if any of our employees were suspected of having any of the epidemic illnesses, since this could require us to quarantine some or all of such employees or disinfect the facilities used for our operations. In addition, our revenue and profitability could be
materially reduced to the extent that a natural disaster, health epidemic or other outbreak harms the global or Chinese economy in general. Our operations could also be severely disrupted if our customers, suppliers or other participants were affected by such natural disasters, health epidemics or other outbreaks.
A severe or prolonged downturn in the Chinese or global economy could materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.
COVID-19 had a severe and negative impact on the Chinese and the global economy in the first half of 2020. Whether this will lead to a prolonged downturn in the economy is still unknown. Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, the global macroeconomic environment was facing numerous challenges. The growth rate of the Chinese economy had already been slowing since 2012. There is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies which had been adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world's leading economies, including the United States and China, even before 2020. Unrest, terrorist threats and the potential for war in the Middle East and elsewhere may increase market volatility across the globe. There have also been concerns about the relationship between China and other countries, including the surrounding Asian countries, which may potentially have economic effects. In particular, there is significant uncertainty about the future relationship between the United States and China with respect to trade policies, treaties, government regulations and tariffs. Economic conditions in China are sensitive to global economic conditions, as well as changes in domestic economic and political policies and the expected or perceived overall economic growth rate in China. Any severe or prolonged slowdown in the global or Chinese economy may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
If we fail to implement and maintain an effective system of internal controls to remediate our material weakness over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our results of operations, meet our reporting obligations or prevent fraud.
In connection with the audits of our consolidated financial statements included in this prospectus, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified a material weakness and a significant deficiency in our internal control over financial reporting. As defined in the standards established by the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a "material weakness" is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis, and a "significant deficiency" is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting that is less severe than a material weakness, yet important enough to merit attention by those responsible for oversight of financial reporting.
The material weakness that has been identified relates to our lack of sufficient skilled staff with U.S. GAAP knowledge for the purpose of financial reporting, and lack of formal accounting policies and procedures manual to ensure proper financial reporting to comply with U.S. GAAP and SEC requirements. The significant deficiency that has been identified relates to our insufficient formal risk assessments and comprehensive control policies and procedures established based on an internal control framework. Either of the material weakness or the significant deficiency, if not remediated timely, may lead to material misstatements in our consolidated financial statements. We have historically restated our consolidated financial statements for the two years ended December 31, 2017 due to material accounting errors. Neither we nor our independent registered public accounting firm undertook a comprehensive assessment of our internal control for purposes of identifying and reporting material weaknesses and other deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. Had we
performed a formal assessment of our internal control over financial reporting or had our independent registered public accounting firm performed an audit of our internal control over financial reporting, additional deficiencies may have been identified.
Following the identification of the material weakness and other deficiencies, we have taken measures and plan to continue to take measures to remediate these control deficiencies. See "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of OperationsInternal Control Over Financial Reporting." However, the implementation of these measures may not fully address the material weakness and other deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting, and we cannot conclude that they have been fully remediated. Our failure to correct the material weakness and other deficiencies or our failure to discover and address any other deficiencies could result in inaccuracies in our financial statements and impair our ability to comply with applicable financial reporting requirements and related regulatory filings on a timely basis. Moreover, ineffective internal control over financial reporting could significantly hinder our ability to prevent fraud.
We are subject to the reporting requirements of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the rules and regulations of the Nasdaq Global Select Market. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting. Commencing with our fiscal year ending December 31, 2021, we must perform system and process evaluation and testing of our internal controls over financial reporting to allow management to report on the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting in our Form 20-F filing for that year, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Our management may conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective. Moreover, even if our management concludes that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, our independent registered public accounting firm, after conducting its own independent testing, may issue an adverse report if it is not satisfied with our internal controls or the level at which our controls are documented, designed, operated or reviewed, or if it interprets the relevant requirements differently from us. However, our independent registered public accounting firm will not issue an audit report on our internal controls over financial reporting until we cease to be an emerging growth company. This will require that we incur substantial additional professional fees and internal costs to expand our accounting and finance functions and that we contribute significant management efforts. We may experience difficulty in meeting these reporting requirements in a timely manner.
If we are not able to comply with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a timely manner, or if we are unable to maintain the adequacy of our internal control over financial reporting, as these standards are modified, supplemented or amended from time to time, we may not be able to produce timely and accurate financial statements and may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404. If that were to happen, we could suffer material misstatements in our financial statements and fail to meet our reporting obligations, which could lead to a decline in the market price of our ADSs and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the Nasdaq Global Select Market, SEC or other regulatory authorities. We may also be required to restate our financial statements for prior periods.
Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure
If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating some of our operations in China do not comply with PRC regulations relating to the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations.
Foreign ownership in entities that provision of value-added telecommunication services, with a few exceptions, is subject to restrictions under current PRC laws and regulations. Specifically, foreign ownership of an internet information service provider may not exceed 50%, and the major foreign investor is required to have a record of good performance and operating experience in managing value-added telecommunications business.
We are an exempted company incorporated in the Cayman Islands and our PRC subsidiaries are considered foreign-invested enterprises. Accordingly, none of these PRC subsidiaries is eligible to provide internet information services under PRC laws. To comply with PRC laws and regulations, we operate our business through cooperation between the WFOEs and the VIE and its subsidiaries, and each of Shanghai Qusheng, our consolidated variable interest entity, or our VIE, and its subsidiary, JDDJ Youheng, holds a VATS License covering online data processing and transaction processing business (operating e-commerce) and internet information services, and JDDJ Youheng holds a VATS License for call centers. Dada Glory, one of our WFOEs, is our wholly owned PRC subsidiary and a foreign-invested enterprise under PRC laws. Dada Glory has entered into a series of contractual arrangements with our VIE and its shareholders, which enable us to:
As a result of these contractual arrangements, we have control over and are the primary beneficiary of our VIE and hence consolidate financial results of our VIE and its subsidiaries into our consolidated financial statements under U.S. GAAP. For a detailed discussion of these contractual arrangements, see "Corporate History and Structure."
In the opinion of our PRC counsel, Commerce & Finance Law Offices, (i) the ownership structures of Dada Glory and our VIE, currently do not and immediately after giving effect to this offering will not result in violation of applicable PRC laws and regulations currently in effect; and (ii) the agreements under the contractual arrangements between Dada Glory, our VIE and its shareholders governed by PRC law are valid, binding and enforceable against each party thereto in accordance with their terms and applicable PRC laws and regulations currently in effect, and do not result in violation of applicable PRC laws or regulations currently in effect. However, we have been further advised by our PRC counsel that there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations and rules. Thus, the PRC regulatory authorities may take a view contrary to the opinion of our PRC legal counsel. It is uncertain whether any new PRC laws or regulations relating to variable interest entity structure will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. If we or our VIE are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals to operate our business, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities would have broad discretion to take action in dealing with such violations or failures, including:
Any of these events could cause significant disruption to our business operations and severely damage our reputation, which would in turn have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. If occurrences of any of these events results in our inability to direct the activities of our VIE in China that most significantly impact its economic performance, and/or our failure to receive the economic benefits and residual returns from our consolidated variable interest entity, and we are not able to restructure our ownership structure and operations in a satisfactory manner, we may not be able to consolidate the financial results of our VIE in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
The contractual arrangements with our VIE and its shareholders may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control.
We have to rely on the contractual arrangements with our VIE and its shareholders to operate the business in areas where foreign ownership is restricted, including provision of certain value-added telecommunication services. These contractual arrangements, however, may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over our VIE. For example, our VIE and its shareholders could breach their contractual arrangements with us by, among other things, failing to conduct the operations of our VIE in an acceptable manner or taking other actions that are detrimental to our interests.
If we had direct ownership of our VIE in China, we would be able to exercise our rights as a shareholder to effect changes in the board of directors of our VIE, which in turn could implement changes, subject to any applicable fiduciary obligations, at the management and operational level. However, under the current contractual arrangements, we rely on the performance by our VIE and its shareholders of their obligations under the contracts to exercise control over our VIE. The shareholders of our VIE may not act in the best interests of our company or may not perform their obligations under these contracts. If any dispute relating to these contracts remains unresolved, we will have to enforce our rights under these contracts through the operations of PRC law and arbitration, litigation and other legal proceedings and therefore will be subject to uncertainties in the PRC legal system. See "Any failure by our VIE or its shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material and adverse effect on our business."
Any failure by our VIE or its shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material and adverse effect on our business.
If our VIE or its shareholders fail to perform their respective obligations under the contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and expend additional resources to enforce such arrangements. We may also have to rely on legal remedies under PRC law, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief, and contractual remedies, which we cannot assure you will be sufficient or effective under PRC law. For example, if the shareholders of our VIE were to refuse to
transfer their equity interests in our VIE to us or our designee if we exercise the purchase option pursuant to these contractual arrangements, or if they were otherwise to act in bad faith toward us, then we may have to take legal actions to compel them to perform their contractual obligations.
All the agreements under our contractual arrangements are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in China. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC law and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal system in the PRC is not as developed as in some other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. See "Risks Related to Doing Business in ChinaUncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us." Meanwhile, there are very few precedents and little formal guidance as to how contractual arrangements in the context of a consolidated variable interest entity should be interpreted or enforced under PRC law. There remain significant uncertainties regarding the ultimate outcome of such arbitration should legal action become necessary. In addition, under PRC law, rulings by arbitrators are final, parties cannot appeal the arbitration results in courts, and if the losing parties fail to carry out the arbitration awards within a prescribed time limit, the prevailing parties may only enforce the arbitration awards in PRC courts through arbitration award recognition proceedings, which would require additional expenses and delay. In the event we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, or if we suffer significant delay or other obstacles in the process of enforcing these contractual arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over our VIE, and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected.
The shareholders of our VIE may have actual or potential conflicts of interest with us.
The shareholders of our VIE may have actual or potential conflicts of interest with us. These shareholders may breach, or cause our VIE to breach, or refuse to renew, the existing contractual arrangements we have with them and our VIE, which would have a material and adverse effect on our ability to effectively control our VIE and receive economic benefits from it. For example, the shareholders may be able to cause our agreements with our VIE to be performed in a manner adverse to us by, among other things, failing to remit payments due under the contractual arrangements to us on a timely basis. We cannot assure you that when conflicts of interest arise any or all of these shareholders will act in the best interests of our company or such conflicts will be resolved in our favor.
Currently, we do not have any arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest between these shareholders and our company, except that we could exercise our purchase option under the exclusive option agreements with these shareholders to request them to transfer all of their equity interests in the VIE to a PRC entity or individual designated by us, to the extent permitted by PRC law. For individuals who are also our directors and officers, we rely on them to abide by the laws of the Cayman Islands, which provide that directors and officers owe a fiduciary duty to the company that requires them to act in good faith and in what they believe to be the best interests of the company and not to use their position for personal gains. The shareholders of our VIE have executed powers of attorney to appoint Dada Glory or a person designated by Dada Glory to vote on their behalf and exercise voting rights as shareholders of our VIE. If we cannot resolve any conflict of interest or dispute between us and the shareholders of our VIE, we would have to rely on legal proceedings, which could result in disruption of our business and subject us to substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.
The shareholders of our VIE may be involved in personal disputes with third parties or other incidents that may have an adverse effect on their respective equity interests in our VIE and the validity or enforceability of our contractual arrangements with our VIE and its shareholders. For
example, in the event that any of the shareholders of our VIE divorces his or her spouse, the spouse may claim that the equity interest of the VIE held by such shareholder is part of their community property and should be divided between such shareholder and his or her spouse. If such claim is supported by the court, the relevant equity interest may be obtained by the shareholder's spouse or another third party who is not subject to obligations under our contractual arrangements, which could result in a loss of the effective control over the VIE by us. Similarly, if any of the equity interests of our VIE is inherited by a third party with whom the current contractual arrangements are not binding, we could lose our control over the VIE or have to maintain such control by incurring unpredictable costs, which could cause significant disruption to our business and operations and harm our financial condition and results of operations.
Although under our current contractual arrangements, (i) each of the spouses of Mr. Philip Jiaqi Kuai and Mr. Jun Yang has respectively executed a spousal consent letter, under which each spouse agrees that she will not raise any claims against the equity interest, and will take every action to ensure the performance of the contractual arrangements, and (ii) the VIE and its shareholders shall not assign any of their respective rights or obligations to any third party without the prior written consent of Dada Glory, we cannot assure you that these undertakings and arrangements will be complied with or effectively enforced. In the case any of them is breached or becomes unenforceable and leads to legal proceedings, it could disrupt our business, distract our management's attention and subject us to substantial uncertainties as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.
Contractual arrangements in relation to our VIE may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and they may determine that we or our VIE owes additional taxes, which could negatively affect our financial condition and the value of your investment.
Under applicable PRC laws and regulations, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities. We could face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the contractual arrangements in relation to our VIE were not entered into on an arm's length basis in such a way as to result in an impermissible reduction in taxes under applicable PRC laws, rules and regulations, and adjust income of our VIE in the form of a transfer pricing adjustment. A transfer pricing adjustment could, among other things, result in a reduction of expense deductions recorded by our VIE for PRC tax purposes, which could in turn increase its tax liabilities without reducing our PRC subsidiaries' tax expenses. In addition, the PRC tax authorities may impose late payment fees and other penalties on our VIE for the adjusted but unpaid taxes according to the applicable regulations. Our financial position could be materially and adversely affected if our VIE's tax liabilities increase or if it is required to pay late payment fees and other penalties.
Our current corporate structure and business operations may be substantially affected by the newly enacted Foreign Investment Law.
On March 15, 2019, the National People's Congress promulgated the Foreign Investment Law, which took effect on January 1, 2020. Since it is relatively new, substantially uncertainties exist in relation to its interpretation and implementation. The Foreign Investment Law does not explicitly classify whether variable interest entities that are controlled through contractual arrangements would be deemed as foreign invested enterprises if they are ultimately "controlled" by foreign investors. However, it has a catch-all provision under definition of "foreign investment" that includes investments made by foreign investors in China through other means as provided by laws, administrative regulations or the State Council. Therefore, it still leaves leeway for future laws, administrative regulations or provisions of the State Council to provide for contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment, at which time it will be uncertain whether our contractual arrangements will be deemed to be in violation of the market access requirements for foreign investment in the PRC and if yes, how our contractual arrangements should be dealt with.
The Foreign Investment Law grants national treatment to foreign-invested entities, except for those foreign-invested entities that operate in industries specified as either "restricted" or "prohibited" from foreign investment in the Special Administrative Measures (Negative List) for Foreign Investment Access jointly promulgated by MOFCOM and the NDRC and took effect in July 2020. The Foreign Investment Law provides that foreign-invested entities operating in "restricted" or "prohibited" industries will require market entry clearance and other approvals from relevant PRC government authorities. If our control over our VIE through contractual arrangements are deemed as foreign investment in the future, and any business of our VIE is "restricted" or "prohibited" from foreign investment under the "negative list" effective at the time, we may be deemed to be in violation of the Foreign Investment Law, the contractual arrangements that allow us to have control over our VIE may be deemed as invalid and illegal, and we may be required to unwind such contractual arrangements and/or restructure our business operations, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our business operation.
Furthermore, if future laws, administrative regulations or provisions mandate further actions to be taken by companies with respect to existing contractual arrangements, we may face substantial uncertainties as to whether we can complete such actions in a timely manner, or at all. Failure to take timely and appropriate measures to cope with any of these or similar regulatory compliance challenges could materially and adversely affect our current corporate structure and business operations.
We may lose the ability to use and enjoy assets held by our VIE that are critical to the operation of our business if our VIE declare bankruptcy or become subject to a dissolution or liquidation proceeding.
Our VIE holds certain assets that may be critical to the operation of our business. If the shareholders of our VIE breach the contractual arrangements and voluntarily liquidate the VIE or its subsidiaries, or if our VIE or its subsidiaries declare bankruptcy and all or part of their assets become subject to liens or rights of third-party creditors or are otherwise disposed of without our consent, we may be unable to continue some or all of our business activities, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, if our VIE or its subsidiaries undergo an involuntary liquidation proceeding, third-party creditors may claim rights to some or all of their assets, thereby hindering our ability to operate our business, which could materially or adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we exercise the option to acquire equity interest of the VIE, this equity interest transfer may subject us to certain limitations and substantial costs.
Pursuant to the Regulations for the Administration of Foreign-Invested Telecommunications Enterprises, or the FITE Regulations, promulgated by the State Council in December 2001, as amended, foreign investors are not allowed to hold more than 50% of the equity interest of any company providing certain value-added telecommunications services. In addition, the main foreign investor who invests in a value-added telecommunications business in the PRC must have prior experience in operating value-added telecommunications businesses and a proven track record of business operations overseas, or the Qualification Requirements. Currently no applicable PRC laws or regulations provides clear guidance or interpretation on these requirements. We still face the risk of not satisfying the requirement promptly. If PRC laws change to allow foreign investors to invest in value-added telecommunications enterprises in the PRC, we may be unable to unwind our contractual arrangements with the VIE and its shareholders before we are able to comply with the Qualification Requirements and other requirements.
Pursuant to the contractual arrangements, Dada Glory has the irrevocable and exclusive right to purchase all or any part of the relevant equity interest in our VIE from our VIE's shareholders at any
time and from time to time in their absolute discretion to the extent permitted by PRC laws. The consideration Dada Glory pays for such purchases will be the lowest price as permitted under applicable PRC laws. This equity transfer may be subject to approvals from, filings with, or reporting to competent PRC authorities, such as the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State Administration of Market Regulation, and/or their local competent branches. In addition, the equity transfer price may be subject to review and tax adjustment by the relevant tax authorities. The equity transfer price to be received by our VIE under the contractual arrangements may also be subject to enterprise income tax, and these amounts could be substantial.
Risks Related to Doing Business in China
Changes in China's economic, political or social conditions or government policies could have a material adverse effect on our business and operations.
Substantially all of our assets and operations are located in China. Accordingly, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may be influenced to a significant degree by economic, political and social conditions in China generally. The Chinese economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the level of development, growth rate, level of government involvement and control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. The PRC government exercises significant control over China's economic growth through allocating resources, controlling payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy, and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies. In addition, the PRC government continues to play a significant role in regulating industry development by imposing relevant industrial policies.
While the Chinese economy has experienced significant growth over the past decades, growth has been uneven, both geographically and among various sectors of the economy, and the rate of growth has been slowing since 2012. Any adverse changes in economic conditions in China, in the policies of the PRC government or in the laws and regulations in China could have a material adverse effect on the overall economic growth of China. Such developments could adversely affect our business and operating results, lead to reduction in demand for our services and adversely affect our competitive position. The PRC government has implemented various measures to encourage economic growth and guide the allocation of resources. Some of these measures may benefit the overall Chinese economy, but may have a negative effect on us. For example, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by government control over capital investments or changes in tax regulations. In addition, in the past the PRC government has implemented certain measures, including interest rate adjustment, to control the pace of economic growth. These measures may cause decreased economic activity in China, which may adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.
The PRC legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes, where prior court decisions have limited precedential value. The PRC legal system is evolving rapidly, and the interpretations of many laws, regulations and rules may contain inconsistencies and enforcement of these laws, regulations and rules involves uncertainties.
From time to time, we may have to resort to administrative and court proceedings to enforce our legal rights. However, since the PRC judicial and administrative authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be more difficult to predict the outcome of a judicial or administrative proceeding than in more developed legal systems. These
uncertainties may impede our ability to enforce the contracts we have entered into and could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Furthermore, the PRC legal system is based, in part, on government policies and internal rules, some of which are not published in a timely manner, or at all, but which may have retroactive effect. As a result, we may not always be aware of any potential violation of these policies and rules. Such unpredictability towards our contractual, property (including intellectual property) and procedural rights could adversely affect our business and impede our ability to continue our operations.
We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC regulation of internet-related businesses and companies.
The PRC government extensively regulates the internet industry, including foreign ownership of, and the licensing and permit requirements pertaining to, companies operating in the internet industry. These internet-related laws and regulations are relatively new and evolving, and their interpretation and enforcement involve significant uncertainties. As a result, in certain circumstances it may be difficult to determine what actions or omissions may be deemed to be in violation of applicable laws and regulations.
We only have contractual control over our VIE and its subsidiaries. Such corporate structure may subject us to sanctions, compromise enforceability of related contractual arrangements, which may result in significant disruption to our business.
The evolving PRC regulatory system for the internet industry may lead to the establishment of new regulatory agencies. For example, in May 2011, the State Council announced the establishment of the State Internet Information Office (with the involvement of the State Council Information Office, MIIT, and the Ministry of Public Security). The primary role of the State Internet Information Office is to facilitate the policy-making and legislative development in this field, to direct and coordinate with the relevant departments in connection with online content administration and to deal with cross-ministry regulatory matters in relation to the internet industry.
Our VIE, Shanghai Qusheng, and its subsidiary, JDDJ Youheng, each currently holds a license for internet information services, or the ICP License, which is a kind of VATS License. The Circular on Strengthening the Administration of Foreign Investment in and Operation of Value-added Telecommunications Business, issued by the MIIT in July 2006, prohibits domestic telecommunications service providers from leasing, transferring or selling telecommunications business operating licenses to any foreign investor in any form, or providing any resources, sites or facilities to any foreign investor for their illegal operation of a telecommunications business in China. The circular also requires each license holder to have the necessary facilities, including servers, for its approved business operations and to maintain such facilities in the regions covered by its license. According to the recent practice in China, if any commercial internet content-related service or online data processing and transaction processing service is to be carried out via mobile apps, such mobile apps are required to be registered on the VATS License of the operator of such mobile apps.
The interpretation and application of existing PRC laws, regulations and policies and possible new laws, regulations or policies relating to the internet industry have created substantial uncertainties regarding the legality of existing and future foreign investments in, and the businesses and activities of, internet businesses in China, including our business. We cannot assure you that we have obtained all the permits or licenses required for conducting our business in China or will be able to maintain our existing licenses or obtain new ones.
You may experience difficulties in effecting service of legal process, enforcing foreign judgments or bringing actions in China against us or our management named in the prospectus based on foreign laws.
We are an exempted company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands, however, we conduct substantially all of our operations in China and substantially all of our assets are located in China. In addition, all our senior executive officers reside within China for a significant portion of the time and all of them are PRC nationals. As a result, it may be difficult for you to effect service of process upon us or our management residing in China. In addition, China does not have treaties providing for reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments of courts with the Cayman Islands and many other countries and regions. Therefore, recognition and enforcement in China of judgments of a court in any of these non-PRC jurisdictions in relation to any matter not subject to a binding arbitration provision may be difficult or impossible.
It may be difficult for overseas regulators to conduct investigation or collect evidence within China.
Shareholder claims or regulatory investigation that are common in the United States generally are difficult to pursue as a matter of law or practicality in China. For example, in China, there are significant legal and other obstacles to providing information needed for regulatory investigations or litigation initiated outside China. Although the authorities in China may establish a regulatory cooperation mechanism with the securities regulatory authorities of another country or region to implement cross-border supervision and administration, such cooperation with the securities regulatory authorities in the Unities States may not be efficient in the absence of mutual and practical cooperation mechanism. Furthermore, according to Article 177 of the PRC Securities Law, or Article 177, which became effective in March 2020, no overseas securities regulator is allowed to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within the territory of the PRC. While detailed interpretation of or implementation rules under Article 177 have yet to be promulgated, the inability for an overseas securities regulator to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within China may further increase difficulties faced by you in protecting your interests. See also "Risks Related to Our ADSs and This OfferingYou may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law" for risks associated with investing in us as a Cayman Islands company.
If we are classified as a PRC resident enterprise for PRC income tax purposes, such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders or ADS holders.
Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules, an enterprise established outside of the PRC with "de facto management body" within China is considered a "resident enterprise" and will be subject to the enterprise income tax on its global income at the rate of 25%. The implementation rules define the term "de facto management body" as the body that exercises full and substantial control and overall management over the business, productions, personnel, accounts and properties of an enterprise. In 2009, the State Administration of Taxation, or SAT, issued the Circular of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues Relating to Identification of PRC-Controlled Overseas Registered Enterprises as Resident Enterprises in Accordance with the De Facto Standards of Organizational Management, or SAT Circular 82, which provides certain specific criteria for determining whether the "de facto management body" of a PRC-controlled enterprise that is incorporated offshore is located in China. Although this circular only applies to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC enterprise groups, not those controlled by PRC individuals or foreigners, the criteria set forth in the circular may reflect SAT's general position on how the "de facto management body" test should be applied in determining the tax resident status of all offshore enterprises. According to SAT Circular 82, an offshore incorporated enterprise controlled by a PRC
enterprise or a PRC enterprise group will be regarded as a PRC tax resident by virtue of having its "de facto management body" in China and will be subject to PRC enterprise income tax on its global income only if all of the following conditions are met: (i) the primary location of the day-to-day operational management personel and management department are in China; (ii) decisions relating to the enterprise's financial and human resource matters are made or are subject to approval by organizations or personnel in China; (iii) the enterprise's primary assets, accounting books and records, company seals, and board and shareholder resolutions, are located or maintained in China; and (iv) at least 50% of voting board members or senior executives habitually reside in China.
We believe none of our entities outside of China is a PRC resident enterprise for PRC tax purposes. However, the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by the PRC tax authorities and uncertainties remain with respect to the interpretation of the term "de facto management body." If the PRC tax authorities determine that Dada Nexus Limited is a PRC resident enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes, we could be subject to PRC tax at a rate of 25% on our worldwide income, which could materially reduce our net income, and we may be required to withhold a 10% withholding tax from dividends we pay to our shareholders that are non-resident enterprises, including the holders of our ADSs. In addition, non-resident enterprise shareholders (including our ADS holders) may be subject to PRC tax at a rate of 10% on gains realized on the sale or other disposition of ADSs or ordinary shares, if such income is treated as sourced from within China. Furthermore, if we are deemed a PRC resident enterprise, dividends payable to our non-PRC individual shareholders (including our ADS holders) and any gain realized on the transfer of ADSs or ordinary shares by such shareholders may be subject to PRC tax at a rate of 10% in the case of non-PRC enterprises or a rate of 20% in the case of non-PRC individuals unless a reduced rate is available under an applicable tax treaty. It is unclear whether non-PRC shareholders of Dada Nexus Limited would be able to claim the benefits of any tax treaties between their country of tax residence and the PRC in the event that we are treated as a PRC resident enterprise. Any such tax may reduce the returns on your investment in the ADSs or ordinary shares.
We face uncertainties with respect to indirect transfer of equity interests in PRC resident enterprises by their non-PRC holding companies.
In February 2015, the SAT, issued the Bulletin on Issues of Enterprise Income Tax on Indirect Transfers of Assets by Non-PRC Resident Enterprises, or Bulletin 7. Pursuant to Bulletin 7, an "indirect transfer" of PRC assets, including a transfer of equity interests in an unlisted non-PRC holding company of a PRC resident enterprise, by non-PRC resident enterprises may be re-characterized and treated as a direct transfer of the underlying PRC assets, if such arrangement does not have a reasonable commercial purpose and was established for the purpose of avoiding payment of PRC enterprise income tax. As a result, gains derived from such indirect transfer may be subject to PRC enterprise income tax, and the transferee or other person who is obligated to pay for the transfer is obligated to withhold the applicable taxes, currently at a rate of 10% for the transfer of equity interests in a PRC resident enterprise. On October 17, 2017, the SAT issued the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or Bulletin 37, which came into effect on December 1, 2017. The Bulletin 37 further clarifies the practice and procedure of the withholding of nonresident enterprise income tax.
We face uncertainties on the reporting and consequences of previous and future private equity financing transactions, share exchanges or other transactions involving the transfer of shares in our company by shareholders or investors that are non-PRC resident enterprises. The PRC tax authorities may pursue such non-resident enterprises with respect to a filing or the transferees with respect to withholding obligation, and request our PRC subsidiaries to assist in the filing. As a result, we and non-resident enterprises in such transactions may become at risk of being subject to filing obligations or
being taxed under Bulletin 7 and Bulletin 37, and may be required to expend valuable resources to comply with them or to establish that we and our non-resident enterprises should not be taxed under these regulations, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
If our preferential tax treatments and government subsidies are revoked or become unavailable or if the calculation of our tax liability is successfully challenged by the PRC tax authorities, we may be required to pay tax, interest and penalties in excess of our tax provisions.
The Chinese government has provided tax incentives to our PRC subsidiaries in China, including reduced enterprise income tax rates. For example, under the Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules, the statutory enterprise income tax rate is 25%. However, the income tax of an enterprise that has been determined to be a high and new technology enterprise can be reduced to a preferential rate of 15%. In addition, some of our PRC subsidiaries enjoy local government subsidies. Any increase in the enterprise income tax rate applicable to our PRC subsidiaries in China, or any discontinuation, retroactive or future reduction or refund of any of the preferential tax treatments and local government subsidies currently enjoyed by our PRC subsidiaries in China, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Further, in the ordinary course of our business, we are subject to complex income tax and other tax regulations, and significant judgment is required in the determination of a provision for income taxes. Although we believe our tax provisions are reasonable, if the PRC tax authorities successfully challenge our position and we are required to pay tax, interest and penalties in excess of our tax provisions, our financial condition and results of operations would be materially and adversely affected.
The M&A Rules and certain other PRC regulations may make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions.
The Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Companies by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rules, adopted by six PRC regulatory agencies in 2006 and amended in 2009, and some other regulations and rules concerning mergers and acquisitions established complex procedures and requirements for some acquisitions of Chinese companies by foreign investors, including requirements in some instances that the Ministry of Commerce of the PRC, or MOFCOM, be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise. Moreover, the Anti-Monopoly Law promulgated by the Standing Committee of the NPC which became effective in 2008 requires that transactions which are deemed concentrations and involve parties with specified turnover thresholds must be cleared by MOFCOM before they can be completed. In addition, the Rules of the MOFCOM on Implementation of Security Review System of Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors issued by MOFCOM and became effective in September 2011 specify that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors that raise "national defense and security" concerns and mergers and acquisitions through which foreign investors may acquire de facto control over domestic enterprises that raise "national security" concerns are subject to strict review by MOFCOM, and the rules prohibit any activities attempting to bypass a security review, including by structuring the transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement.
In the future, we may pursue potential strategic acquisitions that are complementary to our business and operations. Complying with the requirements of the above-mentioned regulations and other relevant rules to complete such transactions could be time-consuming, and any required approval processes, including obtaining approval or clearance from MOFCOM, may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand our business or maintain our market share.
The approval of the China Securities Regulatory Commission may be required in connection with this offering, and, if required, we cannot predict whether we will be able to obtain such approval.
The M&A Rules requires an overseas special purpose vehicles that are controlled by PRC companies or individuals formed for the purpose of seeking a public listing on an overseas stock exchange through acquisitions of PRC domestic interests using shares of such special purpose vehicles or held by its shareholders as considerations to obtain the approval of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, prior to the listing and trading of such special purpose vehicle's securities on an overseas stock exchange. However, the application of the M&A Rules remains unclear. If CSRC approval is required, it is uncertain whether it would be possible for us to obtain the approval.
Our PRC counsel has advised us based on their understanding of the current PRC laws, regulations and rules that the aforesaid CSRC's approval may not be required in the context of this offering, given that: (i) the CSRC has not issued any definitive rule or interpretation concerning whether offerings like ours in this prospectus are subject to this regulation, (ii) each of our PRC subsidiaries was incorporated as a wholly foreign-owned enterprise by means of direct investment rather than by merger or acquisition of equity interest or assets of a PRC domestic company owned by PRC companies or individuals as defined under the M&A Rules, and (iii) no provision in the M&A Rules clearly classifies contractual arrangements as a type of transaction subject to the M&A Rules.
However, our PRC counsel has further advised us that there remains some uncertainty as to how the M&A Rules will be interpreted or implemented in the context of an overseas offering and its opinions summarized above are subject to any new laws, regulations and rules or detailed implementations and interpretations in any form relating to the M&A Rules. We cannot assure you that relevant PRC government agencies, including the CSRC, would reach the same conclusion as we do. If it is determined that CSRC approval is required for this offering, we may face sanctions by the CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies for failure to obtain or delay in obtaining CSRC approval for this offering. These sanctions may include fines and penalties on our operations in China, limitations on our operating privileges in China, delays in or restrictions on the repatriation of the proceeds from this offering into the PRC, restrictions on or prohibition of the payments or remittance of dividends by our subsidiaries in China, or other actions that could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, reputation and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ADSs. The CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies may also take actions requiring us, or making it advisable for us, to halt this offering before the settlement and delivery of the ADSs that we are offering. Consequently, if you engage in market trading or other activities in anticipation of and prior to the settlement and delivery of the ADSs we are offering, you would be doing so at the risk that the settlement and delivery may not occur. In addition, if the CSRC or other regulatory agencies later promulgate new rules or explanations requiring that we obtain their approvals for this offering, we may be unable to obtain a waiver of such approval requirements, if and when procedures are established to obtain such a waiver.
Any failure to comply with PRC regulations regarding the registration requirements for employee stock incentive plans may subject our 2015 Plan and 2020 Plan participants or us to fines and other legal or administrative sanctions.
In February 2012, SAFE promulgated the Notices on Issues Concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in Stock Incentive Plan of Overseas Publicly Listed Company, replacing earlier rules promulgated in 2007. Pursuant to these rules, PRC citizens and non-PRC citizens who reside in China for a continuous period of not less than one year and participate in any stock incentive plan of an overseas publicly listed company, subject to a few exceptions, are required to register with SAFE through a domestic qualified agent, which could be the PRC
subsidiaries of such overseas-listed company, and complete certain other procedures. In addition, an overseas-entrusted institution must be retained to handle matters in connection with the exercise or sale of stock options and the purchase or sale of shares and interests. We and our executive officers and other employees who are PRC citizens or who reside in China for a continuous period of not less than one year and who have been granted options are subject to these regulations. Failure to complete SAFE registrations may subject them to fines of up to RMB300,000 for entities and up to RMB50,000 for individuals, and legal sanctions and may also limit our ability to make payment under the relevant incentive plans or receive dividends or sales proceeds related thereto in foreign currencies, or our ability to contribute additional capital into our PRC subsidiaries and limit our PRC subsidiaries' ability to distribute dividends to us. We also face regulatory uncertainties that could restrict our ability to adopt additional incentive plans for our directors, executive officers and employees under PRC law. See "RegulationRegulations Relating to Stock Incentive Plans."
In addition, the SAT has issued certain circulars concerning employee share options and restricted shares. Under these circulars, our employees working in China who exercise share options or are granted restricted shares will be subject to PRC individual income tax. Our PRC subsidiaries have obligations to file documents related to employee share options or restricted shares with relevant tax authorities and to withhold individual income taxes of those employees who exercise their share options. If our employees fail to pay or we fail to withhold their income taxes according to relevant laws and regulations, we may face sanctions imposed by the tax authorities or other PRC government authorities. See "RegulationRegulations Relating to Stock Incentive Plans."
Failure to comply with PRC laws and regulations on leased property may expose us to potential fines and negatively affect our ability to use the properties we lease.
Certain of our leasehold interests in leased properties have not been registered with the relevant PRC government authorities as required by PRC law, which may expose us to potential fines if we fail to remediate after receiving any notice from the relevant PRC government authorities. Failure to complete the lease registration will not affect the legal effectiveness of the lease agreements according to PRC law, but the real estate administrative authorities may require the parties to the lease agreements to complete lease registration within a prescribed period of time, and the failure to do so may subject the parties to fines from RMB1,000 to RMB10,000 for each of such lease agreements.
In addition, certain use of our leased properties has exceeded the lease term as stipulated in relevant lease agreements without extension or renewal, where the use of such properties may become unavailable to us.
Our lessors are required to comply with various laws and regulations to enable them to lease effective titles of their properties for our use. For instance, properties used for business operations and the underlying land should be approved for commercial use purposes by competent government authorities. Failure to do so may subject the lessors to monetary fines or other penalties and may lead to the invalidation or termination of our leases by competent government authorities, and therefore may adversely affect our ability to use the leased properties. In addition, certain lessors of our leased properties have not provided us with valid property ownership certificates or any other documentation proving their right to lease those properties to us. If our lessors are not the owners of the properties or they have not obtained consents from the owners or their lessors or permits from the relevant government authorities, our leases could be invalidated.
As of the date of this prospectus, we are not aware of any actions, claims or investigations threatened against us or our lessors with respect to the defects in our leasehold interests. However, if any of our leases is terminated as a result of challenges by third parties or governmental authorities for
lack of title certificates or proof of authorization to lease, we do not expect to be subject to any fines or penalties, but we may be forced to relocate the affected offices and incur additional expenses relating to such relocation.
PRC regulations relating to offshore investment activities by PRC residents may limit our PRC subsidiaries' ability to change their registered capital or distribute profits to us or otherwise expose us or our PRC resident beneficial owners to liability and penalties under PRC laws.
In July 2014, SAFE promulgated the Circular on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Control on Domestic Residents' Offshore Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment Through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37. SAFE Circular 37 requires PRC residents (including PRC individuals and PRC corporate entities as well as foreign individuals that are deemed as PRC residents for foreign exchange administration purpose) to register with SAFE or its local branches in connection with their direct or indirect offshore investment activities. SAFE Circular 37 further requires amendment to the SAFE registrations in the event of any changes with respect to the basic information of the offshore special purpose vehicle, such as change of a PRC individual shareholder, name and operation term, or any significant changes with respect to the offshore special purpose vehicle, such as increase or decrease of capital contribution, share transfer or exchange, or mergers or divisions. Beneficial owners of the offshore special purpose vehicle who are PRC residents are also required to make annual filing with the local banks regarding their overseas investment status. SAFE Circular 37 is applicable to our shareholders who are PRC residents and may be applicable to any offshore acquisitions that we make in the future.
If our shareholders who are PRC residents or entities or our beneficial owners who are PRC residents do not complete their registrations or filings with the local SAFE branches, our PRC subsidiaries may be subject to fines and legal sanctions, and we may be prohibited from distributing its profits and proceeds from any reduction in capital, share transfer or liquidation to us, and we may be restricted in our ability to contribute additional capital to our PRC subsidiaries. In February 2015, SAFE promulgated a Circular on Further Simplifying and Improving Foreign Exchange Administration Policy on Direct Investment, or SAFE Circular 13, effective in June 2015. Under SAFE Circular 13, applications for foreign exchange registration of inbound foreign direct investments and outbound overseas direct investments, including those required under SAFE Circular 37, will be filed with qualified banks instead of SAFE. The qualified banks will directly examine the applications and accept registrations under the supervision of SAFE.
Mr. Philip Jiaqi Kuai and Mr. Jun Yang have completed the initial registrations with the local SAFE branch or qualified banks as required by SAFE Circular 37. However, we may not be informed of the identities of all the PRC residents or entities holding direct or indirect interest in our company, nor can we compel our beneficial owners to comply with SAFE registration or filing requirements. We cannot assure you that all shareholders or beneficial owners of ours who are PRC residents or entities have complied with, and will in the future make, obtain or update any applicable registrations, approvals or annual filings required by, SAFE regulations.
The failure or inability of such shareholders or beneficial owners to comply with SAFE regulations, or failure by us to complete or amend the foreign exchange registrations or annual filings of our PRC subsidiaries, could subject us to fines or legal sanctions, restrict our overseas or cross-border investment activities, limit our PRC subsidiaries' ability to make distributions or pay dividends to us or affect our ownership structure. As a result, our business operations and our ability to distribute profits to you could be materially and adversely affected.
We may be materially adversely affected if our shareholders and beneficial owners who are PRC entities fail to comply with the relevant PRC overseas investment regulations.
On December 26, 2017, the NDRC promulgated the Administrative Measures on Overseas Investments, or NDRC Order No. 11, which took effect as of March 1, 2018. According to NDRC Order No. 11, non-sensitive overseas investment projects are subject to record-filing requirements with the local branch of the NDRC. On September 6, 2014, MOFCOM promulgated the Administrative Measures on Overseas Investments, which took effect as of October 6, 2014. According to this regulation, overseas investments of PRC enterprises that involve non-sensitive countries and regions and non-sensitive industries are subject to record-filing requirements with a local MOFCOM branch. According to the Circular of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Issuing the Regulations on Foreign Exchange Administration of the Overseas Direct Investment of Domestic Institutions, which was promulgated by SAFE on July 13, 2009 and took effect on August 1, 2009, PRC enterprises must register for overseas direct investment with a local SAFE branch.
We may not be fully informed of the identities of all our shareholders or beneficial owners who are PRC entities, and we cannot provide any assurance that all of our shareholders and beneficial owners who are PRC entities will comply with our request to complete the overseas direct investment procedures under the aforementioned regulations or other related rules in a timely manner, or at all. If they fail to complete the filings or registrations required by the overseas direct investment regulations, the relevant authorities may order them to suspend or cease the implementation of such investment and make corrections within a specified time, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.
We are a Cayman Islands holding company and we may rely principally on dividends and other distributions on equity from our PRC subsidiaries for our cash requirements, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders for services of any debt we may incur. If any of our PRC subsidiaries incurs debt on its own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict its ability to pay dividends or make other distributions to us. Under PRC laws and regulations, our PRC subsidiaries, which are foreign-owned enterprises, may pay dividends only out of their respective accumulated profits as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, our PRC subsidiaries are required to set aside at least 10% of its accumulated after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund a certain statutory reserve fund, until the aggregate amount of such fund reaches 50% of its registered capital. Such reserve funds cannot be distributed to us as dividends.
Our PRC subsidiaries generate essentially all of their revenue in Renminbi, which is not freely convertible into other currencies. As a result, any restriction on currency exchange may limit the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to use their Renminbi revenues to pay dividends to us.
The PRC government may continue to strengthen its capital controls, and more restrictions and substantial vetting process may be put forward by SAFE for cross-border transactions falling under both the current account and the capital account. Any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends or make other kinds of payments to us could materially and adversely limit our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our business, pay dividends, or otherwise fund and conduct our business.
In addition, the Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules provide that a withholding tax rate of up to 10% will be applicable to dividends payable by Chinese companies to non-PRC-resident enterprises unless otherwise exempted or reduced according to treaties or arrangements between the PRC central government and governments of other countries or regions where the non-PRC-resident enterprises are incorporated.
PRC regulation of loans to and direct investment in PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control of currency conversion may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds of this offering to make loans to our PRC subsidiaries and our VIE in China, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.
We are an offshore holding company conducting our operations in China through our PRC subsidiaries, our VIE and its subsidiaries. We may make loans to our PRC subsidiaries, our VIE and its subsidiaries, or we may make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, or we may establish new PRC subsidiaries and make capital contributions to these new PRC subsidiaries, or we may acquire offshore entities with business operations in China in an offshore transaction.
Most of these ways are subject to PRC regulations and approvals. For example, loans by us to our wholly owned PRC subsidiaries to finance their activities cannot exceed statutory limits and must be registered with the local counterpart of SAFE or filed with SAFE in its information system. If we decide to finance our wholly owned PRC subsidiaries by means of capital contributions, these capital contributions are subject to the requirement of making necessary filings in the Foreign Investment Comprehensive Management Information System and registration with other governmental authorities in China. Due to the restrictions imposed on loans in foreign currencies extended to PRC domestic companies, we are not likely to make such loans to our VIE, which is a PRC domestic company. Further, we are not likely to finance the activities of our VIE by means of capital contributions due to regulatory restrictions relating to foreign investment in PRC domestic enterprises engaged in internet information and certain other businesses.
SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming the Administration of Foreign Exchange Settlement of Capital of Foreign-invested Enterprises, or SAFE Circular 19, effective June 2015, in replacement of a former regulation. According to SAFE Circular 19, the flow and use of the RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested company is regulated such that RMB capital may not be used for the issuance of RMB entrusted loans, the repayment of inter-enterprise loans or the repayment of banks loans that have been transferred to a third-party. Although SAFE Circular 19 allows RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested enterprise to be used for equity investments within China, it also reiterates the principle that RMB converted from the foreign currency-denominated capital of a foreign-invested company may not be directly or indirectly used for purposes beyond its business scope. Thus, it is unclear whether SAFE will permit such capital to be used for equity investments in China in actual practice. SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming and Standardizing the Foreign Exchange Settlement Management Policy of Capital Account, or SAFE Circular 16, effective on June 9, 2016, which reiterates some of the rules set forth in SAFE Circular 19, but changes the prohibition against using RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested company to issue RMB entrusted loans to a prohibition against using such capital to issue loans to non-associated enterprises. Violations of SAFE Circular 19 and SAFE Circular 16 could result in administrative penalties. SAFE Circular 19 and SAFE Circular 16 may significantly limit our ability to transfer any foreign currency we hold, including the net proceeds from this offering, to our PRC subsidiaries, which may adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business in China. On October 23, 2019, the SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign
Exchange on Further Promoting the Convenience of Cross-border Trade and Investment, or the SAFE Circular 28, which, among other things, allows all foreign-invested companies to use Renminbi converted from foreign currency-denominated capital for equity investments in China, as long as the equity investment is genuine, does not violate applicable laws, and complies with the negative list on foreign investment. However, since the SAFE Circular 28 is newly promulgated, it is unclear how SAFE and competent banks will carry this out in practice.
In light of the various requirements imposed by PRC regulations on loans to and direct investment in PRC entities by offshore holding companies, we cannot assure you that we will be able to complete the necessary government registrations or obtain the necessary government approvals on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to future loans to our PRC subsidiaries or VIE or future capital contributions by us to our PRC subsidiaries. As a result, uncertainties exist as to our ability to provide prompt financial support to our PRC subsidiaries or VIE when needed. If we fail to complete such registrations or obtain such approvals, our ability to use the proceeds we expect to receive from this offering and to capitalize or otherwise fund our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.
Fluctuations in exchange rates could have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.
The value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies may fluctuate and is affected by, among other things, changes in political and economic conditions in China and China's foreign exchange policies. In 2005, the PRC government changed its decades-old policy of pegging the value of the Renminbi to the U.S. dollar, and the Renminbi appreciated more than 20% against the U.S. dollar over the following three years. Between July 2008 and June 2010, this appreciation halted and the exchange rate between Renminbi and the U.S. dollar remained within a narrow band. Since June 2010, Renminbi has fluctuated against the U.S. dollar, at times significantly and unpredictably. With the development of the foreign exchange market and progress towards interest rate liberalization and Renminbi internationalization, the PRC government may in the future announce further changes to the exchange rate system, and we cannot assure you that the Renminbi will not appreciate or depreciate significantly in value against the U.S. dollar in the future. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or U.S. government policy may impact the exchange rate between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar in the future.
Significant revaluation of the Renminbi may have a material and adverse effect on your investment. For example, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars we receive from this offering into Renminbi for our operations, appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the Renminbi amount we would receive from the conversion. Conversely, if we decide to convert our Renminbi into U.S. dollars for the purpose of making payments for dividends on our ordinary shares or ADSs or for other business purposes, appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Renminbi would have a negative effect on the U.S. dollar amount available to us.
Very limited hedging options are available in China to reduce our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. To date, we have not entered into any hedging transactions to reduce our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk. While we may decide to enter into hedging transactions in the future, the availability and effectiveness of these hedges may be limited and we may not be able to adequately hedge our exposure or at all. In addition, our currency exchange losses may be magnified by PRC exchange control regulations that restrict our ability to convert Renminbi into foreign currency.
Governmental control of currency conversion may limit our ability to utilize our revenues effectively and affect the value of your investment.
The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility of the Renminbi into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. We receive substantially all of our revenues in Renminbi. Under our current corporate structure, our Cayman Islands holding company may rely on dividend payments from our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, including profit distributions, interest payments and trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, by complying with certain procedural requirements. Specifically, under the existing exchange restrictions, without prior approval of SAFE, cash generated from the operations of our PRC subsidiaries in China may be used to pay dividends to our company. However, approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities is required where Renminbi is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. As a result, we need to obtain SAFE approval to use cash generated from the operations of our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated variable interest entity to pay off their respective debt in a currency other than Renminbi owed to entities outside China, or to make other capital expenditure payments outside China in a currency other than Renminbi.
In light of the flood of capital outflows of China in 2016 due to the weakening Renminbi, the PRC government has imposed more restrictive foreign exchange policies and stepped up scrutiny of major outbound capital movement including overseas direct investment. More restrictions and substantial vetting process are put in place by SAFE to regulate cross-border transactions falling under the capital account. If any of our shareholders regulated by such policies fails to satisfy the applicable overseas direct investment filing or approval requirement timely or at all, it may be subject to penalties from the relevant PRC authorities. The PRC government may at its discretion further restrict access in the future to foreign currencies for current account transactions. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currencies to satisfy our foreign currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of the ADSs.
The audit report included in this prospectus is prepared by an auditor who is not inspected by the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and as such, our investors are deprived of the benefits of such inspection. In addition, various legislative and regulatory developments related to U.S.-listed China-based companies due to lack of PCAOB inspection and other developments due to political tensions between the United States and China may have a material adverse impact on our listing and trading in the U.S. and the trading prices of our ADSs.
Our auditor is registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), or the PCAOB. Pursuant to laws in the United States, the PCAOB has authority to conduct regular inspections over independent registered public accounting firms registered with the PCAOB to assess their compliance with the applicable professional standards. Our auditor is also located in China, a jurisdiction which does not allow the PCAOB to conduct inspections without the approval of the Chinese authorities. As a result, we understand that our auditor is not currently inspected by the PCAOB.
In May 2013, the PCAOB announced that it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on Enforcement Cooperation with the CSRC and the PRC Ministry of Finance, which established a cooperative framework between the parties for the production and exchange of audit documents
relevant to investigations undertaken by the PCAOB, the CSRC or the PRC Ministry of Finance in the United States and the PRC, respectively. The PCAOB continued to discuss with the CSRC and the PRC Ministry of Finance on joint inspections in the PRC of PCAOB-registered audit firms that provide auditing services to Chinese companies that trade on U.S. stock exchanges. On December 7, 2018, the SEC and the PCAOB issued a joint statement highlighting the continued challenges faced by the U.S. regulators in their oversight of financial statement audits of U.S.-listed companies with significant operations in China. On April 21, 2020, the SEC and the PCAOB issued another joint statement reiterating the greater risks of insufficient disclosures from companies in many emerging markets, including China, compared to those from U.S. domestic companies. In discussing the specific issues related to these greater risks, the statement again highlighted the PCAOB's inability to inspect audit work and practices of accounting firms in China with respect to U.S. reporting companies. On June 4, 2020, the U.S. President issued a memorandum ordering the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, or the PWG, to submit a report to the President within 60 days of the memorandum that includes recommendations for actions that can be taken by the executive branch and by the SEC or the PCAOB on Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges and their audit firms. On August 6, 2020, the PWG released the report. In particular, with respect to jurisdictions that do not grant the PCAOB sufficient access to fulfill its statutory mandate, or NCJs, the PWG recommended that enhanced listing standards be applied to companies from NCJs for seeking initial listing and remaining listed on U.S. stock exchanges. Under the enhanced listing standards, if the PCAOB does not have access to work papers of the principal audit firm located in a NCJ for the audit of a U.S.-listed company as a result of governmental restrictions, the U.S.-listed company may satisfy this standard by providing a co-audit from an audit firm with comparable resources and experience where the PCAOB determines that it has sufficient access to the firm's audit work papers and practices to inspect the co-audit. The report recommended a transition period until January 1, 2022 before the new listing standards apply to companies already listed on U.S. stock exchanges. Under the PWG recommendations, if we fail to meet the enhanced listing standards before January 1, 2022, we could face de-listing from the Nasdaq Global Select Market, deregistration from the SEC and/or other risks, which may materially and adversely affect, or effectively terminate, our ADS trading in the United States. There were recent media reports about the SEC's proposed rulemaking in this regard. It is uncertain whether the PWG recommendations will be adopted, in whole or in part, and the impact of any new rule on us cannot be estimated at this time.
This lack of the PCAOB inspections in China prevents the PCAOB from fully evaluating audits and quality control procedures of our independent registered public accounting firm. As a result, we and investors in our ordinary shares are deprived of the benefits of such PCAOB inspections. The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our independent registered public accounting firm's audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to the PCAOB inspections, which could cause investors and potential investors in our stock to lose confidence in our audit procedures and reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements.
As part of a continued regulatory focus in the United States on access to audit and other information currently protected by national law, in particular China's, in June 2019, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced bills in both houses of the U.S. Congress, which if passed, would require the SEC to maintain a list of issuers for which PCAOB is not able to inspect or investigate an auditor report issued by a foreign public accounting firm. The proposed Ensuring Quality Information and Transparency for Abroad-Based Listings on our Exchanges (EQUITABLE) Act prescribes increased disclosure requirements for these issuers and, beginning in 2025, the delisting from U.S. national securities exchanges such as the Nasdaq Global Select Market of issuers included on the SEC's list for three consecutive years. On May 20, 2020, the U.S. Senate passed S. 945, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the Act. The Act was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives
on December 2, 2020. It will be presented to the president of the United States for signing into law within the same month. In essence, the Act requires the SEC to prohibit foreign companies from listing securities on U.S. securities exchanges if a company retains a foreign accounting firm that cannot be inspected by the PCAOB for three consecutive years, beginning in 2021. The enactment of Act and any additional rulemaking efforts to increase U.S. regulatory access to audit information in China could cause investor uncertainty for affected SEC registrants, including us, the market price of our ADSs could be materially adversely affected, and we could be delisted if we are unable to meet the PCAOB inspection requirement in time.
In addition, political tensions between the United States and China have escalated due to, among other things, trade disputes, the COVID-19 outbreak, sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of Treasury on certain officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the central government of the PRC and the executive orders issued by U.S. President Donald J. Trump in August 2020 that prohibit certain transactions with certain Chinese companies and their applications. Rising political tensions could reduce levels of trades, investments, technological exchanges and other economic activities between the two major economies, which would have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions and the stability of global financial markets. Any of these factors could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations. Furthermore, there have been recent media reports on deliberations within the U.S. government regarding potentially limiting or restricting China-based companies from accessing U.S. capital markets. If any such deliberations were to materialize, the resulting legislation may have material and adverse impact on the stock performance of China-based issuers listed in the United States.
Proceedings instituted by the SEC against Chinese affiliates of the "big four" accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.
Starting in 2011 the Chinese affiliates of the "big four" accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, were affected by a conflict between U.S. and Chinese law. Specifically, for certain U.S.-listed companies operating and audited in mainland China, the SEC and the PCAOB sought to obtain from the Chinese firms access to their audit work papers and related documents. The firms were, however, advised and directed that under Chinese law, they could not respond directly to the U.S. regulators on those requests, and that requests by foreign regulators for access to such papers in China had to be channeled through the CSRC.
In late 2012, this impasse led the SEC to commence administrative proceedings under Rule 102(e) of its Rules of Practice and also under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 against the Chinese accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm. A first instance trial of the proceedings in July 2013 in the SEC's internal administrative court resulted in an adverse judgment against the firms. The administrative law judge proposed penalties on the firms including a temporary suspension of their right to practice before the SEC, although that proposed penalty did not take effect pending review by the Commissioners of the SEC. On February 6, 2015, before a review by the Commissioner had taken place, the firms reached a settlement with the SEC. Under the settlement, the SEC accepts that future requests by the SEC for the production of documents will normally be made to the CSRC. The firms will receive matching Section 106 requests, and are required to abide by a detailed set of procedures with respect to such requests, which in substance require them to facilitate production via the CSRC. If they fail to meet specified criteria, the SEC retains authority to impose a variety of additional remedial measures on the firms depending on the nature of the failure. Remedies for any future noncompliance could include, as appropriate, an automatic six-month bar on a single firm's performance of certain audit work, commencement of a new proceeding against a firm, or, in extreme cases, the resumption of the current proceeding against all four firms. If additional remedial
measures are imposed on the Chinese affiliates of the "big four" accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, in administrative proceedings brought by the SEC alleging the firms' failure to meet specific criteria set by the SEC with respect to requests for the production of documents, we could be unable to timely file future financial statements in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.
In the event that the SEC restarts the administrative proceedings, depending upon the final outcome, listed companies in the United States with major PRC operations may find it difficult or impossible to retain auditors in respect of their operations in the PRC, which could result in financial statements being determined not to be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act, including possible delisting. Moreover, any negative news about any such future proceedings against these audit firms may cause investor uncertainty regarding China-based, U.S.-listed companies and the market price of our ADSs may be adversely affected.
If our independent registered public accounting firm was denied, even temporarily, the ability to practice before the SEC and we were unable to timely find another registered public accounting firm to audit and issue an opinion on our financial statements, our financial statements could be determined not to be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act. Such a determination could ultimately lead to the delisting of the ADSs from the Nasdaq Global Select Market or deregistration from the SEC, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of the ADSs in the United States.
Changes in U.S. and international trade policies, particularly with regard to China, may adversely impact our business and operating results.
The U.S. government has recently made statements and taken certain actions that may lead to potential changes to U.S. and international trade policies, including recently-imposed tariffs affecting certain products manufactured in China. It is unknown whether and to what extent new tariffs (or other new laws or regulations) will be adopted, or the effect that any such actions would have on us or our industry. Although cross-border business may not be an area of our focus, if we plan to expand our business internationally in the future or imported products begin to be or continue to be listed on our platforms, any unfavorable government policies on international trade, such as capital controls or tariffs, may affect the consumer demand for certain products listed on our platforms, prevent us from being able to list certain products on our platforms or provide services in certain countries. If any new tariffs, legislation and/or regulations are implemented, or if existing trade agreements are renegotiated or, in particular, if the U.S. government takes retaliatory trade actions due to the recent U.S.-China trade tension, such changes could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations.
Risks Related to Our ADSs and This Offering
The trading price of the ADSs may be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors.
Since our ADSs became listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on June 5, 2020, the closing trading price of our ADSs has ranged from US$14.75 to US$56.53 per ADS, and the last reported closing trading price on November 27, 2020 was US$55.77 per ADS. The trading price of the ADSs is likely to be volatile and could fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control. The trading performances of other Chinese companies' securities, including internet and e-commerce companies, may affect the attitudes of investors toward Chinese companies listed in the United States, which consequently may impact the trading performance of our ADSs, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition, any negative news or perceptions about inadequate corporate governance
practices or fraudulent accounting, corporate structure or matters of other Chinese companies may also negatively affect the attitudes of investors towards Chinese companies in general, including us, regardless of our conduct. This may happen because of broad market and industry factors, including the performance and fluctuation of the market prices of other companies with business operations located mainly in China that have listed their securities in the United States. In addition to market and industry factors, the price and trading volume for the ADSs may be highly volatile for factors specific to our own operations, including the following:
Any of these factors may result in large and sudden changes in the volume and price at which the ADSs will trade. Furthermore, the stock market in general experiences price and volume fluctuations that are often unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of companies like us. These broad market and industry fluctuations may adversely affect the market price of our ADSs. Volatility or a lack of positive performance in our ADS price may also adversely affect our ability to retain key employees, most of whom have been granted share incentives.
In the past, shareholders of public companies have often brought securities class action suits against companies following periods of instability in the market price of their securities. If we were involved in a class action suit, it could divert a significant amount of our management's attention and other resources from our business and operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit, which could harm our results of operations. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
If securities or industry analysts cease to publish research or reports about our business, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding the ADSs, the market price for the ADSs and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for the ADSs will be influenced by research or reports that industry or securities analysts publish about our business. If one or more analysts who cover us downgrade the ADSs, the market price for the ADSs would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to
cover us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which, in turn, could cause the market price or trading volume for the ADSs to decline.
Techniques employed by short sellers may drive down the market price of the ADSs.
Short selling is the practice of selling securities that a seller does not own but rather has borrowed from a third party with the intention of buying identical securities back at a later date to return to the lender. Short sellers hope to profit from a decline in the value of the securities between the sale of the borrowed securities and the purchase of the replacement shares, as short sellers expect to pay less in that purchase than they received in the sale. As it is in short sellers' interest for the price of the security to decline, many short sellers publish, or arrange for the publication of, negative opinions and allegations regarding the relevant issuer and its business prospects in order to create negative market momentum and generate profits for themselves after selling a security short. These short attacks have, in the past, led to selling of shares in the market.
We may be subject to short seller attacks from time to time in the future. If we were to become the subject of any unfavorable allegations, whether such allegations are proven to be true or untrue, we may have to expend a significant amount of resources to investigate such allegations and/or defend ourselves. While we would strongly defend against any such short seller attacks, we may be constrained in the manner in which we can proceed against the relevant short sellers by principles of freedom of speech, applicable state law or issues of commercial confidentiality. Such a situation could be costly and time-consuming, and could divert management's attention from the day-to-day operations of our company. Even if such allegations are ultimately proven to be groundless, allegations against us could severely impact the market price of our ADSs and our business operations.
The sale or availability for sale of substantial amounts of our ADSs could adversely affect their market price.
Sales of substantial amounts of our ADSs in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur, could adversely affect the market price of our ADSs and could materially impair our ability to raise capital through equity offerings in the future. The ADSs sold in our initial public offering and this offering will be freely transferable without restriction or further registration under the Securities Act. The remaining ordinary shares issued and outstanding after this offering will be available for sale, upon the expiration of the lock-up period in connection with this offering, subject to volume and other restrictions as applicable under Rules 144 and 701 under the Securities Act. Any or all of these shares may be released prior to the expiration of the lock-up period at the discretion of the representatives of the underwriters of this offering. To the extent shares are released before the expiration of the lock-up period and sold into the market, the market price of our ADSs could decline.
Certain holders of our ordinary shares may cause us to register under the Securities Act the sale of their shares, subject to the lock-up period in connection with this offering. Registration of these shares under the Securities Act would result in ADSs representing these shares becoming freely tradable without restriction under the Securities Act immediately upon the effectiveness of the registration. Sales of these registered shares in the form of ADSs in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.
We currently do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future and you must rely on price appreciation of our ADSs for return on your investment.
We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash
dividends in the foreseeable future. Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in our ADSs as a source for any future dividend income.
Our board of directors has complete discretion as to whether to distribute dividends, subject to certain requirements of Cayman Islands law. In addition, our shareholders may by ordinary resolution declare a dividend, but no dividend may exceed the amount recommended by our directors. Under Cayman Islands law, a Cayman Islands exempted company may pay a dividend out of either profit or share premium account, provided that in no circumstances may a dividend be paid if this would result in the company being unable to pay its debts as they fall due in the ordinary course of business. Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return on your investment in our ADSs will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of our ADSs. There is no guarantee that our ADSs will appreciate in value after this offering or even maintain the price at which you purchased the ADSs. You may not realize a return on your investment in our ADSs and you may even lose your entire investment in our ADSs.
We have not determined a specific use for a portion of the net proceeds from this offering and we may use these proceeds in ways with which you may not agree.
We have not determined a specific use for a portion of the net proceeds of this offering, and our management will have considerable discretion in deciding how to apply these proceeds. You will not have the opportunity to assess whether the proceeds are being used appropriately before you make your investment decision. You must rely on the judgment of our management regarding the application of the net proceeds of this offering. We cannot assure you that the net proceeds will be used in a manner that would improve our results of operations or increase the ADS price, nor that these net proceeds will be placed only in investments that generate income or appreciate in value.
Our memorandum and articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could have a material adverse effect on the rights of holders of our ordinary shares and the ADSs.
Our currently effective memorandum and articles of association contain provisions to limit the ability of others to acquire control of our company or cause us to engage in change-of-control transactions. These provisions could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transaction. Our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our shareholders, to issue preferred shares in one or more series and to fix their designations, powers, preferences, privileges and relative participating, optional or special rights and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions, including dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the rights associated with our ordinary shares, including ordinary shares represented by ADSs. Preferred shares could be issued quickly with terms calculated to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. If our board of directors decides to issue preferred shares, the price of the ADSs may fall and the voting and other rights of the holders of our ordinary shares and the ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.
The voting rights of holders of ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement, and you may not be able to exercise your right to direct the voting of the underlying ordinary shares represented by your ADSs.
Holders of ADSs do not have the same rights as our registered shareholders. As a holder of ADSs, you will not have any direct right to attend general meetings of our shareholders or to cast any votes at such meetings. You will only be able to exercise the voting rights attached to the ordinary shares underlying your ADSs indirectly by giving voting instructions to the depositary in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Where any matter is to be put to a vote at a general meeting, then upon receipt of your voting instructions, the depositary will try, as far as is practicable, to vote the underlying ordinary shares represented by your ADSs in accordance with your instructions. You will not be able to directly exercise your right to vote with respect to the underlying ordinary shares unless you cancel and withdraw the shares and become the registered holder of such shares prior to the record date for the general meeting.
When a general meeting is convened, you may not receive sufficient advance notice of the meeting to withdraw the ordinary shares represented by your ADSs and become the registered holder of such shares to allow you to attend the general meeting and to vote directly with respect to any specific matter or resolution to be considered and voted upon at the general meeting. In addition, under our memorandum and articles of association, for the purposes of determining those shareholders who are entitled to attend and vote at any general meeting, our directors may close our register of members and/or fix in advance a record date for such meeting, and such closure of our register of members or the setting of such a record date may prevent you from withdrawing the underlying ordinary shares represented by your ADSs and from becoming the registered holder of such shares prior to the record date, so that you would not be able to attend the general meeting or to vote directly. Where any matter is to be put to a vote at a general meeting, upon our instruction the depositary will notify you of the upcoming vote and will arrange to deliver our voting materials to you. We cannot assure you that you will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that you can instruct the depositary to vote the underlying ordinary shares represented by your ADSs.
In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for their manner of carrying out your voting instructions. This means that you may not be able to exercise your right to direct how the underlying ordinary shares represented by your ADSs are voted and you may have no legal remedy if the underlying ordinary shares represented by your ADSs are not voted as you requested. In addition, in your capacity as an ADS holder, you will not be able to call a shareholders' meeting.
Further, under the deposit agreement for the ADSs, if you do not vote, the depositary will give us a discretionary proxy to vote the ordinary shares underlying your ADSs at shareholders' meetings unless:
The effect of this discretionary proxy is that you cannot prevent our ordinary shares underlying your ADSs from being voted, except under the circumstances described above. This may adversely affect your interests and make it more difficult for shareholders to influence the management of our company. Holders of our ordinary shares are not subject to this discretionary proxy.
You may be subject to limitations on transfer of your ADSs.
Your ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. The depositary may close its books from time to time for a number of reasons, including in connection with corporate events such as a rights offering, during which time the depositary needs to maintain an exact number of ADS holders on its books for a specified period. The depositary may also close its books in emergencies, and on weekends and public holidays. The depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of the ADSs generally when our share register or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary thinks it is advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.
You may experience dilution of your holdings due to inability to participate in rights offerings.
We may, from time to time, distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire securities. Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not distribute rights to holders of ADSs unless the distribution and sale of rights and the securities to which these rights relate are either exempt from registration under the Securities Act with respect to all holders of ADSs, or are registered under the provisions of the Securities Act. The depositary may, but is not required to, attempt to sell these undistributed rights to third parties, and may allow the rights to lapse. We may be unable to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act, and we are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to these rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to have a registration statement declared effective. Accordingly, holders of ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution of their holdings as a result.
You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law.
We are an exempted company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Companies Law (2020 Revision) of the Cayman Islands and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against our directors, actions by our minority shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors owed 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 the common law of England, the decisions of whose courts are of persuasive authority, but are not binding, on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors owed to us under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States. Some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have the standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States.
Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies like us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders of these companies. Our directors have discretion under our memorandum and articles of association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may 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, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of our board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a company incorporated in the United States. For a discussion of significant differences between the provisions of the Companies Law of the Cayman Islands and the laws applicable to companies incorporated in the United States and their shareholders, see "Description of Share CapitalOur Memorandum and Articles of AssociationDifferences in Corporate Law."
Certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.
We are a Cayman Islands exempted company and substantially all of our assets are located outside of the United States. All of our current operations are conducted in China. In addition, all of our current directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the U.S. federal securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of China may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers. For more information regarding the relevant laws of the Cayman Islands and China, see "Enforceability of Civil Liabilities."
Your rights to pursue claims against the depositary as a holder of ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement.
The deposit agreement governing the ADSs representing our ordinary shares provides that, subject to the depositary's right to require a claim to be submitted to arbitration, the federal or state courts in the City of New York have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine claims arising under the deposit agreement, our shares and the ADSs and the transactions contemplated thereby, and in that regard, to the fullest extent permitted by law, holders and beneficial owners of ADS waive the right to a jury trial of any claim they may have against us or the depositary arising out of or relating to our Class A ordinary shares, the ADSs or the deposit agreement, including any claim under the U.S. federal securities laws.
If we or the depositary opposed a jury trial demand based on the waiver, the court would determine whether the waiver was enforceable based on the facts and circumstances of that case in accordance with the applicable U.S. state and federal law. To our knowledge, the enforceability of a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver in connection with claims arising under the U.S. federal securities laws has not been finally adjudicated by the United States Supreme Court. However, we believe that a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver provision is generally enforceable, including under the laws of the State of New York, which govern the deposit agreement. In determining whether to enforce a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver provision, courts will generally consider whether the visibility of the jury trial waiver provision within the deposit agreement is sufficiently prominent such that a party has knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived the right to a jury trial. We believe that this is the case with respect to the deposit agreement, our shares and the ADSs and the transactions contemplated thereby. It is advisable that you consult legal counsel regarding the jury waiver provision before investing in the ADSs.
In addition, the depositary may, in its sole discretion, require that any dispute or difference arising from the relationship created by the deposit agreement, our shares, the ADSs or the transactions
contemplated thereby be referred to and finally settled by an arbitration conducted under the terms described in the deposit agreement, while to the extent there are specific federal securities law violation aspects to any claims against us or the depositary brought by any holder or beneficial owner of ADSs, the federal securities law violation aspects of such claims may, at the option of such holders or beneficial owners, remain in state or federal court in New York, New York. We believe that a contractual arbitration provision, especially when excluding matters relating to federal securities law violation, is generally enforceable, including under the laws of the State of New York, which govern the deposit agreement.
The waiver of jury trial, exclusive jurisdiction and arbitration provision may, among other things, have the effect of limiting and discouraging lawsuits against us and/or the depositary, lead to increased costs to bring a claim, limit access to information and other imbalances of resources between holders and beneficial owners of ADSs and us, or limit your ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum you find favorable. If a lawsuit can only be heard by a judge or justice of the applicable trial court, which would be conducted according to different civil procedures and may result in different outcomes than a trial by jury would have had, including results that could be less favorable to the plaintiff(s) in any such action. However, no condition, stipulation or provision of the deposit agreement or ADSs serves as a waiver by any holder or beneficial owner of ADSs of our or the depositary's compliance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.
We are an emerging growth company within the meaning of the Securities Act and may take advantage of certain reduced reporting requirements.
As a company with less than US$1.07 billion in revenues for our last fiscal year, we qualify as an "emerging growth company" pursuant to the JOBS Act. Therefore, we may take advantage of specified reduced reporting and other requirements that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies. These provisions include exemption from the auditor attestation requirement under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or Section 404, in the assessment of the emerging growth company's internal control over financial reporting and permission to delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. As a result, if we elect not to comply with such reporting and other requirements, in particular the auditor attestation requirements, our investors may not have access to certain information they may deem important.
The JOBS Act also provides that an emerging growth company does not need to comply with any new or revised financial accounting standards until such date that a private company is otherwise required to comply with such new or revised accounting standards. We do not plan to "opt out" of such exemptions afforded to an emerging growth company. As a result of this election, our financial statements may not be comparable to companies that comply with public company effective dates.
As a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, we are permitted to adopt certain home country practices in relation to corporate governance matters that differ significantly from the Nasdaq listing standards.
As a Cayman Islands exempted company listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, we are subject to the Nasdaq listing standards, which requires listed companies to have, among other things, a majority of their board members to be independent and independent director oversight of executive compensation and nomination of directors. However, Nasdaq rules permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country. Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, may differ significantly from the Nasdaq listing standards.
We are permitted to elect to rely on home country practice to be exempted from the corporate governance requirements. If we choose to follow home country practice in the future, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they would otherwise enjoy if we complied fully with the Nasdaq listing standards.
We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Exchange Act, and as such we are exempt from certain provisions applicable to U.S. domestic public companies.
Because we qualify as a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act, we are exempt from certain provisions of the securities rules and regulations in the United States that are applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, including:
We are required to file an annual report on Form 20-F within four months of the end of each fiscal year. In addition, we intend to publish our results on a quarterly basis as press releases, distributed pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Press releases relating to financial results and material events will also be furnished to the SEC on Form 6-K. However, the information we are required to file with or furnish to the SEC will be less extensive and less timely compared to that required to be filed with the SEC by U.S. domestic issuers. As a result, you may not be afforded the same protections or information that would be made available to you were you investing in a U.S. domestic issuer.
There can be no assurance that we will not be a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes for any taxable year, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. holders of the ADSs or our ordinary shares.
A non-U.S. corporation, such as our company, will be considered a passive foreign investment company, or "PFIC," for any taxable year if either at least 75% of its gross income is passive income or (ii) at least 50% of the value of its assets (generally based on an average of the quarterly values of the assets during a taxable year) is attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income. Although the law in this regard is not entirely clear, we treat our consolidated VIE (including its subsidiaries) as being owned by us for U.S. federal income tax purposes because we control its management decisions and are entitled to substantially all of the economic benefits associated with it. As a result, we consolidate its results of operations in our consolidated U.S. GAAP financial statements. If it were determined, however, that we are not the owner of our consolidated VIE for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we would likely be treated as a PFIC for the current taxable year and any subsequent taxable year.
Assuming that we are the owner of our consolidated VIE for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and based upon our current and projected income and assets, including the proceeds from this offering, and projections as to the value of our assets, we do not expect to be a PFIC for the current taxable year or the foreseeable future. However, no assurance can be given in this regard because the
determination of whether we will be or become a PFIC is a factual determination made annually that will depend, in part, upon the composition of our income and assets. Fluctuations in the market price of the ADSs may cause us to be classified as a PFIC for the current or future taxable years because the value of our assets for purposes of the asset test, including the value of our goodwill and unbooked intangibles, may be determined by reference to the market price of the ADSs from time to time (which may be volatile). If our market capitalization subsequently declines, we may be or become classified as a PFIC for the current taxable year or future taxable years. Furthermore, the composition of our income and assets may also be affected by how, and how quickly, we use our liquid assets and the cash raised in our securities offerings. Under circumstances where our revenue from activities that produce passive income significantly increases relative to our revenue from activities that produce non-passive income, or where we determine not to deploy significant amounts of cash for active purposes, our risk of becoming classified as a PFIC may substantially increase.
If we were treated as a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. investor held an ADS or an ordinary share, certain adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences could apply to the U.S. Holder. See "TaxationUnited States Federal Income Tax ConsiderationsPassive Foreign Investment Company Rules."
We will incur increased costs as a result of being a public company, particularly after we cease to qualify as an "emerging growth company."
As a public company, we may incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules subsequently implemented by the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, the Nasdaq Global Select Market, impose various requirements on the corporate governance practices of public companies. These rules and regulations increase our legal and financial compliance costs and make some corporate activities more time-consuming and costly.
Operating as a public company makes it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. In addition, we will incur additional costs associated with our public company reporting requirements. It may also be more difficult for us to find qualified persons to serve on our board of directors or as executive officers. We are currently evaluating and monitoring developments with respect to these rules and regulations, and we cannot predict or estimate the number of additional costs we may incur or the timing of such costs.
In addition, as an emerging growth company, we still incur expenses in relation to management assessment according to requirements of Section 404(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. After we are no longer an "emerging growth company," we expect to incur additional significant expenses and devote substantial management effort toward ensuring compliance with the requirements of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the other rules and regulations of the SEC.
This prospectus contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current expectations and views of future events. The forward looking statements are contained principally in the sections entitled "Prospectus Summary," "Risk Factors," "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and "Business." Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, including those listed under "Risk Factors," may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.
You can identify some of these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as "may," "will," "expect," "anticipate," "aim," "estimate," "intend," "plan," "believe," "is/are likely to," "potential," "continue" or other similar expressions. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These forward-looking statements include statements relating to:
These forward-looking statements involve various risks and uncertainties. Although we believe that our expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, our expectations may later be found to be incorrect. Our actual results could be materially different from our expectations. Important risks and factors that could cause our actual results to be materially different from our expectations are generally set forth in "Prospectus SummaryOur Challenges," "Risk Factors," "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," "Business," "Regulation" and other sections in this prospectus. You should read thoroughly this prospectus and the documents that we refer to with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from and worse than what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.
This prospectus contains certain data and information that we obtained from various government and private publications. Statistical data in these publications also include projections based on a number of assumptions. The on-demand delivery industry and/or on-demand retail industry may not grow at the rate projected by market data, or at all. Failure of this market to grow at the projected rate may have a material and adverse effect on our business and the market price of the ADSs. In addition, the rapidly evolving nature of this industry results in significant uncertainties for any projections or estimates relating to the growth prospects or future condition of our market. Furthermore, if any one
or more of the assumptions underlying the market data are later found to be incorrect, actual results may differ from the projections based on these assumptions. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements made in this prospectus relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this prospectus. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. You should read this prospectus and the documents that we refer to in this prospectus and have filed as exhibits to the registration statement, of which this prospectus is a part, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect.
We estimate that we will receive net proceeds from this offering of approximately US$430.8 million, or approximately US$495.6 million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs in full, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and the estimated offering expenses payable by us.
We plan to use the net proceeds of this offering to expand our business operations as follows:
The foregoing represents our current intentions based upon our present plans and business conditions to use and allocate the net proceeds of this offering. Our management, however, will have significant flexibility and discretion to apply the net proceeds of this offering. If an unforeseen event occurs or business conditions change, we may use the proceeds of this offering differently than as described in this prospectus. See "Risk FactorsRisks Related to Our ADSs and This OfferingWe have not determined a specific use for a portion of the net proceeds from this offering and we may use these proceeds in ways with which you may not agree."
Pending any use described above, we plan to invest the net proceeds in short-term, interest-bearing, debt instruments or demand deposits.
In using the proceeds of this offering, we are permitted under PRC laws and regulations as an offshore holding company to provide funding to our PRC subsidiaries only through loans or capital contributions and to our VIE only through loans, subject to satisfaction of applicable government registration and approval requirements. We cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain these government registrations or approvals on a timely basis, or at all. See "Risk FactorsRisks Related to Doing Business in ChinaPRC regulation of loans to and direct investment in PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control of currency conversion may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds of this offering to make loans to our PRC subsidiaries and our VIE in China, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business."
Our board of directors has discretion on whether to distribute dividends, subject to certain requirements of Cayman Islands law. In addition, our shareholders may by ordinary resolution declare a dividend, but no dividend may exceed the amount recommended by our board of directors. In either case, all dividends are subject to certain restrictions under Cayman Islands law, namely that our company may only pay dividends out of profits or share premium, and provided always that in no circumstances may a dividend be paid if this would result in our company being unable to pay its debts as they fall due in the ordinary course of business. Even if we decide to pay dividends, the form, frequency and amount will depend upon our future operations and earnings, capital requirements and surplus, general financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors that the board of directors may deem relevant.
We do not have any present plan to pay any cash dividends on our ordinary shares in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to operate and expand our business.
We are a holding company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. We may rely on dividends from our subsidiaries in China for our cash requirements, including any payment of dividends to our shareholders. PRC regulations may restrict the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends to us. See "RegulationRegulations Relating to Dividend Distributions."
If we pay any dividends on our ordinary shares, we will pay those dividends which are payable in respect of the ordinary shares underlying the ADSs to the depositary, as the registered holder of such ordinary shares, and the depositary then will pay such amounts to the ADS holders in proportion to the ordinary shares underlying the ADSs held by such ADS holders, subject to the terms of the deposit agreement, including the fees and expenses payable thereunder. See "Description of American Depositary Shares." Cash dividends on our ordinary shares, if any, will be paid in U.S. dollars.
The following table sets forth our capitalization as of September 30, 2020:
You should read this table together with our audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes as well as our unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus and the information under "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
||As of September 30, 2020|
Additional paid-in capital
Accumulated other comprehensive income
Total shareholders' (deficit)/equity
Our net tangible book value as of September 30, 2020 was approximately US$480.0 million, representing US$0.53 per ordinary share and US$2.14 per ADS. Net tangible book value represents the amount of total tangible assets less the amount of total liabilities. Dilution is determined by subtracting net tangible book value per ordinary share, after giving effect to the additional proceeds we will receive from this offering, from the public offering price of US$12.50 per ordinary share, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
Without taking into account any other changes in the net tangible book value after September 30, 2020, other than to give effect to the estimated net proceeds we will receive from the issuance and sale of ADSs offered in this offering at the public offering price, after deduction of the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, our as adjusted net tangible book value as of September 30, 2020 would have been US$910.8 million, or US$0.97 per ordinary share and US$3.90 per ADS. This represents an immediate increase in net tangible book value of US$0.44 per ordinary share and US$1.76 per ADS to the existing shareholders and an immediate dilution in net tangible book value of US$11.53 per ordinary share and US$46.10 per ADS to investors purchasing ADSs in this offering. The following table illustrates such dilution, assuming no exercise at the underwriters' option to purchase additional shares:
The public offering price
Net tangible book value as of September 30, 2020
As adjusted net tangible book value after giving effect to this offering
Amount of dilution in net tangible book value to new investors in this offering
The following table summarizes, on an as adjusted basis as of September 30, 2020, the differences between existing shareholders and the new investors with respect to the number of ordinary shares purchased from us in this offering, the total consideration paid and the average price per ordinary share and per ADS paid before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses. The total number of ordinary shares does not include ordinary shares underlying the ADSs issuable upon the exercise of the option to purchase additional ADSs granted to the underwriters.
||Ordinary Shares Purchased||Total Consideration||
The as adjusted information discussed above is illustrative only. Our net tangible book value following the completion of this offering is subject to adjustment based on the actual public offering price of the ADSs and other terms of this offering determined at pricing.
The discussion and tables above assume no exercise of any share options or restricted share units outstanding as of the date of this prospectus. As of the date of this prospectus, there are 43,170,184 ordinary shares issuable upon the exercise of outstanding share options with exercise prices ranging from nominal price per share to US$0.80 per share, and there are 21,403,813 outstanding restricted share units. To the extent that any of these options and restricted share units are exercised/vested, as applicable, there will be further dilution to new investors.
We are incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands as an exempted company with limited liability. We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands to take advantage of certain benefits associated with being a Cayman Islands exempted company, such as:
However, certain disadvantages accompany incorporation in the Cayman Islands. These disadvantages include but are not limited to:
Our constituent documents do not contain provisions requiring that disputes, including those arising under the securities laws of the United States, between us, our officers, directors and shareholders, be arbitrated.
Substantially all of our operations are conducted in China, and substantially all of our assets are located in China. A majority of our directors and officers are nationals or residents of jurisdictions other than the United States and most of their assets are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult for a shareholder to effect service of process within the United States upon these individuals, or to bring an action against us or these individuals in the United States, or to enforce against us or them judgments obtained in United States courts, including judgments predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state in the United States.
We have appointed Cogency Global Inc., located at 122 East 42nd Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10168, as our agent upon whom process may be served in any action brought against us under the securities laws of the United States.
Maples and Calder (Hong Kong) LLP, our counsel as to Cayman Islands law, has advised us that there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of the Cayman Islands would (i) recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts obtained against us or our directors or officers that are predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the federal securities laws of the United States or the securities laws of any state in the United States, or (ii) entertain original actions brought in the Cayman Islands against us or our directors or officers that are predicated upon the federal securities laws of the United States or the securities laws of any state in the United States.
Maples and Calder (Hong Kong) LLP has informed us that although there is no statutory enforcement in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the federal or state courts of the United States (and the Cayman Islands are not a party to any treaties for the reciprocal enforcement or recognition of such judgments), a judgment obtained in such jurisdiction will be recognized and
enforced in the courts of the Cayman Islands, at common law, without any re-examination of the merits of the underlying dispute, by an action commenced on the foreign judgment debt in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, provided such judgment (i) is given by a foreign court of competent jurisdiction; (ii) imposes on the judgment debtor a liability to pay a liquidated sum for which the judgment has been given; (iii) is final; (iv) is not in respect of taxes, a fine or a penalty; and (v) was not obtained in a manner and is not of a kind the enforcement of which is contrary to natural justice or the public policy of the Cayman Islands. However, the Cayman Islands courts are unlikely to enforce a judgment obtained from the U.S. courts under civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities law if such judgment is determined by the courts of the Cayman Islands to give rise to obligations to make payments that are penal or punitive in nature. A Cayman Islands court may stay enforcement proceedings if concurrent proceedings are being brought elsewhere.
Commerce & Finance Law Offices, our counsel as to PRC law, has advised us that there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of China would:
Commerce & Finance Law Offices has further advised us that the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments are provided for under the PRC Civil Procedures Law. PRC courts may recognize and enforce foreign judgments in accordance with the requirements, public policy considerations and conditions set forth in applicable PRC laws, including the PRC Civil Procedures Law based either on treaties between China and the country where the judgment is made or on principles of reciprocity between jurisdictions. China does not have any treaties or other form of reciprocity with the United States or the Cayman Islands that provide for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. In addition, according to the PRC Civil Procedures Law, courts in the PRC will not enforce a foreign judgment against us or our directors and officers if they decide that the judgment violates the basic principles of PRC law or national sovereignty, security, or public interest. As a result, it is uncertain whether and on what basis a PRC court would enforce a judgment rendered by a court in the United States or in the Cayman Islands. Under the PRC Civil Procedures Law, foreign shareholders may originate actions based on PRC law against a company in China for disputes if they can establish sufficient nexus to the PRC for a PRC court to have jurisdiction, and meet other procedural requirements, including, among others, the plaintiff must have a direct interest in the case, and there must be a concrete claim, a factual basis and a cause for the suit. It will be, however, difficult for U.S. shareholders to originate actions against us in the PRC in accordance with PRC laws because we are incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands and it will be difficult for U.S. shareholders, by virtue only of holding the ADSs or ordinary shares, to establish a connection to the PRC for a PRC court to have jurisdiction as required under the PRC Civil Procedures Law.
We commenced operations through Shanghai Qusheng Internet Technology Co., Ltd., or Shanghai Qusheng, and launched our Dada Now app in July 2014.
In July 2014, Dada Nexus Limited was incorporated in the Cayman Islands as an offshore holding company to facilitate our offshore financing activities. Shortly following its incorporation, Dada Nexus Limited established a wholly owned subsidiary in Hong Kong, Dada Group (HK) Limited, or Dada HK. In November 2014, Dada HK established its wholly owned subsidiary in China, Dada Glory Network Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., or Dada Glory.
In April 2016, we established our cooperative relationship with JD Group, which became one of our strategic investors. We entered into a business cooperation agreement with JD Group, acquired the entire business of JDDJ through, among other things, acquiring all equity interests in Shanghai JD Daojia Yuanxin Information Technology Co., Ltd., or Shanghai JDDJ, and received US$200 million in cash. In exchange, we issued ordinary shares, preferred shares and a warrant to purchase preferred shares to JD Group. In December 2017, JD Group exercised its warrant to acquire additional preferred shares of ours. In August 2018, JD Group further invested a total of US$180 million in our preferred shares.
In June 2016, we entered into a business cooperation agreement with Walmart Group, which was amended and restated in August 2018. In October 2016, Walmart Group became one of our strategic investors and invested US$50 million in our preferred shares. In August 2018, Walmart Group further invested a total of US$320 million in our preferred shares.
For details of JD Group's and Walmart Group's beneficial ownership in our equity securities, please see "Principal Shareholders."
In November 2014, we gained control over Shanghai Qusheng, through Dada Glory, by entering into a series of contractual arrangements with Shanghai Qusheng and its shareholders.
In June 2020, we listed our ADSs on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "DADA."
The following diagram illustrates our corporate structure, including our principal subsidiaries, our VIE and our VIE's principal subsidiaries, as of the date of this prospectus:
Contractual Arrangements with Our Consolidated Affiliated Entity and Its Shareholders
PRC laws and regulations impose certain restrictions or prohibitions on foreign ownership of companies that engage in certain value-added telecommunication services and certain other businesses. We are an exempted company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Dada Glory is our PRC subsidiary and a foreign-invested enterprise under PRC laws.
To comply with PRC laws and regulations, we conduct certain of our business in China through Shanghai Qusheng, our consolidated affiliated entity in the PRC, and its subsidiaries, based on a series of contractual arrangements by and among Dada Glory, our VIE and its shareholders. We refer to Shanghai Qusheng as our VIE in this prospectus.
Our contractual arrangements with our VIE and its respective shareholders allow us to (i) exercise effective control over our VIE, (ii) receive substantially all of the economic benefits of our VIE, and (iii) have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in our VIE when and to the extent permitted by PRC law.
As a result of our direct ownership in Dada Glory and the contractual arrangements with our VIE, we are regarded as the primary beneficiary of our VIE, and we treat its and its subsidiaries as our consolidated affiliated entities under U.S. GAAP. We have consolidated the financial results of our VIE and its subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
Agreements that provide us with effective control over our VIE
Powers of Attorney. Pursuant to the powers of attorney, dated November 20, 2020, each of the shareholders of our VIE has executed a power of attorney to irrevocably authorize Dada Glory, or any person designated by Dada Glory, to act as its attorney-in-fact to exercise all of its rights as a shareholder of our VIE, including, but not limited to, the right to (i) propose, convene and attend shareholders' meetings, (ii) vote on any resolution on behalf of the shareholders that require the shareholders to vote under PRC law and our VIE's articles of association, such as the sale, transfer, pledge and disposal of all or part of a shareholder's equity interest in our VIE, and (iii) designate and appoint our VIE's legal representative, director, supervisor, chief executive officer and other senior management members on behalf of the shareholders. The powers of attorney will remain effective until such shareholder ceases to be a shareholder of our VIE or otherwise instructed by Dada Glory.
Share Pledge Agreements. Pursuant to the share pledge agreements, dated November 20, 2020, each of the shareholders of our VIE agrees to pledge the security interest in their respective equity interests in our VIE, representing 100% equity interests in our VIE in aggregate, to Dada Glory, to guarantee performance by such shareholder's obligations under the powers of attorney, the exclusive business cooperation agreement and the exclusive option agreement to which such shareholder is a party, as well as the performance by our VIE of its obligations under the exclusive business cooperation agreement and the exclusive option agreement. In the event of a breach by our VIE or any of its shareholders of contractual obligations under these contractual arrangements, Dada Glory, as pledgee, will have the right to take possession of and dispose of the pledged equity interests in our VIE and will have priority in receiving the proceeds from such disposal. The shareholders of our VIE also covenant that, without the prior written consent of Dada Glory, they shall not transfer or agree to other's transfer of the pledged equity interests, create or allow any new pledge or any other encumbrance on the pledged equity interests. The equity interest pledge agreement will remain effective until the contractual obligations are fully fulfilled and terminated.
We are in the processing of completing the registration of the equity interest pledge under the effective share pledge agreements in relation to our VIE with the relevant office of the State Administration of Market Regulation in accordance with the PRC Property Rights Law.
Agreements that allow us to receive economic benefits from our VIE
Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreement. Pursuant to the exclusive business cooperation agreement, dated November 14, 2014, between Dada Glory and our VIE, Dada Glory has the exclusive right to provide our VIE with complete business support and technical and consulting services, including but not limited to technical services, network support, business consultations, intellectual property licenses, equipment or leasing, marketing consultancy, system integration, product research and development, and system maintenance. Without Dada Glory's prior written consent, our VIE may not accept any consultations and/or services regarding the matters contemplated by this Agreement provided by any third party during the term of the agreement. Our VIE agrees to pay Dada Glory service fees at an amount equals to 100% of the net income generated by our VIE, which should be paid on a monthly basis. Dada Glory has the exclusive ownership of all the intellectual property rights created as a result of the performance of the exclusive business cooperation agreement. To guarantee our VIE's performance of its obligations thereunder, the shareholders of our VIE agree to pledge all of their equity interests in our VIE to Dada Glory pursuant to the share pledge agreements. The exclusive business cooperation agreement has an initial term of 10 years and shall be extended if confirmed in writing by Dada Glory prior to the expiration. The extended term shall be determined by Dada Glory, and our VIE shall accept such extended term unconditionally.
Agreements that provide us with the option to purchase the equity interests in our VIE
Exclusive Option Agreements. Pursuant to the exclusive option agreements, dated November 20, 2020, each of the shareholders of our VIE has irrevocably granted Dada Glory, or any person designated by Dada Glory, an exclusive option to purchase all or part of its equity interests in our VIE. Dada Glory may exercise such options at a price equal to the lowest price as permitted by applicable PRC laws at the time of transfer of equity. Our VIE and the shareholders of our VIE covenant that, without Dada Glory's prior written consent, they will not, among other things, (i) supplement, change or amend our VIE's articles of association and bylaws, (ii) increase or decrease our VIE's registered capital or change its structure of registered capital, (iii) create any pledge or encumbrance on their equity interests in our VIE, other than those created under the equity interest pledge agreement, (iv) sell, transfer, mortgage, or dispose of their legal or beneficial interests in and any assets of our VIE and any legal or beneficial interests, (v) enter into any material contract by our VIE, except in the ordinary course of business, or (vi) merge or consolidate our VIE with any other entity. The exclusive option agreement has an initial term of ten years, and at the end of the initial term shall be renewed for a further term as specified by Dada Glory or terminated by Dada Glory in its sole discretion.
Spousal Consent Letters. The spouses of the individual shareholders of our VIE have each signed a spousal consent letter agreeing that the equity interests in our VIE held by and registered under the name of the respective individual shareholders will be disposed pursuant to the contractual agreements with Dada Glory, without seeking further authorization or consent of such spouses. Each spouse agreed not to assert any rights over the equity interests in our VIE held by the respective individual shareholders.
In the opinion of Commerce & Finance Law Offices, our PRC legal counsel:
However, our PRC legal counsel has also advised us that there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations and rules. Accordingly, the PRC regulatory authorities may take a view that is contrary to the opinion of our PRC legal counsel. It is uncertain whether any new PRC laws or regulations relating to variable interest entity structures will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. If we or our VIE are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities would have broad discretion to take action in dealing with such violations or failures. See "Risk FactorsRisks Related to Our Corporate StructureIf the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating some of our operations in China do not comply with PRC regulations relating to the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations" and "Risk FactorsRisks Related to Doing Business in ChinaUncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us."
The following selected consolidated financial data as of and for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. The following selected consolidated financial data as of September 30, 2020 and for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020 have been derived from our unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus and have been prepared on the same basis as our audited consolidated financial statements. Our consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Our historical results do not necessarily indicate results expected for any future periods. You should read this Selected Consolidated Financial Data section together with our audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes as well as our unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements and the related notes and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" included elsewhere in this prospectus.
The following table presents our selected consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss data for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020.
||For the Year Ended December 31,||For the Nine Months Ended
||(in thousands, except for share and per share data)
Costs and expenses
Operations and support
Selling and marketing
General and administrative
Research and development
Other operating expenses
Other operating income
Loss from operations
Total other income
Loss before income tax benefits
Income tax benefits
Net loss and net loss attributable to the Company
Accretion of convertible redeemable preferred shares
Net loss available to ordinary shareholders
Net loss per ordinary share:
Weighted average shares used in calculating net loss per ordinary share:
The following table presents our selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, and September 30, 2020.
||As of December 31,||As of September 30,|
Selected Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:
Cash and cash equivalents
Amount due from related parties
Prepayments and other current assets
Intangible assets, net
Non-current time deposits
Payable to riders
Amount due to related parties
Accrued expenses and other current liabilities
Deferred tax liabilities
Total mezzanine equity
Total shareholders' (deficit)/equity
The following table presents our selected consolidated cash flow data for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020:
||For the Year Ended December 31,||For the Nine Months Ended
Selected Consolidated Cash Flow Data:
Net cash (used in) operating activities
Net cash (used in)/provided by investing activities
Net cash provided by financing activities
Effect of foreign currency exchange rate changes on cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash
Net (decrease)/increase in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash
Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash at the beginning of the period
Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash at the end of the period
Non-GAAP Financial Measure
We use adjusted net loss, a non-GAAP financial measure, in evaluating our operating results and for financial and operational decision-making purposes. Adjusted net loss represents net loss excluding share-based compensation expenses, amortization of intangible assets resulting from business acquisitions and tax benefit from amortization of such intangible assets.
We present this non-GAAP financial measure because it is used by our management to evaluate our operating performance and formulate business plans. Adjusted net loss enables our management to assess our operating results without considering the impact of share-based compensation, amortization of intangible assets resulting from business acquisitions and tax benefit from amortization of such intangible assets, which are non-cash charges. We believe that adjusted net loss helps identify underlying trends in our business that could otherwise be distorted by the effect of certain expenses that are included in net loss. We also believe that the use of the non-GAAP measure facilitates investors' assessment of our operating performance. We believe that adjusted net loss provides useful information about our operating results, enhances the overall understanding of our past performance and future prospects and allows for greater visibility with respect to key metrics used by our management in its financial and operational decision making.
Adjusted net loss should not be considered in isolation or construed as an alternative to net loss or any other measure of performance or as an indicator of our operating performance. Investors are encouraged to review our historical adjusted net loss to the most directly comparable GAAP measures. Adjusted net loss presented here may not be comparable to similarly titled measures presented by other companies. Other companies may calculate similarly titled measures differently, limiting their usefulness as comparative measures to our data. We encourage investors and others to review our financial information in its entirety and not rely on a single financial measure.
The table below sets forth a reconciliation of our net loss to adjusted net loss for the periods indicated:
||For the Year Ended December 31,||For the Nine Months Ended
Share-based compensation expenses
Amortization of intangible assets resulting from business acquisitions
Tax effect of amortization of intangible assets resulting from business acquisitions
Adjusted net loss
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with our audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes as well as our unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. Our actual results may differ materially from those we currently anticipate as a result of many factors, including those we describe under "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in this prospectus. See "Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements."
We are a leading platform of local on-demand retail and delivery in China. We operate JDDJ, one of China's largest local on-demand retail platforms by GMV, and Dada Now, a leading local on-demand delivery platform in China by number of orders, according to the iResearch Report.
We generate our net revenues mainly from providing last-mile and intra-city delivery services on both Dada Now and JDDJ platforms and marketplace services by connecting retailers and consumers on JDDJ.
Our net revenues increased by 57.8% from RMB1,218.0 million in 2017 to RMB1,922.0 million in 2018, and further increased by 61.3% to RMB3,099.7 million (US$456.5 million) in 2019. Our net revenues grew by 94.7% from RMB1,913.3 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 to RMB3,724.2 million (US$548.5 million) for the same period of 2020. We had a net loss of RMB1,449.1 million, RMB1,878.4 million and RMB1,669.8 million (US$245.9 million) in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. We incurred net loss of RMB1,128.0 million and RMB1,170.8 million (US$172.4 million) for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020, respectively. Our adjusted net loss, a non-GAAP measure defined as net loss excluding share-based compensation expenses, amortization of intangible assets resulting from business acquisitions and tax benefit from amortization of such intangible assets, was RMB1,198.9 million, RMB1,652.9 million, RMB1,420.2 million (US$209.2 million), RMB942.1 million and RMB748.4 million (US$110.2 million) in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Key Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations
Key factors affecting our results of operations include the following:
Our ability to enhance customer experience and increase delivery orders
Revenues derived from our local on-demand delivery platform directly relates to the number of orders that customers place on Dada Now platform, the increase of which is in turn driven by great customer experience. Our efforts to that end include expanding the capacity of our delivery network and always endeavoring to deliver reliable and flexible services. In the twelve months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020, we delivered 636 million and 1,000 million orders, respectively, fulfilling the delivery demand for the participants on our platforms. In the twelve months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020, our network delivered an average of 1.7 million and 2.7 million orders per day, respectively. As of September 30, 2020, our intra-city delivery service covered more than 1,200 cities and counties in China, and our last-mile delivery service covered more than 2,600 cities and counties in China.
Building our rider force is the key to expanding the capacity of our delivery network. Leveraging our expanding delivery network and improving delivery service, we are able to increase our delivery order volume. With the growing order volume on our platform, we are able to provide riders with increased order density and more income, which in turn attracts and retains riders.
We have been constantly improving our delivery services to enhance customer experience. In the third quarter of 2020, we achieved an average delivery time of approximately 30 minutes for all intra-city delivery orders. In certain scenarios where orders are more time-sensitive or require instant responsiveness, we designate a number of riders to a particular store of a merchant, and our system automatically assigns each order from this store to one of these stationed riders by algorithm. If needed, our crowdsourced riders can also supplement the delivery capacity of the stationed riders. Leveraging our scalable and flexible delivery network, we act as an important delivery force for our customers in peak seasons, such as JD.com's anniversary sales promotional event on June 18 and Singles' Day promotion period. Our delivery network demonstrates great scalability in operation. As of the date of this prospectus, the total orders we delivered in the peak hour on the peak day in 2020 exceeded the average hourly order volume in the same period by more than ten times, and the total orders we delivered on the peak day in 2020 were around four times of the average daily order volume in 2020.
Our ability to engage consumers and increase GMV on JDDJ
GMV growth is a key driver of our revenue growth from JDDJ. Our GMV amounted to RMB10,516 million and RMB21,333 million for the twelve months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020, respectively, representing a period-on-period growth rate of 102.9%. Our GMV growth is driven by growth of order volume and average order size. Our average order size increased by 51.1% in the twelve months ended September 30, 2020 as compared to the twelve months ended September 30, 2019. Our order volume in turn depends on the increase of our number of active consumers and their level of engagement. Our active consumers increased from 21.1 million in the twelve months ended September 30, 2019 to 37.3 million in the twelve months ended September 30, 2020. For the active consumers who first placed order on JDDJ in 2017, the average GMV per active consumer increased from RMB340 in 2017 to RMB1,342 in the twelve months ended September 30, 2020.
The increase in the number of active consumers and average order size, and improvement of consumer engagement are mainly driven by our ability to attract, engage and retain consumers on our JDDJ platform. We attract consumers through our marketing and brand promotion activities and reach consumers offline leveraging our partnered retailers' extensive store network. We engage consumers by offering a wide range of products from trusted retailers and brand owners, and establishing integrated online and offline membership programs. We retain consumers by continuously improving consumer experience. For instance, we provide consumers with personalized content and interface that match their purchasing habits and geographic proximity to retailers.
Our ability to empower retailers and brand owners with evolving services
In addition to last-mile and intra-city delivery services and marketplace services, we also endeavor to empower retailers and brand owners with evolving services and additional value-added services, which we expect to solidify our relationship with existing retailers and brand owners, allow us to also attract new customers to our platform, and generate additional income.
We share operational insights with retailers based on our analysis of consumer feedback and behavior across JDDJ platform. We also help retailers establish online membership programs or link their existing offline membership program with online customers to create omni-channel membership
programs. Together with our CRM tools, we empower retailers to target and communicate with their members and potential consumers for effective marketing. We help retailers improve sales per square foot and labor efficiency with on-demand delivery infrastructure and digitalized storefront management tools. For instance, we provide self-check-out equipment to offline retail stores and Scan-n-go solutions to improve store operation efficiency and consumer experience.
We also help brand owners broaden their consumer reach, penetrate the market in lower-tiered cities and deepen their consumer insights. Many brand owners have successfully built brand awareness and run brand promotions on our platform.
Our ability to continue to enhance delivery efficiency through technology innovation
Rider cost is one of the most important factors affecting our results of operation. We have been constantly endeavoring to improve delivery efficiency through technology and innovation capabilities. We have developed a proprietary smart order recommendation and dispatching system that automatically matches orders with riders on a real-time basis and calculates the optimal delivery route as a recommendation to the rider. Moreover, using deep learning technologies, our automated pricing system sets the delivery fee of each delivery order algorithmically based on an array of factors. We have made, and will continue to make, significant investments to improve our technology infrastructure and optimize the efficiency of our delivery network.
In addition, as our delivery infrastructure evolves and our delivery network keeps expanding, the order volumes and density will increase, which in turn attracts more riders to our platform and drives up our delivery efficiency.
Our ability to control costs and expenses and enhance operational efficiency
Our ability to achieve profitability is dependent on our ability to further control our costs and expenses and improve our operational efficiency. Selling and marketing expenses have historically represented a large portion of our total costs and expenses. Incentives to JDDJ consumers in turn are a major component of our selling and marketing expenses, and advertising and marketing expenses, consisting primarily of online and offline advertisements, are another important component.
We have been always mindful of the balance between rapid business expansion and costs and expenses, particularly selling and marketing expenses. We have been endeavoring to improve selling and marketing efficiency. For example, we leverage our existing network of retailer stores for cost-efficient marketing activities. In addition, we have adopted different promotional activities and marketing strategies for consumers with different purchasing power in different cities. We will continue to make efforts to manage our consumer acquisition cost and improve our consumer retention rate. We define retention rate for any specific period as the percentage of consumers who continued to be active and placed at least one order on JDDJ during that period among all consumers who first placed order on JDDJ in 2016 or before and were active consumers in 2017. For this same aforementioned cohort of consumers, the retention rate was 86.8%, 73.7% and 76.1% in 2018, 2019 and the twelve months ended September 30, 2020, respectively. The decline in retention rate is a natural trend with the lapse of time. We expect we will continue to maintain a healthy retention rate. In addition, as our business grows, we expect to achieve greater operating leverage and increase the productivity of our personnel, allowing us to acquire consumers and senders more cost-effectively and achieve higher operational efficiency.
Strategic alliances and partnerships
We have established, and intend to continue to establish strategic alliances and partnerships to grow our business. Since our acquisition of JDDJ in 2016, we have successfully integrated Dada Now and JDDJ and established a leading platform of local on-demand retail and delivery in China. Moreover, we have achieved significant synergies through collaboration with JD Group. We act as a local delivery partner for JD Logistics, and our Dada Now platform has recorded strong growth in order volume arising from cooperation with JD Logistics. Moreover, we also managed to achieve rapid GMV growth after gaining traffic portals on the JD mobile app, JD.com and JD's Weixin mini-program.
We have also formed strong strategic alliances with China's leading supermarket chains, such as Walmart, Yonghui and CR Vanguard. We expect to continue to form strategic alliances and partnerships to diversify product offerings and enlarge our user base, further enhance delivery efficiency, improve consumer experience, expand and deepen services to retailers and brand owners to improve their operational efficiency and further improve our technology capabilities.
In 2017, 2018, 2019 and the nine months ended September 30, 2020, 56.7%, 49.1%, 50.5% and 39.0% of our net revenues were derived from services provided to JD Group, respectively. Walmart Group became a related party of ours in August 2018, and in 2018, 2019 and the nine months ended September 30, 2020, 4.6%, 13.0% and 15.1% of our net revenues were derived from services provided to Walmart Group after it became our related party, respectively.
Key Components of Results of Operations
We generate revenues by providing various services on our Dada Now and JDDJ platformsincluding last-mile and intra-city delivery services, marketplace services that connect consumers and retailers, and advertising and marketing services to brand ownersand to a lesser extent from sales of delivery equipment to our riders. The sales of goods revenues historically also included sales of merchandise through unmanned retail shelves which was terminated in 2019. The following table sets forth the breakdown of our net revenues, in amounts and as percentages of net revenues for the periods presented:
||For the Year Ended December 31,||For the Nine Months Ended
||(in thousands, except for percentage data)
Sales of goods
Our net revenues from related parties amounted to RMB691.0 million, RMB1,032.5 million, RMB1,967.7 million (US$289.8 million), RMB1,148.6 million and RMB2,012.9 million (US$296.5 million) for 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020, respectively. The net revenues from related parties demonstrated significant year-on-year increases as we further strengthened our strategic partnership with JD Group and Walmart Group.
We offer various customer incentive programs on our Dada Now platform to merchants and individual senders in the form of coupons or volume-based discounts in the provision of delivery services that are recorded as reduction of revenue. The customer incentives amounted to RMB82.5 million, RMB90.5 million, RMB87.7 million (US$12.9 million), RMB65.4 million and RMB46.6 million (US$6.9 million) for 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020, respectively. The customer incentives as a percentage of our net revenues were 6.8%, 4.7%, 2.8%, 3.4% and 1.3% for 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020, respectively. We expect we will continue to use customer incentives to grow our business. As the amounts of customer incentives largely depend on our business decisions and market conditions, our past practices may not be indicative of near-term trend.
As we operate our business mainly through our two platforms, namely, Dada Now and JDDJ, we believe a breakdown of net revenues by these two business lines is also meaningful for understanding our results of operation. Revenues from Dada Now mainly include revenues from (i) last-mile and intra-city delivery services to logistics companies, various chain merchants, SME merchants and individuals through Dada Now, and (ii) sale of delivery equipment to riders.
Revenues from JDDJ mainly include revenues from (i) intra-city delivery services to JDDJ retailer customers, (ii) commission fees charged to retailers for using JDDJ platform, (iii) online marketing services to brand owners, and (iv) packaging service to retailers on JDDJ.
The following table sets forth the breakdown of our net revenues by the two business lines both in amounts and as percentages of total net revenues for each of the periods presented.
||For the Year Ended December 31,||For the Nine Months Ended
||(in thousands, except for percentage data)
Sales of goods
Sales of goods(3)