China Tech Newsletter – May 7, 2015

Drone maker DJI has raised US$75 million funding from Accel Partner. DJI drones now ship to more than 100 countries.

Founded in 2006, DJI has had more than 3,000 employees at its headquarters in Shenzhen, China and offices in the U.S., Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.


Telehealth startup Chunyu has set up 25 clinics in five Chinese cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Wuhan, offering clinic space as well as facilities to registered doctors on its telemedicine platform. The company’s plan is to set up some 300 clinics in 50 large and midsized cities by year end.

Chunyu charges an annual subscription fee for the online plus offline service, and the clinics will supply some drugs covered by the public medical insurance plans.


Zhai.me, a marketplace for mini-groceries operated from college dorms, announces Series A+ round of funding from Bertelsmann Asia Investments and installment loans provider Fenqile. Launched in December 2014, the company announced Series A funding from Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd. and angel investment earlier in March. (via Lieyunwang.com)

Zhai.me enables college students to open online mini-stores to sell goods to their schoolmates. The company has developed store management software and supplies goods to store owners. The newly introduced investor Fenqile will offer RMB3,000 (about US$480) in an interest-free loan to help new stores get up and running.

The startup’s competitors include 59store, which also announced Series A funding in March.


58.com Inc. is reportedly acquiring employment website ChinaHR.com, which was fully acquired by Monster in 2008 and then sold to Myjob for US$30 million in 2013. (via Sina Finance)


Dianping, the leading ratings and reviews service, has added on-demand lifestyle service platform, too. Meituan, Dianping’s competitor in group-buying, and 58.com, the leading local listing site, both bet big on it.

Dianping’s currently covers laundry, house cleaning, massage and manicure, and will expand to beauty treatment, car maintenance, chef and chauffeur services.


Alibaba Group reports first quarter results and names new CEO. Daniel Zhang, current COO, will replace Jonathan Lu as CEO.


China’s Premier Li Keqiang visited the InnoWay, a street full of incubators, startups, tech media companies and startup-themed cafes in “China’s Silicon Valley”, Zhongguancun.

The Chinese government has recently unveiled series of measures to boost employment through entrepreneurship. A directive the central government issued on May 1st encourages technology professionals at state-owned companies or organizations to found or work for startups.They are allowed to leave their current jobs that their positions will be kept for up to three years.

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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.

China Tech Newsletter – May 5, 2015

Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp. (300104.SZ), or LeTV, announced late last evening that its stake in LeTV Sports Culture Develop (Beijing) Co., Ltd., which provides sports streaming service and other sports-related products, would be lowered to below 15% after introducing strategic investors.

Bloomberg reported yesterday that LeTV Sports had raised more than US$100 million at a valuation of about US$450 million. This round of financing is reportedly led by Wanda Group or a venture capital firm affiliated to it.

LeTV announced today the “smart” bicycle under development would be launched in July.


It’s been a year since the launch of Zhao Cai Bao, the online marketplace for financial products and services of Alibaba’s finance arm. The total sales through the platform have reached RMB107 billion (about US$17b). The platform’s main target audiences are individuals and SMEs.


eDaijia, on-demand chauffeur service, announced that it has raised US$100 million in Series D round of funding at a valuation of US$800 million. This round was led by Warburg Pincus and participated by Matrix Partners China and Lightspeed China Partners.

Some 75,000 drivers, who have passed a test and received training from eDaijia, in about 130 Chinese cities have signed up, according to the company.


Used car marketplace Che101 has raised US$10 million in Series A funding led by Super Capital and joined by Lightspeed China Partners.

Established in 2013 and starting from providing dealers with used car information packages, Che101 began selling used cars directly to consumers from early this year. Its services currently are only available in two cities, Beijing and Chengdu. The company plans to expand to 20 cities by year end.


Online fresh produce supplier Fields has sold 54.5% stake to Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. (06808.HK). Fields was established in 2009 in Shanghai and raised US$5 million Series A funding led by Clearvue Partners in 2013.

Other notable fresh produce sites in China include TootooYummy77 (funded by Amazon), Benlai and SFbest (established by logistics giant S.F. Express).


Chinese online advertising network Panshi, or Adyun, claimed to have raised US$200 million in Series B round of funding led by NewMargin Ventures and joined by JD Capital, WI Harper, Refine Capital and Fang Fund. Panshi received a Series A funding of US$20 million from NewMargin Ventures in 2010, according to previous media reports.

China Tech Newsletter – May 1- 4, 2015

TencentOS for Smart Watch
The TencentOS for Smartwatch (image credit: Digi.tech.qq.com)

Several photos of the TencentOS for smartwatch were unveiled. The custom version of Android Wear developed by Tencent, unsurprisingly, is pre-loaded with WeChat, Tencent’s flagship mobile app.

TencentOS (TOS), unveiled earlier in January, isn’t Tencent’s first effort on custom Android system. This time the Chinese social networking giant will make it available with the emerging categories of smart devices besides smartphones.


TAL Education Group (NYSE:XRS) launches Lewaijiao.com that connects English tutors with Chinese students in grades 3 – 8. Apart from one-on-one online courses, there’re also offline classes or activities that will take place at TAL’s training centers. The first tutors Lewaijiao has hired are from the Philippines.


Zhimi, English learning app developer, announces Pre-A round of funding led by Dragonrise Capital and joined by its exiting investor Shunwei Capital Partners. (via Jmdedu.com)

The company has developed two apps, a vocabulary builder for a variety of English tests and the other for improving English listening skills.


Eunke, mobile logistics solution developer, claims to have raised US$126 million in Series B round of funding. Founded in April 2014, the company raised angel investment from ZhenFund and US$3 million in Series A from IDG Capital Partners later in the year. (via Lieyunwang)

Eunke has developed two mobile apps for suppliers and drivers, respectively.

China’s logistics market is highly fragmented that there’re millions of small logistics companies and drivers.


Beijing Thunisoft Co., Ltd. (300271.SZ), formerly Tsinghua Unisplendour, announced to acquire Wanhu for RMB320 million (about US$52m) and the remaining 49% stake in Thunisoft Credit (Beijing) Software Co., Ltd. for RMB184 million (about US$30m).

Thunisoft Credit Software, formerly Hangyu Jinxin, supplies software solutions to local food safety authorities and administrations for industry and commerce. Founded in 2007, Hangyu Jinxin became majority-owned subsidiary of Thunisoft in 2012 and was renamed Thunisoft Credit Software in 2014. The company recorded total revenues of RMB68 million (about US$11m) with RMB7 million (about US$1m) in profit in 2014.

Wanhu, founded in 1998, develops websites and collaboration software for businesses and organizations. The company made RMB70 million (roughly US$11m) in total revenue and RMB3.7 million (about US$0.6m) in profit in 2014.


Beijing Orient National Communication Science & Technology Co., Ltd. (BONC), business analytics software solution provider, has acquired UK-headquartered Cotopaxi Ltd., which provides energy and carbon reduction solutions.

China Tech Newsletter – April 30, 2015

Chongzi L1
Chongzi L1

Chongzi, the newest Android phone brand, launches its first model Chongzi L1. It sports similar specs to major Chinese high-end Android phones. It’s now taking pre-orders through its own online store.


Tencent has begun testing its user data-based credit scoring service, unveiled in late 2014, among its QQ membership subscribers. The service generates credit scores and reports based on users’ tracks across Tencent’s products. (via Beijing Morningpost)

Tencent and Alibaba’s finance arm Ant Financial were of the first eight companies that were granted licenses by China’s central bank to establish consumer credit scoring operations. Ant Financial launched its Sesame Credit earlier in January.


Baidu reports first quarter results. Total revenues increased 34% year-on-year while operating profit saw a 9% year-on-year decrease. 50% of the total revenue were from mobile, up from 42% in the previous quarter.


Tencent has agreed to acquire 14.6% a stake in mobile game developer and publisher Glu Mobile for US$126 million.

China Tech Newsletter – April 29, 2015

Online video service Youku-Tudou and drone maker DJI have unveiled a partnership on a channel for drone-related videos. Users who upload videos shot with DJI drones or share videos about drones will be able to get ad revenue cuts. Youtu-Tudou will also sell DJI drones on its own online store.


 

Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge have gone on sale in China, currently available at Alibaba’s Tmall, JD.com, Amazon China, Funtalk (consumer electronics retailer) and Apple authorized resellers.


Baidu Wallet, Baidu’s answer to Alibaba’s Alipay Wallet, has had 100 million accounts, Zhang Zhenghua, GM of Baifubao (Baidu’s finance arm), disclosed the figure today at GMIC. (Alipay Wallet has had 270 million active users.)

Apart from mobile payments and financial services, Baidu Wallet has integrated Baidu’s main services, including search engine, app store, location-based service, and group-buying service.


Mobile health startup Huakang Quanjing, has raised RMB200 million (roughly US$32m) in Series B round of financing from YF Capital (the venture capital firm co-founded by Alibaba’s Jack Ma), Co-win Capital, New Horizon Fund and Hunan Haijie Medical Investment (our translation). Its previous round of RMB20 million (about US$3.2m) was raised in 2013. (via Geekheal)

The company has developed two mobile apps: one is for booking doctor appointments and telemedicine, and the other for doctors and physicians. Alibaba Health, the healthcare arm of Alibaba Group, would integrate Huakang’s appointment booking system and telemedicine system, according to the company.


 

Inveno announces Series B funding from Enlight Media Group and China Renaissance. Founded in 2010, Inveno has developed a solution for mobile content aggregation and analysis. Inveno’s more than 20 partners include smartphone brands such as Huawei, Lenovo, Coolpad and TCL.


Liu Jiangfeng, former president of Huawei Honor smartphone business, claimed Dmall, the one-hour delivery service he founded recently, has raised US$100 million round of funding led by IDG Capital Partners. (via Sina Tech)

 

 

 

China Tech Newsletter – April 24, 2015

The On-demand Laundry Service on Meituan App
The On-demand Laundry Service on Meituan App

Meituan, the leading group-buying service, has tapped into the on-demand services sector with the launch a marketplace named Shangmen (“coming to your doorstep”).

Shangmen has been added onto Meituan’s flagship app with categories including laundry, car wash and maintenance, beauty treatment and home services. Several startups, Dudumeijia (manicure), ejiajie (house cleaning), Yunjiazhen (housekeeping) and Ganji Yixiche (car wash) have got on board. Meituan currently doesn’t charge any commissions or other fees.

Meituan is also able to offer food delivery through its in-house developed app Meituan Waimai.

Shangmen’s major competitors will include 58 Daojia, the on-demand services marketplace established by the leading classified ad site 58.com. 58.com invested US$600 million in developing or investing in on-demand services last year. JD.com, the leading online retailer, will reportedly launch its on-demand platform soon.


Speaking of Meituan, its movie ticketing app Maoyan (“Cat’s eye”) sold some 30 million movie tickets last month (March).

More than 50% of movie tickets in China are sold online, according to Wang Xing, CEO of Meituan. The company believes it has a 70% share in China’s online movie ticketing market.


Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba’s finance arm, has acquired 60.8% of Fund123.cn, a mutual fund “supermarket”, for RMB199 million (about US$32m).

Fund123.cn made RMB31 million (about US$5m) in revenues in 2014, with a net loss of RMB12.5 million (about US$2m).


Restaurant software & hardware solution developer Keruyun has raised funding from Baidu and Tianxing Capital. The company’s revenue sources include device subscription fees and transaction fees on mobile orders.


Youdao Dictionary, the dictionary service of NetEase launched in 2007, announces 500 million users.