Tencent Stretches To Finland With Its Biggest Acquisition Yet – $8.6B

[Silicon Dragon Digest, Week of June 20, 2016]

supercell_tencent_titleCHINA CROSS-BORDER
Tencent and its partners are acquiring Finnish game maker Supercell Oy for $8.6 billion from Softbank, in Tencent’s biggest-ever acquisition and an indicator of its global ambitions. Supercell, maker of the “Clash of Clans” mobile game, is the world’s biggest videogame publisher by revenue. The deal, for an 84.3% controlling stake, values Supercell at $10.2 billion.

Several Chinese companies top MIT Technology Review’s latest list of “50 Smartest Companies.” Firms were chosen for combining innovative technology with an effective business model. Baidu came in at second place, after Amazon, in part for its investments in developing autonomous cars, backed by an engineering team in Silicon Valley. Huawei, Tencent, Didi Chuxing, and Alibaba also made the Top 25. See the full lineup here.

IDG has led the $60 million round for Circle, a Boston-based fintech startup seeking to build a blockchain-supported P2P payments system in China. Other investors include Breyer Capital, search engine Baidu, Everbright Investments, and Creditease. The payments company also announced that it is on track to exceed $1 billion in transaction volume this year, and that six months ago, it formed a separate company, Circle China. The startup’s focus is on “connecting out,” for example by linking Chinese students who study abroad with their families back home. It is well positioned to capitalize from China’s growing middle class expenditures, which are expected to rise from now until 2030.

The after effects of the ‘Brexit’ vote have included global market turbulence, and China is no exception. Given China’s growing financial links with the rest of the world, it’s no wonder that all eyes are on China’s reaction to the shock. Experts predict that in the near term, the most immediate impact on China from Brexit will be in financial markets. Domestic sentiment within China has been negative. Read about Beijing’s reaction to the vote and steps it has taken to protect its currency in a piece by the WSJ, here.

Urwork, a China-based co-working space operator, has raised $46 million from investors including the Chinese commercial property developer Yintai Land and Zhongrong International Trust Co. The funding follows a $31 million round that the company closed just three months ago. The startup plans to open 36 locations across 16 cities in China.

Legend Capital is among the investors in the $26 million round of Kaola FM, an audio program network run by China’s AutoRadio Group. The startup provides audio programs covering news, finance, entertainment, audio books and pop music, claiming more than 160 million users.

Under new rules to take effect on August 1, search engines operating in China will be required to report banned content and to verify advertisers’ qualifications. This new regulation follows recent criticism directed at Baidu, China’s biggest search engine, for misleading users with search results. The search engine has said it would restrict the number of sponsored posts to 30 percent of a results page.

SAIF Partners
has put $3.5 million in funding into FarEye, a New Delhi-based workforce management platform that helps e-commerce companies run their logistics more efficiently. The firm runs a software platform that sits between e-commerce firms and their logistics and fulfillment partners. One-third of FarEye’s revenue comes from overseas, primarily Southeast Asia, where e-commerce is taking off. Following this round, FarEye is planning to open business development offices in Bangalore, Bombay and Singapore.

BlueRun Ventures, UpWest Labs
and CRV are among the investors in the $28.5 million funding round of Airbotics, a two-year-old, Israel-based maker of automated industrial drones. Individual backers such as Waze CEO Noam Bardin also participated. The company builds both hardware and software focused on needs specific to industry, including missions such as perimeter patrols and regular safety inspections.

Former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer invested alongside Aleph, Spark Capital, and Digital Currency Group in the $9.6 million Series A funding round of Colu, A Tel Aviv-based blockchain startup. The company, currently focused on local currency issuance, had previously raised $2.5 million in seed funding.

Israel-based cybersecurity company LightCyber has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Access Industries, with participation from earlier backers Battery Ventures, Glilot Capital Partners and Amplify Partners.

 – By @SiliconDragon Writer Ying-Ying Lu (@ginyginy)