Silicon Dragon Digest: Sept. 4, 2017 Week

David Chen
Chinese startup Strikingly, a website builder optimized for mobile, has nabbed $6 million in Series A investment from CAS Holding, TEEC and prior investors Infinity Venture Partners and Innovation Works (renamed Sinovation Ventures). Strikingly, now based in San Francisco, was the first China originated startup to be accepted by YCombinator in 2012. Founder David Chen, who dropped out of the University of Chicago to co-launch Strikingly, is using the funds to speed up user growth and expand products such as the Mobile Editor 1.0 that the startup just introduced for full editing of websites from mobile devices. Chen was nominated and profiled by Silicon Dragon’s Rebecca Fannin for the Forbes Asia 30U30 2016.

Softbank and Didi along with a strategic outlay by Toyota have funded Grab, Uber’s key Southeast Asian rival, as part of a Series G (!) deal targeting $2.5 billion.

Qiming Ventures has led a $30 million first round investment in Abcfintech, a Beijing-based startup with AI-driven analysis products for the financial industry to improve investment decisions. Others joining were Source Code Capital, SIG Asia Investment and Welight Capital

Blue Lake CapitalGGV CapitalYunqi Partners and Zhen Fund Smart have put $15 million in vending machine operator Citybox in Shanghai.

Good Feeling Group, a fitness club chain based in Shenzhen, has pulled in $14 million in Series B funding led by China Merchants Bank, with Century Golden Resources Corp.

Feng, 9-5-17Daosheng Capital has invested multi-millions in a Series C funding of Chinese intra-city logistics and delivery firm Fengxiansheng in Hangzhou. Online apparel company Jolly Information Technology joined in.

BlueRun Ventures and Tencent co-led a $24 million investment in Shuidi, a Chinese operator of three crowdfunding platforms — a la Kickstarter Shuidichou and two healthcare related funding sites. Participating in the Series A funding were Sinovation VenturesBanyan CapitalIDG CapitalMeituan-Dianping and Tongcheng Foundation.

Hillhouse Capital Group and Goldman Sachs have injected $90 million in Series D financing of Arrail Dental, a private dental service provider across China’s leading cities.

District Healthcare, 9-5-2017Matrix Partners China has joined a $40 million, third round funding of Chinese clinic operator Distinct Healthcare, with additional support from Tiantu Capital, China International Capital Co.Qianhai Fund of Funds, and Shuimu Fund.

 Alibaba Group and Jack Ma-backed Yunfeng Capital have strategically poured $140 million in Qiniuyun, an enterprise cloud services company in Shanghai that could complement Alibaba’s cloud computing unit.

Westbridge Capital has led a $170 million investment in Vini Cosmetics as early backer Bay Capital exits and clocks a 15 times returns. Meanwhile, Sequoia Capital India has bought a stake in Faces Cosmetic.

CF PharmTech, a Suzhou-located specialty pharmaceutical company, has locked in $65 million in Series D funding led by Future Industry Investment Fund, a private equity fund managed by SDIC Fund Management Corporation. Others joining include CCB InternationalYuanming CapitalLongmen Capital and Hengyutianze.

Chinese investment firm Mingdaojinkong has led a $45 million financing of Fangsiling, a Nanjing-based startup offering rent installment payment options to young professionals in China. Other backers joining the Series E funding were 9F Bank, 9C CapitalWill Hunting Capital and

Contract research organization Akeso Biopharma in Zhongshan has snared $45 million in Series B funding led by GTJA Investment Groupwith Shenzhen Capital GroupQianhai Fund of Funds and TriWise Capital.

GoGoVan becomes Hong Kong’s first unicorn, as it goes beyond the B2B market and merges with 58 Suyun, a logistics on-demand platform focused on consumers of mainland Chinese online classifieds giant 58 Home.

Lattice Semiconductor Corp. is asking Trump to directly approve its proposed $1.3 billion takeover by China-backed private equity firm Canyon Bridge, after hearing that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) will recommend the deal be either suspended or prohibited.

Former WPP China CEO Bessie Lee is launching a $30 million venture capital fund to bridge U.S. innovation and the China market. The new fund from Withinlink, a China-based startup incubator and early stage venture fund she founded in 2015, follows a RMB fund closed this past March that focused on domestic China technology startups.

Qingsong Fund, a China VC firm formed by Alvin Liu, a co-founder of Tencent Holdings, has closed its third fund with $129 million in capital from 30 limited partners. The firm hones in on investments spanning education to artificial intelligence and is now managing $200 million altogether.

Joy Capital, a VC firm in China founded by former Legend Capital managing director Liu Erhai, is seeking to raise $300 million for its second fund, after a debut fund last year of $200 million.

Tencent Music Entertainment Group, a Tencent-controlled operator of streaming music and karaoke apps, is looking to raise additional funding at a $10 billion valuation ahead of an IPO. Tencent acquired a controlling 60 percent stake in China’s then leading music-streaming company, China Music Corp., a year ago.

A score for China’s ZK International Group, which traded up 69% in its Sept. 1 debut on Nasdaq. ZK manufactures and engineers stainless steel piping for transport of clean water and gas, and is focusing on infrastructure projects in western China.

RYB Education, a China-based company that provides early childhood education services, is aiming for a $100 million IPO, with plans to trade on the NYSE.

Best, a logistics service company founded by the former co-president of Google China (Johnny Chou) and backed by Alibaba, is seeking to raise up to $1 billion via a U.S. IPO, up from an earlier target of $750 million.

China has cracked down on cryptocurrencies by a clamp on what it has deemed illegal fund raising, through token-based digital currencies or ICOs (initial coin offerings).

In a bold experiment to change China’s retail landscape, Alibaba has invested $8 billion in physical stores over the past 2 years Forbes

NFL and Tencent announced a three-year partnership to make Tencent Sports the exclusive live digital streaming medial partner of the NFL in China.  

Standard Chartered just became the first foreign bank to partner with WeChat Pay.

WhatsApp for business goes for a soft launch in India with BookMyShow.

Xiaomi, which has been expanding in Southeast Asia, is jumping into Thailand, offering its Xiaomi 6 and Redmi Note 4 phones to start the roll-out.

 Didi’s big data is being used to cut China’s traffic jams and urban congestion. TechNode

China’s technology companies are betting big R&D bucks that the next hit will be a voice-activated home bot powered by artificial intelligence in the style of Apple’s HomePod or Amazon’s Echo

Nissan-Renault is setting up a dedicated joint venture with China factory partner Dongfeng Motor, to build electric vehicles for the growing China market. The move echoes Ford and Volkswagen.

Stepping up its surveillance in time for the 19th National Congress this fall, the Cyberspace Administration of China will start enforcing a new set of regulations to eliminate posts by anonymous users on Internet and social messaging.

Silicon Dragon Digest: week of September 4, 2017

Curated by Shuonan Chen
Edited by Rebecca Fannin