Vietnam-based e-commerce platform Tiki, which counts Chinese e-commerce firm as investor, has raised $258 million in a funding round led by insurance company AIA Company Ltd.

This investment also saw the participation of investors including Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund, Taiwan Mobile, Yuanta Fund, and South Korea investment firm STIC Investments and Tiki’s current shareholder, Tiki said in a LinkedIn post on Tuesday.

The new funding brings the company’s valuation to close to $1 billion, Tiki Founder and Chief Executive Officer Tran Ngoc Thai Son earlier told Bloomberg in an interview on Saturday.

The funding round also came after Tiki raised 1 trillion dong ($44 million) in June from the issuance of non-convertible and secured bonds via a private placement, the newswire reported.

In the post on Tuesday, Tiki said it dedicates the $258 million investment to logistics and “Make in Vietnam” technologies–which are two cornerstones in its value propositions as a leading digital platform.

On the digital services front, Tiki said it collaborates with AIA to develop an InsurTech platform offering a wide portfolio of insurance products and financial services, aiming to help customers save significant time and effort in a 10-year comprehensive exclusive agreement.

The project will be officially kicked off upon the launch of AIA’s health insurance products on Tiki, tentatively by the end of this December. Customers will then be able to consult insurance offers as well as make insurance claims directly right on the platform, Tiki said.

“The $258 million investment dedicated only to Vietnam proves Tiki’s long-term commitment to building world-class infrastructure, whether they are technologies, supply chain capabilities, to talents development, and jobs creation… to turn potential into reality, hence creating sustainable values for Vietnamese users and businesses,” said Son in the Linkedin post.

Starting as an online bookstore in 2010, Tiki has up to 4.000 employees and 20 million registered customers. Its ecosystem includes the e-commerce marketplace Tiki with up to 30 categories, Tiki Trading – a retail subsidiary, and TikiNOW Smart Logistics – an integrated supply chain platform owning 20 Fulfillment Centers and Warehouses.

Its previous investors include Sumitomo Corp.,, and Northstar Group., the Chinese e-commerce platform that rivals Alibaba, has emerged as the largest shareholder in Tiki in August 2019, according to earlier reports.

The startup, which initially planned to list in the US by 2025, now intends to do so as early as a year’s time, Son said in the Bloomberg interview. The IPO could possibly be via a merger with a blank-check company, though no decision has been made, he added.

In July, AIA Vietnam and Tiki have announced an agreement to form Vietnam’s first comprehensive exclusive partnership between a life insurer and a digital platform.

Under the terms of the 10-year agreement, AIA Vietnam will become Tiki’s exclusive insurance partner, enabling Tiki’s millions of customers to gain access to life and health insurance solutions via Tiki’s leading e-commerce platform. AIA Vietnam and Tiki will also jointly explore collaboration opportunities, the companies said then.

Vietnam has the second-highest growth rate in digital consumers in Southeast Asia, just after Indonesia, a report by social media giant Facebook and consultancy firm Bain & Co showed. The country is expected to have 53 million online consumers, or 71 percent of its population aged 15 and older, by the end of the year, an 8 percent increase from 2020, the report showed.

Vietnam’s online retail market is expected to reach $12 billion this year and $56 billion in 2026.

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