The advancements coming out of China’s tech industry every moment have the potential to reshape our world as we speak. Every day, the ACT team brings you our hand-picked selection of breaking news, financial transactions rocking the industry, big people making big waves, and the coolest new gadgets. Don’t miss these headlines:
58 Ganji’s Alibaba-backed rival Koubei invests USD 157M to grow offline merchants
Koubei, a Craigslist-like classifieds platform that faded under the dominance of 58 Ganji, will put aside RMB one billion (USD 157 million) as an incubator fund. Koubei launched an open platform today to open up its internet traffic, affiliate markets, payment systems and big data operations to offline merchants. The open API scheme hopes to engage more users. Koubei will receive technical support from Alibaba and Ant Financial, and it will use the incubator fund for research and development, incentives for merchants, fundraising and incubation.
Baidu and China Citic Bank rumored to cooperate on direct banking
Chinese search engine giant Baidu and China Citic Bank are in negotiations to establish a direct bank. China Citic Bank has applied to suspend the trading of its stocks on Monday, citing discussions on an outside investment project, according to NetEase news portal.
Baidu failed to establish a private bank with Lenovo previously. Baidu will not need a license to establish a direct bank, while a private bank will still be subject to regulatory restrictions.
Baidu is a little late to the game this time – the other BAT companies have already moved into internet finance. Webank, an online bank which is 30% owned by Tencent, was established in January, while Mybank, an online bank which is 30% owned by Alibaba-backed Ant Financial, was established in June.
Report: 77.14M China’s rural consumers shopped online in 2014, a 40.6% increase
The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) of the PRC has released its latest report, showing that 77.14 million rural consumers shopped online last year, a 40.6% increase compared to a year ago. The revenue of Nongminw.cn, a one-stop service site for rural farmers, has reached RMB 178 million (USD 27.9 million). The scale of online shopping among rural residents totaled RMB 180 billion, an increase of over 60%.
Kong Linyu, a deputy director at the ministry, said that there were many offline to online collaborations among traditional enterprises in the villages. As of August, China Post has helped 100,000 service sites go online.
E-commerce giants Alibaba, JD.com and Suning are also focusing on their competitions in rural areas. As of the end of September, Alibaba has built 109 county-level service centers in 21 provinces and set up rural service points in 4247 villages. Its number of average daily orders has surpassed 50,000 items, according to TechWeb. JD.com has completed 700 county-level service centers.
Part-time job platform branches off 58 Ganji, with USD 40M A- series funding
On Tuesday, 58 Ganji introduced part-time job platform Doumi.com as an independent brand, consolidating its former part-time job services. The new platform received USD 40 million in A-series financing. Investors include 58 Ganji, Banyan Capital, Blue Lake Capital and three individual investors including Wu Xiaoguang. The new platform is an important part of 58 Ganji’s new strategy to maintain its brand. 58 Ganji CEO Yao Jinbo says O2O and sharing economy will be the main driving forces of China’s future economy. Doumi.com combines the advantages of both, says Yao.
Animation company Noitom fundraises USD 20M, evaluated at USD 200 M
Popular Chinese animation company Noitom Technology, known for providing the special effects for ‘Game of Thrones’, announced on Monday that they have raised USD 20M in B-series funding led by Alpha Animation. After this round of funding, Noitom Technology claims its valuation will exceed USD 200 million. Alpha Animation will become a board member of Noitom. The two companies will cooperate in different areas including virtual technology. Founded in 2012, Noitom is known for its motion capture animation. Dai Ruoli, the CTO of Noitom, says the company may become the biggest provider of motion capture systems in the world by the end of 2015.
China’s No.1 drone maker DJI will open its first store in December, modeled on Apple store
The world’s largest consumer drone maker DJI is opening its first offline store in Shenzhen, South China before Christmas. Achieving USD 75 million in fundraising early this year, DJI’s valuation has exceeded USD eight billion. DJI mainly sells drones online through its official website, Tmall, and JD.com. The company is trying to imitate Apple’s retail marketing strategy by launching an offline store where customers can see the drones in person. The DJI store is about 800 m², and it will have its entire product series on display.
(with contributions from Toni Tang)