China Tech Newsletter – May 13, 2015

Screen Shots of Letv Sports Mobile App
Screen Shots of Letv Sports Mobile App

Letv Sports Culture Develop (Beijing) Co., Ltd., or Letv Sports, announces RMB800 million (about US$130m) in Series A round of financing from Wanda InvestmentYF Capital (co-founded by Alibaba’s Jack Ma), Fortune Link, Prometheus Capital and a number of individual investors. This round values Letv Sports at RMB2.8 billion (about US$450m).

Its parent company Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp. (300104.SZ), or LeTV, now only holds 10% of Letv Sports. Established in 2012 as the sports channel of LeTV’s video streaming service, Letv Sports was spun off in early 2014.

Letv Sports provides video content of 121 sporting events in 12 categories and live streams 4000 matches a year, according to the company. It also produces original sports shows.

Currently its major revenue source is advertising. The company plans to diversify revenue steams through pay-per-view streams, sports lottery, sports merchandise and sports tourism, Liu Jianhong, the chief content officer of LeTV Sports, said at an event earlier this month.

Transport app developer Didi-Kuaidi launches ridesharing service Didi Kuaiche in eight major Chinese cities, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing and Wuhan. It’s now available on Didi’s taxi-hailing app Didi Dache.

Rideshare rates are lower than taxi prices and vary among different cities. Didi-Kuaidi said it’d not charge commissions or fees. Instead, it would subsidize drivers.

The company is also testing another ridesharing service Didi Shunfengche which is expected to launch in June.

There are now more than two dozen rideshare apps in China, including 51Yongche (funded by Sequoia Capital, Innovation Works, Shunwei Capital Partners and Baidu), Tiantian Yongche (funded by Sequoia Capital, Baidu and Innovation Works) and Dida Pinche (funded by IDG Capital Partners and Yiche).

Renren is transforming into a social finance company, its CEO Joseph Chen announced today after the company posted first quarter results.

Renren Personal Finance (our translation), a peer-to-peer lending site, also launched today. The company plans to use the funds raised through the platform to finance Renren Installment (our translation), a shopping site for college students that offers installment billing. Launched in October 2014, Renren Installment has had 270,000 registered customers.

Since 2012 Renren has invested in a number of fintech startups in the U.S., including SoFi, Sindeo, FiscalNote, Motif InvestingLendingHome and Fundrise, and China-based financial social media Snowball Finance.

Telemedicine startup Jiuyi160 announced RMB130 million (about US$21m) in Series B round of funding from Stone VC and GX Capital. Launched in 2009, Jiuyi160 claims to have had 300,000 doctors and more than 1000 public hospitals on its platform.

Several Chinese telemedicine startups have raised large amounts of funding in the past year or so that include Chunyu DoctorGuahao (funded by Tencent), Huakang Quanjing (funded by Jack Ma’s YF Capital) and Quyiyuan (funded by SoftBank China Capital).

Tencent reports first quarter results. Monthly active users of WeChat, or Weixin, grew 39% year-over-year to 549 million. Monthly active users of QQ mobile app were 603 million, a 23% year-over-year increase.

Mobile games distributed through WeChat, Mobile QQ and Tencent’s Android app store MyApp(YingYongBao) contributed about 20% of the total revenues.

25 Walmart stores in Shenzhen now support Alipay. More than 60 supermarket or convenience store chains in China have introduced the Alipay solution.

Shanda launches the mobile version of its flagship game Mir II together with Tencent. Mir II was developed by a Korean developer and introduced to China in 2001. It has accumulated 1.5 billion players. The mobile version is now available on WeChat and MyApp, the Android app store of Tencent. (via TechWeb)

Alibaba-backed e-commerce solution provider Baozun Inc. will begin trading on the NASDAQ on May 21st. Here’s the company’s latest filing.


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