China Tech Newsletter – July 30, 2015

Alipay’s City Services has landed in 47 cities, aiming to expand to 120 by the end of the year.

Alipay’s, unveiled last March, is similar to WeChat’s which was released a couple of months earlier. Both apps enable their users to access a wide range of public services, such as booking and paying for doctor appointments, buying public transport tickets and paying traffic fines.

More than ten of Baidu’s non-search businesses will be open to outside investors. (via Sina Tech)

Baidu Takeout Delivery, a meal and grocery delivery app, has been spun off and raised US$250 million in funding. 91 Wireless, the mobile app distribution business the company acquired in 2013, has recently been spun off, too.

The Chinese search giant’s stock plummeted this week after it reported lower-than-expected earnings and announced today to buy back US$1 billion worth of shares over the next twelve months.

The Carlyle Group announces that it has invested RMB530 million (about US$85m) into vending company Ubox. (via Sina Tech)

Different from traditional vending services, Ubox enables customers to make purchases through its mobile app and then pick goods from any vending machine. It accepts mobile payment services and credit/debit cards.

Not only from retail sales, the company also makes money through ads on its online platform. More than 30,000 Uboxes have been implemented in 58 Chinese cities since 2010.

Online liquor store Jiuxian announced RMB500 million (about US$81) in new funding at an valuation of RMB6.5 billion (about US$1b).

A couple of other Chinese online liquor retailers, Yesmywine and Zhongjiu, announced new funding in recent months.

Online peer-to-peer lending site China Rapid Finance announces US$35 million in Series C funding led by Broadline Capital with participation from UBS Investment Bank and a few other unnamed investors.


China Tech Newsletter – July 29, 2015


Video streaming service PPTV launches its first smart TV. It comes in three models with specs similar to the latest models by Xiaomi, LeTV and other major smart TV makers. They are priced from RMB1799 (about US$290).

With Suning, the leading electronics retail chain, as PPTV’s largest shareholder, PPTV smart TVs will be sold through Suning’s online and offline stores.

Alibaba Group announces to invest US$1 billion over the next three years into Aliyun, its cloud-computing business.

Didi Kuaidi announces to invest RMB500 million (about US$81m) into its commuter bus business which was launched earlier this month, planning to expand the service to 30 cities by the end of the year.

Qihoo 360 is reportedly entering internet-based finance sector that will launch an online financial products platform and a crowdfunding project for its hardware products, and is applying for a third-party payment license.

Cheche, which sells auto insurance online, announces Series A round of funding. (via Donews)

China Tech Newsletter – July 28, 2015

OnePlus 2 (image credit: OnePlus)
OnePlus 2 (image credit: OnePlus)

Smartphone startup OnePlus unveils its second flagship phone, which is pre-loaded with H2 OS, an in-house developed custom Android system that was launched earlier in May.

OnePlus’ first flagship model, launched in April 2014, has shipped 1.5 million units, with 60% to 70% purchases from overseas. (via Engadget China).

LeTV launches a gun-shaped game controller and a smart WiFi router. The router has integrated its video streaming service.

Baidu has spun off its food and grocery delivery service and mobile app distribution platform 91 Wireless, CEO Robin Li said during the company’s second-quarter earnings conference call. Baidu acquired 91 Wireless from NetDragon for US$1.85 billion in 2013.

Baidu CEO also disclosed that the food and grocery delivery app, Baidu Takeout Delivery, had raised US$250 million in funding.

Alibaba announced today that it has rebranded Taodiandian, formerly a restaurant booking and food ordering service, as Koubei Waimai, a food delivery service. Apart from Android and iOS apps, users are also able to access the service on the Taobao mobile app or Alipay app.

Other major players in China’s food, grocery and pharmaceutical delivery market include (backed by Tencent) and Meituan (with Alibaba as investor).

Didi Kuaidi adds on-demand chauffeur service to its existing offerings, taxi and private car-hailing, real-time ride sharing, car pooling and commuter bus.

The new addition is currently available in 10 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and plans to expand to 100 cities by the end of the year. The company claims they have had one million drivers on board.

Cloud communications company EaseMob announces US$12.5 million in Series B round of funding led by Sequoia Capital and joined by Matrix Partners China and SIG China.

China’s group-buying market reached a gross merchandise volume of RMB77 billion (about US$12b) in the first half of 2015, exceeding 2014 total, according the latest report by group-buy market research firm Tuan800. (via Xinhua) launches JD Enterprise, an update of of its online enterprise procurement platform that was released in late 2014.

China Tech Newsletter – July 24-27, 2015

Youxia X
Youxia X (image credit: Youxia)

Youxia Motors, a Tesla wannabe, unveiled its first prototype Youxia X yesterday. Its specs are similar to Tesla Model S’ and the dashboard runs an Android-based operating system. The company plans to start shipping it in 2017.

The startup was founded in 2014 by Huang Xiuyuan who previously founded several startups, from social shopping site to online video service to digital radio. None of them were quite successful.

Huabei, which provides consumer financing options online, has landed on more than 40 Chinese e-commerce platforms, including Amazon China, VIPShop (flash sale), Xiaomi (smart hardware), Qidian (e-book publishing), Dianping (local lifestyle & group-buying), Meituan(group-buying, movie ticket booking & food delivery) and (food delivery).

Officially launched by Alibaba’s finance arm Ant Financial in April this year, Huabei was previously only available on Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall. It makes month-to-month loans to consumers based on their credit scores generated by Sesame Credit, the user data-based credit scoring system of Ant Financial.

Alipay mobile payment service now is available at more than 3000 hotels across China. Hotel is the latest offline sector Alipay has entered after convenience store & supermarket, restaurant, hospital, taxi & ride-sharing and vending.

Qingsong Jiadian, an on-demand appliance repair service provider, announces Series A round of financing from Tencent, Vertex Venture Holdings, GX Capital and Wu Xiaoguang, former CEO of Tencent’s e-commerce business.

Maihaoche, an online dealer of imported cars, has announced Series A round of funding led by Northern Light Venture Capital and joined by its angel investor Innovation Works.

The startup was founded by Li Yanzhu, former chief marketing officer of social shopping site Mogujie, in 2014.

Easy Print, a platform that connects print shops with customers, has raised Series B round of financing from SB China Capital and Shenzhen Comix Group.

Maitao, an online travel service focusing on family vacations, has raised Series A funding (via Sina Tech)

Sohu reports second quarter results. Its subsidiary Sogou’s revenues grew 62% year-over-year to US$147 million, with operating income tripling to US$29 million.

Xueda Education Group (NYSE:XUE) announces that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Xiamen Insight Investment Co., Ltd. (SZ:000526).

China Tech Newsletter – July 23, 2015, the leading classified ads site, plans to invest RMB1 billion (about US$161m) to revamp ChinaHR, the online recruitment service the former acquired earlier this year. Launched in 1997, ChinaHR was one of the earliest online recruitment services in China.

Online recruitment has become a hot topic in China again that a handful of newly emerged e-recruitment services, including Pipahr, Lagou and Jobto, received venture capital funding in the past year.

Online travel service provider Ctrip has acquired train ticket booking app developer Suanya for approximately RMB100 million (about US$16m). (via Sina Tech)

Amazon China launches a channel for action cameras and related gadgets such as drones. Products from more than 20 brands including GoPro and DJI are available on it.

TAL Education Group reports first quarter results.

China Tech Newsletter – July 22, 2015

Qihoo 360 CEO Zhou Hongyi announces they are to give away their video monitoring cameras for free.

Qihoo’s subsidiary QiKU, with a hardware product line ranging from smartphone to wearable, is now a direct competitor to Xiaomi. Qihoo’s video monitoring camera was sold at the same price, RMB149 (about US$20) as Xiaomi’s at launch.

Mr. Zhou has made it clear that their hardware products would be sold at the lowest cost possible. The company began giving away its Pressy-like Android buttons in September 2014.

WiFi solution developer Juwan WiFi has raised Series B round of funding led by Qihoo 360.

Aliyun, the cloud computing services provider under Alibaba Group, launches a series of new products at its annual developer conference today.

Babytree, an online community for early care and education, announces US$300 million strategic investment led by online cosmetics retailer The company is planning for an IPO on a domestic stock market.

On-demand laundry service 1jiajie announces Series C round of financing. Investors include existing shareholder Tencent.

51offer, a consulting site for international education, has raised a total of US$50 million funding since its founding in 2013. (via Sina Tech)

China Tech Newsletter – July 21, 2015

Alibaba rolls out auto installment loans by partnering with its finance arm Ant Financial and third-party financial institutions such as Ping An Bank.

A loan applicant will receive certificate in half an hour after filling out an application on any of Alibaba’s mobile apps, the company claims.

Classified ads site announces RMB2.2 billion (about US$350m) investment from CITIC CapitalShenzhen Capital GroupChina Jianyin Investment and Govtor Capita. It will go public on China’s New Third Board in October at the earliest. (via Sina Tech)

It was reported earlier that Baidu was one of its investors in this round.

The company announced US$100 million in Series D round of funding in early 2015.

Sleep tracking device maker Sleepace announced the completion of a US$7 million Series B funding round led by Luolai Home Textile (SZ:002293) and joined by Inc.

Gengmei, a mobile app about cosmetic surgeries, announces Series B round of funding led by Vivo Capital and joined by Sequoia Capital.

Didi Kuaidi’s car-hailing service will soon land in Hong Kong. It will partner with car rental companies instead of individual drivers.

Kuaidi’s taxi hailing service, launched in Hong Kong in October 2013, has had 15,000 driver users. Daily orders are more than 20,000.(via Sina Tech)