Consolidating China, Led By Alibaba, Tencent, Toutiao

Consolidation continues in China tech circles. The latest match is Nasdaq-listed Momo’s acquisition of Tantan for more than $600 million to create an online dating duo that is at least three times larger than Tinder.  The investment in Tantan was led by Wei Zhou, in his last investment at KPCB China before leaving to spin off his own fund China Creation Ventures.  Zhou noted that as a B round investor in Tantan, KPCB  delivered a good result to its limited partners.
Zhou will be speaking at Silicon Dragon’s upcoming events in
Hong Kong, April 19, and in Beijing, April 26.

Re-Enter Blackstone for Waldorf-Astoria?
Anyone who has walked by the Waldorf-Astoria in midtown Manhattan must have noticed that not much seemed to be going on, though the iconic hotel was supposedly under renovation by Chinese owner Anbang Group, which acquired the Waldorf for $1.95 billion.  Now the mystery is cleared up. The Chinese government has taken over the property in a sweep up of assets owned by the acquisitive, debt-laden Anbang. If you needed confirmation about China’s determination to rein in surging corporate debt, the dramatic government takeover of Anbang is pretty much it, wrote Bloomberg.  The New York Times noted that if it hadn’t broken the story on Anbang seeking to buy into the Kushner’s flagship property, today the Chinese government might be Kushner Cos. main business partner. Blackstone has reportedly begun talks to buy back the Waldorf. Let’s hope the Waldorf reopens soon.

Faceu, now owned by Toutiao

Faceu, now owned by Toutiao

China’s AI news aggregator Toutiao, going from strength to strength, has acquired Chinese AR selfie app FaceU for $300 million. FaceU raised $50 million in October from IDG Capital and others. Guess this means that the Hong Kong IPO of FaceU is a little ways off.

Toutiao parent company ByteDance has been on an aggressive acquisition path, buying video apps Musical.ly and Flipagram in the U.S. last year.

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba continues to assemble its offline retail empire by expanding into home furnishings while professing to be all about blending offline and online retail and digitizing all commerce. Alibaba invested approximately $866 million for a 15 percent stake in Easyhome, a Chinese furniture chain operator. Alibaba’s bet on a new Hema line of automated  grocery stores without cashiers or check-out lines is part of its retail outreach. Hema could be considered more advanced than the AmazonGo trial at U.S. e-commerce leader’s Seattle headquarters.

ISRAEL-CHINA DEALS: All Hype?
Is Israel-China deal making all hype or is there some reality to it? The IVC Research Center in Tel Aviv concludes that we’re still waiting for the trends to take hold. A good foundation has been built over the past few years. Look for more to come.  Already, Chinese investment in Israeli tech deals nearly doubled to 43 in 2017 from 26 in 2013 while deal volume has more than doubled to $596 million in 2017 from $232 million in 2013. Read Forbes: All Hype?

INDIA
Alibaba is in talks to acquire Toutiao-backed Indian news aggregator DailyHunt for $500 million, as it expands it reach into India.

With $20 Million in funding from Warburg Pincus and Sequoia Capital India, Capillary Technologies aims to deepen Its CRM footprint in Asia. The startup specializes in helping e-commerce businesses manage their marketing and customer engagement.

The never-ending exploration of AI’s Impact in China, gets another voice as Silicon Dragon writes here in East West Bank’s digital publication Reach Further,  China Chases The AI Dream.

IPOs
Wonder if and when China’s popular livestreaming app Kuaishou will go public, now that the $1 billion investment by Tencent is here.

NOTEWORTHY
hypersonic planeBeijing to New York in two hours? Don’t we wish! A Chinese team of scientists have revealed their ambitious plans for a hypersonic plane. It has double-layer wings.  Read about it in SCMP here.