China Tech Newsletter – April 17, 2015

4G phone shipments saw a 790% year-on-year increase in the first quarter while an 88% decrease occurred in 3G phone shipments, according to the latest report on China’s mobile phone market by the China Academy of Telecommunication Research.

The total mobile phone shipments in the quarter were 109 million, an 8% year-on-year increase. 391 new phone models launched during the quarter.

Q115shipment (1) (1)

In march, 3G phone shipments decreased 92% year-on-year while 631% increase occurred in 4G phone shipments.

Of the total 32 million smartphones shipped in March, 26.5 million are Android-powered. 105 new smartphone models became available in China market during the month, a 46% year-on-year decrease. (full report in Chinese)

phoneshipmentmarch (1)


Classified listing site 58.com Inc. (NYSE:WUBA) announced to acquire a 43% stake in its longstanding rival Ganji.com (Falcon View Technology Ltd.) on a fully diluted basis with new shares (34 million) and cash (US$412m). 58.com shares had jumped by a third as of yesterday since the Financial Times broke the news of a potential merger a couple of days earlier.

Tencent, currently holding 25.3% a stake in 58.com, is investing another US$400 million that its stake will be 25.1% after 58-Ganji deal completes.

Both founded in 2005, 58.com and Ganji.com are estimated to have a combined share of over 70% in China’s classified ad market. The two brands will continue to operate independently, according to the press release, but Yao Jinbo, CEO of 58.com, noted that they planed to integrate their “respective businesses”.

58.com IPOed on the NYSE in October 2013. Ganji.com has raised a total of more than US$388 million in disclosed funding.

58.com generates revenues mainly from business-facing premium subscriptions and online marketing (real-time bidding and priority listing services).

(Click image to enlarge)
(Click image to enlarge)

The two companies began to expand their Craigslist-like business a couple of years ago, trying to become marketplaces for local services.

58.com introduced Alipay escrow solution to enable online transactions in 2013 and unveiled in 2014 a peer-to-peer lending service to finance merchants on its site. More recently the company launched 58Daojia, an on-demand service platform that so far supplies housekeepers and house-moving workers.

Ganji has launched a customer-to-customer second-hand car marketplace, a on-demand car wash service, and has partnered with Fangdd.com to sell new homes online.


Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp. (600699.SZ) announced that its majority-owned subsidiary Preh GmbH had landed an order for battery management system components from Tesla Motor.


US solar energy solutions provider SunPower Corp announced to partner with Apple Inc. to build two solar power projects in southwest China’s Sichuan province.


5miao.com, HTML5 game publisher and distributor, has pocketed funding from Zeng Liqing, co-founder of Tencent and founder of Decent Capital. Before 5miao Mr. Zeng had invested in two HTML5 gaming-related startups. (via Donews.com)


Fasuper.com, which provides on-demand vehicle inspection and maintenance services, has raised Pre-A round of funding from Co-win Capital.Financial terms were not disclosed. (via Cyzone)


Chifaner.com, a food service for businesses, has raised Series A round of funding from Greenwoods Investment, Source Code Capital and Ether Capital. Financial terms were not disclosed. (via Lieyunwang.com)

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China Tech Newsletter – April 16, 2015

Huawei P8Huwei launched a new flagship smartphone P8 in London.

The previous flagship model P7, launched in May 2014, has shipped more than 6 million units with 70% purchased by domestic consumers, according to the company (source in Chinese).


China surpassed the U.S. in iOS app downloads in the first quarter of 2015, according to the latest report by mobile app analytics provider App Annie.

App Annie believes it’s partly because of the launch of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as IDC has found that Chinese purchased more 5 – and 7-inch smartphones as a percentage than Americans in the fourth quarter of 2014. But when it comes to revenue, China was still dwarfed by the U.S.


Legend Holdings has filed for Hong Kong IPO.

Founded in 1984 as one of the very first IT companies in China, Legend Holdings saw a total revenue of RMB289.5 billion (about US$467b) in 2014, with 94% generated by Lenovo Group (992.HK), in which Legend Holdings holds 30.55% a stake.

Lenovo became the world’s largest personal computer vendor in terms of units shipped in 2013. The company, according to statistics from IDC, was the third largest smartphone vendor worldwide in 2014.

60 million personal computers and 61 million mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) were shipped in 2014 that contributed 77% and 17% of the total revenues from Lenovo, respectively.

Since 2000, Legend has established three venture capital firms, Legend Capital, Hony Capital, and Legend Star, that have invested in dozens of domestic and overseas companies in industries ranging from technology to agriculture.


Peer-to-peer lending site Lufax has reportedly raised a new round of funding at a valuation of US$10 billion.  (via WSJ)


91baicaijia.com, on-demand beauty service provider, announced Series A round of funding from Hongtai Fund (our translation). (announcement in Chinese)


Udesk, CRM software developer, has raised US$3 million from DCM. (The company confirmed via Weibo)

China Tech Newsletter – April 15, 2015

Ninebot E Personal Transporter (image: Ninebot)
Ninebot E Personal Transporter (image: Ninebot)

Ninebot, Beijing- headquartered personal transportation device maker, announced the signing of an agreement to acquire its US-based competitor Segway. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Segway’s first two-wheeled battery-powered electrical vehicle was unveiled in 2001 and many latecomers to this industry including Ninebot (founded in 2012) are believed to have modelled Segway’s products. Through the acquisition Ninebot will obtain more than 400 Segway’s patents, according to the press release.

Ninebot also announced today a US$80 million round of funding raised from Xiaomi, Shunwei Capital Partners (the VC firm co-founded by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun), Sequoia Capital and WestSummit Capital. It is expected Ninebot products will soon be available on Xiaomi’s online store as the fast-growing Chinese smartphone maker has been adding new gadgets produced by companies it has acquired or invested in onto its store.


JD.com launches JD Worldwide, a cross-border e-commerce platform for international retailers to sell goods directly to Chinese consumers. 450 stores have been established on the platform offering goods from more than 1200 brands.

On the platform there’s also a “Best of eBay Deals” channel that features selected eBay sellers from the U.S.

The service is supported by favorable trade policies in China’s e-commerce free trade zones that JD “employs bonded warehouses to ensure the fastest times for customs clearance and delivery to consumers”, according to the company.


Alibaba Group announced to transfer the operating rights for Tmall online pharmacy business to its healthcare arm Ali Health (00241.HK) in exchange for shares and convertible debt. After the deal, which is expected to complete in the third quarter this year, Alibaba Group will hold 53% a stake in Ali Health, up from current 38%.

There are 186 Tmall shops selling over-the-counter drugs, medical devices, contact lenses and other healthcare products that are allowed to be sold online in China. The total sales revenue in the year ending March 2015 was RMB4.74 billion (about USD765m), according to the company.


Rongdu Science and Technology, peer-to-peer lending software developer, announced RMB66.25 million (about USD11m) financing from Hundsun Technologies Inc. (600570.SH), the developer of financial services software in which Alibaba’s Jack Ma has more than 20% a stake, and Yunhan Investment (our translation), the venture capital firm founded by core members of Hundsun. (announcement in Chinese)

Hundsun and Yunhan now hold a combined 46.9% stake in Rongdu.


Legend Holdings, the parent company of Lenovo Group, has reportedly filed for Hong Kong IPO to raise USD2-3 billion(source) .


Baidu has acquired enterprise security solution developer Anquanbao. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Personal finance app Suishouji announced Series B+ round of funding led by Source Code Capital and participated by Fosun, claiming the amount is over USD10 million. The company announced Series B round of funding seven months ago. (source in Chinese).

China Tech Newsletter – April 14, 2015

Le MAX
Le MAX (image: LeTV)

LeTV, the online video and smart TV company, unveils its long-hyped smartphone Super Phone (our translation). It comes in three models.

EUI, the custom Android system developed for LeTV phones, has integrated all the services and video content of LeTV which are also available for its smart TVs.

The company touts its bezel-less design as selling point. But the bigger difference must be in pricing strategy, the same with that for its smart TVs, that LeTV phones charge an annual fee for content and service consumption.

The company also unveiled a VR headset. But no details are available for now.


Alibaba launches Xiao Pu, a tool for easy store management through the Mobile Taobao app for sellers. The company claims it takes less than five minutes to upload an item with the newly available capabilities.


Alibaba and Youku-Tudou, in which the former has a stake, launches the “View and Buy” program which enables viewers to buy items shown in a video without pausing to the playing video.

When uploading a video onto Youku’s UGC platform, video owners now are able to choose relevant goods that are available on Alibaba’s marketplaces to show next to the video. The program is powered by Alimama, Alibaba’s contextual advertising service. Youku will share revenue cuts from purchases with video owners.


Ant Financial Services Group, the finance arm of Alibaba Group, released “Vitanmin” project claiming to make data, technologies and distribution channels it has available to other financial institutions.


Mojing, a VR headset maker in which video software provider Baofeng has a stake, announced US$10 million funding from film production company Huayi Brothers, TELLING, Aisidi, and IERVC.

China Tech Newsletter – April 13, 2015

Tencent signed a cooperation agreement with the Shanghai municipal government on connected smart city.

WeChat, the massively popular messaging app developed by Tencent, recently began testing City Services (our translation) which enables citizens to see real-time traffic camera feeds and air quality data, file taxes, book doctor appointments, pay traffic fines, buy long-distance bus tickets, among others. Shanghai is among the first few pilot cities.


Tencent’s market capitalization reached US$200 billion for the first time.


Alibaba’s Taobao has added equity crowdfunding onto its crowdfunding site Taobao Crowdfunding (our translation) which was launched in March 2014.


The management, CEO and chairman Deng Yuqiang and COO Zhi Zhu, of Sungy Mobile have proposed to take the company private. It’s less than 16 months since it launched IPO on the NASDAQ. Since reaching a peak price in March 2014 its shares began falling in price and now is trading 75% lower than IPO price. The company’s president and CFO have resigned in the past year.

Sungy Mobile touted its big user based outside of China. But there have been concerns surrounding its capabilities of further monetizing the user base since its IPO.


Tiange, the Hong Kong-listed interactive video platform, has acquired 70% of Gusi Health (our translation), a healthcare software developer. Before this deal Tiange had acquired about 34% a stake in another healthcare application developer SeeHealth.

China Tech Newsletter – April 10, 2015

PPTV, the online video streaming service in which Chinese retail giant Suning has a controlling stake, is reportedly developing smartphones. A few leaked pictures are circulating the web.


Ride-sharing app 51 Yongche announced Series C round of funding led by Chinese search giant Baidu.

(Note: Inflating funding figures or user metrics are believed to be popular in today’s China.)


A dozen of famous Chinese entrepreneurs initiated an environmental protection fund named Taohuayuan. Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group, and Pony Ma, CEO of Tencent, service as co-chairs.


About China Tech Newsletter

China Tech Newsletter compiles hand-curated business news from the China tech market.

China Tech Newsletter – April 9, 2015

Cloud service provider UCloud announced approximately US$100 million in Series C funding led by Legend Capital (the VC firm of Lenovo) and joined by VMS Legend Investment Fund I, DCM, Bertelsmann Asia Investments and GX Capital.

Eight months ago the company announced US$50 million Series B funding. It has data centers in mainland China, Hong Kong and the U.S. UCloud was founded in 2012 by former Tencent executives.


AutoNavi, the mapping company Alibaba Group has acquired, launched LBS+ initiative that provides developers with mapping functionality, development tools for location-based services, location data analysis services, cloud services, among others.


Kujiale.com, which provides interior designs and web-based tools for users to design their home on its site, announces US$10 million in Series B funding from GGV Capital. The site received multi-million dollar in the previous round.

(Note: Inflating funding figures or user metrics are believed to be popular in today’s China.)


About China Tech Newsletter

China Tech Newsletter compiles hand-curated business news from the China tech market.