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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 20-F

 

(Mark One)

 

o

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR 12(g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

 

OR

 

 

x

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021

 

 

OR

 

 

o

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                      to                     

 

 

OR

 

 

o

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Date of event requiring this shell company report

 

Commission file number: 001-38245

 

Xiaobai Maimai Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

N/A

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

 

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

Room 515, Floor 5, Jia No. 92-4 to 24 Jianguo Road

Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020

People’s Republic of China

Tel: +86 10 5370 9902

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

Rui (Kerrie) Zhang, Chief Financial Officer

Telephone: +86 10 5370 9902

Email: ir@xiaobaimaimai.com

Room 515, Floor 5, Jia No. 92-4 to 24 Jianguo Road

Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020

People’s Republic of China

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol

 

Name of each exchange on which
registered

 

 

 

 

 

American depositary shares (one American depositary share representing three ordinary shares, par value US$0.0001 per share)

 

HX

 

NASDAQ Global Market

Ordinary shares, par value US$0.0001 per share*

 

 

 

NASDAQ Global Market

 


*Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing of the American depositary shares on the NASDAQ Global Market.

 


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Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

 

None

(Title of Class)

 

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:

 

None

(Title of Class)

 

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.

 

 

48,850,574 ordinary shares, par value US$0.0001 per share, as of March 31, 2021.

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

 

o Yes   x No

 

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

 

o Yes   x No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

 

x Yes   o No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

 

x Yes   o No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer o

Accelerated filer o

Non-accelerated filer x

Emerging growth company x

 

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. x

 

†The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. o Yes x No

 

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

U.S. GAAP x

 

International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board
o

 

Other o

 

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.

 

o Item 17   o Item 18

 

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

 

o Yes   x No

 

(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.

 

o Yes   o No

 


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION

 

2

 

 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

 

3

 

 

 

PART I

 

4

 

 

 

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

 

4

 

 

 

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

 

4

 

 

 

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

 

4

 

 

 

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

52

 

 

 

ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

 

80

 

 

 

ITEM 6. DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

 

91

 

 

 

ITEM 7. MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

 

99

 

 

 

ITEM 8. FINANCIAL INFORMATION

 

102

 

 

 

ITEM 9. THE OFFER AND LISTING

 

103

 

 

 

ITEM 10. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

104

 

 

 

ITEM 11. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

 

115

 

 

 

ITEM 12. DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

 

116

 

 

 

PART II

 

118

 

 

 

ITEM 13. DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

 

118

 

 

 

ITEM 14. MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

 

118

 

 

 

ITEM 15. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

 

119

 

 

 

ITEM 16. A. AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

 

119

 

 

 

PART III

 

122

 

 

 

ITEM 17. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

122

 

 

 

ITEM 18. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

122

 

 

 

ITEM 19. EXHIBITS

 

122

 

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INTRODUCTION

 

In this annual report on Form 20-F, unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, references to:

 

·                                          “ADSs” are to our American depositary shares, each of which represents three ordinary shares;

 

·                                          “App” are to Xiaobai Maimai application;

 

·                                          “big data” are to voluminous structured and unstructured data from multiple sources and in multiple formats;

 

·                                          “CAGR” are to compound annual growth rate;

 

·                                          “China” or the “PRC” are to the People’s Republic of China, excluding, for the purposes of this annual report on Form 20-F only, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan;

 

·                                          “CSRC” are to China Securities Regulatory Commission;

 

·                                          “GMV” or “Gross Merchandise Value” are to the value of confirmed orders of products and services on our platform, regardless of how, or whether, the buyer and seller settle the transaction;

 

·                                          “Hexin Digital” are to Hexin Digital Technology Co., Ltd.;

 

·                                          “Hexin E-commerce” are to Hexin E-Commerce Co. Ltd.;

 

·                                          “Hexin Fengze” are to Hexin Fengze Asset Management (Beijing) Co., Ltd.;

 

·                                          “Hexin Information” are to Hexin Information Services Co., Ltd.;

 

·                                          “Hexin Financial Information” are to Hexin Financial Information Services (Beijing) Co., Ltd.;

 

·                                          “Hexin Group” are to Hexin Information and Hexin Financial Information;

 

·                                          “Hexin Jinke” are to Hexin Jinke Group Co., Ltd.;

 

·                                          “Hexin Jiuding” are to Beijing Hexin Jiuding Technology Co., Ltd.

 

·                                          “Wusu Company” are to Wusu Hexin Yongheng Commercial and Trading Co., Ltd. (formerly known as Wusu Hexin Internet Small Loan Co., Ltd.);

 

·                                          “Hexin Yongheng” are to Beijing Hexin Yongheng Technology Development Co., Ltd.;

 

·                                          “Hexindai” are to Hexindai Inc., the former name of our company;

 

·                                          “Kuaishangche” are to Kuaishangche Automobile Leasing Co., Ltd.;

 

·                                          “MAU” are to monthly active users;

 

·                                          “MIIT” are to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology;

 

·                                          “Ordinary shares” are to our ordinary shares of par value US$0.0001 per share;

 

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·                                          “Our variable interest entities” or “VIEs” are to Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company and Hexin Digital;

 

·                                          “P2P” are to peer-to-peer lending;

 

·                                          “PCAOB” are to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board;

 

·                                          “Platforms” are to the e-commerce platforms that Xiaobai Maimai cooperates with;

 

·                                          “RMB” and “Renminbi” are to the legal currency of China;

 

·                                          “SAMR” are to the PRC State Administration for Market Regulation (formerly known as the SAIC);

 

·                                          “US$,” “U.S. dollars,” “$” and “dollars” are to the legal currency of the United States;

 

·                                          “U.S. GAAP” are to accounting principles generally accepted in the United States;

 

·                                          “Xiaobai Maimai,” “we,” “us,” “our company”, “the Company” and “our” are to Xiaobai Maimai Inc., an exempted company incorporated in the Cayman Islands with limited liability, and its subsidiaries, and, in the context of describing our operations and combined and consolidated financial information, also include its variable interest entities; and

 

Exchange Rate Information

 

Our business is conducted in China, and our financial records are maintained in RMB, our functional currency. However, we use the U.S. dollar as our reporting currency; therefore, periodic reports made to shareholders will include current period amounts translated into U.S. dollars using the then-current exchange rates, for the convenience of the readers. Unless otherwise noted, all translations from RMB to U.S. dollars and from U.S. dollars to RMB in this annual report on Form 20-F were made at a rate of RMB6.5518 to US$1.00, the exchange rate set forth in the H.10 Statistical release of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System as of March 31, 2021, the last business day of the fiscal year of 2021. Assets and liabilities are translated at the exchange rate at each reporting period end date. Equity is translated at historical rates. Income and expense accounts are translated at the average rate of exchange during the reporting period. The resulting translation adjustments are reported under accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). Gains and losses resulting from the translations of foreign currency transactions and balances are reflected in the consolidated statements of comprehensive income.

 

We make no representation that any RMB or U.S. dollar amounts could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. dollars or RMB, as the case may be, at any particular rate, or at all. The PRC government imposes control over its foreign currency reserves in part through direct regulation of the conversion of RMB into foreign exchange and through restrictions on foreign trade. On July 23, 2021, the exchange rate was RMB6.4808 to US$1.00.

 

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

 

This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current expectations and views of future events. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You can identify these forward-looking statements by terminology 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 and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:

 

·                                          our goals and strategies;

 

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·                                          our future business development, financial condition and results of operations;

 

·                                          the expected growth of the online retail and social e-commerce industry in China;

 

·                                          our expectations regarding demand for and market acceptance of our products and services;

 

·                                          our expectations regarding our relationships with our members, users, suppliers, third-party merchants, and other partners, including other social e-commerce platforms and service marketplaces;

 

·                                          competition in our industry;

 

·                                          relevant government policies and regulations relating to our industry;

 

·                                          the development of COVID-19 in the PRC and globally; and

 

·                                          assumptions underlying or related to any of the foregoing.

 

We would like to caution you not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements and you should read these statements in conjunction with the risk factors disclosed in “Item 3. Key Information D. Risk Factors.” Those risks are not exhaustive. We operate in an evolving environment. New risks emerge from time to time and it is impossible for our management to predict all risk factors, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ from those contained in any forward-looking statement. We do not undertake any obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements except as required under applicable law. You should read this annual report on Form 20-F and the documents that we reference in this annual report on Form 20-F completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect.

 

PART I

 

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

 

A.                                    Selected Financial Data

 

On December 30, 2020, we completed the disposition of P2P business which historically provided our customers with loan facilitation services, post-origination services and other related services. Consequently, our loan facilitation services, post-origination services and other related services were accounted for as discontinued operations in accordance with U.S. GAAP in our consolidated financial statements. As required by U.S. GAAP, we have retrospectively applied the change in the discontinued operations for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2017, 2018 ,2019 and 2020 accordingly.

 

The following selected consolidated statements of comprehensive income (loss) for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021 and summary consolidated balance sheets as of March 31, 2020 and 2021 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included in this annual report on Form 20-F beginning on page F-1.

 

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The selected consolidated statement of operations data for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2017 and 2018 and the balance sheet data as of March 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 have been derived from our consolidated financial statements not included in this annual report. The consolidated statement of operations data fiscal years ended March 31, 2017 and 2018 reflect the retrospective adjustments for the discontinued operations during year ended March 31, 2021.

 

 

 

For the Fiscal Years Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2017

 

2018

 

2019

 

2020

 

2021

 

 

 

(US$, except for number of shares)

 

Selected Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income (Loss):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVENUES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commission service

 

 

 

 

 

82,054

 

Recommendation service and others

 

 

 

184,968

 

3,916,276

 

 

Interest income

 

 

590,122

 

3,552,759

 

3,043,096

 

1,690,448

 

Tax and surcharges

 

 

(20,276

)

(42,510

)

(44,898

)

(17,567

)

NET REVENUES

 

 

569,846

 

3,695,217

 

6,914,474

 

1,754,935

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPERATING COSTS AND EXPENSES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service and development

 

 

 

 

1,032,562

 

544,572

 

Sales and marketing

 

 

2,040

 

1,167,469

 

1,462,798

 

1,087,009

 

General and administrative

 

1,241

 

1,035,181

 

3,131,550

 

20,488,796

 

27,217,613

 

Impairment charge on long-term investments

 

 

 

 

29,189,836

 

1,600,000

 

Finance cost

 

 

 

 

2,498,706

 

2,154,621

 

Share-based compensation

 

 

1,828,868

 

6,585,386

 

347,466

 

55,468

 

Total operating costs and expenses

 

1,241

 

2,866,089

 

10,884,405

 

55,020,164

 

32,659,283

 

LOSS FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS

 

(1,241

)

(2,296,243

)

(7,189,188

)

(48,105,690

)

(30,904,348

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total other (expenses) income, net

 

(123

)

207,358

 

381,150

 

1,232,160

 

(164,918

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOSS FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS BEFORE INCOME TAXES

 

(1,364

)

(2,088,885

)

(6,808,038

)

(46,873,530

)

(31,069,266

)

PROVISION FOR TAXES EXPENSES

 

 

131,341

 

807,710

 

489,955

 

482,976

 

LOSS FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS

 

(1,364

)

(2,220,226

)

(7,615,748

)

(47,363,485

)

(31,552,242

)

Net income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of income taxes

 

8,572,228

 

67,730,851

 

13,148,329

 

(23,834,894

)

(6,439,549

)

Gain from disposal of discontinued operations, net of income taxes

 

 

 

 

 

3,164,802

 

Total income (loss) from discontinued operations

 

8,572,228

 

67,730,851

 

13,148,329

 

(23,834,894

)

(3,274,747

)

NET INCOME (LOSS)

 

8,570,864

 

65,510,625

 

5,532,581

 

(71,198,379

)

(34,826,989

)

COMPREHENSIVE INCOME (LOSS)

 

7,490,828

 

71,538,768

 

(603,606

)

(76,487,121

)

(30,884,832

)

Net income (loss) per share attributable to Xiaobai Maimai Inc’s shareholders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

0.20

 

1.46

 

0.11

 

(1.46

)

(0.71

)

Diluted

 

0.20

 

1.37

 

0.10

 

(1.46

)

(0.71

)

Weighted average shares used in calculation of net income (loss) per share

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

42,331,200

 

44,977,780

 

48,693,162

 

48,757,199

 

48,837,977

 

Diluted

 

42,331,200

 

47,656,263

 

52,912,826

 

48,757,199

 

48,837,977

 

 

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The following table presents our summary consolidated balance sheet data as of March 31, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

 

 

 

As of March 31,

 

 

 

2017

 

2018

 

2019

 

2020

 

2021

 

 

 

(US$)

 

Selected Consolidated Balance Sheet Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

1,949,877

 

50,499,748

 

35,657,346

 

6,668,104

 

15,128,719

 

TOTAL ASSETS

 

28,382,131

 

166,494,781

 

182,368,385

 

80,476,159

 

31,685,496

 

TOTAL LIABILITIES

 

4,877,775

 

26,451,710

 

55,865,227

 

32,375,270

 

14,413,971

 

TOTAL SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY

 

23,504,356

 

140,043,069

 

126,503,158

 

48,100,889

 

17,271,525

 

 

B.                                    Capitalization and Indebtedness

 

Not applicable.

 

C.                                    Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

 

Not applicable.

 

D.                                    Risk Factors

 

RISKS RELATED TO OUR BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

 

We are no longer engaged in the online microlending business, but we cannot assure you that we would not be penalized under relevant regulations for the previous microlending business.

 

In August 2017, we established Wusu Company, through which we started to conduct our online microlending business. We have engaged in online microlending business since then and have been continuing to contribute resources to our microlending business up to September 30, 2019, since when the principal business scope of Wusu Company has been changed to trading, provision of technological promotion services and import and export. Since May 2019, we have ceased to issue new loans through microlending businesses. The microlending industry is rapidly evolving with significant regulatory uncertainties, and our microlending business may be subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the PRC with ambiguous and inconsistent application and interpretation. As a result, we cannot assure you that our investment and exploration in microlending would not be subject to legal risks. Since the change of Wusu Company’s business scope, we cannot carry out any new microlending business without the proper business registration . However, for the loans which were issued prior to the change of the business scope, we are entitled to the credit right over such loans until their maturity. If, however, the authorities were to determine that our historical microlending business was in violation of the relevant PRC laws and regulations, we may be subject to fines and other administrative penalties imposed by the authorities and our business and reputation could be adversely affected.

 

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Our limited operating history in the social e-commerce industry makes it difficult to evaluate our business and prospects.

 

We have engaged in online microlending business since 2017 and have been continuing to contribute resources to our microlending business up to September 30, 2019. We launched our social e-commerce platform in May 2020 as a new business line and have a limited operating history in the social e-commerce industry. Prior to our transition into a social e-commerce platform, we operated a consumer lending platform in China. Therefore, our historical performance may not be indicative of our future growth or financial results. We cannot assure you that our business, results of operations and financial condition will be able to grow, or that we can avoid any decline in our business, results of operations and financial condition in the future. Our business, results of operations and financial condition may decline for a number of possible reasons, some of which are beyond our control, including decreasing consumer spending, increasing competition, declining growth of our overall market or industry, the emergence of alternative business models, and changes in rules, regulations and government policies with respect to our industry or general economic conditions in China. In addition, our social e-commerce platform, from which we expect to generate substantially all of our revenues in the future, is a newly launched initiative and may not grow as quickly as we anticipate. It is difficult to evaluate our prospects, as we may not have sufficient experience in addressing the risks to which companies operating in rapidly evolving markets may be exposed. If our growth rate declines, investors’ perceptions of our business, results of operations and prospects may be materially and adversely affected and the market price of our ADSs could decline. You should consider our prospects in light of the risks and uncertainties that companies with a limited operating history may encounter.

 

We have incurred a net loss and negative operating cash flows in the past and may continue to experience losses in the future.

 

We incurred a net loss of US$34.8 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021. We cannot assure you that we will be able to generate net profits or positive cash flow from operating activities in the future. Our ability to achieve and maintain profitability will depend in large part on our ability to, among other things, increase our number of members and users, grow, and diversify our third-party merchant base, maintain cooperation with other mainstream e-commerce platforms and service marketplaces, and optimize our cost structure. We may not be able to achieve any of the above. We intend to continue to invest for the foreseeable future in the improvement of our fulfillment infrastructure and technology platform to support an even more carefully curated selection of products and to offer additional value-added services. As a result of the foregoing, we believe that we may incur net losses in the future.

 

If we fail to anticipate user needs and provide products and services attractive to users, or fail to adapt our services or business model to changing user needs, emerging industry standards or rapid technological evolution, or fail to provide products of satisfactory quality to our users, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

 

The social e-commerce industry in which we operate, and user needs and preferences are constantly evolving. As a result, we must continuously respond to changes in the market and user demand and preferences to remain competitive, grow our business and maintain our market position. We launched our social e-commerce platform in May 2020, which offers a wide variety of high-quality products covering food and beverage, wine, cosmetic products, fashion and apparel, entertainment, housewares, home appliances and cost-saving promotions at petrol gas stations nationwide. We intend to further diversify our product and service offerings to contribute to our revenue sources in the future. New products and services, new types of users or new business models may involve risks and challenges we do not currently face. We may introduce new sales format on our platform to improve user engagement. Any new initiatives may require us to devote significant financial and management resources and may not perform as well as expected. Furthermore, we may have difficulty in anticipating user demand and preferences, and the products offered on our platform may not be accepted by the market or be rendered obsolete or uneconomical. Therefore, any inability to adapt to these changes may result in a failure to capture new members and other users or retain existing members and other users, the occurrence of which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, if we are unable to provide products to users of satisfactory quality, in a timely manner, in sufficient quantities or at an acceptable cost, our business could be negatively impacted. We may also be subject to claims if our users are not satisfied with the quality of the products or do not have satisfactory experiences in general.

 

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In addition, we must continue to enhance and improve the responsiveness, functionality and features of our platform to remain competitive. The social e-commerce industry is characterized by rapid technological evolution, changes in user requirements and preferences, frequent introductions of new products, features and services embodying new technologies and the emergence of new industry standards and practices, any of which could render our existing technologies and systems obsolete. Our success will depend, in part, on our ability to identify, develop and adapt to new technologies useful in our business, and respond to technological advances and emerging industry standards and practices, in particular with respect to mobile Internet, in a cost-effective and timely way. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in these efforts.

 

Any change, disruption or discontinuity in the features and functions of major social networks in China could limit our ability to continue growing our member and user base, and our business may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Our success depends on our ability to attract and retain new members and users and expand our member and user base. We leverage social networks in China as a tool for member and user acquisition and engagement. For example, we leverage social networks, such as WeChat, QQ and Weibo, to enable members to share product information and their experiences with products on our platform to their friends, family and other social contacts, who can purchase such products directly via the links shared by the members through social networks. A substantial portion of our member and user traffic comes from such member recommendation through social networks. To the extent that we are banned from using some or all functions of such social networks, or fail to leverage such social networks, our ability to attract or retain members and other users, and maintain an active community may be severely harmed. If WeChat, QQ or Weibo changes its functions or support, such as charging fees for functions or support that is currently provided for free, or stops offering its functions or support to us or discontinues its functions or support in general, we may not be able to locate alternative platforms of similar scale to provide similar functions or support in a timely manner, or at all. Furthermore, we may fail to establish or maintain relationships with additional social network operators to support the growth of our business on economically viable terms, or at all. Any interruption to or discontinuation of our relationships with major social network operators may severely and negatively impact our ability to continue growing our user base, and any occurrence of the circumstances mentioned above may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

Use of social media and influencers may materially and adversely affect our reputation or subject us to fines or other penalties.

 

We launched our Elite Influencers Program in August, 2020 to help promote our offerings. Currently, the elite influencers introduced to the platform are primarily WeChat merchants who have considerable influence on social e-commerce in China. As existing e-commerce and social media platforms continue to rapidly evolve and new platforms develop, we must continue to maintain a presence on these platforms and establish presences on new or emerging popular social media platforms. If we are unable to cost-effectively use social media platforms as marketing tools or if the social media platforms we use do not evolve quickly enough for us to fully optimize such platforms, our ability to acquire new consumers and our financial condition may suffer. Furthermore, as laws and regulations rapidly evolve to govern the use of these platforms and devices, the failure by us, our employees, our network of elite influencers at our direction to abide by applicable laws and regulations in the use of these platforms and devices or otherwise could subject us to regulatory investigations, class action lawsuits, liability, fines, or other penalties and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.

 

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In addition, an increase in the use of social media for product promotion and marketing may cause an increase in the burden on us to monitor compliance of such materials, and increase the risk that such materials could contain problematic product or marketing claims in violation of applicable regulations. We do not prescribe what our influencers post, and if we were held responsible for the content of their posts or their actions, we could be forced to alter our practices, which could have an adverse impact on our business.

 

Negative commentary regarding us, our offerings or influencers may also be posted on social media platforms and may have adverse impact on our reputation or business. Influencers with whom we maintain relationships could use their own WeChat accounts to communicate directly with our customers in a manner that reflects poorly on our products and may be attributed to us or otherwise adversely affect us. It is not possible to prevent such behaviours, and the precautions we take to detect this activity may not be effective in all cases. Our target consumers often value readily available information and often act on such information without further investigation and without regard to its accuracy. The harm may be immediate, without affording us an opportunity for redress or correction.

 

We are dependent on app stores to disseminate our mobile apps.

 

We currently offer our services mainly through our mobile platform. Our mobile apps are offered via smartphone and tablet apps stores operated by third parties, such as Apple’s App Store, which could suspend or terminate users’ access to our mobile apps, increase access costs or change the terms of access in a way that makes our apps less desirable or harder to access. As a result, our ability to expand our user base may be hindered if potential users experience difficulties in or are barred from accessing our mobile apps. Our mobile apps may be taken down from certain third-party app stores for a short period of time. We cannot assure you that we will not experience such incident of similar nature in the future. The occurrence of the similar incident may adversely affect our brand and reputation, business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

We may lose market share and users if we fail to compete effectively.

 

The social e-commerce industry in China is intensely competitive. We compete to attract, engage, and retain members, users, orders, suppliers, third-party merchants, and other participants on our platform. Our current or potential competitors include all major social e-commerce companies in China and other Internet companies in China that engage in social e-commerce businesses.

 

Our current or potential competitors may have longer operating histories, greater brand recognition, better relationships with supplier and third-party merchants, larger customer bases, higher user activity and loyalty or greater financial, technical or marketing resources than we have. Our competitors may leverage their brand recognition, experience and resources to compete with us in a variety of ways, including making investments and acquisitions for the expansion of their product and service offerings. Some of our competitors may be able to secure more favorable terms from suppliers and third-party merchants, devote greater resources to marketing and promotional campaigns, adopt more aggressive pricing or inventory policies and devote substantially more resources to their IT systems and technology than us. In particular, some of these competitors have substantially greater financial resources that may allow them to initiate and sustain aggressive price competition and we may experience increased competition when our competitors offer discounts or clearance items for sale for various reasons. If we are unable to offer products on our platform at competitive prices, we may experience increased negative pressure on pricing for our products and loss of users. Some of our competitors may also utilize social networks to attract users, which may divert traffic or attention of our potential users. In addition, new and enhanced technologies may increase the competition in the e-commerce industry. Increased competition may reduce our profitability, market share, user base and brand recognition. We cannot assure you that we will be able to compete successfully against current or future competitors, and competitive pressures may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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If we fail to manage and expand our relationships with third-party merchants and other e-commerce platforms and service marketplaces, or otherwise fail to procure products on favourable terms, our business, growth and profitability prospects may suffer.

 

We operate a marketplace business whereby third-party merchants sell products on our platform. We also provide hyperlinks and refer users to other mainstream platforms that cooperate with us. Sales promotions, such as coupons, discounts, or rebates, are available to purchase orders that are referred through our platform. Our third-party merchants include merchants of mainstream brands and emerging brands, and manufacturing partners we cooperate with. Maintaining strong relationships with these third-party merchants is important to the growth of our business. In particular, we depend significantly on our ability to attract third-party merchants to offer their products on commercially attractive terms on our platform. We typically enter into framework agreements with third-party merchants on an annual basis, and these framework agreements do not ensure the availability of products or the continuation of particular pricing practices or payment terms beyond the end of the contractual term. In addition, our agreements with third-party merchants typically do not restrict them from selling products to others or on other platforms. We cannot assure you that our current third-party merchants will continue to sell products on our platform on commercially acceptable terms, or at all, after the term of the current agreement expires. Even if we maintain good relations with our third-party merchants, their ability to supply products on our platform in sufficient quantity and at competitive prices may be adversely affected by economic conditions, labour actions, regulatory or legal decisions, natural disasters, or other causes.

 

In the event any brand owner does not have authority from the relevant manufacturer to sell certain products on our platform, such brand owner may cease selling such products on our platform at any time. If our third-party merchants cease to provide us with favourable price for goods sold on our platform, our need for working capital may increase and our operations may be materially and adversely affected. We will also need to establish new third-party merchant relationships to ensure that we have access to a steady supply of products on favourable commercial terms. If we are unable to develop and maintain good relationships with third-party merchants that would allow us to obtain a sufficient amount and variety of authentic and quality products on acceptable commercial terms, it may inhibit our ability to offer sufficient products sought by our users, or to offer these products at competitive prices. Any adverse developments in our relationships with third-party merchants could materially and adversely affect our business and growth prospects. In addition, as part of our growth strategy, we plan to further expand our product offerings. If we fail to attract new suppliers and third-party merchants to sell their products to us or on our platform due to any reason, our business, growth and profitability prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Our marketplace business is subject to risks associated with third-party merchants.

 

We do not have the control over the storage and delivery of products sold on our platform. Our third-party merchants use their own facilities to store their products and their own or third-party delivery systems to deliver their products directly to our members and users, which makes it difficult for us to ensure that our members and users get the same high-quality service for all products sold on our platform. If any third-party merchant does not control the quality of the products that it sells on our platform, or if it does not deliver the products or delivers them late or delivers products that are materially different from its description of them, or if it sells counterfeit or unlicensed products on our platform, or if it sells certain products without licenses or permits as required by the relevant laws and regulations even though we have requested such licenses or permits in our standard form agreement with third-party merchants, or if the products is finally returned by reasons mentioned above or others, the reputation of our marketplace business and our brand may be materially and adversely affected and we could face claims, and be held liable for any losses. In order for our marketplace business to be successful, we must continue to identify and attract third-party merchants, and we may not be successful in this regard.

 

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Our results of operations fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter, which may make it difficult to predict our future financial performance.

 

Our results of operations generally are characterized by seasonal fluctuations due to various reasons, including seasonal buying patterns and economic cyclical changes, as well as promotions on our platform and other mainstream platforms that cooperate with us. The fourth quarter of each calendar year generally contributes the largest portion of our annual revenues due to a number of factors, such as merchants allocating a significant portion of their online marketing budgets to the fourth calendar quarter, promotions, such as the 11.11 global shopping festival, and the impact of seasonal buying patterns in respect of certain categories such as apparel. The first quarter of each calendar year generally contributes the smallest portion of our annual revenues, primarily due to a lower level of allocation of marketing budgets by merchants at the beginning of the calendar year and the Chinese New Year holiday, during which time consumers generally spend less and businesses in China are generally closed. We may also introduce new promotions or change the timing of our promotions in ways that further cause our quarterly results to fluctuate and differ from historical patterns. In addition, seasonal weather patterns may affect the timing of buying decisions.

 

Our results of operations will likely fluctuate due to these and other factors, some of which are beyond our control. In addition, our growth in the past may have masked the seasonality that might otherwise be apparent in our results of operations. As the rate of growth of our business declines in comparison to prior periods, we expect that the seasonality in our business may become more pronounced. Moreover, as our business grows, we expect that our fixed costs and expenses will continue to increase, which will result in operating leverage in seasonally strong quarters but can significantly pressure operating margins in seasonally weak quarters.

 

To the extent our results of operations are below the expectations of public market analysts and investors in the future, or if there are significant fluctuations in our financial results, the market price of our ADSs and/or Shares could fluctuate significantly.

 

Failure to deal effectively with any fictitious transactions or other fraudulent conduct that take place under our marketplace business would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We may face risks with respect to fraudulent activities on our platform. Although we have implemented various measures to detect and reduce the occurrence of fraudulent activities, there can be no assurance that such measures will be effective in combating fraudulent transactions or improving overall satisfaction among third-party merchants and users. In addition to fraudulent transactions with legitimate customers, merchants may also engage in fictitious or “phantom” transactions with themselves or collaborators in order to artificially inflate their own ratings on our platform, reputation and search results rankings. This activity may harm other merchants by enabling the perpetrating merchant to be favored over legitimate merchants, and may harm our members and users by deceiving them into believing that a merchant is more reliable or trusted than the merchant actually is. This activity may also result in inflated transaction volume from our marketplace business. Moreover, illegal, fraudulent or collusive activities by our employees could also subject us to liability or negative publicity. Although we have internal controls and policies with regard to the review and approval of sales activities and other relevant matters, we cannot assure you that such controls and policies will prevent fraud or illegal activity by our employees. Negative publicity and user sentiment generated as a result of actual or alleged fraudulent or deceptive conduct on our platform or by our employees would severely diminish consumer confidence in us, reduce our ability to attract new or retain current third-party merchants and users, damage our reputation and diminish the value of our brand, and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Any harm to our brand or reputation may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

We believe that the recognition and reputation of our brand, Xiaobai Maimai, among our members, users, third-party merchants and service providers have contributed significantly to the growth and success of our business. Maintaining and enhancing the recognition and reputation of our brand are critical to our business and competitiveness. Many factors, some of which are beyond our control, are important to maintaining and enhancing our brand. These factors include our ability to:

 

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·                                          provide a superior shopping experience to our members and users;

 

·                                          maintain the popularity, attractiveness, diversity, quality and authenticity of product offerings on our platform;

 

·                                          maintain the efficiency, reliability and quality of the fulfillment and delivery services to our buyers;

 

·                                          maintain or improve user satisfaction with our services;

 

·                                          increase brand awareness through marketing and brand promotion activities; and

 

·                                          preserve our reputation and goodwill in the event of any negative publicity on consumer experience or merchant service, Internet and data security, product quality, price or authenticity, or other issues affecting us or other social e-commerce businesses in China.

 

Public perception that non-authentic, counterfeit or defective goods are sold on our platform or that we or third-party service providers do not provide satisfactory customer service, even if factually incorrect or based on isolated incidents, could damage our reputation, diminish the value of our brand, undermine the trust and credibility we have established and have a negative impact on our ability to attract new users or retain our current users. If we are unable to maintain our reputation, enhance our brand recognition or increase positive awareness of our platform, products and services, it may be difficult to maintain and grow our member and user base, and our business and growth prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

 

If our social e-commerce platform is unable to provide good customer experience, our business and reputation may be materially and adversely affected.

 

If our social e-commerce platform does not provide good consumer experience, it could damage our reputation, diminish the value of our brand, undermine the trust and credibility we have established, have a negative impact on our ability to attract new consumers or retain our current consumers, and our business and growth prospects may be materially and adversely affected. Our ability to provide good customer experience depends on a variety of factors. These factors include, among others, our ability to continue to offer authentic products at competitive prices, to source products in response to evolving customer tastes and demands, to ensure the quality of our products and services and to provide flexible payment options. For example, If we are unable to develop and maintain good relationships with third-party merchants that would allow us to obtain a sufficient amount and variety of authentic and quality products on acceptable commercial terms, we may be unable to meet customer demands for these products or to offer these products at attractive prices.

 

The third-party merchants in our marketplace business rely on a number of contracted third-party delivery logistics service providers to deliver the products sold on our platform to the customers. The products on our platform are supplied by the merchants, who are separately responsible for sourcing and coordinating the delivery of the products sold on Xiaobai Maimai with the third-party delivery logistics service providers. As we do not directly control or manage the operations of these third-party logistics service providers, we may not be able to guarantee their performance. Interruptions to or failures in the delivery services could prevent the timely or proper delivery of our products. These interruptions or failures may be due to unforeseen events that are beyond our control or the control of our third-party logistics and delivery service providers, such as inclement weather, health epidemics, natural disasters, transportation disruptions or labor unrest. Delivery of our products could also be affected or interrupted by the merger, acquisition, insolvency or shut-down of the delivery companies the third-party merchants engage to make deliveries, especially those local companies with relatively small business scales. If our products are not delivered on a timely basis or are delivered in a damaged state, customers may refuse to accept the products purchased on our platform and have less confidence in our platform, and our business and reputation could suffer. We cannot assure you that our third-party merchants will be able to find alternative cost-effective logistics service providers to offer satisfactory delivery services in a timely manner, or at all, which could cause our business and reputation to suffer or cause third-party merchants to move to other platforms and have a negative impact on our financial conditions. In addition, if our third-party logistics service providers fail to comply with applicable rules and regulations in China, our delivery services may be materially and adversely affected. Furthermore, the delivery personnel of contracted third-party delivery service providers directly interact with our customers on our behalf. We need to effectively manage these third-party logistics service providers to ensure the quality of customer services. Any failure to provide high-quality delivery services to our customers may negatively impact the shopping experience of our customers, damage our reputation, and cause us to lose customers.

 

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If our customer service representatives, sales representatives or maintenance engineers and technicians fail to provide satisfactory service, it may compromise our ability to provide effective customer service and enjoyable user engagement, which may in turn cause damage to our reputation, loss of customers or direct economic loss. In addition, any negative publicity or poor feedback regarding our customer service may diminish customer confidence in us and the value of our brand, and in turn cause us to lose customers and market share.

 

In addition, we rely on our technology infrastructure to offer a good customer experience and to attract and retain customers on Xiaobai Maimai. Any failure to properly upgrade our technology infrastructure to serve the growing number of customers, maintain the satisfactory performance, security and integrity of our social e-commerce platform and systems, may materially and adversely affect our business and reputation.

 

We may incur liability or become subject to administrative penalties for counterfeit or unauthorized merchandise sold on Xiaobai Maimai, or for merchandise sold on Xiaobai Maimai that infringe on third-party intellectual property rights, or for other misconduct.

 

Our Xiaobai Maimai platform sources merchandise from third-party merchants. Although we have adopted measures to verify the authenticity and authorization of merchandise sold on Xiaobai Maimai and to avoid potential infringement on third-party intellectual property rights in the course of sourcing and selling merchandise, we may not always be successful in these efforts. In the event that any counterfeit, unauthorized or infringing merchandise is sold on our platform, we could face claims for which we may be held liable. We have not in the past received claims alleging our infringement on third parties’ rights, and if we receive such claims in the future irrespective of their validity, we could incur significant costs and efforts in either defending against or settling such claims. If there is a successful claim against us, we might be required to pay substantial damages or refrain from further sale of the relevant merchandise. If we negligently participate or assist in infringement activities associated with counterfeit goods, we may be subject to potential liability under PRC law including injunctions to cease infringing activities, rectification, compensation, administrative penalties, and even criminal liability. Moreover, such third-party claims or administrative penalties could result in negative publicity and our reputation could be severely damaged. Any of these events could have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.

 

We may be subject to claims under consumer protection laws, including health and safety claims and product liability claims, if property or people are harmed by the products and services sold through our platform.

 

Due to several high-profile incidents involving safety, including food safety, and consumer complaints that have occurred in China in recent years, the PRC government, media outlets and public advocacy groups are increasingly focused on consumer protection. Government authorities in other countries where we operate also place high importance on consumer protection. Moreover, we offer food supplements and beverages, mother care, baby care, pharmaceutical and healthcare products and services, as well as electronics products on our platform or by directing our customers to other mainstream platforms that cooperate with us. These activities pose increasing challenges to our internal control and compliance systems and procedures, including our control over and management of third-party service personnel, and expose us to substantial increasing liability, negative publicity and reputational damage arising from consumer complaints, harms to personal health or safety or accidents involving products or services offered through our platforms or provided by us. Operators of e-commerce platforms are subject to certain provisions of consumer protection laws even where the operator is not the merchant of the product or service purchased by the consumer. In addition, if we do not take appropriate remedial action against merchants or service providers for actions they engage in that we know, or should have known, would infringe upon the rights and interests of consumers, we may be held jointly liable for infringement alongside the merchant or service provider. We may also be held jointly liable with the merchants under the PRC E-commerce Law if we fail to take necessary actions when we know or should have known that the products or services provided by the merchants on our platforms do not meet personal and property security requirements, or otherwise infringe upon consumers’ legitimate rights. Moreover, applicable consumer protection laws in China hold that trading platforms will be held liable for failing to meet any undertaking that the platforms make to consumers with regard to products listed on their websites. Furthermore, we are required to report to the SAMR, formerly known as the SAIC, or its local branches any violation of applicable laws, regulations or SAMR rules by merchants or service providers, such as sales of goods without proper license or authorization, and we are required to take appropriate remedial measures, including ceasing to provide services to the relevant merchants or service providers. We may also be held liable if we fail to verify the licenses or qualifications of merchants, or fail to safeguard consumers with respect to products or services affecting consumers’ health or safety.

 

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In addition, we are facing increasing levels of activist litigation in China by plaintiffs claiming damages based on consumer protection laws. This type of activist litigation could increase in the future, and if it does, we could face increased costs defending these suits and damages should we not prevail, which could materially and adversely affect our reputation and brand and our results of operations.

 

Any disruption to our IT systems could materially affect our ability to maintain the satisfactory performance of our IT systems and deliver consistent services to our users and third-party merchants.

 

The proper functioning of our IT systems is essential to our business. The satisfactory performance, reliability and availability of our IT systems are critical to our success, our ability to attract and retain buyers and our ability to maintain and deliver consistent services to our buyers and merchants. However, our technology infrastructure may fail to keep pace with increased sales on our platform, in particular with respect to our new product and service offerings, and therefore our buyers may experience delays as we seek to source additional capacity, which would adversely affect our results of operations as well as our reputation.

 

Additionally, we must continue to upgrade and improve our technology infrastructure to support our business growth. However, we cannot assure you that we will be successful in executing these system upgrades, and the failure to do so may impede our growth. We currently rely on cloud services and servers operated by external cloud service providers to store our data, to allow us to analyze a large amount of data simultaneously and to update our buyer database and buyer profiles quickly. Any interruption or delay in the functionality of these external cloud service and server providers may materially and adversely affect the operations of our business.

 

We may be unable to monitor and ensure high-quality maintenance and upgrade of our IT systems and infrastructure on a real-time basis, and buyers may experience service outages and delays in accessing and using our platform to place orders. 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. Our technology or infrastructure may not function properly at all times. Any system interruptions caused by telecommunications failures, computer viruses, hacking or other attempts to harm our systems that result in the unavailability or slowdown of our platform or reduced order fulfillment performance could reduce the volume of products sold and the attractiveness of product offerings on our platform. Our servers may also be vulnerable to computer viruses, physical or electronic break-ins and similar disruptions, which could lead to system interruptions, mobile app slowdown or unavailability, delays or errors in transaction processing, loss of data or the inability to accept and fulfill orders. Any of such occurrences could cause severe disruption to our daily operations. As a result, our reputation may be materially and adversely affected, our market share could decline and we could be subject to liability claims.

 

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Failure to comply with the applicable laws and regulations may have a material adverse impact on our business, financial conditions and results of operations.

 

As the e-commerce industry is still evolving in China, new laws and regulations may be adopted from time to time to address new issues that arise from time to time. For example, in August 2018, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the E-Commerce Law, which became effective on January 1, 2019. The E-Commerce Law generally provides that e-commerce operators must obtain administrative licenses if business activities conducted by the e-commerce operators are subject to administrative licensing requirements under applicable laws and regulations. In addition, the E-Commerce Law imposes a number of obligations on e-commerce platform operators, including the obligations: (i) to verify and register platform merchants, (ii) to ensure platform cybersecurity, including, but not limited to, data privacy, (iii) to ensure fair dealing and the legitimate rights and interests of consumers on the platform, (iv) to publicize transaction information preservation and transaction rules, and (v) to protect intellectual properties. As the E-Commerce Law is relatively new, no detailed interpretation and implementation rules have been promulgated, and it remains uncertain how the E-Commerce Law will be interpreted and implemented. We cannot assure you that our current business operations satisfy the obligations provided under the E-Commerce Law in all respects. If the PRC governmental authorities determine that we are not in compliance with all the requirements proposed under the E-Commerce Law, we may be subject to fines and/or other sanctions.

 

The E-Commerce Law also imposes a requirement on operators of e-commerce platforms, such as us, to assist in tax collection with respect to income generated by sellers from transactions conducted on e-commerce platforms, including, among others, submitting to the tax authority information on the identities of sellers on e-commerce platforms and other information relating to tax payments. Failure to comply with the requirement may result in operators of e-commerce platforms being subject to fines and, in severe circumstances, suspension of business operations of e-commerce platforms. Substantial uncertainties exist regarding the interpretation and implementation of the E-Commerce Law. We encourage and incentivize members to promote the products on our platform. If the members were deemed to be selling our products on a consignment basis, the PRC tax authorities may require our members to make tax registration and request our assistance in these efforts, pursuant to the E-Commerce Law, and our members may be subject to more stringent tax compliance requirements. Due to the lack of detailed interpretation and implementation rules, we are in discussion, from time to time, with the relevant government authorities on how to comply with the requirements under the E-Commerce Law. The PRC government may adopt additional requirements from time to time, and we may be requested by tax authorities to provide further assistance in the enforcement of tax regulations, such as disclosure of transaction records and bank account information of the members, and withholding taxes for our members. If any of these were to occur, we may lose our existing members or fail to attract new members and the level of activity of members may reduce on our platform. We may also incur increased costs and expenses as a result. The tightened tax enforcement by PRC tax authorities in the e-commerce industry, such as imposition of reporting or withholding obligations on operators of e-commerce platforms with respect to taxes payable of merchants on e-commerce platforms, may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

In August 2005, the State Council promulgated the Regulations on the Prohibition of Pyramid Selling, which prohibits individuals and entities in China from engaging in pyramid selling. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulations—Regulations Relating to Pyramid Selling.” We believe that our current business model is not in violation of the regulations relating to pyramid selling. However, there is no assurance that the competent governmental authorities will share the same view with us. Moreover, new laws, regulations or policies may also be promulgated in the future, and there is no assurance that our current business model will be in full compliance with the new laws, regulations or policies. If our business model were to be found in violation in the future, we will have to make adjustment to our business model or cease certain of our business operations, and the relevant governmental authorities may confiscate any illegal gains and impose a fine, which would have a material and adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We are subject to cybersecurity risks. If our systems are under malicious attack by sophisticated criminals including by way of hacking, cyber-attacks, infiltration of computer viruses, physical or e-sabotage, we may not be able to protect our business operations or the confidential information gathered on our databases.

 

We are an attractive target for cyber-attacks in order for criminals to gain access to our confidential and valuable information collected from customers and third-party merchants. We and our third-party system security service providers take measures to prevent such attacks and protect our databases of confidential information, but these measures may be breached accidentally or maliciously by unauthorized access. If confidential information about our customers and third-party merchants were stolen and used for criminal purposes, we could be exposed to liability for loss of information and be subject to time-consuming and expensive litigation and negative publicity. In addition, the Administrative Measures for the Security of the International Network of Computer Information Network, effective on December 30, 1997 and amended on January 8, 2011, requires us to report any data or security breaches to the local offices of the PRC Ministry of Public Security within 24 hours of any such breach. The Cyber Security Law of the PRC which became effective on June 1, 2017 requires that when we discover that our network products or services are subject to risks such as security defects or bugs, we shall take remedial measures immediately, including but not limited to, informing users of the specific risks and reporting such risks to the relevant competent departments. Any security breach, whether actual or perceived, would harm our reputation, and could cause us to lose customers and third-party merchants, and adversely affect our business and results of operations. Our relationships with our customers and third-party merchants may be damaged, negatively affecting our business.

 

Technology employed by hackers constantly evolve, so that the security measures and our third-party system security service providers may not be able to fully anticipate attacks and implement necessary prevention measures or in time.

 

Our business generates and processes a large amount of data, including personal data, and the improper use or disclosure of data could harm our reputation and have a material adverse effect on the trading price of our ADSs and/or Shares, our business and prospects.

 

Our business generates and processes a large quantity of personal, behavioural, transaction and demographic data. Our privacy policies concerning the collection, use and disclosure of personal data are posted on our platforms. We face risks inherent in handling and protecting large volumes of data, especially consumer data. In particular, we face a number of challenges relating to data from transactions and other activities on our platforms, including:

 

·                  protecting the data in and hosted on our system, including against attacks on our system by outside parties or fraudulent behaviour or improper use by our employees;

 

·                  addressing concerns, challenges, negative publicity and litigation related to data privacy, collection, use and actual or perceived sharing (including sharing among our own businesses, with business partners or regulators), safety, security and other factors that may arise from our existing businesses or new businesses and technology, such as new forms of data (for example, biometric data, location information and other demographic information); and

 

·                  complying with applicable laws, rules and regulations relating to the collection, use, storage, transfer, disclosure and security of personal information, including requests from data subjects and regulatory and government authorities.

 

If our user data is improperly used or disclosed by any party, it could result in a loss of users, businesses and other participants from our social e-commerce business, loss of confidence or trust in our platforms, litigation, regulatory investigations, penalties or actions against us, significant damage to our reputation, and have a material adverse effect on the trading price of our ADSs and/or Shares, our business and prospects.

 

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Our business is subject to complex and evolving domestic and international laws and regulations regarding privacy and data protection. These laws and regulations can be complex and stringent, and many are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, which could result in claims, changes to our data and other business practices, penalties, increased cost of operations, or declines in user growth or engagement, or otherwise affect our business.

 

Regulatory authorities in China have implemented and are considering further legislative and regulatory proposals concerning data protection, including measures to ensure that encryption of users’ data does not hinder law enforcement agencies’ access to that data. New laws and regulations that govern new areas of data protection or impose more stringent requirements may be introduced in China. In addition, the interpretation and application of consumer and data protection laws in China and elsewhere are often uncertain and in flux. It is possible that existing or newly-introduced laws and regulations, or their interpretation, application, or enforcement, could significantly affect the value of our data and force us to change our business practices.

 

The PRC regulatory and enforcement regime with regard to privacy and data security is evolving. According to the PRC Cybersecurity Law and relevant regulations, network operators, including us, are obligated to provide assistance and support in accordance with the law for public security and national security authorities to protect national security or assist with criminal investigations. In addition, the PRC Cybersecurity Law provides that personal information and important data collected and generated by operators of critical information infrastructure in the course of their operations in the PRC should be stored in the PRC, and the law imposes heightened regulation and additional security obligations on operators of critical information infrastructure. According to the Cybersecurity Review Measures promulgated by the Cyberspace Administration of China and certain other PRC regulatory authorities in April 2020, which became effective in June 2020, operators of critical information infrastructure must pass a cybersecurity review when purchasing network products and services which do or may affect national security. If we provide or were deemed to provide such network products and services to critical information infrastructure operators, or we were deemed to be a critical information infrastructure operator, we would be required to follow cybersecurity review procedures. There can be no assurance that we would be able to complete the applicable cybersecurity review procedures in a timely manner, or at all, if we were required to follow such procedures. Any failure or delay in the completion of the cybersecurity review procedures may prevent us from using or providing certain network products and services, and may result in fines of up to ten times the purchase price of such network products and services being imposed upon us, if we were to be deemed a critical information infrastructure operator using network products or services without completing the required cybersecurity review procedures. The PRC National Security Law covers various types of national security, including technology security and information security. Compliance with the PRC Cybersecurity Law, the PRC National Security Law, as well as additional laws and regulations that PRC regulatory bodies may enact in the future, may result in additional expenses to us and subject us to negative publicity, which could harm our reputation among users and negatively affect the trading price of our ADSs and/or Shares. There are also uncertainties with respect to how the PRC Cybersecurity Law and the PRC National Security Law will be implemented and interpreted in practice. PRC regulators, including the Department of Public Security, the MIIT, the SAMR and the Cyberspace Administration of China, have been increasingly focused on regulation in the areas of data security and data protection, and are enhancing the protection of privacy and data security by rule-making and enforcement actions at central and local levels. We expect that these areas will receive greater and continued attention and scrutiny from regulators and the public going forward, which could increase our compliance costs and subject us to heightened risks and challenges associated with data security and protection. If we are unable to manage these risks, we could become subject to penalties, including fines, suspension of business and revocation of required licenses, and our reputation and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

Any failure, or perceived failure, by us to comply with the above and other regulatory requirements or privacy protection-related laws, rules and regulations could result in reputational damages or proceedings or actions against us by governmental entities, consumers or others. On the other hand, compliance with these laws and requirements in manners that are perceived as harming privacy could also lead to significant damages to our reputation and similar proceedings and actions against us by regulators and private parties. These proceedings or actions could subject us to significant penalties and negative publicity, require us to change our business practices, increase our costs and severely disrupt our business, or negatively affect the trading price of our ADSs and/or Shares.

 

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On July 10, 2021, the Measures for Cybersecurity Review (Draft Revision), or the Draft Measures for Cybersecurity Review was published to solicit public comments. The Draft Measures for Cybersecurity Review provides that operators with more than one million users who are going to be listed in foreign country shall file with the Cybersecurity Review Office for security assessment. The Draft Measures for Cybersecurity Review have yet become effective and currently the number of our users does not reach one million. However, when the Draft Measures for Cybersecurity Review are finalized and implemented, our failure to comply with those requirements in the Draft Measures for Cybersecurity Review may cause a material adverse impact on our business, financial conditions and results of operations.

 

We utilize highly technical and specific software and algorithms that require maintenance and constant updates, any undetected errors or bugs may adversely affect our business.

 

The software and algorithms we use for our data storage security system, social e-commerce platform and other internal systems are highly technical and complex. These algorithms and software are essential to our smooth operation and risk management framework. We and our third-party service providers constantly monitor, maintain, and update them. However, to the extent that such software and algorithms, now or in the future, contain undetected errors, bugs, design defects or are outdated, our customers and third-party merchants may experience problems on our platform, and we may have trouble running our systems and programs for our business and operations. We may be unable to launch our new products, services or upgrades, and our ability to protect customers and third-party merchants’ confidential information as well as our own intellectual property may be compromised. Any such errors, bugs or system failures may harm our brand and reputation, cause loss to customers and third-party merchants, and expose us to liability for damages, adversely affecting our business and results of operations.

 

We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics and other outbreaks, which could significantly disrupt our operations.

 

We are vulnerable to natural disasters and other calamities. Fire, floods, typhoons, earthquakes, power loss, telecommunications failures, break-ins, war, riots, terrorist attacks or similar events may give rise to server interruptions, breakdowns, system failures, technology platform failures or Internet failures, which could cause the loss or corruption of data or malfunctions of software or hardware as well as adversely affect our ability to provide products and services on our platform.

 

Our business could also be adversely affected by the effects of COVID-19, Zika virus, Ebola virus disease, H1N1 flu, H7N9 flu, avian flu, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, or other epidemics. Particularly, an outbreak of COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province, the PRC in late 2019 and continues to spread within the PRC and globally. The new strain of coronavirus is considered highly contagious and may pose a serious public health threat. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization reportedly declared this COVID-19 outbreak a health emergency of international concern. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 a pandemic. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the PRC government has imposed various strict measures with the aim to contain the virus including, but not limited to, extended the Chinese New Year holiday, travel restrictions, mandatory quarantine requirements for individuals infected with or suspected of having COVID-19, prohibited residents from free travel, and postponed the resumption of business operations. Substantially all of our revenues and our workforce are concentrated in China. Consequently, our results of operations will likely be adversely, and may be materially, affected, to the extent that the COVID-19 or any other epidemic harms the Chinese and global economy in general. If the COVID-19 outbreak drags on for longer, it may affect the development of our current businesses. Private enterprises, especially the small and medium-sized enterprises, which may not have strong cash flows or be well capitalized, may be vulnerable to an epidemic outbreak and slowing macroeconomic conditions. The COVID-19 outbreak may also lead to the weakening of the consumer market and the decline in the spending power of the consumers. We have taken a series of measures in response to the outbreak, including, among others, remote working arrangement for some of our employees, suspension of our offline customer acquisition activities and cancellation of non-essential business travels to ensure the safety and health of our employees. We may take further actions as required by governmental authorities in China or that we determine are in the best interests of our employees, customers, and business partners. As a result of social distancing, travel bans and quarantine measures, access to our facilities, customers, management, support staff, and professional advisors has been limited, which in turn, will impact our operations, financial condition, and demand for our services. However, the extent to which the COVID-19 outbreak impacts our financial condition and results of operations for the full year of 2021 cannot be reasonably estimated at this time and will depend on future developments, including new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak and the actions to contain the COVID-19 outbreak or treat its impact, and the impact on the economic growth and business of our third-party merchants and business partners for the foreseeable future, among others. Any future outbreak of public health epidemics may restrict economic activities in affected regions, resulting in reduced business volume, disrupt our business operations and adversely affect our results of operations. Even after the COVID-19 outbreak has subsided, we may continue to experience materially adverse impacts to our business as a result of its global economic impact, including any recession that has occurred or may occur in the future.

 

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If the Internet infrastructure or telecommunications network is affected by any disruptions including natural and man-made disasters such as fires, power outages, floods, strikes, terrorism and other catastrophic events causing disruptions, our operation of social e-commerce platform will be adversely affected.

 

We heavily rely on the Internet infrastructure and telecommunications network in China for our operations and the smooth running of our social e-commerce platform. A significant event or disaster, natural or man-made, including among others, fires, power outages, floods, strikes, terrorist attacks, coups d’état or other catastrophic events or problems, may adversely affect our servers, data centers, the offline branches of our offices. Our business may be disrupted and we may lose critical data or experience interruptions, delays and compromising of our business operations and services. Our third party data suppliers and service providers may also be similarly affected and may not be able to provide our users and us with the support needed. In particular, if our disaster recovery plans prove to be ineffective or inadequate, the aforementioned risks will be further worsened. We do not currently serve network traffic equally from each data center. If our primary data center shuts down, there will be a period of time that our social e-commerce platform will remain inaccessible to our customers and business partners, who may experience severe issues accessing our e-commerce services.

 

Our operations, customer service, reputation, and ability to attract new and retain customers and business partners depend on the reliable and satisfactory performance of our technology and network infrastructure. Much of our system hardware is hosted in facilities located in Beijing that are partially owned by us and operated by our third-party vendors. If these third-party vendors fail to protect their and our systems in their facilities from any of the aforementioned disruptions and there is a lapse of service or damage to our system hardware, we may experience interruptions in our service and may have to incur extra costs for replacement of facilities.

 

Our relationships with customers and business partners may be harmed if there is any interruption or delay in our service, whether caused by errors or natural or man-made disasters and problems. Our insurance policies may not be sufficient to adequately compensate us for the losses we sustained. We do not currently maintain business interruption insurance to compensate us for potentially significant losses, including potential harm to our business that may result from interruptions in our ability to facilitate e-commerce services. Since we have had a limited operating history, our disaster recovery plan has not yet been tested in real-life circumstances, and we may not be able to fully recover all data and services lost and affected in the event of any natural or man-made disasters or events. Our business and operations may be negatively affected, as we are prevented from providing services to our customers and business partners, servicing users in a timely manner and generally running and operating our social e-commerce platforms. We may be subject to losses and liability and disappoint customers and business partners who may be then deterred from using our platform, causing a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions and results of operations.

 

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We are reliant on our core senior management team. If one or more key executives were unable or unwilling to continue in their present positions, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

Our business, corporate strategies and future performance depends on our core senior management team comprising our directors, executive officers and other key personnel. If we fail to attract and retain any of our key personnel, or if they are unable or unwilling to continue in their present position due to any reason, we will have to go through a difficult process of replacement. The replacement process will necessarily involve significant time and expenses and may adversely affect our business and results of operations and our business objectives may not be achieved at the pace we expected, or at all.

 

We may be unable to protect our proprietary intellectual property rights from unauthorized use, such that our brand, reputation, and business may be negatively impacted.

 

Our protection of our intellectual property is crucial to our success and future growth, as we rely on a combination of copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks and other rights to protect our know-how, proprietary technology, processes and other intellectual property. The protective measures we take may not be sufficient to prevent theft and unauthorized use. We may have to bring lengthy and costly litigation and take time-consuming measures in order to protect our intellectual property rights, diverting our management’s attention from our business operation. Our brand, reputation and business may be negatively impacted by such measures and risks.

 

Some of our trademark registrations will expire in 2029 and 2030, and some of our proprietary software licenses will expire in 2069 and 2070. If we fail to renew these licenses when they expire, third parties may infringe upon our rights and affect our brand and reputation.

 

Third parties may engage us in lengthy and expensive litigation over alleged infringement of their intellectual property rights, which may disrupt and affect our business.

 

In our intensely competitive industry, we may be challenged by third parties, including competitors as well as other entities or individuals, for ownership of our intellectual property rights or infringement of their intellectual property rights. We may not be fully aware of other parties’ intellectual property rights involved in our systems, applications and technology. We may have to incur significant time and costs in dealing with any claims or litigation, and if they are successful, we may be subject to substantial damages, royalty payments, restrictions from conducting our business and other stringent requirements unfavorable to our business and operations. We may also be required to indemnify other parties or pay settlement costs, and to obtain licenses, modify applications or refund fees, each of which may be expensive and time consuming. Such processes may create a distraction for our management which could affect our business operations.

 

We compete for skilled and quality employees, and failure to attract and retain them may adversely affect our business and prevent us from achieving our intended level of growth.

 

Competition for our employees including systems engineers, financial officers and marketing professionals is intense. Our business and success relies on the efforts and standard of work of our employees. If we are unable to attract, motivate and retain skilled and trained employees, or if we are unable to continue to provide attractive compensation packages, our business and operations may be adversely affected and our intended levels and rates of growth may be impended.

 

We invest significant time and expense in the training and development of our employees. Failure to retain our existing employees will incur further significant costs to find suitable replacements and a duplication of effort for their training, which may affect our operations and our quality of service to customers and third-party merchants may be compromised, resulting in a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

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If labor costs in the PRC increase substantially, our business and costs of operations may be adversely affected.

 

In recent years, the Chinese economy has experienced inflationary and labor costs increases. Average wages are projected to continue to increase. Further, under PRC law we are required to pay various statutory employee benefits, including pension, housing fund, medical insurance, work-related injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance to designated government agencies for the benefit of our employees. The relevant government agencies may examine whether an employer has made adequate payments to the statutory employee benefits, and those employers who fail to make adequate payments may be subject to late payment fees, fines and/or other penalties. We expect that our labor costs, including wages and employee benefits, will continue to increase. If we are unable to control our labor costs or pass such increased labor costs on to our users by increasing the fees of our services, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

Our innovative corporate culture is important to our business, if our culture changes our business and corporate objectives may be adversely affected.

 

Our corporate culture fosters innovation, a collegiate environment of team effort and encourages creativity, which is important to our business and development of our product pipeline and service upgrades. If we fail to maintain these valuable aspects of our culture during the course of our adaptation into a public company and building the relevant infrastructure, our future success and strategic goals may be affected. Furthermore, we may be unable to retain and attract talent, leading to a negative impact on our business and corporate objectives.

 

We do not have business insurance coverage.

 

Insurance companies in China currently do not offer as extensive an array of insurance products as insurance companies in more developed economies. Currently, we do not have any business liability or disruption insurance to cover our operations. 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. Any uninsured business disruptions may result in our incurring substantial costs and the diversion of resources, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

 

If we do not find available sources of liquidity for capital and financing needs, our business and operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

We may experience unexpected changes in business conditions, creating additional capital and financing needs. We believe that our current cash and cash equivalents, anticipated cash flows from operating activities, and the proceeds from our initial public offering and the proceeds from the three-year senior unsecured note we issued to Majik Fund SPC will be sufficient to meet our anticipated working capital requirements and capital expenditures in the ordinary course of business for the next 12 months. However, we may need additional sources of liquidity if we find and wish to pursue opportunities for investment, acquisition, capital expenditure or otherwise. If our available cash and cash equivalents on hand are insufficient to cover our expected cash requirements, we may seek to issue equity or debt securities or obtain credit facilities. The issuance and sale of additional equity would result in dilution to our shareholders. We cannot guarantee that financing will be available to us under terms acceptable to us, or at all.

 

·                                          The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased fixed obligations and could result in covenants restricting our operations. It could further lead to a number of risks that could adversely affect our operations or financial conditions;

 

·                                          default and foreclosure on our assets if our operating revenue is insufficient to repay debt obligations;

 

·                                          acceleration of obligations to repay the indebtedness (or other outstanding indebtedness), even if we make all principal and interest payments when due, if we breach any covenants that require the maintenance of certain financial ratios or reserves without a waiver or renegotiation of that covenant;

 

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·                                          our inability to obtain necessary additional financing if the debt security contains covenants restricting our ability to obtain such financing while the debt security is outstanding;

 

·                                          diverting a substantial portion of cash flow to pay principal and interest on such debt, which would reduce the funds available for expenses, capital expenditures, acquisitions, and other general corporate purposes;

 

·                                          creating potential limitations on our flexibility in planning for and reacting to changes in our business and in the industry in which we operate; and

 

·                                          loss that might be incurred due to our overseas investment activities.

 

If our internal controls over financial reporting are insufficient or ineffective, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud.

 

We are subject to reporting obligations under the U.S. securities laws. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires that we include a management report on such company’s internal control over financial reporting in our annual report on Form 20-F beginning with our annual report for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. Our management has concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of March 31, 2021. See “Item 15. Controls and Procedures.”

 

In addition, once we cease to be an “emerging growth company” as such term is defined in the JOBS Act, our independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Even if our management concludes that our internal control over financial reporting is effective in the future, our independent registered public accounting firm, after conducting its own independent testing, may issue a report that is qualified 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. In addition, our reporting obligations may place a significant strain on our management, operational and financial resources, and systems for the foreseeable future. We may be unable to timely complete our evaluation testing and any required remediation.

 

During the course of documenting and testing our internal control procedures, in order to satisfy the requirements of Section 404, we may identify weaknesses and deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, if we fail 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 conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404. If we fail to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment, we could suffer material misstatements in our financial statements and fail to meet our reporting obligations, which would likely cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information. This could in turn limit our access to capital markets, harm our results of operations, and lead to a decline in the trading price of our ADSs. Additionally, ineffective internal control over financial reporting could expose us to increased risk of fraud or misuse of corporate assets and subject us to potential delisting from the stock exchange on which we list, regulatory investigations and civil or criminal sanctions. We may also be required to restate our financial statements from prior periods.

 

Certain data and information in this annual report on Form 20-F was obtained from external third parties and we have not independently identified them.

 

In this annual report on Form 20-F we have utilized data and information from external sources including various third parties comprising government sources and private entities such as industry consultant. Such external sources of statistical data include projections based on numerous assumptions. The social e-commerce industry may not grow at the projected rate provided by these external sources, or at all. The performance of the overall industry and segment affects our business and market price of our ADSs, especially if they fail to grow at the projected rate. Further, the constantly evolving environment of the industry and market results in significant uncertainties, and the projections or estimates about the growth of the market in which we operate in should be considered in this context. If any of the assumptions underlying the market data prove to be incorrect, discrepancies between the projections and actual results may emerge.

 

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We have not independently verified data and information obtained from third party external sources, and the method of collection and methodologies employed by such third parties may differ from ours. In addition, these industry reports and publications generally include a disclaimer that the information therein is believed to be reliable, but which accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed.

 

The audit reports included in our annual report have been prepared by our independent registered public accounting firm whose work may not be inspected fully by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and, as such, you may be deprived of the benefits of such inspection.

 

Our independent registered public accounting firm that issued the audit reports included in our annual reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as auditors of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the PCAOB, is required by the laws of the United States to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB to assess its compliance with the laws of the United States and professional standards.

 

Because we have substantial operations within the PRC and the PCAOB is unable to conduct inspections of the work of our independent registered public accounting firm as it relates to those operations without the approval of the Chinese authorities, our independent registered public accounting firm may not be currently inspected fully by the PCAOB. This potential lack of PCAOB inspections in the PRC may prevent  the PCAOB from regularly evaluating our independent registered public accounting firm’s audits and its quality control procedures. As a result, investors may be deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections.

 

On May 24, 2013, the PCAOB announced that it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on Enforcement Cooperation with the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, and the Ministry of Finance, which established a cooperative framework among the parties for the production and exchange of audit documents relevant to investigations in the United States and the PRC. On inspection, it appears that the PCAOB continues to be in discussions with the mainland PRC regulators to permit inspections of audit firms that are registered with the PCAOB in relation to the audit of Chinese companies that trade on U.S. exchanges. On December 7, 2018, the SEC and the PCAOB issued a joint statement highlighting 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. The joint statement reflects a heightened interest in this issue. On April 21, 2020, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and PCAOB Chairman William D. Duhnke III, along with other senior executives in the SEC jointly released a public statement reiterating the significant risks involved in investing in emerging markets especially the risks of investing in China as it has grown to be the largest emerging market economy and the world’s second largest economy. The statement highlighted past SEC and PCAOB warnings on matters including the difficulty associated with inspecting accounting firms and audit work papers in China and higher risks of fraud in emerging markets and the difficulty of bringing and enforcing SEC, Department of Justice and other U.S. regulatory actions, including in instances of fraud, in emerging markets generally. However, it remains unclear what further actions the SEC and the PCAOB will take and its impact on Chinese companies listed in the U.S.

 

Inspections of other firms that the PCAOB has conducted outside the PRC have identified deficiencies in those firms’ audit procedures and quality control procedures, which may be addressed as part of the inspection process to improve future audit quality. The inability of the PCAOB to conduct full inspections of auditors in the PRC 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 the PRC that are subject to the PCAOB inspections. Investors may lose confidence in our reported financial information and procedures and the quality of our financial statements.

 

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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 the 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 Act, or the EQUITABLE Act prescribes increased disclosure requirements for these issuers and, starting from 2025, the delisting from U.S. national securities exchanges 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 HFCA Act, which includes requirements similar to those in the EQUITABLE Act for the SEC to identify issuers whose audit reports are prepared by auditors that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate because of restrictions imposed by non-U.S. authorities. If passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and signed by the U.S. President, the HFCA Act would also require public companies on this SEC list to certify that they are not owned or controlled by a foreign government and make certain additional disclosures in their SEC filings. In addition, for issuers that remain on the SEC list for three consecutive years, the SEC would be required to prohibit the securities of these companies from being traded on a U.S. national securities exchange or in U.S. over-the-counter markets. Enactment of these proposed legislations or other efforts to increase U.S. regulatory access to audit information could cause investors’ uncertainty for affected issuers, including us, adversely affect the market price of our ADSs and result in prohibitions on the trading of our ADSs on U.S. national securities exchanges if we are unable to meet the requirements or PCAOB is unable to inspect our auditors for three consecutive years. It is unclear if these proposed legislations will be enacted.

 

On June 4, 2020, the U.S. President issued a memorandum directing the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, or the PWG, which is chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury and includes the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Chairman of the SEC and the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to convene to discuss the risks faced by U.S. investors in Chinese companies and companies with significant operations in China that are listed on U.S. stock exchanges related to the Chinese government’s position on the inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China. The memorandum also directs the PWG to submit to the President a report within 60 days with recommendations for actions (i) the U.S. executive branch may take to protect investors in U.S. financial markets from the failure of the Chinese government to allow PCAOB-registered audit firms to comply with U.S. securities laws and investor protections; (ii) the SEC or PCAOB should take, including inspection or enforcement actions, with respect to PCAOB-registered audit firms that fail to provide requested audit working papers or otherwise fail to comply with U.S. securities laws; and (iii) the SEC or any other U.S. federal agency or department should take as a means to protect U.S. investors in Chinese companies, or companies from other countries that do not comply with U.S. securities laws and investor protections, including initiating a notice of proposed rulemaking that would set new listing rules or governance safeguards. It remains uncertain on what recommendations the PWG may ultimately make. However, as with the proposed legislation described above, such recommendations could cause investors uncertainty for affected issuers, including us, adversely affect the market price of our ADSs and result in prohibitions on the trading of our ADSs on U.S. national securities, among other things.

 

Our business, financial performance and results of operations could be adversely affected by deterioration of the relation between China and the United States.

 

The relation between China and the United States is constantly changing. There was a “trade war” between the two countries in 2019 and tensions exist in other areas such as political, social and health issues, particularly recent disagreements in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the recent tensions between China and the United States, there is a risk that our business, the offering and our listing status may be adversely affected by trade restrictions, sanctions and other policies that may be implemented. As we operate in China, any deterioration in political or trade relations might cause a public perception in the United States or elsewhere that might cause our services to become less attractive. The United States lawmakers have introduced several bills intended to protect American investments in Chinese companies. On June 4, 2020, the U.S. President Donald Trump issued PWG, criticizing China’s failure to uphold international commitment to transparency and calling for recommendations to protect U.S. investors from China’s failure to allow audits of U.S.-listed Chinese companies. PWG may impact U.S.-listed Chinese companies if strict compliance with audit requirements and U.S. law or new listing rules or governance standards were imposed. Changes in political conditions and changes in the state of China-U.S. relations are difficult to predict and could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition. We cannot predict what effect any changes in China-U.S. relations may have on our ability to access capital or effectively operate our business in China. Moreover, any political or trade controversies between the United States and China, whether or not directly related to our business, could cause investors to be unwilling to hold or buy our ADSs and consequently cause the trading price of our ADSs to decline.

 

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RISKS RELATED TO OUR CORPORATE STRUCTURE

 

Our founder, chairman and executive director, Mr. Xiaobo An, a controlling shareholder of Hexin Group, Kuaishangche and Hexin E-commerce, may exert influence over the Company affairs.

 

Our founder, chairman and executive director, Mr. Xiaobo An, may exert influence on our company affairs. Mr. Xiaobo An is also the sole executive director of, and beneficially owns Hexin Jinke, which wholly-owns Hexin Information, Hexin Financial Information and Kuaishangche. Mr. Xiaobo An is the sole executive director of, and beneficially owns Hexin E-Commerce. Therefore, Mr. Xiaobo An also controls the decision making of Hexin Group, Kuaishangche and Hexin E-Commerce to a large extent. Moreover, Hexin Group, Kuaishangche and Hexin E-Commerce have discontinued engaging in new P2P business. However, as Hexin Group, Kuaishangche and Hexin E-Commerce are still in the process of clearing and ceasing historical P2P business, if Hexin Group, Kuaishangche or Hexin E-Commerce is penalized because of historical P2P business, then our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected as well.

 

If the PRC government decides that our contractual arrangements under the variable interest entity structure do not comply with PRC regulations, or if the regulatory environment changes, we may have to change our business model and/or be subject to penalties.

 

Foreign ownership of Internet-based businesses, such as distribution of online information, is subject to restrictions under current PRC laws and regulations. For example, foreign investors are not allowed to own more than 50% of the equity interests in a value-added telecommunication service provider (except e-commerce) and any such foreign investor must have experience in providing value-added telecommunications services overseas and maintain a good track record in accordance applicable laws and regulations. We are a Cayman Islands exempted company and our PRC subsidiary is considered as a foreign invested enterprise.

 

We operate our social e-commerce platform Xiaobai Maimai through a series of contractual arrangements entered into among Hexin Yongheng, Hexin Digital and Hexin Jinke, and obtained control over Hexin Digital. Furthermore, we obtained control over Wusu Company through a series of contractual arrangements entered into among Hexin Yongheng, Hexin E-Commerce and Wusu Company. As a result of these contractual arrangements, we consolidate operating results of Wusu Company in our financial statements under U.S. GAAP. We also exercise effective control over Hexin Jiuding by entering into a series of contractual arrangements with Hexin Jiuding and Hexin Fengze. For a detailed description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company C. Organizational Structure Contractual Arrangements with Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company and Hexin Digital.”

 

In the opinion of our PRC counsel, Han Kun Law Offices, our current ownership structure, our consolidated variable interest entities and the contractual arrangements (i) among Hexin Yongheng, Hexin Jiuding and Hexin Fengze, (ii) among Hexin Yongheng, Wusu Company and Hexin E-Commerce, and (iii) among Hexin Yongheng, Hexin Digital and the shareholders of Hexin Digital are not in violation of existing PRC laws, rules and regulations; and these contractual arrangements are valid, binding and enforceable in accordance with their terms and applicable PRC laws and regulations currently in effect. However, Han Kun Law Offices has also advised us that there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current or future PRC laws and regulations and there can be no assurance that the PRC government will ultimately take a view that is consistent with the opinion of our PRC counsel.

 

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It is uncertain whether any new PRC laws, rules or regulations relating to variable interest entity structures will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. See “-Risks Related to PRC Laws Regulating Our Business and Industry-Substantial uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the newly enacted PRC Foreign Investment Law and how it may impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations” and “Item 4. Information on the Company-B. Business Overview-Regulation-Regulations Relating to Foreign Investment.” If the ownership structure, contractual arrangements and business of our company, our PRC subsidiary or our consolidated variable interest entities are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or we fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant governmental authorities would have broad discretion in dealing with such violation, including levying fines, confiscating our income or the income of our PRC subsidiary or consolidated variable interest entities, revoking the business licenses or operating licenses of our PRC subsidiary or consolidated variable interest entities, shutting down our servers or blocking our online platform, discontinuing or placing restrictions or onerous conditions on our operations, requiring us to undergo a costly and disruptive restructuring, restricting or prohibiting our use of proceeds from our initial public offering to finance our business and operations in China, and taking other regulatory or enforcement actions that could be harmful to our business. Any of these actions could cause significant disruption to our business operations and severely damage our reputation, which would in turn materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. If any of these occurrences results in our inability to direct the activities of our consolidated variable interest entities, and/or our failure to receive economic benefits from our consolidated variable interest entities, we may not be able to consolidate its results into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

 

We rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our PRC subsidiary to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiary to make payments to us could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.

 

We are a holding company, and we rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our PRC subsidiary for our cash and financing requirements, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders and service any debt we may incur. If our PRC subsidiary 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. In addition, the PRC tax authorities may require Hexin Yongheng to adjust its taxable income under the contractual arrangements it currently has in place with our consolidated variable interest entities in a manner that would materially and adversely affect its ability to pay dividends and other distributions to us. See “—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—Our contractual arrangements with the variable interest entities may be subject to additional taxes, which would adversely affect our financials and your investment.”

 

Under PRC laws and regulations, our PRC subsidiary, as a wholly foreign-owned enterprise in China, may pay dividends only out of its accumulated after-tax profits as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, a wholly foreign-owned enterprise is required to set aside at least 10% of its accumulated after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund certain statutory reserve funds, until the aggregate amount of such funds reaches 50% of its registered capital. At its discretion, a wholly foreign-owned enterprise may allocate a portion of its after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to staff welfare and bonus funds. These reserve funds and staff welfare and bonus funds are not distributable as cash dividends.

 

Any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiary to pay dividends or make other distributions 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. See also “—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.”

 

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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 our initial public offering and the concurrent private placement to make loans to or make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiary, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

 

Under PRC laws and regulations, we are permitted to utilize the proceeds from our initial public offering and the concurrent private placement to fund our PRC subsidiary by making loans to or additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiary, subject to applicable government registration and approval requirements.

 

Any loans to our PRC subsidiary, which are treated as foreign-invested enterprises under PRC laws, are subject to PRC regulations and foreign exchange loan registrations. For example, loans by us to our PRC subsidiary to finance their activities cannot exceed statutory limits and must be registered with the local counterpart of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE. According to the Interim Measures on the Management of Foreign Debts promulgated by SAFE, the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission , or the NDRC, on January 8, 2003, the statutory limit for the total amount of foreign debts of a foreign-invested company is the difference between the amount of total investment as approved by the MOC or its local counterpart and the amount of registered capital of such foreign-invested company, or two times of the net assets provided in the latest audited financial report of such PRC subsidiary, as applicable. According to the Circular of the People’s Bank of China on Matters relating to the Comprehensive Macro-prudential Management of Cross-border Financing issued by the People’s Bank of China in January 2017, or Circular 9, and Circular of the People’s Bank of China and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Adjusting the Macro-prudential Regulation Parameter for Full-covered Cross-border Financing in March 2020, or Circular 64, the maximum amounts of foreign debt that each company may borrow is determined by reference to its so-called risk-weighted balance of cross-border financing, which may not exceed two times its net assets as indicated in its latest audited financial report. The risk-weighted balance of cross-border financing of a company is calculated based on its outstanding amounts of Renminbi and foreign currency cross-border debt, multiplied by risk conversion factors corresponding to their respective remaining terms, loan categories and currency. However, for a one-year grace period starting from January 11, 2017, a foreign-invested company such as our PRC subsidiaries may elect to determine the maximum amount of its foreign debt in according with the rules in effect prior to Circular 9, or to comply with Circular 9. On the other hand, PRC domestic companies such as our consolidated variable interest entities must comply with Circular 9. Moreover, according to Notice of the National Development and Reform Commission on Promoting the Administrative Reform of the Recordation and Registration System for Enterprises’ Issuance of Foreign Debts issued by the NDRC in September 2015, any loans we extend to our consolidated variable interest entities or other PRC operating companies that are domestic PRC entities for more than one year must be filed with the NDRC or its local counterpart and must also be registered with SAFE or its local branches.

 

We may also decide to finance our PRC subsidiary by means of capital contributions. These capital contributions must be approved by the MOC or its local counterpart. In addition, SAFE issued a circular in September 2008, SAFE Circular 142, regulating the conversion by a foreign-invested enterprise of foreign currency registered capital into RMB by restricting how the converted RMB may be used. SAFE Circular 142 provides that the RMB capital converted from foreign currency registered capital of a foreign-invested enterprise may only be used for purposes within the business scope approved by the applicable government authority and unless otherwise provided by law, may not be used for equity investments within the PRC. Although on July 4, 2014, the SAFE issued the Circular of the SAFE on Relevant Issues Concerning the Pilot Reform in Certain Areas of the Administrative Method of the Conversion of Foreign Exchange Funds by Foreign-invested Enterprises, or SAFE Circular 36, which launched a pilot reform of the administration of the settlement of the foreign exchange capitals of foreign-invested enterprises in certain designated areas from August 4, 2014 and some of the restrictions under SAFE Circular 142 will not apply to the settlement of the foreign exchange capitals of the foreign-invested enterprises established within the designate areas and such enterprises mainly engaging in investment are allowed to use its RMB capital converted from foreign exchange capitals to make equity investment, our PRC subsidiary is not established within the designated areas. On March 30, 2015, SAFE promulgated Circular 19, to expand the reform nationwide. Circular 19 came into force and replaced both Circular 142 and Circular 36 on June 1, 2015. Circular 19 allows foreign-invested enterprises to make equity investments by using RMB fund converted from foreign exchange capital. However, Circular 19 continues to prohibit foreign-invested enterprises from, among other things, using RMB fund converted from its foreign exchange capitals for expenditure beyond its business scope, providing entrusted loans or repaying loans between non-financial enterprises. On June 9, 2016, the SAFE promulgated Circular 16, which expands the application scope from only the capital of the foreign-invested enterprises to the capital, the foreign debt funds and the funds from oversea public offerings. Also, Circular 16 allows enterprises to use their foreign exchange capitals under their capital account as stipulated by the relevant laws and regulations. On October 23, 2019, the SAFE issued the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Further Facilitating Cross-border Trade and Investment, which, among other things, expanded the use of foreign exchange capital to domestic equity investments. Non-investment foreign-funded enterprises are allowed to lawfully make domestic equity investments by using capital funds, subject to the authenticity and compliance with the regulations of such domestic investment projects (including, among others, the compliance of special administrative measures for access of foreign investments (negative list)). If our consolidated variable interest entities need financial support from us or our wholly owned subsidiaries in the future and we find it necessary to use foreign currency-denominated capital to provide such financial support, our ability to fund our consolidated variable interest entities’ operations will be subject to statutory limits and restrictions, including those described above.

 

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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 subsidiary or future capital contributions by us to our PRC subsidiary. If we fail to complete such registrations or obtain such approvals, our ability to use the proceeds we expect to receive from our initial public offering and the concurrent private placement 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.

 

Our contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities may not be as effective as direct ownership and operational management.

 

On November 20, 2020, Hexin Yongheng, Wusu Company and the shareholders of Wusu Company, entered into a VIE termination agreement, which terminated all rights and obligations with respect to each party thereto under the Wusu VIE agreements dated January 1, 2018. For the purpose of internal reorganization, individual shareholders of Wusu Company transferred their equity interests of Wusu Company to Hexin E-Commerce, as a result of which Hexin E-Commerce holds 100% of equity interests of Wusu Company. On December 1, 2020, Wusu Company, Hexin E-Commerce, the sole shareholder of Wusu Company after internal reorganization, and Hexin Yongheng entered into a series of contractual agreements, through which Wusu Company remains as our consolidated variable interest entity. We also operate our social e-commerce platform business through contractual arrangements with Hexin Digital. On January 1, 2021, we obtained control and became the primary beneficiary of Hexin Jiuding by entering into a series of contractual arrangements with Hexin Jiuding and Hexin Fengze, the shareholder of Hexin Jiuding and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hexin Jinke. For a description of these contractual arrangements, please see “Item 4. Information on the Company-C. Organizational Structure-Contractual Arrangements with Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company and Hexin Digital.” We rely and expect to continue to rely on contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities to operate our businesses. These contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in giving us full operational management and control over our consolidated variable interest entities. We cannot prevent Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company, Hexin Digital or their respective shareholders from breaching the contractual arrangements and failing to conduct its business operations properly, such as failing to maintain the website and online marketplace in a proper and timely manner, or misusing the domain names and trademarks or otherwise taking actions detrimental to our interests.

 

If we directly owned Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company or Hexin Digital, we could elect directors to the board and implement changes at the management and operational levels. Currently we only have contractual rights in relation to the performance and financial benefits of Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company and Hexin Digital’s operations. Shareholders of any of our variable interest entities may not always act in our best interests. Such risks exist throughout the period in which we intend to operate our business through the contractual arrangements with any of our consolidated variable interest entities. Although we have the right to replace any shareholder of any of our consolidated variable interest entities under the contractual arrangement, if any shareholder of any of our consolidated variable interest entities is uncooperative or any dispute relating to these contracts remains unresolved, we will have to enforce our rights under these contracts through the operations of PRC laws and arbitration, litigation and other legal proceedings and therefore will be subject to uncertainties in the PRC legal system. See “—Our business relies on the contractual arrangements with the variable interest entities and the cooperation arrangements among the variable interest entities and Hexin Yongheng, if any of these entities or their shareholders fail to perform their obligations, our business and results of operations may be severely adversely affected.” Therefore, our contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities may not be as effective in protecting our interests as direct ownership and operational management would be.

 

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Our business relies on the contractual arrangements with the variable interest entities and the cooperation arrangements among the variable interest entities and Hexin Yongheng, if any of these entities or their shareholders fail to perform their obligations, our business and results of operations may be severely adversely affected.

 

If Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company, Hexin Digital or their respective shareholders decide to take actions that do not align with our interests and fail to deliver under our contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and expend resources to enforce our contractual arrangements. We may have to resort to legal remedies such as seeking specific performance, injunctive relief and claiming damages, subject to the extent of their effectiveness under PRC laws and regulations. For example, if the shareholders of Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company or Hexin Digital refuse to respect our purchase option and decline to transfer their equity interest to us or our designee, or if they decide to otherwise act in bad faith, we may have no choice but to take legal action against them.

 

Our contractual arrangements with Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company and Hexin Digital and their respective shareholders are governed by PRC laws and provide for arbitration in China as the primary method of dispute resolution. As such, our contracts will be interpreted according to PRC laws and regulations and the arbitration rules of China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission. The PRC legal system is less developed and is fraught with uncertainties, which may limit our ability to enforce our rights under the contractual arrangements. Further, there are limited precedents and formal guidance on the interpretation and enforcement of contractual arrangements with variable interest entities in the PRC. In relation to the certainty of arbitral awards in the context of legal action, the final outcome is uncertain. Under PRC law, the ruling of arbitrators is final and arbitration results cannot be appealed in court unless a competent court determines such ruling to be unenforceable or revokes it. If the losing party fails to carry out the arbitral award within the prescribed time limit, such arbitral award may only be enforced through arbitration award recognition proceedings in court, leading to additional expenses and delay. If we cannot enforce the contractual arrangements in relation to Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company or Hexin Digital, or if we experience significant delay or obstacles in enforcing such arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company or Hexin Digital such that our ability to conduct business and receive financial benefit from operations of Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company or Hexin Digital may be materially and adversely affected. See “Risks Related to PRC Laws Regulating Our Business and Industry—Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of Chinese laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to us.”

 

There may be conflicts of interest between shareholders of the variable interest entities and us, which may cause material and adverse effects to our business and financials.

 

The equity interests of Hexin Jiuding are held by Hexin Fengze. The equity interests of Wusu Company are held by Hexin E-Commerce. The equity interests of Hexin Digital are held by Hexin Jinke. Hexin Yongheng is a wholly-owned subsidiary of us. The interests of Hexin Fengze in Hexin Jiuding, the interests of Hexin E- Commerce in Wusu Company, the interests of Hexin Jinke in Hexin Digital, may, however, differ from the interests of our company as a whole. These shareholders may have conflicts of interest with our company, and may breach, or cause Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company or Hexin Digital, as the case may be, to breach, our contractual arrangements, such as preventing it to remit payment due to us on a timely basis, or performing other acts of non-performance adverse to our interests. We cannot assure you that when such conflicts of interest arise, if any or all of these shareholders will act in the best interests of our company or such conflicts will be resolved in our favor such that we may not be able to control our variable interest entities effectively and enjoy economic benefits under our contractual arrangements in relation to Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company and Hexin Digital.

 

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Under the exclusive option agreement entered into among Hexin Yongheng, Hexin Fengze and Hexin Jiuding, the exclusive option agreement entered into among Hexin Yongheng, Wusu Company and Hexin E-Commerce and the exclusive option agreement entered into among Hexin Yongheng, Hexin Digital and Hexin Jinke, we have an option to purchase all their equity interests in the relevant variable interest entity to be held by us or our designee. Aside from the purchase option, we do not have any other arrangements or means to address potential conflicts of interest. If we cannot amicably resolve any conflicts of interest or disputes with the shareholders of Hexin Jiuding or Wusu Company or Hexin Digital, we would have to resort to lengthy and costly legal action and proceedings, which would disrupt our business operations and incur significant expenses. Meanwhile, our business and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

 

Our contractual arrangements with the variable interest entities may be subject to additional taxes, which would adversely affect our financials and 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 within ten years after the taxable year when the transactions are conducted. The PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, or EIT Law, requires every enterprise in China to submit its annual enterprise income tax return together with a report on transactions with its related parties to the relevant tax authorities. The tax authorities may impose reasonable adjustments on taxation if they have identified any related party transactions that are inconsistent with arm’s length principles. We may face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the contractual arrangements between (i) Hexin Yongheng, our wholly-owned subsidiary in China, Hexin Jiuding, our consolidated variable interest entity in China, and Hexin Fengze, the shareholder of Hexin Jiuding; (ii) Hexin Yongheng, Wusu Company, our consolidated variable interest entity in China, and Hexin E-Commerce, the shareholder of Wusu Company; and (iii) Hexin Yongheng, Hexin Digital, our consolidated variable interest entity in China, and Hexin Jinke, the shareholder of Hexin Digital, 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 Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company or Hexin Digital’s income 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 Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company or Hexin Digital for PRC tax purposes, which could in turn increase its tax liabilities without reducing Hexin Yongheng’s tax expenses. In addition, if Hexin Yongheng requests the shareholders of Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company or Hexin Digital to transfer their equity interests in Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company or Hexin Digital at nominal or no value pursuant to these contractual arrangements, such transfer could be viewed as a gift and subject Hexin Yongheng to PRC income tax. Furthermore, the PRC tax authorities may impose late payment fees and other penalties on Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company or Hexin Digital for the adjusted but unpaid taxes according to the applicable regulations. Our financial position could be materially and adversely affected if our consolidated variable interest entities’ tax liabilities increase or if it is required to pay late payment fees and other penalties.

 

If the variable interest entities go bankrupt or becomes subject to a dissolution or liquidation proceeding we may not be able to recover or claim ownership over the assets and networks of the variable interest entities.

 

One of our variable interest entities, Hexin Digital, holds assets material to our social e-commerce business and business operations, including the Internet information services license, or the ICP License, domain names and trademarks and software licenses. Under our present contractual arrangements, Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company and Hexin Digital cannot, and their respective shareholders shall not cause Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company and Hexin Digital, respectively, to, in any manner, sell, transfer, mortgage or dispose of its assets or its legal or beneficial interests in the respective business without our prior consent. However, if the shareholders of either variable interest entity initiates liquidation proceedings in breach of our contractual arrangements, such that the variable interest entity undergoes voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceedings, or if it declares bankruptcy and all or part of its assets become subject to the claims of third party creditors, liens or are otherwise disposed of without our consent, we may not be able to continue our business operations, which would materially and adversely affect our financial conditions and results of operations.

 

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If any of our variable interest entities loses its chop to the theft and use of unauthorized persons, the corporate governance of the applicable variable interest entity may be severely and adversely compromised.

 

In China, a company chop or seal serves as the legal representation of the company towards third parties even when unaccompanied by a signature. Each legally registered company in China is required to maintain a company chop, which must be registered with the local Public Security Bureau. In addition to this mandatory company chop, companies may have several other chops which can be used for specific purposes. The chops of our PRC subsidiary and consolidated variable interest entities are generally held securely by personnel designated or approved by us in accordance with our internal control procedures. To the extent those chops are not kept safely, are stolen or are used by unauthorized persons or for unauthorized purposes, the corporate governance of these entities could be severely and adversely compromised and those corporate entities may be bound to abide by the terms of any documents so chopped, even if they were chopped by an individual who lacked the requisite power and authority to do so. In addition, if the chops are misused by unauthorized persons, we could experience disruption to our normal business operations.

 

RISKS RELATED TO PRC LAWS REGULATING OUR BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

 

The recent joint statement by the SEC, proposed rule changes submitted by Nasdaq, and an act passed by the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, all call for additional and more stringent criteria to be applied to emerging market companies. These developments could add uncertainties to our business operations, share price and reputation.

 

U.S. public companies that have substantially all of their operations in China have been the subject of intense scrutiny, criticism and negative publicity by investors, financial commentators and regulatory agencies, such as the SEC. Much of the scrutiny, criticism and negative publicity has centered on financial and accounting irregularities and mistakes, a lack of effective internal controls over financial accounting, inadequate corporate governance policies or a lack of adherence thereto and, in many cases, allegations of fraud.

 

On December 7, 2018, the SEC and the PCAOB issued a joint statement highlighting 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, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and PCAOB Chairman William D. Duhnke III, along with other senior SEC staff, released a joint statement highlighting the risks associated with investing in companies based in or have substantial operations in emerging markets including China, reiterating past SEC and PCAOB statements on matters including the difficulty associated with inspecting accounting firms and audit work papers in China and higher risks of fraud in emerging markets and the difficulty of bringing and enforcing SEC, Department of Justice and other U.S. regulatory actions, including in instances of fraud, in emerging markets generally.

 

On May 18, 2020, Nasdaq filed three proposals with the SEC to (i) apply minimum offering size requirement for companies primarily operating in a “Restrictive Market”, (ii) adopt a new requirement relating to the qualification of management or board of director for Restrictive Market companies, and (iii) apply additional and more stringent criteria to an applicant or listed company based on the qualifications of the company’s auditors.

 

On May 20, 2020, the U.S. Senate passed the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act requiring a foreign company to certify it is not owned or controlled by a foreign government if the PCAOB is unable to audit specified reports because the company uses a foreign auditor not subject to PCAOB inspection. If the PCAOB is unable to inspect the company’s auditors for three consecutive years, the issuer’s securities are prohibited to trade on a national exchange. On December 2, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act.

 

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As a result of these scrutiny, criticism and negative publicity, the publicly traded stock of many U.S. listed Chinese companies sharply decreased in value and, in some cases, has become virtually worthless. Many of these companies are now subject to shareholder lawsuits and SEC enforcement actions and are conducting internal and external investigations into the allegations. It is not clear what effect this sector-wide scrutiny, criticism and negative publicity will have on us, our business and our share price. If we become the subject of any unfavorable allegations, whether such allegations are proven to be true or untrue, we will have to expend significant resources to investigate such allegations and/or defend our company. This situation will be costly and time consuming and distract our management from developing our growth. If such allegations are not proven to be groundless, we and our business operations will be severely affected and you could sustain a significant decline in the value of our share.

 

There may be changes in the regulations of PRC government bodies and agencies relating to VAT collection procedure and ACTCS business

 

PRC laws, regulations and policies concerning VAT collection procedures and ACTCS business are evolving and the PRC government authorities may promulgate new laws, regulations and policies in the future. We cannot assure you that our practices would not be deemed to violate any PRC laws, regulations or policies either now or in the future.

 

Moreover, developments in the ACTCS service industry may lead to changes in PRC laws, regulations and policies or in the interpretation and application of existing laws, regulations and policies, which may limit or restrict the ACTCS hardware and services we offer. Furthermore, we cannot rule out the possibility that the PRC government will institute a new licensing regime covering services we provide in the future. If such a licensing regime were introduced, we cannot assure you that we would be able to obtain any newly required license in a timely manner, or at all, which could materially and adversely affect our business and impede our ability to continue our operations.

 

Failure to comply with laws and regulations applicable to our business could subject us to fines and penalties and could also cause us to lose customers or otherwise harm our business.

 

Our business is subject to regulation by various governmental agencies in China, including agencies responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with various legal obligations, such as value-added telecommunication laws and regulations, privacy and data protection-related laws and regulations, intellectual property laws, employment and labor laws, workplace safety, environmental laws, consumer protection laws, governmental trade laws, import and export controls, anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws, and tax laws and regulations. In certain jurisdictions, these regulatory requirements may be more stringent than in China. These laws and regulations impose added costs on our business. Noncompliance with applicable regulations or requirements could subject us to:

 

·      investigations, enforcement actions, and sanctions;

 

·      mandatory changes to our network and products;

 

·      disgorgement of profits, fines, and damages;

 

·      civil and criminal penalties or injunctions;

 

·      claims for damages by our customers or channel partners;

 

·      termination of contracts;

 

·      loss of intellectual property rights;

 

·      failure to obtain, maintain or renew certain licenses, approvals, permits, registrations or filings necessary to conduct our operations; and

 

·      temporary or permanent debarment from sales to public service organizations.

 

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If any governmental sanctions are imposed, or if we do not prevail in any possible civil or criminal litigation, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be adversely affected. In addition, responding to any action will likely result in a significant diversion of our management’s attention and resources and an increase in professional fees. Enforcement actions and sanctions could materially harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

 

Additionally, companies in the technology industry have recently experienced increased regulatory scrutiny. Any reviews by regulatory agencies or legislatures may result in substantial regulatory fines, changes to our business practices, and other penalties, which could negatively affect our business and results of operations. Changes in social, political, and regulatory conditions or in laws and policies governing a wide range of topics may cause us to change our business practices. Further, our expansion into a variety of new fields also could raise a number of new regulatory issues. These factors could negatively affect our business and results of operations in material ways.

 

Moreover, we are exposed to the risk of misconduct, errors and failure to functions by our management, employees and parties that we collaborate with, who may from time to time be subject to litigation and regulatory investigations and proceedings or otherwise face potential liability and penalties in relation to noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations, which could harm our reputation and business.

 

We are subject to a variety of laws and other obligations regarding cybersecurity and data protection, and any failure to comply with applicable laws and obligations could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We are subject to PRC laws relating to the collection, use, sharing, retention, security, and transfer of confidential and private information, such as personal information and other data. These laws apply not only to third-party transactions, but also to transfers of information between us, our WFOE, our VIE, and our VIE’s subsidiaries, and among us, our WFOE, our VIE, and our VIE’s subsidiaries, and other parties with which we have commercial relations. These laws continue to develop, and the PRC government may adopt other rules and restrictions in the future. Non-compliance could result in penalties or other significant legal liabilities.

 

Pursuant to the PRC Cybersecurity Law, which was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on November 7, 2016 and took effect on June 1, 2017, personal information and important data collected and generated by a critical information infrastructure operator in the course of its operations in China must be stored in China, and if a critical information infrastructure operator purchases internet products and services that affects or may affect national security, it should be subject to cybersecurity review by the CAC. Due to the lack of further interpretations, the exact scope of “critical information infrastructure operator” remains unclear. On July 10, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China (“CAC”) publicly issued the Measures for Cybersecurity Censorship (Revised Draft for Comments) aiming to, upon its enactment, replace the existing Measures for Cybersecurity Censorship. The draft measures extend the scope of cybersecurity reviews to data processing operators engaging in data processing activities that affect or may affect national security, including listing in a foreign country. If the enacted version of the draft measures mandates clearance of cybersecurity review and other specific actions to be completed by companies like us, we face uncertainties as to whether such clearance can be timely obtained, or at all. We could be subject to cybersecurity review in the future. During such review, we may be required to suspend our operation experience other disruptions to our operations. Cybersecurity review could also result in negative publicity with respect to our company and diversion of our managerial and financial resources.

 

Furthermore, if we were found to be in violation of applicable laws and regulations in China during such review, we could be subject to administrative penalties, such as warnings, fines, or service suspension. Therefore, cybersecurity review could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

In addition, the PRC Data Security Law, which was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on June 10, 2021 and will take effect on September 1, 2021, requires data collection to be conducted in a legitimate and proper manner, and stipulates that, for the purpose of data protection, data processing activities must be conducted based on data classification and hierarchical protection system for data security. As the Data Security Law was recently promulgated and has not yet taken effect, we may be required to make further adjustments to our business practices to comply with this law. After the Data Security Law takes effect, if our data processing activities were found to be not in compliance with this law, we could be ordered to make corrections, and under certain serious circumstances, such as severe data divulgence, we could be subject to penalties, including the revocation of our business licenses or other permits. Furthermore, the recently issued Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down Illegal Securities Activities in Accordance with the Law require (i) speeding up the revision of the provisions on strengthening the confidentiality and archives management relating to overseas issuance and listing of securities and (ii) improving the laws and regulations relating to data security, cross-border data flow, and management of confidential information. As there remain uncertainties regarding the further interpretation and implementation of those laws and regulations, we cannot assure you that we will be compliant such new regulations in all respects, and we may be ordered to rectify and terminate any actions that are deemed illegal by the regulatory authorities and become subject to fines and other sanctions. As a result, we may be required to suspend our relevant businesses, shut down our website, take down our operating applications, or face other penalties, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

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While we take measures to comply with all applicable data privacy and protection laws and regulations, we cannot guarantee the effectiveness of the measures undertaken by us and our business partners. However, compliance with any additional laws could be expensive, and may place restrictions on our business operations and the manner in which we interact with our users. In addition, any failure to comply with applicable cybersecurity, privacy, and data protection laws and regulations could result in proceedings against us by government authorities or others, including notification for rectification, confiscation of illegal earnings, fines, or other penalties and legal liabilities against us, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, any negative publicity on our website or platform’s safety or privacy protection mechanism and policy could harm our public image and reputation and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

The failure to comply with PRC regulations relating to mergers and acquisitions of domestic projects by offshore special purpose vehicles may subject us to severe fines or penalties and create other regulatory uncertainties regarding our corporate structure.

 

On August 8, 2006, Ministry Of Commerce of People’s Republic Of China, or MOFCOM, joined by the CSRC, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, the SAT, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (the “SAIC”), and SAFE, jointly promulgated regulations entitled the Provisions Regarding Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Projects by Foreign Investors (the “M&A Rules”), which took effect as of September 8, 2006, and as amended on June 22, 2009. This regulation, among other things, have certain provisions that require offshore special purpose vehicles formed for the purpose of acquiring PRC domestic companies and controlled directly or indirectly by PRC individuals and companies, to obtain the approval of MOFCOM prior to engaging in such acquisitions and to obtain the approval of the CSRC prior to publicly listing their securities on an overseas stock market. On September 21, 2006, the CSRC published on its official website a notice specifying the documents and materials that are required to be submitted for obtaining CSRC approval.

 

The application of the M&A Rules with respect to our corporate structure remains unclear, with no current consensus existing among leading PRC law firms regarding the scope and applicability of the M&A Rules. Thus, it is possible that the appropriate PRC government agencies, including MOFCOM, would deem that the M&A Rules required us or our entities in China to obtain approval from MOFCOM or other PRC regulatory agencies in connection with WFOE’s control of Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company and Hexin Digital through contractual arrangements. If the CSRC, MOFCOM, or another PRC regulatory agency determines that government approval was required for the VIE arrangements between WFOE and Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company and Hexin Digital, or if prior CSRC approval for overseas financings is required and not obtained, we may face severe regulatory actions or other sanctions from MOFCOM, the CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies. In such event, these regulatory agencies may impose fines or other penalties on our operations in the PRC, limit our operating privileges in the PRC, delay or restrict the repatriation of the proceeds from overseas financings into the PRC, restrict or prohibit payment or remittance of dividends to us or take other actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, reputation and prospects, as well as the trading price of our Ordinary Shares. The CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies may also take actions requiring us, or making it advisable for us, to delay or cancel overseas financings, to restructure our current corporate structure, or to seek regulatory approvals that may be difficult or costly to obtain.

 

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The M&A Rules, along with certain foreign exchange regulations discussed below, will be interpreted or implemented by the relevant government authorities in connection with our future offshore financings or acquisitions, and we cannot predict how they will affect our acquisition strategy. For example, Hexin Jiuding, Wusu Company and Hexin Digital’s ability to remit its profits to us or to engage in foreign-currency-denominated borrowings, may be conditioned upon compliance with the SAFE registration requirements by shareholders of the Registrant and the VIEs, over whom we may have no control.

 

The approval of the CSRC and other compliance procedures may be required, and, if required, we cannot predict whether we will be able to obtain such approval.

 

The M&A Rules requires an overseas special purpose vehicle 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 companies using shares of such special purpose vehicle 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. Any failure to obtain or delay in obtaining CSRC approval would subject us to sanctions imposed by the CSRC and other PRC regulatory agencies.

 

Our PRC legal counsel has advised us based on their understanding of the current PRC laws, regulations and rules that the CSRC’s approval may not be required for the listing and trading of our Ordinary Shares on the Nasdaq Global Market, given that: (i) the CSRC currently has not issued any definitive rule or interpretation concerning whether offerings like ours in this prospectus are subject to this regulation, (ii) we establish our WFOE by means of direct investment and acquiring equity interest or assets of an entity other than “PRC domestic company” as defined under the M&A Rules, and (iii) no explicit provision in the M&A Rules clearly classifies contractual arrangements as a type of transaction subject to such Rules.

 

However, our PRC legal 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 regulatory agencies, including the CSRC, would reach the same conclusion as our PRC legal counsel does. If it is determined that CSRC approval is required, we may face sanctions by the CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies for failure to obtain or delay in obtaining CSRC approval. These sanctions may include fines and penalties on our operations in China, limitations on our operating privileges in China, 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, reputation, financial condition, results of operations, prospects, as well as the trading price of the Ordinary Shares. In addition, if the CSRC or other regulatory agencies later promulgate new rules or explanations requiring that we obtain their approvals, we may be unable to obtain a waiver of such approval requirements.

 

Recently, the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council jointly issued the Opinions on Severe and Lawful Crackdown on Illegal Securities Activities, which was available to the public on July 6, 2021. These opinions emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over illegal securities activities and the supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies. These opinions proposed to take effective measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems, to deal with the risks and incidents facing China-based overseas-listed companies and the demand for cybersecurity and data privacy protection. The aforementioned policies and any related implementation rules to be enacted may subject us to additional compliance requirement in the future. As these opinions were recently issued, official guidance and interpretation of the opinions remain unclear in several respects at this time. Therefore, we cannot assure you that we will remain fully compliant with all new regulatory requirements of these opinions or any future implementation rules on a timely basis, or at all.

 

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Changes in the policies of the PRC government could have a significant impact upon our ability to operate profitably in the PRC.

 

We conduct all of our operations and all of our revenue is generated in the PRC. Accordingly, economic, political and legal developments in the PRC will significantly affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Policies of the PRC government can have significant effects on economic conditions in the PRC and the ability of businesses to operate profitably. Our ability to operate profitably in the PRC may be adversely affected by changes in policies by the PRC government, including changes in laws, regulations or their interpretation, particularly those dealing with the Internet, including censorship and other restriction on material which can be transmitted over the Internet, security, intellectual property, money laundering, taxation and other laws that affect our ability to operate our website.

 

Because our business is dependent upon government policies that encourage a market-based economy, change in the political or economic climate in the PRC may impair our ability to operate profitably, if at all.

 

Although the PRC government has been pursuing a number of economic reform policies for more than two decades, the PRC government continues to exercise significant control over economic growth in the PRC. Because of the nature of our business, we are dependent upon the PRC government pursuing policies that encourage private ownership of businesses. Restrictions on private ownership of businesses would affect the VAT filing and collection in general and businesses using ACTCS in particular. We cannot assure you that the PRC government will pursue policies favoring a market-oriented economy or that existing policies will not be significantly altered, especially in the event of a change in leadership, social or political disruption, or other circumstances affecting political, economic and social life in the PRC.

 

PRC laws and regulations governing our current business operations are sometimes vague and uncertain and any changes in such laws and regulations may impair our ability to operate profitable.

 

There are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of PRC laws and regulations including, but not limited to, the laws and regulations governing our business and the enforcement and performance of our arrangements with customers in certain circumstances. The laws and regulations are sometimes vague and may be subject to future changes, and their official interpretation and enforcement may involve substantial uncertainty. The effectiveness and interpretation of newly enacted laws or regulations, including amendments to existing laws and regulations, may be delayed, and our business may be affected if we rely on laws and regulations which are subsequently adopted or interpreted in a manner different from our understanding of these laws and regulations. New laws and regulations that affect existing and proposed future businesses may also be applied retroactively. We cannot predict what effect the interpretation of existing or new PRC laws or regulations may have on our business.

 

On July 6, 2021, the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council jointly issued a document to crack down on illegal activities in the securities market and promote the high-quality development of the capital market, which, among other things, requires the relevant governmental authorities to strengthen cross-border oversight of law-enforcement and judicial cooperation, to enhance supervision over China-based companies listed overseas, and to establish and improve the system of extraterritorial application of the PRC securities laws. Since this document is relatively new, uncertainties still exist in relation to how soon legislative or administrative regulation making bodies will respond and what existing or new laws or regulations or detailed implementations and interpretations will be modified or promulgated, if any, and the potential impact such modified or new laws and regulations will have on companies like us.

 

Changes in China’s macroeconomic, socio-political conditions or government policies could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

All of our operations are located in China. Accordingly, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations are affected significantly by the political, economic and social climate in China and continuously by the economic performance of China as a whole.

 

The Chinese economy is unique from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, the more salient aspects include the amount of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Although the Chinese government has implemented measures emphasizing the utilization of market forces for economic reform, the reduction of state ownership of productive assets and the establishment of improved corporate governance in business enterprises, a substantial portion of productive assets in China is still state-owned. In addition, the Chinese government continues to play a significant role in regulating industry development by imposing industrial policies. The Chinese government also exercises significant control over China’s economic growth through allocating resources, controlling payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting the monetary policy, and determining the different levels of treatment accorded to different industries and companies in accordance with its national development policy.

 

While the Chinese economy has experienced significant growth over the past decades, the growth rate has had sporadic bursts, across geographically and among various sectors and industries. The Chinese 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 Chinese government has implemented certain measures, including interest rate increases, to control the pace of economic growth. These measures may cause decreased economic activity in China, and since 2012, China’s economic growth has slowed down. Any prolonged slowdown in the Chinese economy may reduce the demand for our products and services and materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

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Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of Chinese laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to us.

 

The PRC legal system is based on written statutes and prior court decisions have limited value as precedents. Since these laws and regulations are relatively new and the PRC legal system continues to rapidly evolve, the interpretations of many laws, regulations and rules are not always uniform 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 PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be more difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we enjoy than in more developed legal systems. 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) that may have retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of these policies and rules until sometime after the violation. Such uncertainties, including uncertainty over the scope and effect of our contractual, property (including intellectual property) and procedural rights, could materially and adversely affect our business and impede our ability to continue our operations.

 

Substantial uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the newly enacted PRC Foreign Investment Law and how it may impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations.

 

On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress approved the Foreign Investment Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2020 and replaced the trio of existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, namely, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-invested Enterprise Law, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations. The Foreign Investment Law embodies an expected PRC regulatory trend to rationalize its foreign investment regulatory regime in line with prevailing international practice and the legislative efforts to unify the corporate legal requirements for both foreign and domestic investments. However, since the Foreign Investment Law is relatively new, uncertainties still exist in relation to its interpretation and implementation. For instance, under the Foreign Investment Law, “foreign investment” refers to the investment activities directly or indirectly conducted by foreign individuals, enterprises or other entities in China. Although it does not explicitly classify contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment, there is no assurance that foreign investment via contractual arrangement would not be interpreted as a type of indirect foreign investment activities under the definition in the future. In addition, the definition contains a catch-all provision which includes investments made by foreign investors through means stipulated in laws or administrative regulations or other methods prescribed by the State Council. Therefore, it still leaves leeway for future laws, administrative regulations or provisions promulgated by the State Council to provide for contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment. In any of these cases, it will be uncertain whether our contractual arrangements will be deemed to be in violation of the market access requirements for foreign investment under the PRC laws and regulations. Furthermore, if future laws, administrative regulations or provisions prescribed by the State Council 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, corporate governance and business operations

 

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We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC regulation of Internet-related businesses and companies, and any lack of requisite approvals, licenses or permits applicable to our business may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

The PRC government extensively regulates the Internet industry, including foreign ownership of, and the licensing and permit requirements pertaining to, companies 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 have only contractual control over our website. We do not directly own the website due to the restriction of foreign investment in businesses providing value-added telecommunication services in China, including Internet information provision services. This may significantly disrupt our business, subject us to sanctions, compromise enforceability of related contractual arrangements, or have other harmful effects on us.

 

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 a new department, the State Internet Information Office (with the involvement of the State Council Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or the MIIT, and the Ministry of Public Security). The primary role of this new agency 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.

 

Fluctuations in exchange rates could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.

 

Substantially all of our revenues and expenditures are denominated in RMB, and the functional currency for our PRC subsidiary and consolidated variable interest entities is RMB, whereas our reporting currency is the U.S. dollar. Any significant revaluation of RMB may materially and adversely affect our cash flows, revenues, earnings and financial position, and the value of, and any dividends payable on, our ADSs in U.S. dollars. For example, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars we receive from our initial public offering into RMB to pay our operating expenses, appreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the RMB amount we would receive from the conversion. If we decide to convert our RMB into U.S. dollars for the purpose of making payments for dividends on our ordinary shares or for other business purposes, appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the RMB would have a negative effect on the U.S. dollar amount available to us. Moreover, a significant depreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar may significantly reduce our earnings translated in the U.S. dollars, which in turn could adversely affect the price of our ADSs. Furthermore, fluctuations in currencies relative to the periods in which the earnings are generated may make it more difficult to perform period-to-period comparisons of our reported results of operations.

 

The value of the RMB against the U.S. dollar and other currencies may fluctuate and is affected by, among other things, changes in China’s political and economic conditions and foreign exchange policies. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or U.S. government policy may impact the exchange rate between the RMB and the U.S. dollar in the future. Since June 2010, the RMB has fluctuated against the U.S. dollar, at times significantly and unpredictably. Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2016, the RMB depreciated significantly in the backdrop of a surging U.S. dollar and persistent capital outflows of China until August 2017 when the RMB started to appreciate against the U.S. dollar. In 2017, the value of the RMB appreciated by approximately 6.71% against the U.S. dollar; and in 2018, the RMB depreciated by approximately 5.7% against the U.S. dollar. In 2019, the value of the RMB further depreciated by approximately 1.3% against the U.S. dollar. In 2020, the value of the RMB appreciated by approximately 6.5% against the U.S. dollar. With the development of the foreign exchange market and progress towards interest rate liberalization and RMB internationalization, the PRC government may in the future announce further changes to the exchange rate system and there is no guarantee that the RMB will not appreciate or depreciate significantly in value against the U.S. dollar in the future.

 

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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 in an effort 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 RMB into foreign currency. As a result, fluctuations in exchange rates may have a material adverse effect on your investment.

 

Governmental control of currency conversion may limit our ability to utilize our net revenues effectively and affect the value of your investment.

 

The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility of the RMB into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. We receive substantially all of our net revenues in RMB. Under our current corporate structure, our company in the Cayman Islands relies on dividend payments from our PRC subsidiary to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, such as profit distributions and trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. Therefore, our PRC subsidiary is able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to us without prior approval from SAFE, subject to the condition that the remittance of such dividends outside of the PRC complies with certain procedures under PRC foreign exchange regulation, such as the overseas investment registrations by the beneficial owners of our company who are PRC residents. However, approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities is required where RMB 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. The PRC government may also at its discretion 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 our ADSs.

 

Failure to make adequate contributions to various employee benefit plans as required by PRC regulations may subject us to penalties.

 

We are required under PRC laws and regulations to participate in various government sponsored employee benefit plans, including certain social insurance, housing funds and other welfare-oriented payment obligations, and contribute to the plans in amounts equal to certain percentages of salaries, including bonuses and allowances, of our employees up to a maximum amount specified by the local government from time to time at locations where we operate our businesses. The requirement of employee benefit plans has not been implemented consistently by the local governments in China given the different levels of economic development in different locations. We have not made adequate employee benefit payments. We may be required to make up the contributions for these plans as well as to pay late fees and fines. If we are subject to late fees or fines in relation to the underpaid employee benefits, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

The M&A Rules and certain other PRC regulations establish complex procedures for some acquisitions of Chinese companies by foreign investors, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in China.

 

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 additional procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex, including requirements in some instances that the MOC 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 requires that the MOC shall be notified in advance of any concentration of undertaking if certain thresholds are triggered. In addition, the security review rules issued by the MOC that 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 the MOC, 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 grow our business by acquiring complementary businesses. 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 from the MOC or its local counterparts may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand our business or maintain our market share.

 

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PRC regulations relating to offshore investment activities by PRC residents may limit our PRC subsidiary’s ability to increase its registered capital or distribute profits to us or otherwise expose us or our PRC resident beneficial owners to liability and penalties under PRC law.

 

SAFE promulgated the Circular on Relevant Issues Relating to Domestic Resident’s Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37, in July 2014 that requires PRC residents or entities to register with SAFE or its local branch in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing. In addition, such PRC residents or entities must update their SAFE registrations when the offshore special purpose vehicle undergoes material events relating to any change of basic information (including change of such PRC citizens or residents, name and operation term), increases or decreases in investment amount, transfers or exchanges of shares, or mergers or divisions. SAFE Circular 37 is issued to replace the Notice on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Administration for PRC Residents Engaging in Financing and Roundtrip Investments via Overseas Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 75. SAFE promulgated the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving the Administration of the Foreign Exchange Concerning Direct Investment in February 2015, which took effect on June 1, 2015. This notice has amended SAFE Circular 37 requiring PRC residents or entities to register with qualified banks rather than SAFE or its local branch in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing.

 

If our shareholders who are PRC residents or entities do not complete their registration as required, our PRC subsidiary 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 subsidiary. Moreover, failure to comply with the SAFE registration described above could result in liability under PRC laws for evasion of applicable foreign exchange restrictions.

 

All of our shareholders who directly or indirectly hold shares in our Cayman Islands holding company and who are known to us as being PRC residents have completed the foreign exchange registrations required in connection with our recent corporate restructuring.

 

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 requirements. As a result, we cannot assure you that all of our shareholders or beneficial owners who are PRC residents or entities have complied with, and will in the future make or obtain any applicable registrations or approvals required by, SAFE regulations. Failure by such shareholders or beneficial owners to comply with SAFE regulations, or failure by us to amend the foreign exchange registrations of our PRC subsidiary, could subject us to fines or legal sanctions, restrict our overseas or cross-border investment activities, limit our PRC subsidiary’s ability to make distributions or pay dividends to us or affect our ownership structure, which could adversely affect our business and prospects.

 

Any failure to comply with PRC regulations regarding the registration requirements for employee stock incentive plans may subject the PRC 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 March 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 who 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 subsidiary 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 have resided in the PRC for a continuous period of not less than one year and who have been granted options or other awards are subject to these regulations. Failure to complete the SAFE registrations may subject them to fines and legal sanctions and may also limit our ability to contribute additional capital into our PRC subsidiary and limit our PRC subsidiary’s 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 “Item 4. Information on the Company-B. Business Overview-Regulation-Regulations Relating to Foreign Exchange - Regulations on Stock Incentive Plans.”

 

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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 EIT Law and its implementation rules, an enterprise established outside of the PRC with a “de facto management body” within the PRC 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 over and overall management of the business, productions, personnel, accounts and properties of an enterprise. In April 2009, the State Administration of Taxation, or the SAT, issued a circular, known as 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 like us, the criteria set forth in Circular 82 may reflect the 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 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 is in the PRC; (ii) decisions relating to the enterprise’s financial and human resource matters are made or are subject to approval by organizations or personnel in the PRC; (iii) the enterprise’s primary assets, accounting books and records, company seals, and board and shareholder resolutions, are located or maintained in the PRC; and (iv) at least 50% of voting board members or senior executives habitually reside in the PRC.

 

We believe none of our entities outside of China is a PRC resident enterprise for PRC tax purposes. See “Item 10. Additional Information-E. Taxation-People’s Republic of China Taxation.” 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.” As substantially all of our management members are based in China, it remains unclear how the tax residency rule will apply to our case. If the PRC tax authorities determine that we or any of our subsidiaries outside of China is a PRC resident enterprise for PRC enterprise income tax purposes, then we or such subsidiary could be subject to PRC tax at a rate of 25% on its world-wide income, which could materially reduce our net income. In addition, we will also be subject to PRC enterprise income tax reporting obligations. Furthermore, if the PRC tax authorities determine that we are a PRC resident enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes, dividends we pay to non-PRC holders may be subject to PRC withholding tax, and gains realized on the sale or other disposition of ADSs or ordinary shares may be subject to PRC tax, at a rate of 10% in the case of non-PRC enterprises or 20% in the case of non-PRC individuals (in each case, subject to the provisions of any applicable tax treaty), if such dividends or gains are deemed to be from PRC sources. It is unclear whether non-PRC shareholders of our company 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.

 

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We may not be able to obtain certain benefits under relevant tax treaty on dividends paid by our PRC subsidiary to us through our Hong Kong subsidiary.

 

We are a holding company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands and as such rely on dividends and other distributions on equity from our PRC subsidiary to satisfy part of our liquidity requirements. Pursuant to the EIT Law, a withholding tax rate of 10% currently applies to dividends paid by a PRC “resident enterprise” to a foreign enterprise investor, unless any such foreign investor’s jurisdiction of incorporation has a tax treaty with China that provides for preferential tax treatment. Pursuant to the Arrangement between the Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Tax Evasion on Income, or the Double Tax Avoidance Arrangement, such withholding tax rate may be lowered to 5% if a Hong Kong resident enterprise owns at least 25% of a PRC enterprise. Pursuant to the Notice of the State Administration of Taxation on the Issues concerning the Application of the Dividend Clauses of Tax Agreements, or Circular 81, the 5% withholding tax rate does not automatically apply and certain requirements must be satisfied, including without limitation that (a) the Hong Kong enterprise must be the beneficial owner of the relevant dividends; and (b) the Hong Kong enterprise must directly hold at least 25% share ownership in the PRC enterprise during the 12 consecutive months preceding its receipt of the dividends. However, a transaction or arrangement entered into for the primary purpose of enjoying a favorable tax treatment should not be a reason for the application of the favorable tax treatment under the Double Tax Avoidance Arrangement. If a taxpayer inappropriately is entitled to such favorable tax treatment, the competent tax authority has the power to make appropriate adjustments.

 

In August 2015, the State Administration of Taxation promulgated the Administrative Measures for Non-Resident Taxpayers to Enjoy Treatments under Tax Treaties, or Circular 60, which became effective on November 1, 2015. Circular 60 provides that non-resident enterprises are not required to obtain pre-approval from the relevant tax authority in order to enjoy the reduced withholding tax rate. Instead, non-resident enterprises and their withholding agents may, by self-assessment and on confirmation that the prescribed criteria to enjoy the tax treaty benefits are met, directly apply the reduced withholding tax rate, and file necessary forms and supporting documents when performing tax filings, which will be subject to post-tax filing examinations by the relevant tax authorities. However, if a competent tax authority finds out that it is necessary to apply the general anti-tax avoidance rules, it may start general investigation procedures for anti-tax avoidance and adopt corresponding measures for subsequent administration. Accordingly, Hexindai Hong Kong Limited, or Hexindai HK, our Hong Kong subsidiary, may be able to enjoy the 5% withholding tax rate for the dividends they receive from Hexin Yongheng, our PRC subsidiary, if it satisfies the conditions prescribed under Circular 81 and other relevant tax rules and regulations. However, according to Circular 81 and Circular 60, if the relevant tax authorities consider the transactions or arrangements we have are for the primary purpose of enjoying a favorable tax treatment, the relevant tax authorities may adjust the favorable withholding tax in the future.

 

Enhanced scrutiny over acquisition transactions by the PRC tax authorities may have a negative impact on potential acquisitions we may pursue in the future.

 

In connection with the EIT Law, the SAT issued the Circular on Strengthening the Administration of Enterprise Income Tax on Non-resident Enterprises’ Equity Transfer Income, or Circular 698, which became effective as of January 1, 2008, the Notice on Issues Concerning Process of Enterprise Income Tax in Enterprise Restructuring Business, or Circular 59 on April 30, 2009, and the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Several Issues concerning the Enterprise Income Tax on the Indirect Transfers of Properties by Non-Resident Enterprises, or the SAT Announcement 7, on February 3, 2015. By promulgating and implementing the above, the PRC tax authorities have strengthened their scrutiny over the direct or indirect transfer of equity interest in a PRC resident enterprise by a non-PRC resident enterprise. Pursuant to SAT Announcement 7, if a non-resident enterprise, or referred to as a transferor, transfers its equity in an offshore enterprise which directly or indirectly owns PRC taxable assets, including ownership interest in PRC resident companies, or the Taxable Properties, without a “reasonable commercial purpose”, such transfer shall be deemed as a direct transfer of such Taxable Properties. The payer, or referred as a transferee, in such transfer shall be the withholding agent, and is obligated to withhold and remit the enterprise income tax to the relevant PRC tax authority. If a transferor fails to declare for payment timely or in full of the tax due on proceeds from indirect transfer of PRC taxable assets and the withholding agent also fails to withhold such tax, the tax authority shall, in addition to supplementary collection of such tax, also charge for interest on a daily basis from the transferor according to the EIT Law and its implementation rules. Factors that may be taken into consideration when determining whether there is a reasonable commercial purpose include, among other factors, the value of the transferred equity, offshore taxable situation of the transaction, the offshore structure’s economic essence and duration and trading fungibility. If an equity transfer transaction satisfies all the requirements mentioned above, such transaction will be considered an arrangement with reasonable commercial purpose. On October 17, 2017, the SAT issued the Bulletin of SAT on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or Bulletin 37, which came into effect on December 1, 2017 and was amended in June 2018, which, among others, repeals certain rules stipulated in Circular 7. Bulletin 37 further details and clarifies the tax withholding methods in respect of the income of non-resident enterprises.

 

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Accordingly, we and non-resident enterprise investors face uncertainties on the reporting and consequences on future private equity-financing transactions, share exchange or other transactions involving the transfer of shares in our company by 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 Circular 59, Circular 698, the SAT Announcement 7 and Bulletin 37, and we may be required to expend valuable resources to comply with Circular 59, Circular 698, the SAT Announcement 7 and Bulletin 37 or to establish that we and our non-resident enterprises should not be taxed under these circulars, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Additionally, the PRC tax authorities have the discretion under SAT Circular 59, Circular 698 , the SAT Announcement 7 and Bulletin 37 to make adjustments to the taxable capital gains based on the difference between the fair value of the taxable assets transferred and the cost of investment. Although we currently have no plans to pursue any acquisitions in China or elsewhere in the world, we may pursue acquisitions in the future that may involve complex corporate structures. If we are considered a non-resident enterprise under the EIT Law and if the PRC tax authorities make adjustments to the taxable income of the transactions under SAT Circular 59, Circular 698, the SAT Announcement 7 and Bulletin 37, our income tax costs associated with such potential acquisitions will be increased, which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

RISKS RELATED TO OUR ADSs

 

The trading price of our ADSs may be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors.

 

The trading price of our ADSs has ranged from US$0.90 to US$3.39 per ADS in 2020. The trading prices of our ADSs are likely to be volatile and could fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control. This may happen because of broad market and industry factors, like the performance and fluctuation in the market prices or the underperformance or deteriorating financial results of Internet or other companies based in China that have listed their securities in the United States in recent years. The securities of some of these companies have experienced significant volatility since their initial public offerings, including, in some cases, substantial decline in their trading prices. The trading performances of other Chinese companies’ securities after their offerings 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 other matters of us or other Chinese companies may also negatively affect the attitudes of investors towards Chinese companies in general, including us, regardless of whether we have conducted any inappropriate activities. In addition, securities markets may from time to time experience significant price and volume fluctuations that are not related to our operating performance, such as the large decline in share prices in the United States, China and other jurisdictions in late 2008, early 2009, the second half of 2011, the third quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016, which may have a material adverse effect on the market price of our ADSs.

 

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In addition to market and industry factors, the price and trading volume for our ADSs may be highly volatile for factors specific to our own operations, including the following:

 

·                                          regulatory developments affecting us, our customers or our industry;

 

·                                          announcements of studies and reports relating to our products and service offerings or those of our competitors;

 

·                                          changes in the economic performance or market valuations of other social e-commerce platforms;

 

·                                          actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly results of operations and changes or revisions of our expected results;

 

·                                          changes in financial estimates by securities research analysts;

 

·                                          conditions in the Internet and unsecured consumer finance industries;

 

·                                          announcements of new product, service and expansions by us or our competitors;

 

·                                          replacement of existing third-party service providers;

 

·                                          additions to or departures of our senior management;

 

·                                          detrimental negative publicity about us, our management or our industry;

 

·                                          fluctuations of exchange rates between the RMB and the U.S. dollar;

 

·                                          release or expiry of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding ordinary shares or ADSs; and

 

·                                          sales or perceived potential sales of additional ordinary shares or ADSs.

 

Any of these factors may result in large and sudden changes in the volume and price at which our ADSs will trade.

 

Techniques employed by short sellers may drive down the market price of our ADSs.

 

Short selling is the practice of selling securities that the 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. The short seller hopes 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 the short seller expects to pay less in that purchase than it received in the sale. As it is in the short seller’s interest for the price of the security to decline, many short sellers publish, or arrange for the publication of, negative opinions 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 have been the subject of short selling, and it is not clear what long-term effect such negative publicity could have on us. We may also be subject to short seller attacks from time to time in the future. If we were to become the subject of any unfavourable 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.

 

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If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market price for our ADSs and trading volume could decline.

 

The trading market for our ADSs will depend in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. If research analysts do not establish and maintain adequate research coverage or if one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our ADSs or publish inaccurate or unfavourable research about our business, the market price for our ADSs would likely decline. If one or more of these analyst’s cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which, in turn, could cause the market price or trading volume of our ADSs to decline.

 

We cannot assure you that our existing dividend policy will not change in the future or the amount the dividends that you may receive, and as such, you must rely on price appreciation of our ADSs for return on your investment.

 

On July 19, 2018, our board of directors approved an annual dividend policy. Under this policy, annual dividends will be set at an amount equivalent to approximately 15-25% of our anticipated net income after tax in each year commencing from the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. On July 19, 2018, our board of directors also approved a special cash dividend of US$0.13 per ordinary share of our company (or US$0.13 per ADS), in addition to an annual dividend pursuant to the newly adopted annual dividend policy of US$0.27 per ordinary share (or US$0.27 per ADS), for a total dividend of US$0.40 per ordinary share (or US$0.40 per ADS).

 

Our annual dividend policy is subject to change at any time at the discretion of our board of directors, and our board of directors has complete discretion as to whether to distribute dividends in the future. If our board of directors decides to continue to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on, among other things, 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. As such, the amount of dividends that you will receive is subject to change. In addition, there can be no assurance that we will not adjust our dividend policy in the future. Accordingly, you should not rely on an investment in our ADSs as a source for any future dividend income, and 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 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.

 

Any declaration and payment, as well as the amount, of dividends will be subject to our constitutional documents and applicable Chinese and U.S. state and federal laws and regulations, including the approval from the shareholders of each subsidiary which intends to declare such dividends, if applicable.

 

Substantial future sales or perceived potential sales of our ADSs in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.

 

Sales of our ADSs in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur, could cause the market price of our ADSs to decline. As of March 31, 2021, we had 48,850,574 ordinary shares outstanding. Among these shares, 14,675,000 ordinary shares are in the form of ADSs. All our ADSs are freely transferable without restriction or additional registration under the Securities Act. The remaining ordinary shares outstanding are available for sale, subject to volume and other restrictions as applicable under Rules 144 and 701 under the Securities Act. To the extent shares are sold into the market, the market price of our ADSs could decline.

 

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Certain holders of our ordinary shares may cause us to register under the Securities Act the sale of their shares. 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 have adopted our amended and restated share incentive plan in September 2017, under which we have the discretion to grant a broad range of equity-based awards to eligible participants. See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—B. Compensation—Share Incentive Plan.” We have registered certain ordinary shares that we may issue under our share incentive plans and intend to register all ordinary shares that we may issue under our share incentive plans. Once we register these ordinary shares, they can be freely sold in the public market in the form of ADSs upon issuance, subject to volume limitations applicable to affiliates and relevant lock-up agreements. If a large number of our ordinary shares or securities convertible into our ordinary shares are sold in the public market in the form of ADSs after they become eligible for sale, the sales could reduce the trading price of our ADSs and impede our ability to raise future capital. In addition, any ordinary shares that we issue under our share incentive plans would dilute the percentage ownership held by the investors who purchased ADSs.

 

We may be classified as a passive foreign investment company for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. Holders of our ADSs or ordinary shares.

 

Depending upon the value of our assets, which is determined in part by the market value of our ADSs or ordinary shares, and the composition of our assets and income over time, we could be classified as a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Based on the projected composition of our assets and income, we do not believe that we were a PFIC for our taxable year ended March 31, 2021 and we do not anticipate becoming a PFIC in the foreseeable future. While we do not anticipate becoming a PFIC, fluctuations in the market price of our ADSs or ordinary shares may cause us to become a PFIC for the current or any subsequent taxable year.

 

A non-U.S. corporation, such as our company, will be classified as a PFIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes for any taxable year, if either (i) 75% or more of its gross income for such year consists of certain types of “passive” income or (ii) 50% or more of the value of its assets (determined on the basis of a quarterly average) during such year produce or are held for the production of passive income. Additionally, although the law in this regard is unclear, we treat our VIE as being owned by us for U.S. federal income tax purposes, not only because we exercise effective control over the operation of such entity but also because we are entitled to substantially all of its economic benefits, and, as a result, we consolidate their results of operation in our combined and consolidated financial statements. If it were determined, however, that we are not the owner of our VIE for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we could be treated as a PFIC for the current and any subsequent taxable years. Whether we are a PFIC is a factual determination and we must make a separate determination each taxable year as to whether we are a PFIC (after the close of each taxable year). Accordingly, we cannot assure you that we will not be a PFIC for our taxable year ending March 31, 2021 or any future taxable year.

 

If we were to be classified as a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. Holder (as defined in “Item 10. Additional Information-E. Taxation-U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations”) holds an ADS or an ordinary share, such U.S. Holder would generally be subject to reporting requirements and might incur significantly increased U.S. federal income tax on gain recognized on the sale or other disposition of the ADSs or ordinary shares and on the receipt of distributions on the ADSs or ordinary shares to the extent such gain or distribution is treated as an “excess distribution” under the applicable U.S. federal income tax rules. Further, if we were to be classified as a PFIC for any year during which a U.S. Holder holds our ADSs or ordinary shares, we generally would continue to be treated as a PFIC for all succeeding years during which such U.S. Holder holds our ADSs or ordinary shares even if we cease to qualify as a PFIC under the rules set forth above. You are urged to consult your tax advisor concerning the U.S. federal income tax consequences of acquiring, holding, and disposing of ADSs or ordinary shares if we were to be classified as a PFIC. For more information see “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—PFIC Rules.”

 

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The amended and restated memorandum and articles of association that we expect to adopt contain anti-takeover provisions that could have a material adverse effect on the rights of holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs.

 

We have adopted an amended and restated memorandum and articles of association. Our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association contains 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. In addition, 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 underlying the 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 our ADSs may fall and the voting and other rights of the holders of our ordinary shares underlying the ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

 

As a “controlled company” under the NASDAQ listing rules, we may follow certain exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements that could adversely affect our public shareholders.

 

Under the NASDAQ listing rules, a company of which more than 50% of the voting power is held by an individual, group or another company is a “controlled company” and is permitted to phase in its compliance with the independent committee requirements. Although we do not intend to rely on the “controlled company” exemption under the NASDAQ listing rules, we could elect to rely on this exemption in the future. For example, we may elect to rely on the “controlled company” exemption, a majority of the members of our board of directors might not be independent directors and our nominating and corporate governance and compensation committees might not consist entirely of independent directors. Accordingly, during the period we remain a controlled company relying on the exemption and during any transition period following a time when we are no longer a controlled company, you would not have the same protections afforded to shareholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements.

 

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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 with limited liability. Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Companies Act (As Revised) of the Cayman Islands and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from 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 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 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 register of members of these companies. Our directors have discretion under our 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.

 

Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, differ significantly from requirements for companies incorporated in other jurisdictions such as the U.S. Currently, we rely on home country practices with respect to certain corporate governance matters, please see “Item 16.G—Corporate Governance.” As a result, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they otherwise would under rules and regulations applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

 

As a result of all of the above, public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by our management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a company incorporated in the United States.

 

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. Substantially all of our current operations are conducted in China. In addition, a majority of our current directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. Substantially all of the assets of these persons are located outside 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.

 

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 (a) is given by a foreign court of competent jurisdiction, (b) imposes on the judgment debtor a liability to pay a liquidated sum for which the judgment has been given, (c) is final, (d) is not in respect of taxes, a fine or a penalty, and (e) 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. Because such a determination has not yet been made by a court of the Cayman Islands, it is uncertain whether such civil liability judgments from U.S. courts would be enforceable in the Cayman Islands.

 

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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 of 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 forms of reciprocity with the United States that provide for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. In addition, according to the PRC Civil Procedures Law, the PRC courts will not enforce a foreign judgment against us or our director and officers if they decide that the judgment violates the basic principles of PRC laws 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.

 

We are an emerging growth company within the meaning of the Securities Act and may take advantage of certain reduced reporting requirements.

 

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act, and we may take advantage of certain exemptions from requirements applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies including, most significantly, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 for so long as we are an emerging growth company.

 

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. However, we have elected to “opt out” of this provision and, as a result, we will comply with new or revised accounting standards as required when they are adopted for public companies. This decision to opt out of the extended transition period under the JOBS Act is irrevocable.

 

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 United States domestic public companies.

 

Because we are 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:

 

·                                          the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K with the SEC;

 

·                                          the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents, or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act;

 

·                                          the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities and liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time; and

 

·                                          the selective disclosure rules by issuers of material non-public information under Regulation FD.

 

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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 periodically through press releases, distributed pursuant to the rules and regulations of the NASDAQ Global 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, which would be made available to you, were you investing in a U.S. domestic issuer.

 

The voting rights of holders of ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement, and you may not be able to exercise any right to vote the ordinary shares which are represented by your ADSs.

 

As a holder of our ADSs, you will only be able to direct the exercise of the voting rights attaching to the ordinary shares which are represented by your ADSs in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Under the deposit agreement, you must vote by giving voting instructions to the depositary. Upon receipt of your voting instructions, the depositary will use its best endeavours to vote the ordinary shares which are represented by your ADSs in accordance with your instructions. You will not be able to directly exercise any right to vote with respect to the shares represented by your ADSs unless you withdraw the shares from the ADR facility prior to the applicable share record date. Under our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association, the minimum notice period required for convening a general meeting is ten calendar days. As a Cayman Islands exempted company, we are not obliged by the Companies Act to call shareholders’ annual general meetings. Our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association provide that we may, but are not obliged to, in each year hold a general meeting as our annual general meeting. When a general meeting is convened, you may not receive sufficient advance notice to withdraw the underlying shares represented by your ADSs to allow you to vote with respect to any specific resolution or matter to be considered and voted upon at such general meeting. If we give notice to our shareholders of any general meeting, 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 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 vote and you may have no legal remedy if the underlying shares represented by your ADSs are not voted as you requested.

 

The depositary for our ADSs will give us a discretionary proxy to vote the ordinary shares represented by your ADSs if you do not give proper or timely voting instructions to the depositary, except in limited circumstances, which could adversely affect your interests.

 

Under the deposit agreement for the ADSs, if you do not give proper or timely voting instructions to the depositary, the depositary will give us a discretionary proxy to vote the ordinary shares represented by your ADSs at shareholders’ meetings unless:

 

·                                          we have failed to timely provide the depositary with notice of meeting and related voting materials;

 

·                                          we have instructed the depositary that we do not wish a discretionary proxy to be given;

 

·                                          we have informed the depositary that there is substantial opposition as to a matter to be voted on at the meeting;

 

·                                          a matter to be voted on at the meeting would have a material adverse impact on shareholders; or

 

·                                          the voting at the meeting is to be made on a show of hands.

 

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The effect of the foregoing is that if you do not give proper or timely voting instructions to the depositary as to how to vote at shareholders’ meetings, a discretionary proxy to vote the ordinary shares represented by your ADSs will be given to a person designated by us, except under the circumstances described above. This may make it more difficult for shareholders and holders of ADSs to influence the management of our company. Holders of our ordinary shares are not subject to this discretionary proxy.

 

You may not receive dividends or other distributions on our ordinary shares and you may not receive any value for them if it is illegal or impracticable to make them available to you.

 

The depositary of our ADSs has agreed to pay to you the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on ordinary shares or other deposited securities which are represented by your ADSs, after deducting its fees and expenses. You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of ordinary shares your ADSs represent. However, the depositary is not responsible if it decides that it is unlawful or impracticable to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, it would be unlawful to make a distribution to a holder of ADSs if it consists of securities that require registration under the Securities Act but that are not properly registered or distributed under an applicable exemption from registration. The depositary may also determine that it is not practicable to distribute certain property through the mail. Additionally, the value of certain distributions may be less than the cost of mailing them. In these cases, the depositary may determine not to distribute such property. We have no obligation to register under U.S. securities laws any ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or other securities received through such distributions. We also have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or anything else to holders of ADSs. This means that you may not receive distributions we make on our ordinary shares or any value for them if it is illegal or impracticable for us to make them available to you. These restrictions may cause a material decline in the value of our ADSs.

 

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 endeavour 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 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, or on weekends and public holidays. The depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of our 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.

 

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We will incur significantly increased costs and devote substantial management time as a result of being a public company.

 

As a public company, we incur additional legal, accounting and other expenses as a public reporting company, particularly after we cease to qualify as an “emerging growth company” pursuant to the JOBS Act. For example, we will be required to comply with additional requirements of the rules and regulations of the SEC and requirements of the NASDAQ Global Market, including applicable corporate governance practices. We expect that compliance with these requirements will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time-consuming and costly. In addition, we expect that our management and other personnel will need to divert attention from operational and other business matters to devote substantial time to these public company requirements. We cannot predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur or the timing of such costs.

 

In addition, changing laws, regulations and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure are creating uncertainty for public companies, increasing legal and financial compliance costs and making some activities more time-consuming. These laws, regulations and standards are subject to varying interpretations, in many cases due to their lack of specificity, and, as a result, their application in practice may evolve over time as new guidance is provided by regulatory and governing bodies. This could result in continuing uncertainty regarding compliance matters and higher costs necessitated by ongoing revisions to disclosure and governance practices. We intend to invest resources to comply with evolving laws, regulations and standards, and this investment may result in increased general and administrative expenses and a diversion of management’s time and attention from revenue-generating activities to compliance activities. If our efforts to comply with new laws, regulations and standards differ from the activities intended by regulatory or governing bodies due to ambiguities related to their application and practice, regulatory authorities may also initiate legal proceedings against us and our business may be adversely affected.

 

In the past, shareholders of public companies have often brought securities class action suits against those 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.

 

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

A.                                    History and Development of the Company

 

In April 2016, Hexindai Inc. was incorporated in Cayman Islands as a holding company. We provided online microlending business and P2P marketplace business from 2017 to 2019. As part of our major business restructuring and disposition of our P2P marketplace business in and around December 2020, which is described in greater detail below, we changed our name from Hexindai Inc. to Xiaobai Maimai Inc. to reflect our current business that is built upon our social e-commerce platform. As of the date of this annual report, we are no longer engaged in the P2P marketplace businesses and are not making any new loans under the microlending business, and are solely focused on our social e-commerce platform business.

 

In March 2014, our founders Mr. Xiaobo An and Mr. Xiaoning An, along with Mr. Xiaobin Zhai, established Hexin E-Commerce Co. Ltd in China, or Hexin E-Commerce, which at the time of its inception was not under our control and jointly owned by the individuals named above.

 

In order to obtain control of Hexin E-Commerce, in November 2016, we entered into a series of contractual arrangements with Hexin E-Commerce and its then-shareholders and became Hexin E-commerce’s primary beneficiary. Prior to our disposal of Hexin E-Commerce in December 2020, we conducted our P2P marketplace businesses primarily through Hexin E-Commerce.

 

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In May 2016, we established a wholly-owned subsidiary in Hong Kong, Hexindai HK, and further established Beijing Hexin Yongheng Technology Development Co. Ltd., or Hexin Yongheng, which to this date remains Hexindai HK’s wholly-owned subsidiary in China, in August 2016.

 

In August 2017, we established Wusu Company to conduct online microlending business. At the time of Wusu Company’s inception, Hexin E-Commerce, Mr. Ming Jia and Mr. Shiwei Wu were the shareholders of Wusu Company. On January 1, 2018, Hexin Yongheng, Wusu Company, Hexin E-Commerce, Mr. Ming Jia and Mr. Shiwei Wu entered into a series of agreements (the “2018 Wusu VIE Agreements”), and as a result of which, Hexin Yongheng became the primary beneficiary of and controlled Wusu Company.

 

On November 3, 2017, our ADSs commenced trading on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol “HX.”

 

As part of our strategy to expand our investment, in June 2018, we incorporated HX Asia Investment Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary in the British Virgin Islands, to acquire a 19.99% equity stake in Musketeer Group Inc, an Indonesian online lending platform that offers consumption instalment loans. We completed the acquisition in August 9, 2018 as part of our strategy to explore overseas opportunities by leveraging our extensive experience and expertise in new high-growth markets.

 

As part of our strategy to diversify funding sources for our P2P marketplace and online microlending businesses (which we are no longer engaged in), in December 2018, Hexin E-Commerce established Trust 1 with an independent third-party trust company. At the time of establishing Trust 1, Hexin E-Commerce was still an entity under our control. As part of our business restructuring in December 2020 and our disposal of Hexin E-commerce, we are no longer a beneficiary to Trust 1.

 

In January 2019, we incorporated HX China Investment Limited, also our wholly-owned subsidiary in the British Virgin Islands, for the purpose of acquiring a 5.88% equity stake in Phoenix Intelligent Credit Group Ltd. As part of that acquisition, we established Tianjin Haohongyuan in China in May 2018 to synergize the investment by way of providing loan assistance functions such as borrower assessment to Phoenix Intelligent Credit Group Ltd. At the time of our acquisition, Phoenix Intelligent Credit Group Ltd was an operator of one of China’s leading P2P lending platforms and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Phoenix Financial Group Ltd., which was unrelated to us.

 

On August 1, 2019, Hexin Digital, which was established on September 9, 2017 with the provision of technology consultancy and technological services as its principal business, was acquired by Hexin Jinke from an independent third party, and Hexin Digital had minimal activities before being acquired by us. We obtained control and became the primary beneficiary of Hexin Digital in August 2019 by entering into a series of contractual arrangements with Hexin Digital and Hexin Jinke. Hexin Digital is 100% owned by Hexin Jinke. Hexin Digital holds the requisite licenses necessary to conduct our online marketplace business which is subject to restrictions under current PRC laws and regulations. We operate our newly launched social e-commerce platform Xiaobai Maimai through Hexin Digital.

 

On September 30, 2019, we changed Wusu Company’s principal businesses from microlending to trading, provision of technological promotion services, and import and export.

 

On July 15, 2020, we incorporated Hexin Investment Private Limited in Singapore with a view to engage in future investment activities.

 

As part of our corporate restructurings prior to our disposal of Hexin E-Commerce in December 2020, Mr. Ming Jia and Mr. Shiwei Wu transferred their equity interests of Wusu Company to Hexin E-Commerce, and therefore, Hexin E-Commerce became the sole shareholder of Wusu Company on November 20, 2020. On November 20, 2020, Hexin Yongheng, Wusu Company, Hexin E-Commerce, Mr. Ming Jia and Mr. Shiwei Wu entered into a VIE termination agreement, which terminated all rights and obligations with respect to each party thereto under the 2018 Wusu VIE Agreements. On December 1, 2020, Wusu Company and its shareholder, Hexin E-Commerce, entered into a new series of contractual arrangements with Hexin Yongheng, and as a result of which, Hexin Yongheng remains the primary beneficiary of and controls Wusu Company.

 

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On December 16, 2020, Hexin Yongheng and Kuaishangche, a company not directly associated with the Company but controlled by Mr. Xiaobo An, and Hexin E-Commerce entered into an assignment and assumption agreement. Pursuant to the Agreement, Hexin Yongheng agreed to assign and transfer to Kuaishangche the control over Hexin E-Commerce, in exchange for cash consideration of RMB5.0 million (US$726,781).

 

On April 8, 2021, we established UK Holding Limited, an exempted company in the Cayman Islands with a view to engage in future investment activities. For more information on our investments and planned investments, please see “—B. Business Overview—Business Expansion and Cooperation.”

 

Business Restructuring and Disposition of Hexin E-Commerce

 

Prior to our disposition of Hexin E-Commerce, on November 20, 2020, Mr. Ming Jia and Mr. Shiwei Wu transferred their equity interest in Wusu Company to Hexin E-Commerce, which resulted in Wusu Company becoming a wholly-owned entity of Hexin E-Commerce. On November 20, 2020, Hexin Yongheng, Wusu Company, Hexin E-Commerce, Mr. Ming Jia and Mr. Shiwei Wu entered into a VIE termination agreement, which terminated all rights and obligations with respect to each party thereto under the 2018 Wusu VIE Agreements.

 

On December 1, 2020, Hexin Yongheng, our wholly-owned subsidiary, entered into a new series of contractual arrangements with Wusu Company and Hexin E-Commerce whereby Hexin Yongcheng retained its interests as the primary beneficiary to Wusu Company.

 

On December 16, 2020, Hexin Yongheng, Kuaishangche, Hexin E-Commerce, Xiaobo An, Xiaoning An, and Xiaobin Zhai entered into an assignment and assumption agreement. Pursuant to this agreement, Hexin Yongheng has agreed to assign and transfer to Kuaishangche the control over Hexin E-Commerce, in exchange for cash consideration of RMB 5 million. Upon the closing of the disposition, Kuaishangche became the primary beneficiary of and obtained control of Hexin E-Commerce, and as a result, assume all assets and liabilities of Hexin E-Commerce and subsidiaries owned or controlled by Hexin E-Commerce, excluding any rights, titles, interests or claims that Hexin E-Commerce had in Wusu Company, which remained a consolidated variable interest entity of the Hexin Yongheng by way of the December 1, 2020 contractual arrangements. We closed the disposition of Hexin E-Commerce on December 30, 2020. As a result of the disposition, we are no longer conducting the P2P marketplace business and instead are focusing on developing and investing resources into our social e-commerce platform, Xiaobai Maimai.

 

On December 16, 2020, our shareholders approved our name change from “Hexindai Inc.” to “Xiaobai Maimai Inc.” to reflect our business transition.

 

On January 1, 2021, Hexin Yongheng, our wholly-owned subsidiary, obtained control and became the primary beneficiary of Hexin Jiuding by entering into a series of contractual arrangements with Hexin Jiuding and Hexin Fengze, the shareholder of Hexin Jiuding and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hexin Jinke.

 

Corporate Information

 

Our principal executive offices are located at Room 515, Floor 5, Jia No. 92-4 to 24 Jianguo Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, the People’s Republic of China. Our telephone number at this address is +86 10 5370 9902. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at the offices of Maples Corporate Services Limited, PO Box 309, Ugland House, Grand Cayman, KY1-1104. Our agent for service of process in the United States is Law Debenture Corporate Services Inc., located at 801, 2nd Avenue, Suite 403, New York, NY 10017.

 

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B.                                    Business Overview

 

Xiaobai Maimai’s transition into the social e-commerce business

 

We were formally known as Hexindai Inc., and used to be engaged in the business of providing online facilitation related services via our consumer lending marketplace in China, facilitating loans to meet the increasing consumption demand of the emerging middle class in China from 2017 to 2019. Hexindai Inc. was a mobile e-commerce and consumer lending platform in China until it disposed of Hexin E-Commerce in December 2020 and changed its name to Xiaobai Maimai Inc. As part of its transition into the social e-commerce platform business, in May 2020, Xiaobai Maimai launched a new form of social e-commerce mobile platform, Xiaobai Maimai App, offering high-quality and affordable branded products. Xiaobai Maimai leverages its cooperation with major domestic e-commerce platforms and services marketplaces as part of its integrated buyer resources to select and source the most desirable goods and services. Xiaobai Maimai rewards customers with a small commission for every purchase, share or recommendation of a product made to friends.

 

In August 2020, Xiaobai Maimai underwent an upgrade to offer an even wider variety of high-quality products covering food and beverage, wine, cosmetic products, fashion and apparel, entertainment, houseware, home appliances and cost-saving promotions at petrol gas stations nationwide. On Xiaobai Maimai App, customers can easily compare superior products at competitive prices without having to change their shopping preferences or switch between different online merchants. It is also a convenient, one-stop platform for customers to not only save big on daily necessities when they shop online, but also stay informed of the latest promotions with attractive discounts, coupons and rebates on the application.  As of June 30, 2021, Xiaobai Maimai had approximately 242,316 active customer accounts (an active customer account refers to a customer account that has made at least one purchase) since its launch.

 

Xiaobai Maimai will continue to grow through its cooperation with mainstream online platforms in China. Under such cooperation schemes, Xiaobai Maimai provides hyperlinks to these mainstream platforms, and sales promotions, such as coupons, discounts or rebates, are available to purchasers if these mainstream platforms are accessed through hyperlinks from Xiaobai Maimai.

 

In August, 2020, Xiaobai Maimai launched the Elite Influencers Program, which is designed for users of Xiaobai Maimai to attain higher returns on top of the regular commissions they receive for every purchase, share or recommendation of a product to family and friends. Users of Xiaobai Maimai can become elite influencers and enjoy higher commission rates as their influence reaches certain performance milestones. Currently, the elite influencers introduced to the platform are primarily WeChat merchants who have considerable influence on social e-commerce in China. This group of elite influencers were selected for their rich experience in social e-commerce, regular engagement with an extensive follower base, and their sales on WeChat, including popular shopping categories such as maternal and infant products, household goods, and cosmetic products.

 

Since the launch of the Elite Influencers Program, Xiaobai Maimai has experienced significant improvements in a number of operating metrics on the social e-commerce application. In August 2020, Xiaobai Maimai’s monthly active users accounted for approximately 61% of the total registered members, representing a significant increase from 29% since June 2020. The monthly orders increased threefold from June 2020 to August 2020, and the number of monthly page views increased by nearly 60 times from June 2020 to August 2020. Going forward, Xiaobai Maimai will continue to promote the Elite Influencers Program to more users, including influential WeChat merchants, retail store merchants, members of mothers’ clubs and farmers’ markets, and part-time merchants. Xiaobai Maimai believes that the Elite Influencers Program will effectively expand its user base and increase traffic to and revenues generated by Xiaobai Maimai social e-commerce platform. At the same time, Xiaobai Maimai also intends to promote social e-commerce employment through our efforts and further fulfill our corporate social responsibility.

 

Since 2020, Xiaobai Maimai’s Hexin Digital has been a standing committee member of the Social E-commerce Branch of the China Association of Trade in Services (CATIS), the sole national non-profit organization for trade in services in China. According to the 2021 Social E-commerce Development Report of CATIS, China’s social e-commerce market continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. In 2020, the market scale of social E-commerce in China has reached RMB4.0 trillion, accounting for 34% of the total scale of online retail market. The transaction volume of social e-commerce in 2021 is expected to exceed RMB5.8 trillion, an increase of 45% year-over-year.

 

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Xiaobai Maimai’s Business Model

 

Xiaobai Maimai has been conducting supply to business to customer model since May 2020 and launched its Xiaobai Maimai App in May 2020.

 

Xiaobai Maimai connects suppliers and customers. Leveraging the cooperation with major e-commerce platforms (“Platforms”), and influential brands. Xiaobai Maimai offers a variety of value-for-money products covering food and beverage, wine, cosmetic products, fashion and apparel, entertainment, housewares and home appliances. This convenient, one-stop App for Xiaobai Maimai’s customers not only helps them save big on daily necessities when they shop online, but also helps them stay informed of the latest promotions with attractive discounts, coupons and rebates on the App. Customers can easily compare these superior products at competitive prices without having to change their shopping preferences or switch between different online merchants.

 

Below is a visual presentation of various features of Xiaobai Maimai App:

 

Xiaobai Maimai App — Homepage

 

Xiaobai Maimai App offers a unique social e-commerce experience through latest promotions, value-for-money products recommendation and opportunities for social engagements

 

 

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Cooperation with Platforms

 

Xiaobai Maimai strategically cooperates with Platforms in China. The cooperation between Xiaobai Maimai and the Platforms is win-win on both sides. Leveraging Xiaobai Maimai’s existing customer base and strong technical support, Xiaobai Maimai can direct and contribute plenty of customer traffic to the Platforms. In the meanwhile, Xiaobai Maimai relies on a wide variety of merchandise posted on the Platforms, their strong brand recognitions and their sound delivery and after-sale services to attract and retain customers. After customers that are directed from Xiaobai Maimai complete their transactions on the Platforms, the Platforms will then award certain commissions to Xiaobai Maimai subject to the rules adopted by the Platforms. Generally, the Platforms will settle the commissions with Xiaobai Maimai within the next month after the transaction is completed.

 

By cooperating with Platforms, Xiaobai Maimai has achieved the comprehensive connectivity with Platforms, enabling its customers to browse and explore all kinds of merchandises posted on the Platforms via Xiaobai Maimai. After selecting their favourite merchandise, customers can easily click the pictures displayed on Xiaobai Maimai with the hyperlink underlying, which can direct them to the Platforms where the merchandise is being posted. Customers place the order on the Platforms, and the merchant on that Platform provides the delivery and after-sale service to the customers.

 

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The following diagram illustrates Xiaobai Maimai’s cooperation with the Platforms:

 

 

Membership rating system

 

Xiaobai Maimai deploys a membership rating system that rewards users with a rebate or commission for every purchase, share or recommendation of a product made to friends. The number of rebates and commissions will be calculated based on the amount of transaction completed, customer’s history transactions and amount of commissions of this transaction that Xiaobai Maimai received from the Platforms. Currently, the Company paid about 70% of its commission charged from merchants and third-party to its users. In the future, the percentage may be adjusted according to the development of social E-commerce business.

 

Under membership rating system, Xiaobai Maimai benefits its customers by awarding:

 

Purchase rebate: Xiaobai Maimai provides customers with a comprehensive selection of value-for-money merchandise and fun and interactive shopping experience. Leverage its strong algorithm support, Xiaobai Maimai posts the latest promotions of various mainstream e-commerce platforms on its APP in a timely manner, enabling its customers to stay informed of the news of attractive promotions and save big on their purchases. Customers can enjoy the most favourable price on Xiaobai Maimai’s App. Xiaobai Maimai directs its customers to the Platforms, and rewards customers with purchase rebate after they complete the transaction on the Platforms in addition to the discounts provided by the merchant. Customers complete their transaction on the Platform by confirming the receipt of merchandise. Xiaobai Maimai will award customers rebates to their Alipay accounts, which will be available for withdrawal within the next month after the completion of the transaction; and

 

Commission for social media marketing: Xiaobai Maimai welcomes and encourages its customers to share or recommend the products posted on its App with their social contacts via their social media accounts, and treats such customers’ recommendation as its crucial selling and marketing method. Customer posts product information on social media platform, namely their WeChat Moments, with the hyperlink of the product, which can direct their social contacts to the Platforms where the product being posted. Xiaobai Maimai awards customers commissions for their social media marketing activities after their social contacts complete the transactions via the link they post on social media platform. In the meanwhile, their social contacts can also enjoy rebates for their transactions directed by Xiaobai Maimai.

 

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The following diagram illustrates the membership rating system of Xiaobai Maimai:

 

 

In addition, Xiaobai Maimai launched Elite Influencers Program in August 2020 to further promote its efforts on social media marketing. Leveraging the strong fans base and seasoned marketing skills of elite influencers on social media platform, Xiaobai Maimai can attract more qualified customers and influencers to join its membership rating system, and contribute more customer traffic to the Platforms, enabling it to further strengthen the cooperation with the Platforms.

 

External Factors affecting Xiaobai Maimai’s Business

 

Xiaobai Maimai’s customers are mainly located in China. Since Xiaobai Maimai provides users with discounts, coupons and rebates sourced from third-party e-commerce platforms, its operating results are influenced by seasonal factors, including the timing of promotional events of e-commerce platforms. In general, major e-commerce platforms conduct various marketing campaigns to promote all category products each year, however we believe our most productive shopping seasons are as follows:

 

·                  the 3.8 shopping festival held between March 3 to March 8;

 

·                  the 6.18 shopping festival held between June 1 to June 18;

 

·                  the 11.11 shopping festival held between November 1 to November 11; and

 

·                  the 12.12 shopping festival held between December 1 to December 12.

 

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Prior to and during these periods of strong customer demand, Xiaobai Maimai increases its marketing efforts by channelling value through the company websites and members’ social network outlets.

 

Competition

 

The e-commerce industry in China is intensely competitive. Our current or potential competitors include (i) major e-commerce companies in China, (ii) major traditional and brick-and-mortar retailers in China, (iii) retail companies in China focused on specific product categories, (iv) major social e-commerce platforms and (v) major Internet companies in China that do not operate e-commerce business now but may enter the e-commerce business area or are in the process of initiating their e-commerce businesses.

 

We anticipate that the e-commerce industry will continually evolve and will continue to experience rapid technological change, evolving industry standards, shifting customer requirements, and frequent innovation. We must continually innovate to remain competitive. We believe that the principal competitive factors in our industry are:

 

·                  our ability to seamlessly connect e-commerce with social networks;

 

·                  our stable business cooperative relationships with mainstream platforms;

 

·                  our ability to attract and retain merchants;

 

·                  our technical support for platform operation;

 

·                  product quality and selection;

 

·                  pricing;

 

·                  the experience and expertise of our management team; and

 

·                  customer service.

 

Intellectual Property

 

We use a combination of trade secrets, software copyrights, trademarks, know-how and other rights to protect our intellectual property and our brand. We have completed registration of 93 trademarks (with one under review), and 10 computer software copyrights. We have also registered three domain names, www.xiaobaimaimai.com, www.hxvc.com, and www.xiaobaimaimai.cn.

 

In addition to our intellectual property rights, we believe we maintain a competitive advantage over our peers through our knowledge of China’s e-commerce industry and our constantly improving technology and know-how. We also enter into contracts with our employees and third-party partners to prevent the unauthorized dissemination of our technology. To date, we have not experienced a material misappropriation of our intellectual property. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, third parties may attempt to use, copy or otherwise obtain and market or distribute our proprietary technology or develop a platform that is similar to our marketplace. We cannot be certain that the steps we have taken or will take in the future will prevent misappropriations of our technology and intellectual property rights. For a description of the risks related to our intellectual property rights, please see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business and Industry—We may be unable to protect our proprietary intellectual property rights from unauthorized use, such that our brand, reputation and business may be negatively impacted.”

 

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Seasonality

 

We experience seasonality in our business, reflecting a combination of seasonal fluctuations in customer purchases, promotional events, and traditional retail seasonality patterns.

 

We generally experience the highest levels of revenues in the fourth calendar quarter of each year than in the preceding three quarters due to a number of factors, including merchants allocating a significant portion of their online marketing budgets to the fourth calendar quarter, promotions, such as the 11.11 global shopping festival and 12.12 shopping festival, and the impact of seasonal buying patterns in respect of certain merchandise categories such as apparel. In the second calendar quarter of each year, we also experience relatively high levels of revenues due to the 6.18 shopping festival. Generally, we experience lower levels of revenues in the first calendar quarter of each year than that of subsequent quarters due to a lower level of operating activities by merchants early in the calendar year and during the Chinese New Year holiday, during which time consumers generally spend less and businesses in China are generally closed. Moreover, we expect to enjoy increased operating leverage in seasonally strong quarters, but will face significant margin pressure in seasonally weak quarters. Due to our limited operating history, the seasonal trends that we have experienced in the past may not apply to, or be indicative of, our future operating results.

 

Regulation

 

This section sets forth a summary of the most significant rules and regulations that affect our business activities in China.

 

Regulations Relating to Microlending

 

The Guidance on the Pilot Establishment of Microlending Companies jointly promulgated by the CBRC and the PBOC in May 2008 allows provincial governments to approve the establishment of microlending companies on a test basis. Based on this guidance, many provincial governments in China, including the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, promulgated local implementation rules on the administration of microlending companies. For example, Xinjiang Financial Service Office, the regulatory authority for microlending companies in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, promulgated the Interim Measures for the Administration of Microlending Companies in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in August 2017, to impose management duties upon the relevant regulatory authorities and to specify more detailed requirements on microlending companies, including, among others, (i) microlending companies are prohibited from engaging in the receipt of deposits from the public and illegal fund-raising; (ii) the modification of certain company registration issues shall be subject to the approval by the relevant regulatory authorities; and (iii) the microlending company shall engage in the loan business in the place of registration and also in or around the surrounding counties within the same municipality as the place of registration, and the loan balance for the borrowers in the county of registration shall not be less than the 80% of the aggregate loan balance.

 

In November 2017, the Internet Finance National Rectification Office issued the Notice on the Immediate Suspension of Approvals for the Establishment of Online Microlending Companies, which took effect immediately, and provides that the relevant regulatory authorities of microlending companies at all levels shall suspend the approval of the establishment of online microlending companies and the approval of any microlending business conducted across provincial lines.

 

On December 1, 2017, the Internet Finance National Rectification Office and the Online Lending National Rectification Office jointly issued Circular 141, which suspends approval of new network microlending companies and further imposes measures to strengthen the regulation of network microlending companies.

 

On December 8, 2017, the Online Lending National Rectification Office promulgated the Implementation Plan of Specific Rectification for Risks in Microlending Companies and Online Microlending Companies, or the Rectification Implementation Plans of Online Microlending Companies. Pursuant to the Rectification Implementation Plans of Online Microlending Companies, “online microlending loans” are defined as microlending loans provided through the Internet by online microlending companies controlled by Internet enterprises. The features of online microlending loans include online borrower acquisition, credit assessment based on the online information collected from the Internet enterprise’s business operations and the borrower’s Internet usage, as well as online loan application, approval and funding.

 

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Consistent with the Guidance on the Pilot Establishment of Microlending Companies and Circular 141, the Rectification Implementation Plans of Online Microlending Companies emphasize several aspects where inspection and rectification measures must be carried out for the online microlending loans industry, which include, among others, (i) the online microlending companies shall be approved by the competent authorities in accordance with the applicable regulations promulgated by the State Council, and the approved online microlending companies subsequently in violation of any regulatory requirements shall be re-examined; (ii) qualification requirements to conduct online micro-loan business (including the qualification of sponsor shareholders, the sources of borrowers, the Internet scenario and the digital risk-management technology); (iii) whether the qualification and funding source of the shareholders of online microlending companies are in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations; (iv) whether the “integrated actual interest” (namely the aggregated borrowing costs charged to borrowers in the form of interest and various fees) are annualized and subject to the limit on the interest rate of private lending set forth in the Private Lending Judicial Interpretations issued by the Supreme People’s Court and, whether any interest, handling fee, management fee or deposit are deducted from the principal of loans provided to the borrowers in advance, prior to the repayment of the loan; (v) whether campus loans or online microlending loans with no specific scenario or designated use of loan proceeds are granted; (vi) with respect to the loan business conducted in cooperation with third-party institutions, whether the online microlending companies outsource the core business (including the credit assessment and risk control), or accept any credit enhancement service (whether or not in a disguised form) provided by any third-party institutions with no approval to provide financing guarantee and whether any applicable third-party institution collects any interest or fees from the borrowers; and (vii) entities that conduct online microlending loans business without relevant approval or license for lending business shall be shut down and banned.

 

The Rectification Implementation Plans of Online Microlending Companies also sets forth that all related institutions shall be subject to inspection and investigation. Depending on the results, different measures shall be implemented: (i) for institutions holding online microlending licenses but do not meet the qualification requirements to conduct online micro-loan business, their online microlending licenses shall be revoked and such institutions will be prohibited from conducting loan business outside the administrative jurisdiction of their respective approving authorities; and (ii) for institutions holding online microlending licenses that meet the qualification requirements to conduct online micro-loan business but were found not in compliance with other requirements, such as the requirements on the integrated actual interest rate, the scope of loan and the cooperation with third-party institutions, such institutions shall take rectification measures in a period to be separately specified by authorities, and in the event that the rectification does not meet the authorities’ requirements, such institutions shall be subject to several sanctions, including revocation of license and an order to cease business operations.

 

We engage in online microlending businesses through our subsidiary Wusu Company, which has owned the business scope of microlending. However, we have ceased new microlending business as the principal business scope of Wusu Company has been changed to trading, provision of technological promotion services and import and export since September 30, 2019, yet still entitled to the credit right over the loans issued prior to the change of the business scope.

 

Regulations Relating to Pyramid Selling

 

The Regulations on Prohibition of Pyramid Selling, that were promulgated by the State Council in August 2005 and became effective in November 2005, prohibit pyramid selling activities. According to the Regulations on Prohibition of Pyramid Selling, the following activities taken by organizers or operators are considered as “pyramid selling”: (i) taking in new members and compensating each member by giving material awards or other financial benefits, based upon the number of new members directly or indirectly introduced by such member on a rolling basis, so as to gain illegal benefits; or (ii) requesting a sum of money as entry fee or as a condition to membership for new members, either directly or through purchasing commodities, so as to gain illegal benefits; or (iii) requesting members to introduce additional members to establish a multi-level relationship and compensating each member based on the level of sales generated by the additional members introduced by such member, so as to gain illegal benefits. The PRC laws and regulations have not defined “illegal benefit” and the determination of gaining “illegal benefit” is to a large extent subject to discretionary view of the competent authorities in the PRC. Any individual or entity engaging in organization of pyramid selling may be subject to confiscation of illegal gains and fines ranging from RMB0.5 million to RMB2.0 million (US$0.3 million), and even criminal liabilities if a crime is constituted. On March 23, 2016, the former State of Administration of Industry and Commerce (which has been merged into SAMR) promulgated the Risk Warning for New Types of Pyramid Selling, which provides that if an activity satisfies the three features stated above at the same time, it will be identified as pyramid selling, regardless of whether any illegal benefit is obtained.

 

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Regulations Relating to Foreign Investment

 

PRC Foreign Investment Law

 

The Foreign Investment Law was formally adopted by the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress on March 15, 2019, which has become effective on January 1, 2020 and, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations, has replaced the trio of existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, namely, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-invested Enterprise Law. Meanwhile, the Regulations for the Implementation of the Foreign Investment Law has come into effect as of January 1, 2020, which clarified and elaborated the relevant provisions of the Foreign Investment Law. The organization form, organization and activities of foreign-invested enterprises shall be governed, among others, by the laws of the Company Law of the People’s Republic of China and the Partnership Enterprise Law of the People’s Republic of China. Foreign-invested enterprises established before the implementation of this Law may retain the original business organization and so on within five years after the implementation of this Law.

 

The Foreign Investment Law is formulated to further expand opening-up, vigorously promote foreign investment and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors. According to the Foreign Investment Law, foreign investments are entitled to pre-entry national treatment and are subject to negative list management system. The pre-entry national treatment means that the treatment given to foreign investors and their investments at the stage of investment access shall not be less favorable than that of domestic investors and their investments. The negative list management system means that the state implements special administrative measures for access of foreign investment in specific fields. The Foreign Investment Law does not mention the relevant concept and regulatory regime of VIE structures. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to PRC Laws Regulating Our Business and Industry—Substantial uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the newly enacted PRC Foreign Investment law and how it may impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations.”

 

Foreign investors’ investment, earnings and other legitimate rights and interests within the territory of the PRC shall be protected in accordance with the law, and all national policies on supporting the development of enterprises shall equally apply to foreign-invested enterprises. Among others, the state guarantees that foreign invested enterprises participate in the formulation of standards in an equal manner and that foreign-invested enterprises participate in government procurement activities through fair competition in accordance with the law. Further, the state shall not expropriate any foreign investment except under special circumstances. Under special circumstances, the state may levy or expropriate the investment of foreign investors in accordance with the law for the needs of the public interest. The expropriation and requisition shall be conducted in accordance with legal procedures and timely and reasonable compensation shall be given. In carrying out business activities, foreign invested enterprises shall comply with relevant provisions on labor protection, social insurance, tax, accounting, foreign exchange and other matters stipulated in laws and regulations.

 

According to the Measures for the Security Review of Foreign Investment promulgated by National Development and Reform Commission, the NDRC, and Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, the MOC, on December 19, 2020 and became effective on January 18, 2021, the NDRC and the MOC will establish a working mechanism office in charge of the security review of foreign investment. Such measures define foreign investment as direct or indirect investment by foreign investors in the PRC, which includes (i) investment in new onshore projects or establishment of wholly foreign owned onshore companies or joint ventures with foreign investors; (ii) acquiring equity or asset of onshore companies by merger and acquisition; and (iii) onshore investment by and through any other means. Investment in certain key areas with bearing on national security, such as important cultural products and services, important information technology and Internet services and products, key technologies, and other important areas with bearing on national security which results in the acquisition of de facto control of investee companies, shall be filed with a specifically established office before such investment is carried out. What may constitute “onshore investment by and through any other means” or “de facto control” could be broadly interpreted under such measures. It is likely that control through contractual arrangement be regarded as de facto control based on provisions applied to security review of foreign investment in the free trade zone. Failure to make such filing may subject such foreign investor to rectification within prescribed period, and will be recorded as negative credit information of such foreign investor in the relevant national credit information system, which would then subject such investors to joint punishment as provided by relevant rules. If such investor fails to or refuses to undertake such rectification, it would be ordered to dispose of the equity or asset and to take any other necessary measures so as to return to the status quo and to erase the impact to national security.

 

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Industry Catalog Relating to Foreign Investment

 

Investment activities in the PRC by foreign investors are principally governed by the Catalog of Industries for Encouraging Foreign Investment, or the Catalog, which became effective on January 27, 2021, and the Special Administrative Measures (Negative List) for Foreign Investment Access, or the Negative List promulgated by the MOC, which became effective on July 23, 2020 and has been amended from time to time by the MOC and the National Development and Reform Commission. It sets out the industries in which foreign investments are prohibited or restricted. Foreign investors will not make investments in prohibited industries, while must satisfy certain conditions stipulated in the Negative List for investment in restricted industries. According to the Negative List, the proportion of foreign investment in entities engaged in value-added telecommunication services (excluding e-commerce, domestic multi-party communications services, store-and-forward services, and call center services) shall not exceed 50%.

 

Foreign Investment in Value-Added Telecommunication Services

 

The Provisions on Administration of Foreign Invested Telecommunications Enterprises promulgated by the State Council in December 2001 and subsequently amended in September 2008 and 2016 prohibit a foreign investor from owning more than 50% of the total equity interest in any value-added telecommunications service business in China and require the major foreign investor in any value-added telecommunications service business in China to have a good and profitable record and operating experience in this industry. The Catalog and the Foreign Investment Negative List allow a foreign investor to own more than 50% of the total equity interest in an e-commerce business.

 

In July 2006, the Ministry of Information Industry, the predecessor of the MIIT, issued the Circular on Strengthening the Administration of Foreign Investment in the Operation of Value-added Telecommunications Business, pursuant to which a domestic PRC company that holds an operating license for value-added telecommunications business, which we refer to as a VATS License, is prohibited from leasing, transferring or selling the VATS License to foreign investors in any form and from providing any assistance, including resources, sites or facilities, to foreign investors that conduct a value-added telecommunications business illegally in China. Further, the domain names and registered trademarks used by an operating company providing value-added telecommunications services must be legally owned by that company or its shareholders. In addition, the VATS License holder must have the necessary facilities for its approved business operations and to maintain the facilities in the regions covered by its VATS License.

 

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In light of the above restrictions and requirements, we operate our website through Hexin Digital, which has received the VATS License necessary to provide online information service and other value-added telecommunications services in China.

 

Anti-money Laundering Regulations

 

The PRC Anti-money Laundering Law, which became effective in January 2007, sets forth the principal anti-money laundering requirements applicable to financial institutions as well as non-financial institutions with anti-money laundering obligations, including the adoption of precautionary and supervisory measures, establishment of various systems for client identification, retention of clients’ identification information and transactions records, and reports on large transactions and suspicious transactions. According to the PRC Anti-money Laundering Law, financial institutions subject to the PRC Anti-money Laundering Law include banks, credit unions, trust investment companies, stock brokerage companies, futures brokerage companies, insurance companies and other financial institutions as listed and published by the State Council, while the list of the non-financial institutions with anti-money laundering obligations will be published by the State Council. The PBOC and other governmental authorities issued a series of administrative rules and regulations to specify the anti-money laundering obligations of financial institutions and certain non-financial institutions, such as payment institutions. In July 2018, the PBOC issued the Notice on Strengthening Supervision on Anti-money Laundering by Certain Non-financial Institutions, stipulating that the following non-financial institutions shall undertake the responsibilities of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing during certain of their respective business operations: (i) real estate development enterprises and real estate agencies while selling real estates and providing service for real estate transactions; (ii) precious metal traders and precious metals trading platforms while conducting or providing service for precious metal spot trading; (iii) accounting firms, law firms and notary offices while conducting real estate transactions, asset management, bank account and securities account management, fund-raising for establishment or operation of enterprises and business entities transactions on behalf of their clients; and (iv) company service providers providing service for establishment, operation and management of companies.

 

Regulations on Value-Added Telecommunication Services

 

The Telecommunications Regulations promulgated by the State Council and its related implementation rules, including the Catalog of Classification of Telecommunications Business issued by the MIIT, amended in 2019 categorize various types of telecommunications and telecommunications-related activities into basic or value-added telecommunications services, and Internet information services, or ICP services, and on-line data processing and transaction processing services, are classified as value-added telecommunications businesses. In 2009, the MIIT promulgated the Administrative Measures on Telecommunications Business Operating Licenses, amended in July 2017, which set forth more specific provisions regarding the types of licenses required to operate value-added telecommunications services, the qualifications and procedures for obtaining such licenses and the administration and supervision of such licenses. Under these regulations, a commercial operator of value-added telecommunications services must first obtain a license for value-added telecommunications business, or VATS License, from the MIIT or its provincial level counterparts.

 

In September 2000, the State Council also issued the Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services, which was amended in January 2011. Pursuant to these measures, “Internet information services” refer to provision of Internet information to online users, and are divided into “commercial Internet information services” and “non-commercial Internet information services.” A commercial Internet information services operator must obtain a VATS License for Internet information services, or ICP License, from the relevant government authorities before engaging in any commercial Internet information services operations in China. The ICP License has a term of five years and can be renewed within 90 days before expiration.

 

We operate our social e-commerce platform Xiaobai Maimai which was launched in May 2020 through Hexin Digital. Xiaobai Maimai is a form of social e-commerce mobile platform offering high-quality and affordable branded products. Xiaobai Maimai leverages our integrated buyer resources to select and source goods globally, and rewards users with a small commission for every purchase, share or recommendation of a product made to friends. Hexin Digital has obtained its EDI License and ICP License for e-commerce business, which is qualified for providing online transactions between consumers and third-party merchants.

 

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Regulations relating to E-Commerce

 

Certain laws and regulations are promulgated in recent years to specifically regulate the e-commerce industry in PRC. In January 2014, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce adopted the Measures on the Administration of Online Transactions, or the Online Transactions Measures, which impose certain stringent requirements and obligations on online trading or service operators as well as the marketplace platform providers. For example, the marketplace platform providers are obligated to examine the legal status of each third-party merchant selling products or services on the platform and display on a prominent location on the web page of such merchant the information stated in the merchant’s business licenses or a link to such business license. Where the marketplace platform providers also act as online distributors, these marketplace platform providers must make a clear distinction between their online direct sales and sales of third-party merchant products. Moreover, consumers are generally entitled to return the products sold by an online trading operator within seven days upon the receipt thereof and are not required to provide reasons for such return. In addition, the Online Transactions Measures specifies that online distributors or related service operators, as well as marketplace platform providers, shall conduct their businesses in full compliance with the Anti-unfair Competition Law and other relevant PRC laws and regulations, and shall not unfairly compete with other operators or disturb social and economic orders, including but not limited to carrying out any fictitious transactions and deleting any unfavorable comments. On March 15, 2021, the State Administration for Market Regulation, the SAMR, promulgated the Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Online Trading, which became effective on May 1, 2021 and replace the Online Transactions Measures. The Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Online Trading require that operators not make tied sale as an option for a consumer’s consent by default, or set the option adopted by a consumer in a previous transaction as his or her default option. Operators providing automatic extension or renewal services shall give a salient notice to the consumers and allow consumers to make independent choice before they accept the service. Moreover, the Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Online Trading address key issues such as the registration of online operation entity, the regulation of new business forms, the primary responsibility of platform operators and personal information protection.

 

On April 23, 2019, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress implemented a newly amended Anti-unfair Competition Law of the PRC. It further emphasized that a business operator shall not engage in any false or misleading publicity for its products, or fictitious transactions to defraud or mislead consumers. Violation of these provisions may subject the relevant business operators to various penalties, including an order from the relevant governmental authorities to cease illegal acts, with payment of a fine ranging from RMB200,000 (US$28,245) to RMB1 million (US$141,226), or in the case of a severe violation, revocation of business licenses and payment of a fine ranging from RMB1 million (US$141,226) to RMB2 million (US$282,454).

 

On August 31, 2018, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the PRC E-Commerce Law, or the E-Commerce Law, which became effective in January 2019. The E-Commerce Law proposes a series of requirements on e-commerce operators, including individuals and entities carrying out business online, e-commerce platform operators and merchants within the platform. For example, the E-Commerce Law requires e-commerce operators to respect and equally protect consumers’ legitimate rights and provide options to consumers without targeting their personal characteristics, and also requires e-commerce operators to clearly point out to consumers their tie-in sales in which additional services or products are added by merchants to a purchase, and not to assume consumers’ consent to such tie-in sales by default. Moreover, the E-Commerce Law again requires e-commerce operators, including individuals and entities carrying out business online, e-commerce platform operators and merchants on these platforms, to display prominently on their home page the information contained in their business licenses or administrative permits relating to their operating businesses; failure to take necessary actions against merchants on the e-commerce platforms that are not in compliance with such requirements may subject the e-commerce platform operators to rectification within a specified period and a fine between RMB20,000 (US$2,825) and RMB100,000 (US$14,123).

 

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The E-Commerce Law also sets forth certain requirements and/or obligations particularly applicable to the e-commerce platform operators, including, among other things:

 

·                                          Requirements relating to credit evaluation. The e-commerce platform operators are required to establish a credit evaluation system and publicize the credit evaluation rules, and provide consumers with ways to evaluate products sold or services provided within the platform.

 

·                                          Requirements relating to transaction rules. The e-commerce platform operators shall develop and continuously publish or make publicly available, prominently on its homepage, a link to its platform service agreement and transaction rules, specifying the rights and obligations of relevant parties with respect to joining and leaving the platform, quality assurance and protection of consumer rights and personal information, and to ensure convenience and complete access to reading and downloading such service agreement and transaction rules by merchants and consumers.

 

·                                          Liability of the e-commerce platform operators. The e-commerce platform operators who fail to take necessary actions when they know or should have known that the merchants within the platform infringe upon others’ intellectual property rights or the products or services provided by the merchants do not meet the requirements for personal and property security, or otherwise infringe upon consumers’ legitimate rights, will be imposed a joint liability with the merchants; with respect to the products or services affecting consumers’ life and health, the e-commerce platform operators will bear relevant responsibilities if they fail to review the qualifications of merchants or fail to safeguard the interests of the consumers.

 

We are subject to these measures as a result of our social e-commerce platform Xiaobai Maimai. Failure to comply with the E-Commerce Law and other laws and regulations mentioned above may subject us to administrative liabilities such as a fine, and restoring reputation, and could subject us or the responsible individuals to joint civil liabilities when consumers’ legitimate rights or others’ intellectual property rights are infringed.

 

Regulations Relating to Product Quality and Consumer Rights Protection

 

Pursuant to the Product Quality Law of PRC promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in February 1993, and as amended in July 2000, August 2009 and December 2018 respectively, or the Product Quality Law, a seller must establish and practise a check-for-acceptance system for replenishment of its stock, and examine the quality certificates and other marks and must also adopt measures to keep the products for sale in good quality. Violation of the Product Quality Law could result in various penalties, including the imposition of fines, suspension of business operations, revocation of business licenses or criminal liabilities. Where a defective product causes physical injury to a person or damage to another person’s property, the victim may claim compensation from the manufacturer or from the seller of the product. If the seller pays compensation and it is the manufacturer that should bear the liability, the seller has a right of recourse against the manufacturer. Similarly, if the manufacturer pays compensation and it is the seller that should bear the liability, the manufacturer has a right of recourse against the seller.

 

The PRC Consumer Rights and Interests Protection Law, as amended and effective as of March 15, 2014, the Online Transactions Measures and the E-Commerce Law, have provided stringent requirements and obligations on business operators, including Internet business operators and platform service providers. For example, consumers are entitled to return goods purchased online, subject to certain exceptions, within seven days upon receipt of such goods without stating a reason for such return. To ensure that sellers and service providers comply with these laws and regulations, the platform operators are required to implement rules governing transactions on the platform, monitor the information posted by sellers and service providers, and report any violations by such sellers or service providers to the relevant authorities. In addition, online marketplace platform providers may, pursuant to the relevant PRC consumer protection laws, be exposed to liabilities if the lawful rights and interests of consumers are infringed upon in connection with consumers’ purchase of goods or acceptance of services on online marketplace platforms and the online marketplace platform providers fail to provide consumers with the contact information of the seller or manufacturer. In addition, online marketplace platform providers may be jointly and severally liable with sellers and manufacturers if they are aware or should be aware that any seller or manufacturer is using the online platform to infringe upon the lawful rights and interests of consumers and fail to take measures necessary to prevent or stop such activity.

 

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The Civil Code of the PRC, effective on January 1, 2021, also provides that if an online service provider is aware that an online user is committing infringing activities, such as selling counterfeit products, through its Internet services and fails to take necessary measures, it shall be jointly liable with the said online user for such infringement. If the online service provider receives any notice from the infringed party on any infringing activities, the online service provider shall take necessary measures, including deleting, blocking, and unlinking the infringing content, in a timely manner. Otherwise, it will be jointly liable with the relevant online user for extended damages.

 

We are subject to these laws and regulations as an online supplier of commodities and a provider of an online marketplace platform. Failure to comply with the PRC Consumer Rights and Interests Protection Law and other laws and regulations mentioned above may subject us to civil liabilities such as refunding purchase prices, replacement of commodities, repairing or ceasing damages, compensation, and restoring reputation, and could subject us or the responsible individuals to criminal penalties when personal damages are involved or if the circumstances are severe.

 

Regulations on Internet Information Security

 

Internet information in China is also regulated and restricted from a national security standpoint. The National People’s Congress, China’s national legislative body, has enacted the Decisions on Maintaining Internet Security, which may subject violators to criminal punishment in China for any effort to: (i) gain improper entry into a computer or system of strategic importance; (ii) disseminate politically disruptive information; (iii) leak state secrets; (iv) spread false commercial information; or (v) infringe intellectual property rights. The Ministry of Public Security has promulgated measures that prohibit use of the Internet in ways which, among other things, result in a leakage of state secrets or a spread of socially destabilizing content. If an Internet information service provider violates these measures, the Ministry of Public Security and the local security bureaus may revoke its operating license and shut down its websites. On November 7, 2016, Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress published the Cyber Security Law of the PRC, which became effective on June 1, 2017, and requires network operators to take technical measures and other necessary measures to ensure the secure and stable operation of the network, effectively respond to cyber security incidents, prevent illegal crimes committed on the network, and maintain the integrity, confidentiality and availability of cyber data.

 

On July 10, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China (“CAC”) publicly issued the Measures for Cybersecurity Censorship (Revised Draft for Comments) aiming to, upon its enactment, replace the existing Measures for Cybersecurity Censorship. The draft measures extend the scope of cybersecurity reviews to data processing operators engaging in data processing activities that affect or may affect national security, including listing in a foreign country. If the enacted version of the draft measures mandates clearance of cybersecurity review and other specific actions to be completed by companies like us, we face uncertainties as to whether such clearance can be timely obtained, or at all. We could be subject to cybersecurity review in the future. During such review, we may be required to suspend our operation experience other disruptions to our operations. Cybersecurity review could also result in negative publicity with respect to our company and diversion of our managerial and financial resources.

 

Furthermore, if we were found to be in violation of applicable laws and regulations in China during such review, we could be subject to administrative penalties, such as warnings, fines, or service suspension. Therefore, cybersecurity review could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

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In addition, the PRC Data Security Law, which was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on June 10, 2021 and will take effect on September 1, 2021, requires data collection to be conducted in a legitimate and proper manner, and stipulates that, for the purpose of data protection, data processing activities must be conducted based on data classification and hierarchical protection system for data security. As the Data Security Law was recently promulgated and has not yet taken effect, we may be required to make further adjustments to our business practices to comply with this law. After the Data Security Law takes effect, if our data processing activities were found to be not in compliance with this law, we could be ordered to make corrections, and under certain serious circumstances, such as severe data divulgence, we could be subject to penalties, including the revocation of our business licenses or other permits. Furthermore, the recently issued Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down Illegal Securities Activities in Accordance with the Law require (i) speeding up the revision of the provisions on strengthening the confidentiality and archives management relating to overseas issuance and listing of securities and (ii) improving the laws and regulations relating to data security, cross-border data flow, and management of confidential information. As there remain uncertainties regarding the further interpretation and implementation of those laws and regulations, we cannot assure you that we will be compliant such new regulations in all respects, and we may be ordered to rectify and terminate any actions that are deemed illegal by the regulatory authorities and become subject to fines and other sanctions. As a result, we may be required to suspend our relevant businesses, shut down our website, take down our operating applications, or face other penalties, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

While we take measures to comply with all applicable data privacy and protection laws and regulations, we cannot guarantee the effectiveness of the measures undertaken by us and our business partners. However, compliance with any additional laws could be expensive, and may place restrictions on our business operations and the manner in which we interact with our users. In addition, any failure to comply with applicable cybersecurity, privacy, and data protection laws and regulations could result in proceedings against us by government authorities or others, including notification for rectification, confiscation of illegal earnings, fines, or other penalties and legal liabilities against us, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, any negative publicity on our website or platform’s safety or privacy protection mechanism and policy could harm our public image and reputation and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

Regulations on Privacy Protection

 

In recent years, PRC government authorities have enacted laws and regulations on Internet use to protect personal information from any unauthorized disclosure. Under the Several Provisions on Regulating the Market Order of Internet Information Services issued by the MIIT in December 2011, an ICP service operator may not collect any user personal information or provide any such information to third parties without the consent of a user. An ICP service operator must expressly inform the users of the method, content and purpose of the collection and processing of such user personal information and may only collect such information necessary for the provision of its services. An ICP service operator is also required to properly maintain the user personal information, and in case of any leak or likely leak of the user personal information, the ICP service operator must take immediate remedial measures and, in severe circumstances, make an immediate report to the telecommunications regulatory authority. In addition, pursuant to the Decision on Strengthening the Protection of Online Information issued by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in December 2012 and the Order for the Protection of Telecommunication and Internet User Personal Information issued by the MIIT in July 2013, any collection and use of user personal information must be subject to the consent of the user, abide by the principles of legality, rationality and necessity and be within the specified purposes, methods and scopes. An ICP service operator must also keep such information strictly confidential, and is further prohibited from divulging, tampering or destroying any such information, or selling or providing such information to other parties. An ICP service operator is required to take technical and other measures to prevent the collected personal information from any unauthorized disclosure, damage or loss. Any violation of these laws and regulations may subject the ICP service operator to warnings, fines, confiscation of illegal gains, revocation of licenses, cancellation of filings, closedown of websites or even criminal liabilities. The Cyber Security Law of the PRC which became effective on June 1, 2017 requires network operators to strictly keep confidential users’ personal information that they have collected, and establish and improve the users’ information protection system. Pursuant to the Ninth Amendment to the Criminal Law issued by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in August 2015, and became effective in November 2015, any Internet service provider that fails to fulfill the obligations related to Internet information security administration as required by applicable laws and refuses to rectify upon orders, shall be subject to criminal penalty for (i) any dissemination of illegal information in large scale; (ii) any severe effect due to the leakage of the client’s information; (iii) any serious loss of criminal evidence; or (iv) other severe situation, and any individual or entity that (i) sells or provides personal information to others in a way that violates applicable law, or (ii) steals or illegally obtains any personal information, shall be subject to criminal penalty in severe situation. The Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, the MIIT, the Ministry of Public Security, and the SAMR jointly promulgated the Notice on Rectification of Illegal Collection of Personal Information on Application, or the Notice on Illegal Collection on January 23, 2019, which requires application operators to strictly comply with the Cyber Security Law of the PRC and strengthens the personal information protection. Application operators should, among others, (i) clearly state the authorized purpose, methods and scope of the collection and usage of personal information, and obtain the consent of users for collecting and processing such users’ personal information, and (ii) establish appropriate user information protection systems with remedial measures. To further implement and interpret the Notice on Illegal Collection, the Measures on Identifying Illegality of Personal Information Collection Conducts on Application was promulgated on November 28, 2019.

 

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Pursuant to the Civil Code of the PRC, the personal information of a natural person shall be protected by the law. Any organization or individual that needs to obtain personal information of others shall obtain such information legally and ensure the safety of such information, and shall not illegally collect, use, process or transmit personal information of others, or illegally purchase or sell, provide or make public personal information of others. Furthermore, information processors shall not divulge or tamper with personal information collected or stored by them; without the consent of a natural person, information processors shall not illegally provide personal information of such person to others, except for information that has been processed so that specific persons cannot be identified and that cannot be restored. In addition, an information processor shall take technical measures and other necessary measures to ensure the security of the personal information that is collected and stored and to prevent the information from being divulged, tampered with or lost; where personal information has been or may be divulged, tampered with or lost, the information processor shall take remedial measures in a timely manner, inform the natural person concerned in accordance with the provisions and report the case to the relevant competent department.

 

Regulation on Intellectual Property Rights

 

The PRC has adopted comprehensive legislation governing intellectual property rights, including trademarks. The PRC Trademark Law and its implementation rules protect registered trademarks. The PRC Trademark Law has adopted a “first-to-file” principle with respect to trademark registration. The Trademark Office under the State Administration of Industry and Commerce is responsible for the registration and administration of trademarks throughout the PRC, and grants a term of ten years to registered trademarks and another ten years if requested upon expiry of the initial or extended term. Trademark license agreements must be filed with the Trademark Office for record. As of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F, we have 88 registered trademarks under our variable interest entity, Hexin Jiuding, five registered trademarks under our variable interest entity, Hexin Digital, and one trademark applications pending registration of transfer with the Trademark Office under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.

 

Regulations Relating to Indirect Transfers and Dividend Withholding Tax

 

Pursuant to the EIT Law and its implementation rules, if a non-resident enterprise has not set up an organization or establishment in the PRC, or has set up an organization or establishment but the income derived has no actual connection with such organization or establishment, it will be subject to a withholding tax on its PRC-sourced income at a rate of 10%. In connection with the EIT Law, the SAT issued Circular 698, which became effective as of January 1, 2008, Circular 59 on April 30, 2009, and the SAT Announcement 7, on February 3, 2015. By promulgating and implementing the above, the PRC tax authorities have strengthened their scrutiny over the direct or indirect transfer of equity interest in a PRC resident enterprise by a non-PRC resident enterprise. Pursuant to SAT Announcement 7, if a non-resident enterprise, or referred to as a transferor, transfers its equity in an offshore enterprise which directly or indirectly owns PRC taxable assets, including ownership interest in PRC resident companies, or the Taxable Properties, without a “reasonable commercial purpose”, such transfer shall be deemed as a direct transfer of such Taxable Properties. The payer, or referred as a transferee, in such transfer shall be the withholding agent, and is obligated to withhold and remit the enterprise income tax to the relevant PRC tax authority. If a transferor fails to declare for payment timely or in full of the tax due on proceeds from indirect transfer of PRC taxable assets and the withholding agent also fails to withhold such tax, the tax authority shall, in addition to supplementary collection of such tax, also charge for interest on a daily basis from the transferor according to the EIT Law and its implementation rules. Factors that may be taken into consideration when determining whether there is a reasonable commercial purpose include, among other factors, the value of the transferred equity, offshore taxable situation of the transaction, the offshore structure’s economic essence and duration and trading fungibility. If an equity transfer transaction satisfies all the requirements mentioned above, such transaction will be considered an arrangement with reasonable commercial purpose. On October 17, 2017, the SAT issued Bulletin 37, which came into effect on December 1, 2017 and amended in June 2018, which, among others, repeals certain rules stipulated in Circular 7. Bulletin 37 further details and clarifies the tax withholding methods in respect of income of non-resident enterprises.

 

Pursuant to the Double Taxation Avoidance Arrangement, the withholding tax rate in respect to the payment of dividends by a PRC enterprise to a Hong Kong enterprise is reduced to 5% from a standard rate of 10% if the Hong Kong enterprise directly holds at least 25% of the PRC enterprise. Pursuant to Circular 81, a Hong Kong resident enterprise must meet the following conditions, among others, in order to enjoy the reduced withholding tax: (i) it must be the beneficial owners of the relevant dividends; and (ii) it must have directly owned at least 25% of the PRC resident enterprise throughout the 12 months prior to receiving the dividends. However, a transaction or arrangement entered into for the primary purpose of enjoying a favorable tax treatment should not be a reason for the application of the favorable tax treatment under the Double Taxation Avoidance Arrangement. If a taxpayer inappropriately is entitled to such favorable tax treatment, the competent tax authority has the power to make appropriate adjustments. In August 2015, the State Administration of Taxation promulgated Circular 60, which became effective on November 1, 2015.  Circular 60 provides that non-resident enterprises are not required to obtain pre-approval from the relevant tax authority in order to enjoy the reduced withholding tax rate. Instead, non-resident enterprises and their withholding agents may, by self-assessment and on confirmation that the prescribed criteria to enjoy the tax treaty benefits are met, directly apply the reduced withholding tax rate, and file necessary forms and supporting documents when performing tax filings, which will be subject to post-tax filing examinations by the relevant tax authorities. On October 14, 2019, the State Administration of Taxation promulgated a new Administrative Measures for Non-Resident Taxpayers to Enjoy Treaty Benefits, or Circular 35, which became effective on January 1, 2020 and replaced and repealed Circular 60. However, Circular 35 sets forth similar rules that non-resident enterprises and their withholding agents shall enjoy treaty benefit by means of “self-judgment of eligibility, declaration of entitlement, and retention of relevant materials for future reference”. Accordingly, Hexindai HK, our Hong Kong subsidiary, may be able to enjoy the 5% withholding tax rate for the dividends they receive from Hexin Yongheng, our PRC subsidiary, if it satisfies the conditions prescribed under Circular 81 and other relevant tax rules and regulations. However, according to Circular 81 and Circular 35, if the relevant tax authorities consider the transactions or arrangements we have are for the primary purpose of enjoying a favorable tax treatment, the relevant tax authorities may adjust the favorable withholding tax in the future.

 

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According to the Circular on Several Issues regarding the “ beneficial owner” in Tax Treaties, which was issued on February 3, 2018 by the SAT and has taken effect from April 1, 2018, or Circular 9, when determining the applicant’s status of the “beneficial owner” regarding tax treatments in connection with dividends, interests or royalties in the tax treaties, several factors, including without limitation whether the applicant is obligated to pay more than 50% of his or her income in 12 months to residents in a third country or region, whether the business operated by the applicant constitutes the actual business activities, and whether the counterparty country or region to the tax treaties levies any tax or grants tax exemption on relevant incomes or levies tax at an extremely low rate, will be taken into account, and such determination will be analyzed according to the actual circumstances of the specific cases. Circular 9 further provides that applicants who intend to prove his or her status of the “beneficial owner” shall submit the relevant documents to the relevant tax authority according to Circular 35. Based on Circular 35, non-resident enterprises are not required to file supporting documents when submitting one necessary form to the relevant tax authority in order to enjoy the reduced withholding tax rate. Instead, non-resident enterprises and their withholding agents may, by self-assessment and on confirmation that the prescribed criteria to enjoy the tax treaty benefits are met, directly apply the reduced withholding tax rate, and preserve the supporting documents for post-tax filing examinations by the relevant tax authorities. However, if a competent tax authority finds out that it is necessary to apply the general anti-tax avoidance rules, it may start general investigation procedures for anti-tax avoidance and adopt corresponding measures for subsequent administration.

 

Regulations Relating to Foreign Exchange

 

Regulation on Foreign Currency Exchange

 

The principal regulations governing foreign currency exchange in China are the Foreign Exchange Administration Regulations, most recently amended in August 2008. Under the PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, such as profit distributions, interest payments and trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. By contrast, approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities is required where RMB is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital account items, such as direct investments, repayment of foreign currency-denominated loans, repatriation of investments and investments in securities outside of China.

 

In November 2012, SAFE promulgated the Circular of Further Improving and Adjusting Foreign Exchange Administration Policies on Foreign Direct Investment, mostly recently amended in December 2019, which substantially amends and simplifies the current foreign exchange procedure. Pursuant to this circular, the opening of various special purpose foreign exchange accounts, such as pre-establishment expenses accounts, foreign exchange capital accounts and guarantee accounts, the reinvestment of RMB proceeds derived by foreign investors in the PRC, and remittance of foreign exchange profits and dividends by a foreign-invested enterprise to its foreign shareholders no longer require the approval or verification of SAFE, and multiple capital accounts for the same entity may be opened in different provinces, which was not possible previously. In addition, SAFE promulgated another circular in May 2013, which specifies that the administration by SAFE or its local branches over direct investment by foreign investors in the PRC must be conducted by way of registration and banks must process foreign exchange business relating to the direct investment in the PRC based on the registration information provided by SAFE and its branches. On February 13, 2015, the SAFE promulgated the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving the Administration of the Foreign Exchange Concerning Direct Investment, or SAFE Notice 13. After SAFE Notice 13 became effective on June 1, 2015, instead of applying for approvals regarding foreign exchange registrations of foreign direct investment and overseas direct investment from SAFE, entities and individuals will be required to apply for such foreign exchange registrations from qualified banks. The qualified banks, under the supervision of the SAFE, will directly examine the applications and conduct the registration.

 

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On March 30, 2015, the SAFE promulgated Circular 19, to expand the pilot reform of the administration of the settlement of the foreign exchange capitals of foreign-invested enterprises nationwide. Circular 19 allows foreign-invested enterprises to make equity investments by using RMB fund converted from foreign exchange capital. However, Circular 19 continues to, prohibit foreign-invested enterprises from, among other things, using RMB fund converted from its foreign exchange capitals for expenditure beyond its business scope, providing entrusted loans or repaying loans between non-financial enterprises.

 

On June 9, 2016, the SAFE promulgated Circular 16, which expands the application scope from only the capital of the foreign-invested enterprises to the capital, the foreign debt fund and the fund from oversea public offering. Also, Circular 16 allows the enterprises to use their foreign exchange capitals under capital account allowed by the relevant laws and regulations.

 

On October 23, 2019, the SAFE promulgated the Notice of the Administration of Foreign Exchange on Further Promoting the Convenience of Cross-Border Trade and Investment, which, among other things, non-investment foreign-invested entities may use foreign exchange capital or Renminbi funds converted from the foreign exchange capital to make domestic equity investments, provided that such investments should comply with relevant PRC laws and regulations.

 

Regulations on Foreign Exchange Registration of Overseas Investment by PRC Residents

 

SAFE issued the SAFE Circular on Relevant Issues Relating to Domestic Resident’s Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37, that became effective in July 2014, replacing the previous SAFE Circular 75. SAFE Circular 37 regulates foreign exchange matters in relation to the use of special purpose vehicles, or SPVs, by PRC residents or entities to seek offshore investment and financing or conduct round trip investment in China. Under SAFE Circular 37, a SPV refers to an offshore entity established or controlled, directly or indirectly, by PRC residents or entities for the purpose of seeking offshore financing or making offshore investment, using legitimate onshore or offshore assets or interests, while “round trip investment” refers to direct investment in China by PRC residents or entities through SPVs, namely, establishing foreign-invested enterprises to obtain the ownership, control rights and management rights. SAFE Circular 37 provides that, before making contribution into an SPV, PRC residents or entities are required to complete foreign exchange registration with SAFE or its local branch. SAFE promulgated the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving the Administration of the Foreign Exchange Concerning Direct Investment in February 2015, which took effect on June 1, 2015 and was further amended on December 30, 2019. This notice has amended SAFE Circular 37 requiring PRC residents or entities to register with qualified banks rather than SAFE or its local branch in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing.

 

PRC residents or entities who had contributed legitimate onshore or offshore interests or assets to SPVs but had not obtained registration as required before the implementation of the SAFE Circular 37 must register their ownership interests or control in the SPVs with qualified banks. An amendment to the registration is required if there is a material change with respect to the SPV registered, such as any change of basic information (including change of the PRC residents, name and operation term), increases or decreases in investment amount, transfers or exchanges of shares, and mergers or divisions. Failure to comply with the registration procedures set forth in SAFE Circular 37 and the subsequent notice, or making misrepresentation on or failure to disclose controllers of the foreign-invested enterprise that is established through round-trip investment, may result in restrictions being imposed on the foreign exchange activities of the relevant foreign-invested enterprise, including payment of dividends and other distributions, such as proceeds from any reduction in capital, share transfer or liquidation, to its offshore parent or affiliate, and the capital inflow from the offshore parent, and may also subject relevant PRC residents or entities to penalties under PRC foreign exchange administration regulations.

 

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We are aware that our PRC resident beneficial owners subject to these registration requirements have registered with the Beijing SAFE branch.

 

Regulations on Stock Incentive Plans

 

SAFE promulgated the Stock Option Rules in February 2012, replacing the previous rules issued by SAFE in March 2007. Under the Stock Option Rules and other relevant rules and regulations, PRC residents who participate in stock incentive plan in an overseas publicly-listed company are required to register with SAFE or its local branches and complete certain other procedures. Participants of a stock incentive plan who are PRC residents must retain a qualified PRC agent, which could be a PRC subsidiary of the overseas publicly listed company or another qualified institution selected by the PRC subsidiary, to conduct the SAFE registration and other procedures with respect to the stock incentive plan on behalf of the participants. In addition, the PRC agent is required to amend the SAFE registration with respect to the stock incentive plan if there is any material change to the stock incentive plan, the PRC agent or other material changes. The PRC agent must, on behalf of the PRC residents who have the right to exercise the employee share options, apply to SAFE or its local branches for an annual quota for the payment of foreign currencies in connection with the PRC residents’ exercise of the employee share options. The foreign exchange proceeds received by the PRC residents from the sale of shares under the stock incentive plans granted and dividends distributed by the overseas listed companies must be remitted into the bank accounts in the PRC opened by the PRC agents before distribution to such PRC residents.

 

We have adopted a share incentive plan, under which we have the discretion to grant a broad range of equity-based awards to eligible participants. See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—B. Compensation—Share Incentive Plan.” However, any failure to complete the registration pursuant to the Stock Option Rules and other foreign exchange requirements may subject these PRC individuals to fines and legal sanctions and may also limit our ability to contribute additional capital to our PRC subsidiary, limit our PRC subsidiary’s ability to distribute dividends to us or otherwise materially adversely affect our business.

 

Regulations on Dividend Distribution

 

Under our current corporate structure, our Cayman Islands holding company may rely on dividend payments from Hexin Yongheng, which is a wholly foreign-owned enterprise incorporated in China, to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have. The principal regulations governing distribution of dividends of foreign-invested enterprises include the Company Law and Foreign Investment Law and its implementation rules. Under these laws and regulations, wholly foreign-owned enterprises in China may pay dividends only out of their accumulated after-tax profits, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, wholly foreign-owned enterprises in China are required to allocate at least 10% of their respective accumulated profits each year, if any, to fund certain reserve funds until these reserves have reached 50% of the registered capital of the enterprises. Wholly foreign-owned companies may, at their discretion, allocate a portion of their after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to staff welfare and bonus funds. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends.

 

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Regulations Relating to Employment

 

The PRC Labor Law and the Labor Contract Law require that employers must execute written employment contracts with full-time employees. If an employer fails to enter into a written employment contract with an employee within one year from the date on which the employment relationship is established, the employer must rectify the situation by entering into a written employment contract with the employee and pay the employee twice the employee’s salary for the period from the day following the lapse of one month from the date of establishment of the employment relationship to the day prior to the execution of the written employment contract. All employers must compensate their employees with wages equal to at least the local minimum wage standards. Violations of the PRC Labor Law and the Labor Contract Law may result in the imposition of fines and other administrative sanctions, and serious violations may result in criminal liabilities.

 

Enterprises in China are required by PRC laws and regulations to participate in certain employee benefit plans, including social insurance funds, namely a pension plan, a medical insurance plan, an unemployment insurance plan, a work-related injury insurance plan and a maternity insurance plan, and a housing provident fund, and contribute to the plans or funds in amounts equal to certain percentages of salaries, including bonuses and allowances, of the employees as specified by the local government from time to time at locations where they operate their businesses or where they are located. Failure to make adequate contributions to various employee benefit plans may be subject to fines and other administrative sanctions. Also, enterprises in China are required by PRC laws and regulations to serve as the individual income tax withholding agents and withhold individual income tax from their employees accordingly.

 

We have not made adequate contributions to employee benefit plans, as required by applicable PRC laws and regulations. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to PRC Laws Regulating Our Business and Industry—Failure to make adequate contributions to various employee benefit plans as required by PRC regulations may subject us to penalties.”

 

C.                                    Organizational Structure

 

The following diagram illustrates our corporate structure, including our subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities as of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F:

 

 


Notes:

 

(1)           HX Asia Investment Limited holds 19.99% equity stake of Musketeer Group Inc., an Indonesian online lending platform that offers consumption instalment loans.

 

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(2)           HX China Investment Limited holds 5.88% equity stake of Phoenix Intelligent Credit Group Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Phoenix Financial Group Ltd and operator of one of China’s leading peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms.

 

Contractual Arrangements with Wusu Company, Hexin Digital and Hexin Jiuding

 

Due to PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership and investment in value-added telecommunications services, and Internet content provision services in particular, we currently conduct these activities through Wusu Company, Hexin Digital and Hexin Jiuding, which we effectively control through a series of contractual arrangements. These contractual arrangements allow us to:

 

·                                          exercise effective control over Wusu Company, Hexin Digital and Hexin Jiuding;

 

·                                          receive substantially all of the economic benefits of Wusu Company, Hexin Digital and Hexin Jiuding; and

 

·                                          have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in Wusu Company, Hexin Digital and Hexin Jiuding when and to the extent permitted by PRC law.

 

As a result of these contractual arrangements, we have become the primary beneficiary of Wusu Company, Hexin Digital and Hexin Jiuding and we treat Wusu Company, Hexin Digital and Hexin Jiuding as our variable interest entities under U.S. GAAP. We have consolidated the financial results of Wusu Company, Hexin Digital and Hexin Jiuding in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

 

The following is a summary of the currently effective (i) contractual arrangements by and among our wholly-owned subsidiary, Hexin Yongheng, our consolidated variable interest entity, Wusu Company, and Hexin E-Commerce, the shareholder of Wusu Company, (ii) contractual arrangements by and among our wholly-owned subsidiary, Hexin Yongheng, our consolidated variable interest entity, Hexin Digital and Hexin Jinke, the shareholder of Hexin Digital, and (iii) contractual arrangements by and among our wholly-owned subsidiary, Hexin Yongheng, our consolidated variable interest entity, Hexin Jiuding and Hexin Fengze, the shareholder of Hexin Jiuding.

 

Agreements that Provide us Effective Control over Wusu Company

 

Internal Reorganization of Wusu Company. Prior to the internal reorganization of Wusu Company, Hexin E-Commerce, Jia Ming and Wu Shiwei, each held 94%, 5% and 1% of the equity interest of Wusu Company, respectively. On January 1, 2018, Hexin Yongheng, Wusu Company, Hexin E-Commerce, Jia Ming and Wu Shiwei entered into a series of agreements (the “2018 Wusu VIE Agreements”), and as a result of which, Hexin Yongheng became the primary beneficiary of and controlled Wusu Company. On November 20, 2020, for the purpose of internal reorganization and conducted under the sole and continuous control of Hexin Yongheng and us, Jia Ming and Wu Shiwei transferred 5% and 1% of equity interest of Wusu Company registered under their names to Hexin E-Commerce, which in turn and became the legal title owner of 100% of the equity interest of Wusu Company. On November 20, 2020, Hexin Yongheng, Wusu Company, Hexin E-Commerce, Jia Ming, Wu Shiwei and Wang Huan, the spouse of Jia Ming, entered into a VIE termination agreement, which terminated all rights and obligations with respect to each party thereto under the 2018 Wusu VIE Agreements. On December 1, 2020, Wusu Company, Hexin E-Commerce and Hexin Yongheng entered into new contractual agreements, and as a result of which, Hexin Yongheng remains the primary beneficiary of and controls Wusu Company.

 

Equity Interest Pledge Agreements. Pursuant to the equity interest pledge agreements, Hexin E-Commerce, the shareholder of Wusu Company, has pledged all of its equity interest in Wusu Company to guarantee the shareholder’s and Wusu Company’s performance of their obligations under the exclusive business cooperation agreement, exclusive option agreement and power of attorney. If Wusu Company or Hexin E-Commerce breaches their contractual obligations under these agreements, Hexin Yongheng, as pledgee, will be entitled to certain rights regarding the pledged equity interests, including being paid in priority based on the monetary valuation that the equity interest is converted into or receiving proceeds from the auction or sale of the pledged equity interests of Wusu Company in accordance with the PRC law. Hexin E-Commerce agrees that, during the term of the equity interest pledge agreements, it will not transfer the pledged equity interests or place or permit the existence of any security interest or encumbrance on the pledged equity interests without the prior written consent of Hexin Yongheng. The equity interest pledge agreements remain effective until Wusu Company and Hexin E-Commerce discharge all of their obligations under the contractual arrangements. We have registered the equity pledge with the relevant office of the Administration for Industry and Commerce in accordance with the PRC Property Rights Law.

 

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Powers of Attorney. Pursuant to the powers of attorney, Hexin E-Commerce has irrevocably appointed Hexin Yongheng to act as such shareholder’s exclusive attorney-in-fact to exercise all shareholder rights, including, but not limited to, voting on all matters of Wusu Company requiring shareholder approval, disposing of all or part of Hexin E-Commerce’s equity interest in Wusu Company, and appointing directors and executive officers. Hexin Yongheng is entitled to designate any person to act as such Hexin E-Commerce’s exclusive attorney-in-fact without notifying or the approval of Hexin E-Commerce, and if required by PRC law, Hexin Yongheng shall designate a PRC citizen to exercise such right. Each power of attorney will remain in force for so long as Hexin E-Commerce remains a shareholder of Wusu Company. Hexin E-Commerce has waived all the rights which have been authorized to Hexin Yongheng and will not exercise such rights.

 

Agreement that Allows us to Receive Economic Benefits from Wusu Company

 

Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreement. Under the exclusive business cooperation agreement between Hexin Yongheng and Wusu Company, Hexin Yongheng has the exclusive right to provide Wusu Company with technical support, consulting services and other services. Without Hexin Yongheng’s prior written consent, Wusu Company agrees not to accept the same or any similar services provided by any third party. Hexin Yongheng may designate other parties to provide services to Wusu Company. Wusu Company agrees to pay service fees on a monthly basis and at an amount determined by Hexin Yongheng after taking into account multiple factors, such as the complexity and difficulty of the services provided, the time consumed, the content and commercial value of services provided and the market price of comparable services. Hexin Yongheng owns the intellectual property rights arising out of the performance of this agreement. In addition, Wusu Company has granted Hexin Yongheng an irrevocable and exclusive option to purchase any or all of the assets and businesses of Wusu Company at the lowest price permitted under PRC law. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties or terminated by Hexin Yongheng unilaterally, this agreement will remain effective permanently.

 

Agreements that Provide us with the Option to Purchase the Equity Interest in Wusu Company

 

Exclusive Option Agreements of Wusu Company. Pursuant to the exclusive option agreements, Hexin E-Commerce has irrevocably granted Hexin Yongheng an exclusive option to purchase, or have its designated person or persons to purchase, at its discretion, to the extent permitted under PRC law, all or part of Hexin E-Commerce’s equity interests in Wusu Company. The purchase price is RMB10 (US$1.4) or the minimum price required by PRC law. If Hexin Yongheng exercises the option to purchase part of the equity interest held by Hexin E-Commerce, the purchase price shall be calculated proportionally. Wusu Company and Hexin E-Commerce have agreed to appoint any persons designated by Hexin Yongheng to act as Wusu Company’s directors. Without Hexin Yongheng’s prior written consent, Wusu Company shall not amend its articles of association, increase or decrease the registered capital, sell or otherwise dispose of its assets or beneficial interest, create or allow any encumbrance on its assets or other beneficial interests, provide any loans to any third parties, enter into any material contract with a value of more than RMB100,000 (US$14,123) (except those contracts entered into in the ordinary course of business), merge with or acquire any other persons or make any investments, or distribute dividends to Hexin E-Commerce. Hexin E-Commerce has agreed that, without Hexin Yongheng’s prior written consent, it will not dispose of its equity interests in Wusu Company or create or allow any encumbrance on its equity interests. These agreements will remain effective until all equity interests of Wusu Company held by Hexin E-Commerce have been transferred or assigned to Hexin Yongheng or its designated person(s).

 

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Agreements that Provide us Effective Control over Hexin Digital

 

Equity Interest Pledge Agreement. Pursuant to the equity interest pledge agreement dated August 1, 2019, Hexin Jinke has pledged all of its equity interest in Hexin Digital to guarantee Hexin Jinke’s and Hexin Digital’s performance of their obligations under the exclusive business cooperation agreement, loan agreement, exclusive option agreement and power of attorney. If Hexin Digital or Hexin Jinke breaches their applicable contractual obligations under these agreements, Hexin Yongheng, as pledgee, will be entitled to certain rights regarding the pledged equity interests, including being paid in priority based on the monetary valuation that the equity interest is converted into or receiving proceeds from the auction or sale of the pledged equity interests of Hexin Digital in accordance with the PRC law. Hexin Jinke agrees that, during the term of the equity interest pledge agreements, it will not transfer the pledged equity interests or place or permit the existence of any security interest or encumbrance on the pledged equity interests without the prior written consent of Hexin Yongheng. The equity interest pledge agreements remain effective until Hexin Digital and Hexin Jinke discharge all of their obligations under the contractual arrangements. We have registered the equity pledge with the relevant office of the Administration for Industry and Commerce in accordance with the PRC Property Rights Law.

 

Powers of Attorney. Pursuant to the power of attorney dated August 1, 2019, Hexin Jinke has irrevocably appointed Hexin Yongheng to act as its exclusive attorney-in-fact to exercise all shareholder rights, including, but not limited to, voting on all matters of Hexin Digital requiring shareholder approval, disposing of all or part of the shareholder’s equity interest in Hexin Digital, and appointing directors and executive officers. Hexin Yongheng is entitled to designate any person to act as such shareholder’s exclusive attorney-in-fact without notifying or the approval of such shareholder, and if required by PRC law, Hexin Yongheng shall designate a PRC citizen to exercise such right. The power of attorney will remain in force for so long as Hexin Jinke remains a shareholder of Hexin Digital. Hexin Jinke has waived all the rights which have been authorized to Hexin Yongheng and will not exercise such rights.

 

Agreement that Allows us to Receive Economic Benefits from Hexin Digital

 

Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreement. Under the exclusive business cooperation agreement dated August 1, 2019 between Hexin Yongheng and Hexin Digital, Hexin Yongheng has the exclusive right to provide Hexin Digital with technical support, consulting services and other services. Without Hexin Yongheng’s prior written consent, Heixn Digital agrees not to accept the same or any similar services provided by any third party. Hexin Yongheng may designate other parties to provide services to Hexin Digital. Hexin Digital agrees to pay service fees on a monthly basis and at an amount determined by Hexin Yongheng after taking into account multiple factors, such as the complexity and difficulty of the services provided, the time consumed, the content and commercial value of services provided and the market price of comparable services. Hexin Yongheng owns the intellectual property rights arising out of the performance of this agreement. In addition, Hexin Digital has granted Hexin Yongheng an irrevocable and exclusive option to purchase any or all of the assets and businesses of Hexin Digital at the lowest price permitted under PRC law. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties or terminated by Hexin Yongheng unilaterally, this agreement will remain effective permanently.

 

Agreements that Provide us with the Option to Purchase the Equity Interest in Hexin Digital

 

Exclusive Option Agreements of Hexin Digital. Pursuant to the exclusive option agreement dated August 1, 2019, Hexin Jinke, shareholder of Hexin Digital, has irrevocably granted Hexin Yongheng an exclusive right to purchase, or have its designated person or persons to purchase, at its discretion, to the extent permitted under PRC law, all or part of the shareholder’s equity interests in Hexin Digital. The purchase price is RMB10 (US$1.4) or the minimum price required by PRC law. If Hexin Yongheng exercises the option to purchase part of the equity interest held by a shareholder, the purchase price shall be calculated proportionally. Hexin Digital and Hexin Jinke have agreed to appoint any persons designated by Hexin Yongheng to act as Hexin Digital’s directors. Without Hexin Yongheng’s prior written consent, Hexin Digital shall not amend its articles of association, increase or decrease the registered capital, sell or otherwise dispose of its assets or beneficial interest, create or allow any encumbrance on its assets or other beneficial interests, provide any loans to any third parties, enter into any material contract with a value of more than RMB100,000 (US$14,123) (except those contracts entered into in the ordinary course of business), merge with or acquire any other persons or make any investments, or distribute dividends to the shareholders. Hexin Jinke has agreed that, without Hexin Yongheng’s prior written consent, it will not dispose of its equity interests in Hexin Digital or create or allow any encumbrance on its equity interests (except as permitted under the power of attorney or the equity interest pledge agreement). These agreements will remain effective until all equity interests of Hexin Digital held by its shareholder have been transferred or assigned to Hexin Yongheng or its designated person(s).

 

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Loan Agreement of Hexin Digital. Pursuant to the loan agreement between Hexin Yongheng and Hexin Jinke dated August 1, 2019, Hexin Yongheng made loans in an aggregate amount of RMB100.0 million (US$14.1 million) to Hexin Jinke solely for the capitalization of Hexin Digital. Pursuant to the loan agreement, the method of repayment shall be at the sole discretion of Hexin Yongheng. At the option of Hexin Yongheng, Hexin Jinke shall repay the loans by the transfer of all its equity interest in Hexin Digital to Hexin Yongheng or its designated person(s) pursuant to its respective exclusive option agreement. Hexin Jinke must pay all of the proceeds from sale of such equity interests to Hexin Yongheng. In the event that Hexin Jinke sells its equity interests to Hexin Yongheng or its designated person(s) with a price equivalent to or less than the amount of the principal, the loans will be interest free. If the price is higher than the amount of the principal, the excess amount will be paid to Hexin Yongheng as the loan interest. The loan must be repaid immediately under certain circumstances, including, among others, if a foreign investor is permitted to hold majority or 100% equity interest in Hexin Digital and Hexin Yongheng elects to exercise its exclusive equity purchase option. The term of the loans is ten years and can be extended upon mutual written consent of the parties.

 

Agreements that Provide us Effective Control over Hexin Jiuding

 

Equity Interest Pledge Agreement. Pursuant to the equity interest pledge agreement dated January 1, 2021, Hexin Fengze has pledged all of its equity interest in Hexin Jiuding to guarantee Hexin Fengze’s and Hexin Jiuding’s performance of their obligations under the exclusive business cooperation agreement, exclusive option agreement and power of attorney. If Hexin Fengze or Hexin Jiuding breaches their applicable contractual obligations under these agreements, Hexin Yongheng, as pledgee, will be entitled to certain rights regarding the pledged equity interests, including being paid in priority based on the monetary valuation that the equity interest is converted into or receiving proceeds from the auction or sale of the pledged equity interests of Hexin Jiuding in accordance with the PRC law. Hexin Fengze agrees that, during the term of the equity interest pledge agreements, it will not transfer the pledged equity interests or place or permit the existence of any security interest or encumbrance on the pledged equity interests without the prior written consent of Hexin Yongheng. The equity interest pledge agreements remain effective until Hexin Fengze and Hexin Jiuding discharge all of their obligations under the contractual arrangements. We have registered the equity pledge with the relevant office of the Administration for Industry and Commerce in accordance with the PRC Property Rights Law.

 

Powers of Attorney. Pursuant to the power of attorney dated January 1, 2021, Hexin Fengze has irrevocably appointed Hexin Yongheng to act as its exclusive attorney-in-fact to exercise all shareholder rights, including, but not limited to, voting on all matters of Hexin Jiuding requiring shareholder approval, disposing of all or part of the shareholder’s equity interest in Hexin Jiuding, and appointing directors and executive officers. Hexin Yongheng is entitled to designate any person to act as such shareholder’s exclusive attorney-in-fact without notifying or the approval of such shareholder, and if required by PRC law, Hexin Yongheng shall designate a PRC citizen to exercise such right. The power of attorney will remain in force for so long as Hexin Fengze remains a shareholder of Hexin Jiuding. Hexin Fengze has waived all the rights which have been authorized to Hexin Yongheng and will not exercise such rights.

 

Agreement that Allows us to Receive Economic Benefits from Hexin Jiuding

 

Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreement. Under the exclusive business cooperation agreement dated January 1, 2021 between Hexin Yongheng and Hexin Jiuding, Hexin Yongheng has the exclusive right to provide Hexin Jiuding with technical support, consulting services and other services. Without Hexin Yongheng’s prior written consent, Heixn Jiuding agrees not to accept the same or any similar services provided by any third party. Hexin Yongheng may designate other parties to provide services to Hexin Jiuding. Hexin Jiuding agrees to pay service fees on a monthly basis and at an amount determined by Hexin Yongheng after taking into account multiple factors, such as the complexity and difficulty of the services provided, the time consumed, the content and commercial value of services provided and the market price of comparable services. Hexin Yongheng owns the intellectual property rights arising out of the performance of this agreement. In addition, Hexin Jiuding has granted Hexin Yongheng an irrevocable and exclusive option to purchase any or all of the assets and businesses of Hexin Jiuding at the lowest price permitted under PRC law. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties or terminated by Hexin Yongheng unilaterally, this agreement will remain effective permanently.

 

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Agreements that Provide us with the Option to Purchase the Equity Interest in Hexin Jiuding

 

Exclusive Option Agreements of Hexin Jiuding Pursuant to the exclusive option agreement dated January 1, 2021, Hexin Fengze, shareholder of Hexin Jiuding, has irrevocably granted Hexin Yongheng an exclusive right to purchase, or have its designated person or persons to purchase, at its discretion, to the extent permitted under PRC law, all or part of the shareholder’s equity interests in Hexin Jiuding. The purchase price is RMB10 (US$1.4) or the minimum price required by PRC law. If Hexin Yongheng exercises the option to purchase part of the equity interest held by Hexin Fengze, the purchase price shall be calculated proportionally. Hexin Jiuding and Hexin Fengze have agreed to appoint any persons designated by Hexin Yongheng to act as Hexin Jiuding’s directors. Without Hexin Yongheng’s prior written consent, Hexin Jiuding shall not amend its articles of association, increase or decrease the registered capital, sell or otherwise dispose of its assets or beneficial interest, create or allow any encumbrance on its assets or other beneficial interests, provide any loans to any third parties, enter into any material contract with a value of more than RMB100,000 (US$14,123) (except those contracts entered into in the ordinary course of business), merge with or acquire any other persons or make any investments, or distribute dividends to the shareholders. Hexin Fengze has agreed that, without Hexin Yongheng’s prior written consent, it will not dispose of its equity interests in Hexin Jiuding or create or allow any encumbrance on its equity interests (except as permitted under the power of attorney or the equity interest pledge agreement). These agreements will remain effective until all equity interests of Hexin Jiuding held by its shareholder have been transferred or assigned to Hexin Yongheng or its designated person(s).

 

Compliance with PRC Law

 

In the opinion of Han Kun Law Offices, our PRC counsel:

 

·                                          the ownership structures of (i) Hexin Yongheng and Wusu Company, (ii) Hexin Yongheng and Hexin Digital, and (iii) Hexin Yongheng and Hexin Jiuding currently will not result in any violation of PRC laws or regulations currently in effect; and

 

·                                          the contractual arrangements among Hexin Yongheng, Wusu Company and Hexin E-Commerce, among Hexin Yongheng, Hexin Digital, Hexin Jinke, and among Hexin Yongheng, Hexin Jiuding and Hexin Fengze, governed by PRC law, currently are valid, binding and enforceable, and do not and will not result in any violation of PRC laws or regulations currently in effect.

 

However, there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations and rules. On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress approved the Foreign Investment Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2020. Under the Foreign Investment Law, “foreign investment” refers to the investment activities directly or indirectly conducted by foreign individuals, enterprises or other entities in China. Although it does not explicitly classify contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment, there is no assurance that foreign investment via contractual arrangement would not be interpreted as a type of indirect foreign investment activities under the definition in the future. In addition, the definition contains a catch-all provision which includes investments made by foreign investors through means stipulated in laws or administrative regulations or other methods prescribed by the State Council. Therefore, it still leaves leeway for future laws, administrative regulations or provisions promulgated by the State Council to provide for contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment. If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business do not comply with PRC government restrictions on foreign investment in value-added telecommunications services businesses, such as Internet content provision services, we could be subject to severe penalties, including being prohibited from continuing operations. On July 6, 2021, the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council jointly issued a document to crack down on illegal activities in the securities market and promote the high-quality development of the capital market, which, among other things, requires the relevant governmental authorities to strengthen cross-border oversight of law-enforcement and judicial cooperation, to enhance supervision over China-based companies listed overseas, and to establish and improve the system of extraterritorial application of the PRC securities laws. Since this document is relatively new, uncertainties still exist in relation to how soon legislative or administrative regulation making bodies will respond and what existing or new laws or regulations or detailed implementations and interpretations will be modified or promulgated, if any, and the potential impact such modified or new laws and regulations will have on companies like us. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government decides that our contractual arrangements under the variable interest entity structure do not comply with PRC regulations, or if the regulatory environment changes, we may have to change our business model and/or be subject to penalties”, “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to PRC Laws Regulating Our Business and Industry—We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC regulation of Internet-related businesses and companies, and any lack of requisite approvals, licenses or permits applicable to our business may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.”, “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to PRC Laws Regulating Our Business and Industry—Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of Chinese laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to us” and “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to PRC Laws Regulating Our Business and Industry—Substantial uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the newly enacted PRC Foreign Investment Law and how it may impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations.”

 

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D.                                    Property, Plant and Equipment

 

Our headquarters are located in Beijing. We have leased an aggregate of approximately 1,945 square meters of office space for our headquarters in Beijing and 125 square meters of office space for our subsidiaries and branches in other cities in China as of March 31, 2021. We lease our premises from unrelated third parties under operating lease agreements. Our servers are primarily hosted at Internet data centers owned by major domestic Internet data center providers. The hosting services agreements typically have one-year terms. We believe that we will be able to obtain adequate facilities, principally through leasing, to accommodate our future expansion plans.

 

ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

None.

 

ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

 

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F. This discussion and analysis may contain forward-looking statements based upon current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” or in other parts of this annual report on Form 20-F.

 

A.                                    Operating Results

 

Overview

 

Our Business

 

Historically, we generated revenues primarily from our loan facilitation services, post-origination services, and other related services. On December 30, 2020, we completed the disposal of P2P Business, which historically operated our loan facilitation services, post-origination services, and other related services. As a result, the operating results of our P2P Business have been retrospectively reclassified under discontinued operations for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

 

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Since August 2017, the Company started its microlending business and lent funds to borrowers up to their approved credit through its consolidated VIE, and since May 2019, the Company has ceased to issue new loans. Interest income was recognised based on the contractual interest rates of the loan. As of March 31, 2021, the outstanding balance of loan receivable, net of allowance was about US$5.5 million and the remaining loan term was within one year.

 

We launched our social e-commerce platform in May 2020 as a new business line for business transition, and we will continue to develop and invest in our social e-commerce platform to take advantage of China’s fast-growing e-commerce industry. Our social e-commerce platform offers high-quality and affordable products to consumers in China. We cooperate with major domestic e-commerce platforms and services marketplaces to select and source goods and services, and reward users with a small commission for every purchase, share or recommendation of a product made to friends. Since the launch of our social e-commerce platform, we have seen encouraging growth in a number of operating metrics, including transaction volume, monthly mobile active users and active mobile buyers. Although our e-commerce business is still in the early stages of development, where further investment is required, we are proactively executing our strategies to tap into the emerging group-buying communities and exploring other opportunities in China’s fast-growing e-commerce industry, such as live streaming e-commerce.

 

Our net revenues were USD 3.7 million, USD 6.9 million, and USD 1.8million for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. We had net income of USD 5.5 million, net loss of USD 71.2 million, net loss of USD 34.8 million for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

 

Discontinued Operations

 

According to ASC 205, the effect of discontinued operations of loan facilitation services, post-origination services, recommendation services and other related services for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021 has been accounted for retroactively in the consolidated statement of operations for all the periods presented. Results from these discontinued operations, net of income tax, were income of USD 13.1 million, loss of USD 23.8 million, loss of USD 6.4 million for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

 

Key Components of Results of Operations

 

Revenues

 

Revenues are comprised of commission from online marketplace, net, interest income and other revenues. The following table sets forth the components of our revenues by amounts and percentages of our total revenues for the periods presented:

 

 

 

For the Fiscal Years Ended March31,

 

 

 

2019

 

2020

 

2021

 

 

 

 

 

%of

 

 

 

%of

 

 

 

%of

 

 

 

(US$)

 

revenues

 

(US$)

 

revenues

 

(US$)

 

revenues

 

Revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commission service

 

 

 

 

 

82,054

 

4.6

%

Recommendation and other service, net

 

184,968

 

4.9

%

3,915,591

 

56.2

%

 

 

Interest income

 

3,552,759

 

95.1

%

3,043,096

 

43.7

%

1,690,448

 

95.3

%

Others

 

 

 

685

 

0.1

%

 

 

Total revenues

 

3,737,727

 

100.0

%

6,959,372

 

100.0

%

1,772,502

 

100.0

%

Business and sales related taxes

 

42,510

 

1.1

%

44,898

 

0.6

%

17,567

 

0.1

%

Net Revenues

 

3,695,217

 

 

6,914,475

 

 

1,754,935

 

 

 

Commissions from online marketplace, net

 

Since May 2020, we launched our marketplace business, allowing third-party merchants to sell their products on the platform or cooperating with other mainstream e-commerce platform, and charge commissions from them. The revenues from the marketplace business are recognized on a net basis at the point of receipt of products, net of return allowance and incentives to consumers or channels .

 

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Recommendation and other service, net

 

We started to provide recommendation services by referring certain borrowers to financial partners since December 2018. Such services primarily include referral through our marketplace that directs users to financial partners. We receive referral fees from the financial partners and such revenue is recognized at the point that the recommendation services are performed and the related funds are drawdown by borrowers.

 

Interest income

 

The Company started to lend funds to microlending borrowers up to their approved credit amount since August 2017 and recognized interest income.

 

Operating costs and expenses

 

Our operating costs and expenses primarily consist of service and development expenses, sales and marketing expenses, general and administrative expenses, provision for loans receivable, impairment charge on long term investments, finance cost and share-based compensation. The following table sets forth a breakdown of our operating costs and expenses for the periods indicated:

 

 

 

For the Fiscal Years Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

2020

 

2021

 

 

 

US$

 

US$

 

US$

 

Operating costs and expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service and development expenses

 

 

1,032,562

 

544,572

 

Sales and marketing expenses

 

1,167,469

 

1,462,798

 

1,087,009

 

General and administrative expenses

 

3,131,550

 

20,488,796

 

27,217,613

 

Impairment charge on long term investments

 

 

29,189,836

 

1,600,000

 

Finance cost

 

 

2,498,706

 

2,154,621

 

Share-based compensation

 

6,585,386

 

347,466

 

55,468

 

Total operating costs and expenses

 

10,884,404

 

55,020,163

 

32,659,283

 

 

Service and development expenses

 

Service and development expenses consist primarily of salaries, benefits and service costs directly relating to developing our social e-commerce platform and servicing users. These expenses relate to maintenance and upgrading of our proprietary technology, live customer support, and service fees paid to third-parties.

 

Sales and marketing expenses

 

Sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of channel fee, expenses for building our brand recognition and salaries and benefits related to our sales and marketing team.

 

General and administrative expenses

 

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries and benefits related to our management, accounting and finance, legal and human resources teams, loan provisions made for our microlending business and other operating expenses.

 

Impairment charge on long term investments

 

Impairment charge on long term investments consists of the recognition of the full impairment of our investment in Musketeer Group Inc. as of March 31, 2021 and full impairment of our investment in Phoenix Intelligent Credit Group Ltd as of March 31, 2020.

 

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Finance cost

 

Finance cost consists primarily of interest expenses for senior notes.

 

Share-based compensation

 

Share-based compensation was expenses related to awards granted under the Amended and Restated 2016 Equity Incentive Plan which began vesting on November 3, 2017.

 

Income Taxes

 

Cayman Islands

 

We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands currently levies no taxes on individuals or corporations based upon profits, income, gains or appreciation and there is no taxation in the nature of inheritance tax or estate duty.

 

Hong Kong

 

Our wholly-owned Hong Kong subsidiary is an investment holding company registered in Hong Kong and is exempted from income tax on its foreign-derived income.

 

PRC

 

Our subsidiary, Hexin Yongheng and Tianjin Haohongyuan, and our consolidated VIEs, Wusu Company, Hexin Jiuding, all established in the PRC, are subject to the PRC statutory income tax rate of 25%, according to the EIT Law. Our VIE, Hexin Digital, was granted the “high technology enterprise” status since October 21, 2020 and thus qualified to a preferred income tax rate of 15%.

 

Pursuant to the EIT law and its implementation rules, dividends paid to non-PRC resident enterprise investors that are considered PRC-sourced are subject to a 10% withholding tax. Under the Arrangement between Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion on Income (the “Arrangement”), a qualified Hong Kong tax resident which is determined by the competent PRC tax authority to have satisfied relevant requirements under the Arrangement and other applicable PRC laws is entitled to a reduced withholding tax rate of 5%.

 

For the fiscal years ended March 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021, the income tax provision was US$0.8 million, US$0.5 million and US$0.5 million, respectively. Our effective tax rates for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020 were (11.9%), (1.0%) and (1.6%), respectively.

 

Effective January 1, 2012, the PRC Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation launched a Business Tax to Value-Added Tax Transformation Pilot Program, which imposes VAT in lieu of business tax for certain “modern service industries” in certain regions and eventually expanded to nation-wide application in 2013. On March 23, 2016, the PRC Ministry of Finance and the SAT released the Circular on Comprehensively Promoting the Pilot Program of the Collection of Value-added Tax in Lieu of Business Tax, or Circular 36. According to Circular 36, the “modern service industries” include research, development and technology services, information technology services, cultural innovation services, logistics support, lease of corporeal properties and attestation and consulting services. According to Circular 36, our PRC subsidiary was subject to VAT at a rate of 6% in lieu of business tax. With the adoption of the VAT Pilot Program, the amount of our revenue that is subject to VAT payable on goods sold or taxable services provided by a general VAT taxpayer for a taxable period is the net balance of the output VAT for the period after crediting the input VAT for the period. Hence, the amount of VAT payable does not result directly from output VAT generated from goods sold or taxable services provided. Therefore, we have adopted the net presentation of VAT.

 

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Results of Operations

 

The following table sets forth a summary of our consolidated results of operations for the periods indicated, both in absolute amount and as a percentage of our net revenue This information should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F. Our historical results presented below are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for any future period.

 

 

 

For the Fiscal Years Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

2020

 

2021

 

 

 

US$

 

US$

 

US$

 

NET REVENUES

 

3,695,217

 

6,914,474

 

1,754,935

 

OPERATING COSTS AND EXPENSES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service and development

 

 

1,032,562

 

544,572

 

Sales and marketing

 

1,167,469

 

1,462,798

 

1,087,009

 

General and administrative

 

3,131,550

 

20,488,796

 

27,217,613

 

Finance cost

 

 

2,498,706

 

2,154,621

 

Impairment charge on long-term investments

 

 

29,189,836

 

1,600,000

 

Share-based compensation

 

6,585,386

 

347,466

 

55,468

 

Total operating costs and expenses

 

10,884,404

 

55,020,163

 

32,659,283

 

LOSS FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS

 

(7,189,187

)

(48,105,689

)

(30,904,348

)

Total other income (loss), net

 

381,150

 

1,232,160

 

(164,919

)

LOSS FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS BEFORE INCOME TAXES

 

(6,808,037

)

(46,873,529

)

(31,069,266

)

Income tax expenses

 

807,710

 

489,955

 

482,976

 

NET LOSS FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS

 

(7,615,748

)

(47,363,484

)

(31,552,242

)

Net income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of income taxes

 

13,148,329

 

(23,834,894

)

(6,439,549

)

Gain from disposal of discontinued operations, net of income taxes

 

 

 

3,164,802

 

NET INCOME (LOSS)

 

5,532,581

 

(71,198,378

)

(34,826,989

)

 

The following table sets forth our revenues breakdown for the periods indicated:

 

 

 

For the Fiscal Years Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

2020

 

2021

 

 

 

(US$)

 

(US$)

 

(US$)

 

Revenues(1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commissions from online marketplace, net

 

 

 

82,054

 

Recommendation and other service, net

 

184,968

 

3,915,591

 

 

Interest income

 

3,552,759

 

3,043,096

 

1,690,448

 

Others

 

 

685

 

 

Total revenues

 

3,737,727

 

6,959,372

 

1,772,502

 

Business and sales related taxes

 

42,510

 

44,898

 

17,567

 

Net Revenues

 

3,695,217

 

6,914,475

 

1,754,935

 

 


(1)         Represents amounts net of VAT.

 

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Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2021 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2020

 

Net revenues   Net revenues generated for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 was US$1.8 million, representing a decrease of 74.6% from US$6.9 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020.

 

·                      Commissions from online marketplace, net   Commissions from online marketplace was US$0.1 million, The Company launched its social e-commerce platform in May 2020.

 

·                      Recommendation and other service, net   Recommendation and other service revenue was nil for the fiscal year ended on March 31, 2021, compared to US$3.9 million for the fiscal year ended March 31,2020. The recommendation revenue was generated by referring certain borrowers to Funding Partners in from July to September 2019.

 

·                      Interest income   Interest income was US$1.7 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, compared to US$3.0 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 , the decrease of interest income was mainly  due to the decrease of outstanding balance of loans issued by microlending business. The Company has ceased to issued new loans since May 2019 and has exiting the microlending business since October 2019.

 

Interest income and recommendation service revenue was presented as revenue from continuing operation as the Company currently had no intention to sell or plan to find a buyer for the disposal of such business and might continue to carry out them in the foreseeable future when the economic condition improved and the pandemic controlled

 

Operating costs and expenses     Total operating costs and expenses for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 were US$32.7 million, a decrease of 40.6% from US$55.0 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020. The decrease was primarily due to a decrease in impairment charge on long term investments.

 

·                      Service and development expenses   Service and development expenses for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 were US$0.5 million, a decrease of 47.3% from US$1.0 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020. The decrease was primarily attributable to the decrease in employee expenses.

 

·                      Sales and marketing expenses   Sales and marketing expenses for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 were US$1.1 million, a decrease of 25.7% from US$1.5 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020. The decrease was primarily due to a decrease in employee expenses and advertising expenses.

 

·                      General and administrative expenses  General and administrative expenses for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 were US$27.2 million, an increase of 32.8% from US$20.5 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020. The increase was primarily attributable to the Company has increased its allowance for uncollectable loans for its micro-lending business from US$13.2 million in fiscal year 2020 to US$22.2 million in fiscal year 2021 based on recent collection history and in light of the continuing impact from COVID-19.

 

·                      Finance cost    Finance cost for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 was US$2.2 million, a decrease of 11.4% from US$2.5 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 due to the repayment of US$10.0 million principal in December 2020.

 

·                      Impairment charge on long-term investments   The Company recognized fully impairment of its equity investment in Musketeer Group Inc. as of March 31, 2021.

 

·                      Share-based compensation   Share-based compensation for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 was US$0.1 million, a decrease of 84.0% from US$0.3 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020. The decrease was attributable to decrease in the recognition of the share-based compensation in connection with the options and restricted share units granted under the Amended and Restated 2016 Equity Incentive Plan.

 

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Total other (expense)income    Our other expense was US$0.2 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, as compared to other income of US$1.2 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, due to the effect of changes in exchange rate, which resulted in exchange gains in fiscal year 2020 while exchange losses in fiscal year 2021 .

 

Provision for income tax      Our income tax expense was US$0.5 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, as compared to US$0.5 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020. The income tax was primarily resulted from microlending business.

 

Net loss from continuing operations    Loss from continuing operations, net of income taxes, for fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, was US$31.6 million, compared to US$47.4 million in the same prior period of fiscal year 2020. Net loss from continuing operations was mainly resulted from provision for loan receivables and impairment charged on long-term investment.

 

Net loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes    Net loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes, for fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, was US$6.4 million, compared to a loss of US$23.8 million in the prior period.

 

Gain from disposal of discontinued operations, net of income taxes    We recognized a gain from the disposal of discontinued operations, net of income taxes, of US$3.2 million in connection with the sale of P2P Business for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021.

 

Net loss   As a result of the above factors, we had net loss of US$34.8 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, compared to net loss of US$71.2 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020.

 

Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2020 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2019

 

Net revenues    Net revenues during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 was US$6.9 million, representing an increase of 87.1% from US$3.7 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.

 

·                      Recommendation and other service, net  We started to provide recommendation services by referring certain borrowers to financial partners since December 2018. Such services primarily include referral through our marketplace that directs users to financial partners. We receive referral fees from the financial partners and such revenue is recognized at the point that the recommendation services are performed and the related funds are drawdown by borrowers. For the years ended March 31, 2019 and 2020, we earned US$0.9 million and US$3.8 million recommendation service revenue from our partnership with the Funding Partner, respectively.

 

·                      Interest income   Interest income decreased from US$3.6 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019 to US$3.0 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 due to the decrease of outstanding balance of loans issued through Wusu Company.

 

Operating costs and expenses    Total operating costs and expenses in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 were US$55.0 million, an increase of 405.5% from US$10.9 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. The increase was primarily due to an increase in general and administrative expenses, provision for uncollectable loans receivable, impairment charge on long term investment and finance cost incurred.

 

·                      Service and development expenses   Service and development expenses in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 were US$1.0million, compared with nil in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. The increase was primarily attributable to the increase in employee expenses and expenses relate to maintenance and upgrading of our technology, live customer support, and service fees paid to third-parties.

 

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·                      Sales and marketing expenses   Sales and marketing expenses in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 were US$1.5 million, an increase of 25.3% from US$1.2 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. The increase was primarily due to an increase in employee expenses and advertising expenses for brand recognition.

 

·                      General and administrative expenses   General and administrative expenses in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 were US$7.3 million, an increase of 134.0% from US$3.1 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. The increase was primarily attributable to the employee expenses and professional service fees.

 

·                      Provision for loans receivable   Provision for loans receivable in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 was US$13.1 million, compared with nil in fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. The Company has increased its allowance for uncollectable loans for its micro-lending business based on recent collection history and the impact from COVID-19.

 

·                      Finance cost    We incurred finance cost of US$2.5 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, mainly due to the interest expenses for senior notes in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020.

 

·                      Impairment charge on long-term investments    The Company recognized fully impairment of its equity investment in Phoenix Intelligent Credit Group Ltd as of March 31, 2020.

 

·                      Share-based compensation   Share-based compensation in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 was US$0.3 million, a decrease of 94.7% from US$6.6 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. The decrease was attributable to decrease in the recognition of the share-based compensation in connection with the options and restricted share units granted under the Amended and Restated 2016 Equity Incentive Plan. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, 23,153 of the options granted have been vested, and 12,967 of the restricted share units granted have been vested.

 

Total other income    Our other income was US$1.2 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, as compared to US$0.4 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, due to increase in exchange gain.

 

Provision for income tax    Our income tax expense was US$0.5 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, as compared to US$0.8 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.

 

Net loss from continuing operations    Loss from continuing operations, net of income taxes, for fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, was US$47.4 million, as compared to US$7.6 million in the prior period.

 

Net loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes    Net loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes, for fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, was US$23.8 million, compared to a loss of US$13.1 million in the prior period.

 

Net (loss) income    As a result of the above factors, we had net loss of US$71.2 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, compared to net income of US$5.5 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.

 

Changes in Financial Position

 

As of March 31, 2021, our cash and cash equivalents were US$15.1 million, representing an increase of US$4.2 million from US$10.9 million as of March 31, 2020, mainly due to an increase in cash generated from operating activities. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, our net cash used in investing activities was US$0.1 million, compared to that of US$12.8 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, primarily attributable to the payment of consideration for long-term investment.

 

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As of March 31, 2020, our cash and cash equivalents were US$6.7 million, representing a decrease of US$23.6 from US$30.2 million as of March 31, 2019, mainly due to a net loss of US$47.4 million. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, our net cash generated from investing activities was US$17.4 million, compared to the net cash used in investing activities of US$22.4 for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, primarily attributable to the collection of loan receivables of US$33.8 million.

 

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

 

Recently adopted accounting pronouncements

 

In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-13, Financial Instruments—Credit Losses (Topic 326), which requires entities to measure all expected credit losses for financial assets held at the reporting date based on historical experience, current conditions, and reasonable and supportable forecasts. This replaces the existing incurred loss model and is applicable to the measurement of credit losses on financial assets measured at amortized cost. This ASU is effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after December 15, 2019. Early application is permitted for all entities for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after December 15, 2018. The Group adopted the new standard beginning April 1, 2020 using the modified retrospective transition approach. Based on the nature of the Company’s financial instruments within the scope of this standard, which are primarily accounts receivable, loans receivable and other receivables, the adoption of the new standard did not have a material effect on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.

 

Recently issued accounting pronouncements not yet adopted

 

In January 2020, the FASB issued ASU 2020-01, Investments—Equity Securities (Topic 321), Investments—Equity Method and Joint Ventures (Topic 323), which clarifies that a company should consider observable transactions that require a company to either apply or discontinue the equity method of accounting under Topic 323, Investments—Equity Method and Joint Ventures, for the purposes of applying the measurement alternative in accordance with Topic 321 immediately before applying or upon discontinuing the equity method. The ASU is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2020, and interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted, including early adoption in an interim period, for periods for which financial statements have not yet been issued. The Company is currently evaluating the impact of this update on its consolidated financial statements.

 

In December 2019, the FASB issued ASU No. 2019-12, Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes, as part of its initiative to reduce complexity in accounting standards. The amendments in the ASU are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2020, including interim periods therein. Early adoption of the standard is permitted, including adoption in interim or annual periods for which financial statements have not yet been issued. The adoption of this standard is not expected to have a material impact on the Group’s consolidated financial statements.

 

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The Company does not believe other recently issued but not yet effective accounting standards, if currently adopted, would have a material effect on the consolidated balance sheets, consolidated statements of comprehensive loss and consolidated statements of cash flows.

 

B.                                    Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

We have financed our operations primarily through cash provided by operating activities, capital raised from our initial public offering and the proceeds from the three-year senior unsecured note we issued to Majik Fund SPC. We plan to finance our future operations primarily from cash generated from our operations and cash on hand. As of March 31, 2019, 2010 and 2021, we had US$35.7 million, US$6.7 million, and US$15.1 million, respectively, in cash on hand and cash deposited with banks. As of March 31, 2019, 2010 and 2021, our working capital (excluding the amount due from related parties) amounted to US$70.9 million, US$36.7 million and US$17.3 million, respectively. We believe that our current cash, cash flows provided by operating activities, net proceeds from our initial public offering and the proceeds from the three-year senior unsecured note we issued to Majik Fund SPC will be sufficient to meet our working capital needs in the next 12 months from the date of this annual report on Form 20-F.

 

In October 2018, we entered into an agreement with Shell Energy (China) Limited, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, to support liquidity and market developments of China’s national emissions trading scheme (“ETS”). Under the ETS, polluting companies have emission quotas and they can trade carbon credits to meet the imposed quotas. Cleaner companies are rewarded by selling such credits to companies that exceed their quotas. According to the agreement, we will provide price hedging for a substantial volume of National Carbon Allowances for three years, beginning when the cement sector is enrolled in the ETS and when the Chinese carbon offsets, such as Chinese Certified Emission Reduction can be used for compliance purposes.

 

Substantially all of our operations are conducted in China, and all of our revenue, expenses, cash and cash equivalents are denominated in RMB. RMB is subject to the exchange control regulation in China, and, as a result, we may have difficulty distributing any dividends outside of China due to PRC exchange control regulations that restrict our ability to convert RMB into U.S. dollars.

 

We have limited financial obligations dominated in U.S. dollars, thus the foreign currency restrictions and regulations in the PRC on dividend distribution will not have a material impact on our liquidity, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Holding Company Structure

 

We are a holding company with no material operations of our own. We conduct our operations primarily through our PRC subsidiaries, including our joint venture and our consolidated affiliated entities in China. As a result, our ability to pay dividends and to finance any debt we may incur depends upon direct and indirect dividends paid by our subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities. If any of our subsidiaries or consolidated affiliated entities or any newly formed subsidiaries or consolidated affiliated entities incurs debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing their debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends to us. In addition, our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated entities are permitted to pay dividends only out of their respective retained earnings, if any, as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. Under PRC law, our PRC subsidiaries, consolidated affiliated entities and their subsidiaries, except for our joint venture, are required to set aside a portion of their respective after-tax profits each year to fund a statutory reserve. Our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated entities may also set aside a portion of their respective after-tax profits to fund the employee welfare fund at the discretion of the board of directors or the enterprise itself. Although the statutory reserves can be used, among other ways, to increase the registered capital and eliminate future losses in excess of retained earnings of the respective companies, the reserve funds are not distributable as cash dividends except in the event of liquidation of these subsidiaries or consolidated affiliated entities, as applicable.

 

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C.                                    Capital Expenditures

 

Our capital expenditures consist primarily of expenditures for the purchase of property, equipment and software. We made capital expenditures of US$0.9 million, US$0.3 million and US$0.02million for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively, primarily due to purchases of electronics, office equipment, vehicle and leasehold improvements for our office as a result of our business growth.

 

D.                                    Research and Development

 

As of March 31, 2021, we have a dedicated product development team consisting of 36 full-time employees. This team is responsible for developing and implementing new products to introduce on to our marketplace.

 

E.                                    Trend Information

 

Other than as disclosed elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F, we are not aware of any trends, uncertainties, demands, commitments or events for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 that are reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on our net revenues, income, profitability, liquidity or capital resources, or that would cause the disclosed financial information to be not necessarily indicative of future operating results or financial conditions.

 

F.                                     Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

 

We did not have any off-balance sheet arrangements as of March 31, 2021.

 

G.                                   Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations

 

Contractual obligations and commitments

 

We lease our main office space under an irrevocable operating lease agreement. Rental expenses under operating leases for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021 were US$2,219,743, US$1,976,738, and US$ 398,709 respectively. Effective on April 1, 2019, the Company adopted the new lease accounting standard using a modified retrospective transition method in relation to right of use lease assets. See “Item 18. Financial Statements — Note 11 — Right of Use Lease Assets.”

 

As of March 31, 2021, the Company had no future minimum lease payment.

 

In March 2019, we issued a US$20 million three-year senior unsecured note due 2022 to Majik Fund SPC, an exempted company managed by a subsidiary of Yunfeng Financial Group Limited. Under the arrangement, the senior unsecured note bears a fixed interest rate of 12.0% per annum, with interest payable semi-annually in arrears.

 

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Other than those shown above, we did not have any significant capital and other commitments, long-term obligations, or guarantees as of March 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

 

H.                                   Safe Harbor

 

This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “will,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “confident” and similar statements. Among other things, the sections titled “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors,” “Item 4. Information on the Company,” and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” in this annual report on Form 20-F, as well as our strategic and operational plans, contain forward-looking statements. We may also make written or oral forward-looking statements in our filings with the SEC, in our annual report to shareholders, in press releases and other written materials and in oral statements made by our officers, directors or employees to third parties. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about our beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements and are subject to change, and such change may be material and may have a material and adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations for one or more prior periods. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained, either expressly or impliedly, in any of the forward-looking statements in this annual report on Form 20-F. Potential risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, our goals and strategies, our future business development, financial condition and results of operations, ability to retain and grow our user base and network of local merchants for our online marketplace, the growth of, and trends in, the markets for our services in China, the demand for and market acceptance of our brand and services, competition in our industry in China, our ability to maintain the network infrastructure necessary to operate our website and mobile applications, relevant government policies and regulations relating to our corporate structure, business and industry, and our ability to protect our users’ information and adequately address privacy concerns. All information provided in this annual report on Form 20-F and in the exhibits is as of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F, and we do not undertake any obligation to update any such information, except as required under applicable law.

 

ITEM 6. DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

 

A.                                    Directors and Senior Management

 

The following table sets forth information regarding our directors and executive officers as of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F.

 

 Name

 

Age

 

Position with the Company

Executive Directors and Officers:

 

 

 

 

Xiaobo An

 

38

 

Director, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Rui (Kerrie) Zhang

 

38

 

Chief Financial Officer

Wenjuan (Vivian) Liu

 

35

 

Director

Non-Executive Directors: