Silicon Dragon News: Hot Week In China VC & Tech!

WeChat-Snapchat-iconsWHAT TENCENT IS DOING WITH SNAPCHAT 

Chinese gaming and social media titan Tencent  flagged video games and ad sales as areas where it could help Snap after upping its stake in the U.S. startup to 12%.
Tencent will likely form a close relationship with Snap beyond passive investing and assist it with strategy — a step that other Chinese acquirers have done with tech investments in U.S. companies. Tencent has invested in 40-plus tech startups in the U.S. since 2011.
Tencent towers over Snap. Its holdings span messaging apps QQ and WeChat, both ubiquitous in China, and Tencent’s market capitalization of $469 billion is among the largest in the world. The comparable for Snap, which has been struggling with poor earnings, is $15 billion.
Silicon Dragon was called to comment on the deal.
“The China market is in some ways more advanced in social media and messaging than the U.S. is,” observed Rebecca Fannin, founder of Silicon Dragon. “Tencent might have teams come in and work with Snapchat.”
Read more about Tencent-Snap at Reuters.

DEALS
Hong Kong-based mobile lending startup WeLab has stepped up to its unicorn status by adding $220 million in new funding from investors including Alibaba, IFC and Credit Suisse.
The fintech startup intends to expand from its base in Hong Kong and Mainland China to Southeast Asia.
Silicon Dragon has been covering WeLab’s progress, and presented founder Simon Loong with a Founder Award in 2014 (photo) — a sign that we spot them early!
WeLab’s backers include Sequoia Capital, Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Netherlands’ ING Bank and Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s TOM Group.

Chalk another one up for China in the race to get ahead in electric cars. China’s electric vehicle startup Nio has raised $1 billion in its latest draw, bringing in existing investor Tencent as the lead along with Hillhouse Capital and Sequoia Capital
Check out Nio’s super-fast EV car (photo) at a recent Shanghai race.   

Shanghai-based biotech EOC Pharma has raised $32 million from Chinese investors to help it brings a series of cancer drugs to market.  H&Q Asia Pacific and Sequoia were in on the deal.

INDIA DEALS
Fintech startup Kissht in Mumbai has snared $10 million from Chinese conglomerate Fosun International. The startup offers easier online and offline payment options. This deal illustrates how China dealmakers are entering the Indian market, and helping its tech startups evolve – but a few years later than in China.    

 Another Indian fintech startup roped in capital this past week: Bangalore-based finance and wealth advisory firm Fisdom got backing from frontier investor Quona Capital, and India’s Saama Capital plus entrepreneur / investor Subramanya S.V. —  to the tune of $3.8 million in a Series B round.      

 M&A Deals
Chinese video social startup Musical.ly, backed by Greylock VC Josh Ellman and GGV Capital VC Hans Tung, has been acquired for $800 million by ByteDance, the digital content company behind the highly popular news aggregator Toutiao, a Chinese content social giant worth $22 billion and with 600 million + users.  
Musical.ly founder Alex Zhu spoke at Silicon Dragon Shanghai 2016. View video: Musical.ly.  

 IPOs
Legend Capital and Lightspeed China-backed Chinese peer-to-peer lender PPDAI went public on the NYSE this past Friday and saw shares inch up 3%.  CFO Simon Ho, in town for the IPO, proclaimed that AI and machine learning will fuel innovations in fintech. So why not go public now?  View video: PPDAI.    

FUNDS
Israel’s early stage tech investor Carmel Ventures has raised$170 million toward a $210 million closing and has rebranded as Viola Ventures with six partners, two of them new.  The group notably has China’s Baidu as an investor as well as several from the U.S., Europe and Asia, bringing assets under management to $2.8 billion.

NOTEWORTHY

Qualcomm signed more than $12 billion in potential China deals with three mobile handset makers, on the sidelines of a state visit to China by President Trump.
  

VIEWPOINT
 Why China Will Lead AI
Kai-Fu Lee is very bullish about the future of AI in China. He started his lunch keynote at MIT’s AI and the Future of Work event by predicting that self-driving cars will become a mass phenomenon in the U.S. in 15 to 20 years. But in China it will be “more like 10 years.”
Read more AI views at Forbes.

VIDEO
Delving into Alibaba’s 11-11 Shopping Festival
courtesy new retail consultant Michael Zakkour