Don’t miss out these headlines for the week: Online medical service platform launched by PingAn Group may have raised USD 500 million; Chinese mobile lending platform Welab raises USD 160M in Series B financing led by Malaysian sovereign fund; Meituan-Dianping confirms record-breaking USD 3.3 billion financing
Chinese VR device maker Baofeng Mojing secures USD 34M in Series B financing
Chinese virtual reality (VR) device maker Baofeng Mojing announced it has raised RMB 230 million (USD 34 million) in Series B financing. This round of financing boosts Baofeng Mojing’s valuation to RMB 143 million(USD 21 million), the Tech channel of Tencent News reported on Thursday.
The current round of financing is led by CITIC Capital, followed by Chinese online game company Zeus Interactive, Chinese internet industry fund Baofeng Xinyuan, and investors from Baofeng’s Series A financing including, Beijing Baofeng Technology and Huayi Brothers.
Founded in 2015, Baofeng Mojing or “Storm Magical Mirror” in English, is a subsidiary of Beijing Baofeng Technology, a leading Chinese online video company. The company had sold over 500,000 VR devices as of last December. It received USD 10 million in Series A financing last April, and was valued at USD 50 million.
Baofeng Mojing has been expanding its resources on the upstream and downstream of the VR industry chain to overcome disadvantages in content and channels. It has launched a series of VR games, and bought the Chinese VR copyrights to the Hollywood blockbuster The Hunger Games and the Chinese copyright to the VR film MansLaughter, the Chinese tech media site 36Kr reported.
Baofeng Mojing has many rivals in China. The Chinese tech giant Tencent revealed a VR project, and released the development kit for Tencent VR last December. Chinese online video giant LeEco, previously known as LeTV, announced its entry into the VR sector last December. Xiaomi launched the Xiaomi Exploration Lab to develop VR technology in January.
Besides those tech giants, VR start-up companies also deserve attention. Chinese VR startup ANTVR received USD 46 million in Series B financing last December; DeePoon raised USD 30 million in a B-series funding from two Xiaomi-backed companies, and 3Glasses works with offline 3D theaters and experience stores to promote its products, and has over 1,000 experience stores in China.
Online medical service platform launched by PingAn Group may have raised USD 500 million
A leaked financial document says that “PingAn Good Doctor”, a medical service platform launched by the digital subsidiary of PingAn Insurance Group, is conducting its Series B fundraising, which will total around USD 500 million. PingAn Good Doctor’s valuation is estimated at USD 3 billion before the fundraising round, reported Sina Tech on Thursday.
Growing at an unprecedented rate, online medical service platforms in China are racing to raise huge funds. Tencent-backed online medical service giant Guahao.com raised nearly USD 400 million last September.
According to the leaked document, JIC Group, a private equity fund set up by China Jianyin Investment Ltd., will invest USD 100 million.
PingAn Good Doctor was launched in April 2015 by leading Chinese insurance company PingAn Insurance, which ranked 32nd on Forbes’ 2015 list of the top 2000 listed companies in the world. This app provides users with services including 24-hour one-on-one consultation from full-time specialists in all medical divisions or doctors from 3A-class hospitals. It provides quick diagnosis, treatment and online appointment booking, among other services. It is also embedded with an online healthcare mall selling medicines, tonics, healthcare products and the like.
The company claims that, as of November 2015, it had 25 million users registered on its app and more than 650,000 daily active users, and received consultation requests from 95,000 users every day, on average. According to the leaked document, the company had 1000 full-time medical professionals and partnerships with 50,000 doctors as of the end of 2015.
The company also said that it received a revenue of RMB 300 million in 2015 and that its target for 2019 is to gain 300 million to 500 million users.
According to Sina Tech, China’s healthcare market was valued at RMB four trillion in 2015, and is forecasted to increase to RMB 10 trillion in 2025. The digital healthcare market has so much potential that it has drawn attention from many companies, including the BAT giants.
PingAn Good Doctor’s rivals are mainly Tencent-backed Guahao.com, which was established in 2010, Chunyu Doctor, which has a user base of 80 million, DingXiangYuan, a Doximity-like online social networking service, which secured a USD 70 million investment from Tencent in 2014, and also AliHealth’s app, launched in 2015.
An interesting detail is that although the parent company of this app, PingAnHealth, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PingAn Group, its managing team consists mostly of former employees from Alibaba.
Chinese mobile lending platform Welab raises USD 160M in Series B financing led by Malaysian sovereign fund
Chinese leading mobile lending platform WeLab announced that it has raised RMB one billion (USD 160 million) in Series B financing led by Malaysian sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad, followed by European ING Bank and Guangdong Technology Financial Group, a Chinese state-owned company, iFeng Tech reported on Wednesday.
Simon Loong, Founder and CEO of WeLab, said the funding will be used for market promotions, improving its technology team, and strategic investments.
Founded in 2013 in Hong Kong, WeLab entered mainland China in 2014. The company provides lending services to young people through online and mobile platforms. It aims to reform traditional credit services by using internet technology and big data analytics. The majority of its clients are students, white-collar workers and rural users aged 20-35. The company has over 2.5 million registered users, and it has issued RMB nine billion in loans. About 50-70% of its loans come from the banks it has partnerships with.
Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, Managing Director of Khazanah, said WeLab’s business model is attractive because it works with financial institutions to provide banking services through online and mobile platforms. It provides credit to users who can’t obtain loans through traditional channels, Sohu News reported.
ING Bank CEO Ralph Hamers said ING Bank will explore opportunities to work with WeLab in ING’s own markets.
In January 2015, WeLab received RMB 130 million in Series A financing from Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s TOM Group, Sequoia Capital, and Ule.com, which was jointly launched by China Post and TOM group.
The staff at WeLab are financial professionals from CitiBank, HSBC Bank, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Chinese tech giants Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba.
Chinese artificial intelligence company to receive USD 7 million financing
Chinese artificial intelligence company Guangnian Wuxian has signed a contract with animation company Alpha Animation to receive RMB 50 million (USD 7.6 million) of investment from Alpha Animation, Sohu Tech reported on Wednesday.
The funding will be used to develop Guangnian Wuxian’s main businesses and supplement its working capital. Alpha Animation will acquire 5% of the company’s stock and have preemptive rights. Alpha Animation will also have the right to appoint one of the seven board members of the company. The investment will be completed 15 working days after the signing of the agreement.
Founded in 2010 in Beijing, Guangnian Wuxian develops intelligent robot operating systems, deep learning and cognitive computing technology. Guangnian Wuxian literally means “light year unlimited” in English. The company is known for its cloud robot, the Turing Robot, which can equip third-party products such as intelligent toys, wearable devices, and virtual reality devices with the ability to interact with humans. Launched in November, Turing OS allows robots to think, learn, understand emotions, as well as interact with human beings.
Alpha Animation said in a statement that the investment will allow it to upgrade its toy business by developing intelligent robots and intelligent toys.
Established in 1993 in Guangdong Province, Alpha Animation is one of the largest animation and entertainment companies in China. It was publicly listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2009. Its business covers the production of animation and comics, toys, baby products, and mobile phone games.
Alpha Animation has made several investments in content production, virtual reality, and intelligent robots since the second half of 2015. In September, the company spent RMB 900 million to acquire U17.com, a leading platform for original comics and animations. It injected USD 20 million into animation company Noitom Technology, known for motion capture animation, in November. It also invested in Chinese virtual reality company DeePoon in December.
Chinese second-hand car testing platform secures USD 4 million Series A financing
Chinese third-party used car testing platform Autobole has raised RMB 32 milion (USD four million) in Series A financing. The lead investor is Green Pine Capital Partners, followed by returning investors such as Leili Capital, NetEase News reported on Wednesday.
The new round of funding will be used to expand Autobole’s second-hand car testing business to major cities in China within a year. The company received several million RMB in angel investment from Leili Capital last March.
Founded in 2014 in Shanghai, Autobole, which means “find good cars” in English, provides a door-to-door car testing service for users. The service covers second-hand car testing, troubleshooting and safety tests for individual users and companies.
Autobole co-founder Ge Bingnan told Chinese tech media site 36 Kr that second-hand car testing services are applicable to every aspect of the second-hand car market. The test data can reflect the different conditions of used cars and determine their value.
The platform’s service relies on the experience of trained engineers. The company analyzes and compares testing data to reduce reliance on testing engineers. It has developed a set of testing standards based on the quality standards of new cars from leading automobile manufacturers including General Motors and Mercedes-Benz.
The platform’s biggest rival is Guazi.com, a second-hand car trading platform spun off from China’s leading classfieds website Ganji.com. Guazi.com also provides second-hand car testing for users. In September, China’s Craiglist, 58.com, invested RMB one billion (USD 15.7 million) in the second-hand car trading business.
China’s second-hand car trading market is expanding. According to the China Automobile Dealers Association, the domestic second-hand car trading volume may top 10 million in 2015 and is likely to double by the end of 2020, with sales exceeding RMB one trillion.
Second-hand housing platform raises tens of millions of dollars in Series B financing
Real-estate O2O platform WKZF.com has raised tens of millions of dollars in Series B financing on Tuesday, Chinese tech media 36kr.com reports.
Susquehanna International Group of Companies (SIG) led this round of investment, along with Zhi Xin Capital, Will Hunting Capital and Jiu Chuang Capital. The platform received an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Zhi Xin Capital last year.
The platform name WKZF.com stems from the name “Wukong Zhaofang”, which means a magical way to help you find housing. WKZF CTO, Li Lei, told 36kr.com that the next phase for the platform will be to incoporate high-definition videos for viewing houses, which will include viewing angles from drones. He predicts this will cut 80% of the costs associated with viewing houses in person.
Founded in Shanghai last August, the platform focuses on second-hand housing. Unlike its competitors, the platform doesn’t charge a commission. It uses an algorithm to match suitable agents based on user need and provides an appointment system. In addition, the platform also has an online bidding system.
The founder and CEO of the platform, Qian Jianguo, elaborated on how the platform survives among the competition. He said the platform taking a zero commission approach means it is not fighting a price war, instead, it is breaking tradition. Taking advantage of the internet, he hopes to create a transparent platform that will remove inefficiencies from the middle.
The platform claims it has a team of 800 agents, with 90,000 houses listed. Shanghai-based users can use their website or mobile app to receive housing information. The platform has plans to expand to other Chinese cities in the future.
Ob/Gyn healthcare app completes more than USD 10 million Series A financing
Fengxinzi, a Chinese healthcare app specializing in ob/gyn concerns, announced that it has raised over USD 10 million in Series A financing from lead investor Trust Bridge Partners, Sohu News reported on Monday.
Founded in 2014 in Beijing, Fengxinzi, meaning hyacinth in English, enables its millions of users to consult with ob/gyns on health issues through their smartphones. Users can get advice from doctors through text messages, phone calls, and video lectures. Users can also interact with each other on the app and get information about pregnancy concerns.
Gong Xiaoming, founder of Fengxinzi, said the company will build an online-to-offline healthcare service. He thinks the strength of the app comes from its complete O2O chain. For example, users can get advice online, then consult one of the app’s doctors offline. After getting a diagnosis from the doctor, the user can get more advice online and recieve further offline treatment if necessary, thus completing the cycle. Gong has had 15 years of experience working as an associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at a leading Chinese hospital before founding the app.
Trust Bridge Partners said that it had confidence in Feingxinzi’s healthcare service pattern and network of doctors on the app. Furthermore, the introduction of the two-child policy and the development of the online healthcare sector will bring Fengxinzi more attention from users and enhance user loyalty, says the investor. Trust Bridge Partners was also an investor in China’s internet security giant Qihoo 360 Technology, Mogujie, a Chinese shopping platform for women, and Douban, a leading Chinese social networking website.
Meituan-Dianping confirms record-breaking USD 3.3 billion financing
On Tuesday, Meituan-Dianping confirmed that the new company has completed a new round of funding, receiving USD 3.3 billion after its merger last October. It broke the highest fundraising record for Chinese tech startups of USD three billion set by Didi Kuaidi.
After this round of funding, the new company’s valuation will be boosted to USD 18 billion. The new investment pouring in will account for 16.67% of the company’s shares, according to iFeng Tech.
According to NetEase News, before the merger, Dianping raised a total of USD 1.39 billion in the past nine years while Meituan completed four rounds of funding amounting to USD 1.07 billion. Along with the USD 3.3 billion it received this round, the company has raised about USD 5.8 billion in total.
Leaks suggest that the investors in this round include Chinese tech giant Tencent, which participated in Dianping’s Series E and Series F financing before the merger. It’s believed that Tencent contributed at least USD one billion to the new round.
Other prominent investors include Sequoia Capital — an early investor in both Meituan and Dianping — and Russian venture capital fund Digital Sky Technologies (DST).
Prior to the merger, Meituan was China’s biggest group buying platform and China’s top food delivery platform with 41.2% of the market as of the first half of 2015, according to Chinese market research company Analysys International. Dianping was then known as China’s Yelp, starting their business with restaurant reviews and later extending into group buying and travel booking.
The new company is a comprehensive on-demand services platform covering food delivery, ticket booking, travel reservations and beauty services. After the new round of financing, it will possibly face another cash-burning war against other on-demand service platforms including Baidu-backed Nuomi, Alibaba-backed Koubei and food delivery platform Ele.me.
It’s also rumoured that Alibaba has acquired 27.7% of Ele.me’s shares with over USD 1.25 billion and will become Ele.me’s controlling shareholder with a framework agreement signed at the end of 2015.