Don’t miss out our headlines this week: Travel app Flight Steward’s parent company lands USD 143 million; Recruitment site Lagou secures USD 34 million in Series C financing; Video platform with 700 million page views receives USD 7 million funding.
Alibaba invests in rural e-commerce site reaching more rural buyers
Taoshihui, an e-commerce platform targeting China’s rural population, announced on Thursday that it finished a RMB 300 million (USD 46 million) round of Series A financing. The round of financing was led by Alibaba-backed Ameba Capital followed by CITIC Capital, QF Capital and Alibaba’s ex-COO Li Qi.
Chen Wei, co-founder of the company and former Alibaba regional manager, said that this round of financing will be used to build more rural service points and improve logistics in rural areas.
Founded in May 2013, the company is a rural e-commerce platform aiming to help farmers make purchases online. The company sets up tablets in shops that display categories of commodities including fruits, clothes and agricultural materials. Rural consumers select the products they want and tell the salesperson their order number for payment. Purchases can be delivered to the buyer’s home or they can choose to pick it up themselves at the place they made their payment.
Nip-tuck app backed by Alibaba gets tens of millions of dollars
Not happy with your nose, face, fingers or some parts of your body and want to locate the best cosmetic medical services center near your home? There’s an app for that in China.
Plastic surgery app Meilimei has landed tens of millions of USD in Series B financing, Chinese tech news site iyiou.com reported on Wednesday.
This round of fundraising was led by Skyview Capital, a private investment firm based in Los Angeles with a brewing portfolio of tech companies centered around mobile and networking.
Travel app Flight Steward’s parent company lands USD 143 M
Houlitianhui, a Shenzhen-based science and technology company, received RMB 933 million (USD 143 million) in Series C financing, ChinaNews.com reported on Wednesday. This round of funding was led by Caissa Touristic, a Beijing-based travel agency affiliated with HNA Tourism Group, followed by Caissa Ska, China’s Civil Aviation Investment Fund and the Beijing Civil Aviation Investment Center.
Houlitianhui received USD five million from Sequoia Capital China in Series A financing in January 2011 and USD 15 million from Matrix Partners and Greylock Partners in Series B financing in December 2011.
Founded in 2009, Houlitianhui focuses on business travel services and mobile community app development. Their main products include travel apps like Flight Steward and High-speed Rail Steward that are used to find and book plane and train tickets, and Hotel Housekeeper a hotel booking platform. Among these, Flight Steward is the most popular flight app in the market with around four million users. The total transactions on Flight Steward and High-speed Rail Steward in 2015 were close to RMB 20 billion, realizing a compound annual growth of 333% since 2013, according to Chinese tech news website 36kr.com.
What’s next for recruitment site Lagou with USD 34 M in funding?
Online recruitment site Lagou.com announced RMB 220 million (USD 33.8 million) in Series C financing on Wednesday. The funding will go towards further expanding services to business customers.
Founded in July 2013, the company secured Series A financing of USD five million in March 2014. USD 25 million in Series B financing followed five months later, pushing the company’s valuation at the time to RMB 800 million.
Xu Dandan, Lagou’s CEO, said that their top priority for 2016 is to test expanding services to business customers. New services include business memberships priced at RMB 16,800 or RMB 23,800, with which employers can access extra services such as Lagou’s workshops. For some time, Lagou’s main income has come from charging employers 20% of an employee’s first month’s salary as a service fee.
What this online beauty empire plans to do with USD 12 M
The founder of Meidaila, a medical beauty e-commerce and online community, told AllChinaTech about the company’s vision and plans for the USD 12 million in Series B funding the company raised at the end of 2015. The round of investment was led by IDG Capital and Ping An Ventures, followed by returning investor Banyan Capital.
Zhao Ying, founder and CEO of the company and also the former editor-in-chief of leading news portal NetEase, said the round of financing will be used to develop its e-commerce business, one of its two core operations. The other being its online community building.
In January 2015, Meidaila launched an app along with its online community. Unlike other online plastic surgery communities that focus on doctors, the company’s community is customer-oriented.
Video platform with 700 million page views receives USD 7 M
Hangzhou-based new media platform Ergeng told AllChinaTech that they received over RMB 50 million (USD 7.7 million) in Series A financing from Shenzhen Stone VC and ZhenFund. This round of funding has increased the company’s valuation ten-fold from when the platform was first launched last year.
Ergeng attracted several million fans shortly after it launched in April 2015. The platform produces three to four-minute videos related to urban life and unique personal experiences.
Ergeng has claimed that its videos have attracted 700 million page views by working with major video websites including Tencent, Sohu and iQIYI, and mobile clients including Sina Weibo, Jiemian and NetEase news.
This camera app backed by Meitu lands millions of dollars
The video-chat-positioned app, Faceu, announced last week it had secured tens of millions of dollars in Series B financing led by Meitu, China’s leading photo app developer. Guo Lie, founder of Faceu, said the fund will be used mainly for product R&D.
If you haven’t heard of Faceu, then the iMadeFace-like avatar maker FaceQ might ring a bell. The app that went viral two years ago allows people to create a “moe” version of themselves and share it with friends. People love it.
“There is a craze right now for ‘moe culture’–the excitement for the adorably cute. This demand in my view is insatiable in Asia, and China is no exception,” Guo told AllChinaTech. “This is our edge over competitors abroad–our team knows Chinese users better.”