Hong Kong Buzzing With New Unicorns

 

The buzz in tech and venture circles in Hong Kong today is about the emergence of home-grown Hong Kong startups that have reached unicorn or $1 billion-plus status in financing. Their names are instantly recognizable in these circles: logistics service GoGoVan and fintech innovator WeLab. Word is getting around too about artificial intelligence company SenseTime Group, a third unicorn from Hong Kong — and in the hottest sector today.

SenseTime entered the unicorn league when it raised $410 million in a Series B round this past July, giving it a total valuation of $1.5 billion. Now, SenseTime is getting ready to raise a next round of financing before the end of the year, and the amount could surpass its previous raise, co-founder and founding CEO Dr. Xu Li (see photo) told Silicon Dragon in an interview in Hong Kong. Read Forbes: Hong Kong Senses Unicorns
Dr. Xu is speaking at Silicon Dragon’s HK event, Nov. 16.

DEALS
Lightspeed China and Sequoia Capital China have invested  $58 million in China’s checkout-free store, Xing Bian Li – a  sign of things to come in retail outlets. Adding to this growing “smart retail” sector, GGV Capital backed Citybox with $15 million. China is once again leading the way with new innovations, this time making unmanned convenience stores popular.  VCs are bettng big on staff-less convenience stores.

Apple is acquiring New Zealand-based PowerbyProxy, a spin-out from the University of Auckland. The startup works on wireless batter charging. This deal is a major score for New Zealand innovation, which Silicon Dragon has covered.
Read Forbes, Kiwi Ingenuity.

SPOTLIGHT: On The Trail

cropped 2 CyberSilicon Dragon’s Rebecca Fannin moderated a panel that paired up founders with their investors for a check on how things are going at the startup.  Here at the Cyberport Venture Capital event on Nov. 1 are Chibo Tang, Gobi Partners; Denes Ban, OurCrowd; Shuonan Chen, Agile VC; Toby Olshanetsky, Proov; Sheffeld Wang, Rescale and Raphael Cohen, Gobee Bike.

cropped SoCal 2017

At the SoCal Innovation Forum in Los Angeles, Silicon Dragon’s Fannin was at the moderating helm again Nov. 4, orchestrating a Hollywood-China investor and production panel with Julia Pierrepont of Pierrepont Productions, Luke Xiang of Smart Cinema and Tracey Chen of Warner Bros.

 IPOs
Online peer-to-peer lender Hexindai from China jumped in its U.S. trading debut on Nasdaq. Its Chinese rival Qudian went public on the NYSE just two weeks prior and also did well, only to see shares tumble later. Meanwhile, PPDai plans to raise $298 million in an U.S. IPO before mid-November.

NOTEWORTHY
GGV Capital partner Jenny Lee made it on the Forbes list of the 18 most powerful women in tech. She covers frontier tech for the U.S.-China VC firm and is based in Shanghai.
Plus, she’s tireless!  Jean Liu, president of China’s Didi Chuxing (think Uber) also made the list. So did Lucy Cheng of Alibaba and Solina Cahu Hoi Sheun, Li Ka Shing Foundation.
China was well represented! Read Power Women.VIEWPOINT
How Crypto and ICOs are Touching Hardware
If you don’t know what we’re talking about, read this column by Benjamin Joffe, a partner at HAX.