Tech financing in China this week: A.I. leads

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Our weekly column summarizes tech financing highlights in China.

This week’s top top tech financing recipient is SenseTime Group, China’s leading artificial intelligence start-up, which secured USD 600 million in a Series C round led by e-commerce giant Alibaba. This whopping round made the Hong Kong-based company the world’s most valuable private A.I. firm. Singaporean state investment firm Temasek Holdings and retail giant Suning Holdings Group also participated in the round.

“This round of funding will accelerate our global development with a larger ecosystem incorporating both domestic and overseas partners,” said SenseTime Co-founder and CEO Xu Li.

“The funding will also help widen the scope for more industrial applications of A.I.,” he added.

SenseTime equips Chinese businesses and state security systems with facial recognition software, contributing to the world’s largest surveillance system. Last July, SenseTime also set a record by receiving USD 410 million in aa Series B funding round led by China’s CDH Investment and state-backed fund Sailing Capital. The valuation of SenseTime has doubled in the past few months, and its expansion also manifests China’s ambition to become a leader in the global AI sector by 2030.

Meanwhile, other highlights this week focus on the biomedical, big-data, and other industries.

1. On April 8, the Shanghai-based automobile fintech service platform Liyunqiche received USD 37.9 million in Series B+ financing led by CreditEase Group, Delta Capital and other firms. Incorporated in 2014, Liyunqiche provides financial services for owners of secondhand cars that include installment payments and car insurance. The start-up will use the capital for technology investment, market share expansion, and team building.

2. On April 10, Beijing-based Biocytogen received USD 65.1 million in Series C funding from China Merchants Bank (CMB) and others. Biocytogen is biotech company that focuses on gene-related R&D and services. It also offers preclinical animal studies using gene-humanized models, PDX models, and human immune system reconstruction models. The company will use the money to expand in both the Chinese and U.S. markets.

3. On April 11, Xianghuanji, a Shanghai-based credit-based phone rental service provider, received USD 23.8 million in Series A+ funding from Tianjin Chenshan Investment Management and Shanghai Gopher Asset Management. HG Capital and others also participated. The funds will be used to boost the firm’s risk control team, as well as to improve its value-added and offline services.

4. On April 11, the Shenzhen-based instant diagnostic equipment supplier Wa+Mind secured USD 7.9 million in Series A+ financing led by the Shenzhen Yingtai Hongkang Fund. The capital will be used to develop and sale small chemiluminescent analyzer and reagent programs. Founded in 2014, Wa+Mind has been dedicated to developing Point Of Care Testing (POCT).

5. On April 11, the Shanghai-based biopharmaceutical company Immune Onco Biopharma received USD 15.9 million in Series A funding led by the Beijing Longpan Investment Management Consulting Center (GP). Shanghai Lang Sheng Investment, Z&H Investment, and Shanghai Milestone Asset Management also participated. Immune Onco is a biotech company that focuses on researching and developing of tumor immunotherapy treatments.

6. On April 12, China’s leading user behavior analysis and solution provider Sensors Data announced that the company has closed a Series C financing round, totaling USD 44 million, led by Warburg Pincus. Sequoia Capital China and others also invested in the start-up. This round made Sensors Data the first Chinese big data company in the user behavior analytics sector to receive Series C financing. The company will invest the new funding in product R&D, market scaling and professional services.

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