China Tech Newsletter – May 6, 2015

Xiaominote
image credit: Xiaomi

Xiaomi Note Pro, a high-end addition to Xiaomi Note series, is so far the highest priced Xiaomi phone that will be sold at RMB2999 (about US$480). It will go on sale on May 12 at Mi Home stores and on Xiaomi’s online store in China.


NubiaZ9

Smartphone maker Nubia launches its new flagship smartphone Z9, which is equipped with high-end specs and a “bezel-less” display.

It comes in three models that are priced a RMB3499 (about US$560), RMB3999 (about RMB640) and RMB4499 (about US$720).


 

image credit: QiKU
image credit: QiKU

The joint venture established by Qihoo 360 (NYSE:QIHU) and smartphone maker Coolpad (02369. HK) in late 2014 unveils its smartphone brand: QiKU.

The first batch of QiKU phones will come in three models. Any pre-installed apps in QiKU phones including Qihoo’s own flagship security app would be uninstallable without rooting, according to Zhou Hongyi, CEO of Qihoo 360 (Mr. Zhou’s team have been notorious for making their previous desktop internet services uninstallable). Mr. Zhou also said their phones would be sold at cost.


Palcw, a business-facing auto financing platform under the leading Chinese insurer Ping An, announces Series A round of financing from Zhong Hui Guo Chuang and Zhong Xing Guo Tou. (via Chinanews.com)

Palcw connects investors with auto dealers, car rental companies or other car-related services in need of financing. The company has also launched two investment funds, by partnering with big auto companies and Didi (transport app developer), respectively, that are sold online.

More than 40 auto dealers have successfully raised financing from more than 2400 investors through the platform since its launch in September 2014, according to the company.


Rideshare app Dida Pinche announced Series C round of funding led by China Renaissance Capital Investment and joined by TBP, IDG Capital Partners and Yiche. The nine-month-old startup said their Series A investment was from IDG Capital Partners and Series B from Yiche.

There are about two dozen rideshare apps in China. The well-funded include Tiantian Yongche (funded by Sequoia Capital, Baidu and Innovation Works) and 51yongche (backed by Shunwei Capital Partners, Sequoia Capital, Baidu and Innovation Works).

Didi, the leading transport app developer, has also recently launched ridesharing service Didi Shunfengche.


Ai Wu Ji Wu, an online marketplace for homes for rent and sale, announces US$120 million in Series D financing led by GGV Capital and Morningside Ventures, and joined by Shunwei Capital Partners and Banyan Capital.

Starting with an online platform for rental homes in June 2014, the platform added a channel for used homes for sale earlier this year. Its services currently only available in the four first-tier cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.


1688.com, the marketplace for domestic wholesale trade of Alibaba Group, has added a new platform for foreign goods. After Chinese customers place orders online, 1688 and Taobao Partners, third-party fulfilment services, will help import the goods.

The first foreign wholesalers that have signed up are from Spain. More merchants from Italy and South Korea will get on board soon, according to the company.


Uber’s office in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan Province, was raided today. (via Zhibo Chengdu at Weibo) Its Guangzhou office was raided by transport officials last week.


Baozun, Alibaba-backed e-commerce solution provider that has filed for IPO on the NASDAQ, updated its new SEC filing to reflect its most recent financials for the first quarter of 2015.

baozun


Autohome Inc. (NYSE:ATHM) reports first quarter 2015 earnings.

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