Amidst tightening video-streaming regulations from Chinese government departments, short-form video apps have been dominating millions of mobile screens in China. As people consume content in ever-shorter fragments of time, Chinese internet users are seeking videos that are brief yet entertaining. Moreover, these short films could one day become main sources of income for companies in the advertising industry. On April 16, Pear Video, a short video maker based in Shanghai, secured USD 98.2M in Series A funding led by Tencent and followed by Baidu. The financing will be used to build a content production network and to improve the startup’s business model. One of the company’s early investors is People.cn, backed by the state-owned People’s Daily and Global Times.
1. On April 18, Hangzhou-based short video startup Er Geng Video landed USD 19.1M in a Series B3 funding round led by Bull Capital Partners and Shanghai Kunyan Investment. Founded in 2014, Er Geng has completed four funding rounds within two years. The company claims that it is dedicated to producing positive-energy (zhengnengliang) content and spreading socialist values.
2. On April 15, Shanghai-based A.I. technology provider DeepBlue Technology closed on a USD 31.9 million Series A+ funding round from CICC’s Zhide Capital. Just two months ago, DeepBlue Technology received tens of millions of dollars in Series A financing from Meridian Capital China. According to DeepBlue’s founder and CEO Chen Haibo, the company will focus on spreading its A.I. distribution to more industries.
3. On April 16, Allianz China General Insurance (ACGI) announced that it had landed USD 1.27 billion from multiple investors, including ecommerce giant JD.com, which became ACGI’s second largest shareholder having invested USD 85 million. According to JD.com’s CEO Richard Liu, the company will push further into insurance and online brokerage. Based in Guangzhou, ACGI is a wholly foreign-funded subsidiary insurance company owned solely by the German financial services conglomerate Allianz SE.
4. On April 16, Shanghai-based smart video SaaS service platform Video++ (Jilian Technology) received USD 55.6 million in a financing round led by Alibaba Group Holding and A.I.-powered facial recognition firm Face++. Yunfeng Capital and the State Development & Investment Corporation also participated. Video++ will use the fresh capital to deepen its business reach in the A.I.-powered entertainment industry.
5. On April 17, Sinovation Ventures, a Beijing-based VC co-founded by Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, ex-head of Google China, raised USD 500 million in new funding to invest in A.I. startups and recently received the first payment of USD 50 million from Spanish bank BBVA. According to BBVA’s CEO Carlos Torres Vila, the bank is hoping to learn from and build connections with some of the most promising A.I. companies on the planet. Sinovation Ventures currently manages six funds, with total assets of $1.7 billion currently under management.
6. On April 18, the Beijing-based fintech start-up 100Credit (Bairong) secured USD 159 million in a Series C funding round from the state-owned China Reform Fund. 100Credit specializes in using big data to provide credit services. Existing investor Sequoia Capital China also participated in the round. The funding will be used for talent-recruitment, A.I. hardware innovation, R&D in big data and blockchain-related products, and to increase investments in financial risk management products.
(top photo from unsplash.com)