China’s vapor market has mushroomed offline after the country banned online sales of e-cigarettes about a year ago, reports Bloomberg. Not even the coronavirus has stopped the expansion.
RELX Technology, the country’s largest player, opened more than 1,000 stores in the first half of 2020, and said in January it planned to add 10,000 outlets within the next three years. Its rival, Yooz, has also boosted the number of stores.
Shares in Smoore International Holdings, the world’s largest maker of vaping devices and components for brands, have more than quadrupled in value since the company’s July debut, making it one of Hong Kong’s best-performing initial public offerings of the year. RELX and Yooz are both clients of Smoore.
Smoore founder Chen Zhiping’s net worth has surged to $14.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
While the coronavirus outbreak affected Smoore’s production and operations in the first quarter of the year, it still managed to post a 19 percent increase in revenue to CNY3.9 billion ($592 million) for the first six months, with more than half of its sales coming from mainland China and Hong Kong.
Smoore held one-sixth of the global market share for vaping products by revenue last year, and that pie is poised to grow further, according to Frost & Sullivan data it cited in its prospectus. The $36.7 billion global e-cigarette market will reach $111.5 billion by 2024, increasing at an annual compound rate of 25 percent, projections show.
Mounting restrictions on vapor products globally, including a ban on certain e-cigarette flavor in the world’s largest vapor market, the United States, haven’t scared off investors. Stocks linked to China’s consumer sector have been particularly popular this year as the nation has been among the first to emerge from the pandemic.