Molbase's financials point to the challenges of running a chemicals marketplace

December 14, 2020 | Case Study

Molbase, a leading Chinese digital sales platform (DSP) for chemicals, released a 2019 annual report that shows four key revenue sources: $1.9 billion from direct trading of chemicals (acting as a traditional chemicals distributor), $3.8 million from its marketplace, $1.5 million from its membership service, and around $100,000 in revenue from financial services. For context, the platform had a gross merchandise value (total sales by third parties) of $37 billion in 2019. Molbase's gross profit from chemicals trading is $14 million; the profitability of its marketplace and services isn't clear, but the company is not profitable overall.

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