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Wish's deep discount sale to Singapore's Qoo10 ramps up competition for Temu and Shein

Hours after Super Bowl viewers were inundated with ads from discount retailer Temu, an online dollar store that used to have similar buzz was acquired at a price that shows the difficulty of sustaining growth in e-commerce.

Wish, which was valued at $14 billion at the time of its IPO in 2020, said Monday that it's being acquired by Singapore's Qoo10 for $173 million in cash, 99% below its peak price.

Founded in 2010 and based in San Francisco, Wish made a name for itself with ultracheap goods primarily sold by Chinese manufacturers. Co-founder Peter Szulczewski bet shoppers would be willing to accept weeks-long delivery times in exchange for bargain basement prices.

The Temu marketing blitz, which blanketed Facebook and Instagram well before Sunday's Super Bowl, is also familiar to anyone who followed Wish. The company spent heavily on Facebook's platforms to attract shoppers, and struck a deal to put its logo on Los Angeles Lakers jerseys.

But the company was bleeding cash, and last November, after ousting Szulczewski as its CEO, said it was exploring strategic alternatives.

Qoo10 will now be taking on Temu and Shein, which both originated in China and still have strong ties to the world's second-biggest economy. TikTok, owned by China's ByteDance, also launched an online marketplace in the U.S. last year. The companies have shown they're willing to spend heavily to attract shoppers, as well as lose money on sales of cheap products by offering free shipping and hefty discounts.

Their ad spend provided a big boost to Meta's top line, but it's hurt retailers like handmade goods purveyor Etsy, which acknowledged last year that Temu and Shein are "taking a little bit of share from everyone."

During and shortly after the Super