LeEco’s Wild Bid, Redpoint’s New China Fund, Wipro Deal In Indiana
LeEco is seeking to break new boundaries for Chinese companies in the U.S. consumer market with its splashy debut of a full line of innovative connected devices, applications and entertainment services meant for the always-on digital age millennial.
This leading Chinese tech player is being billed as an all-in-one Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix and Tesla. Introducing smartphones, smart TVs, a VR headset, a video service, a smart bike and a self-driving electric vehicle at a massive press event held at the Innovation Center in San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, LeEco’s vision is to seamlessly deliver content and services over multiple connected devices in its ecosystem.
It’s a strategy that resembles Apple’s system to lock in users to its brands and platforms. And it’s a style that tries to mimic Steve Jobs and his Apple product launches. While impressive in its scale, LeEco’s splashy event was viewed as over-the-top — perhaps trying too hard.
LeEco, founded in 2004 and listed in China, will have to get a lot right to tackle the U.S. market. Read more at Forbes: LeEco’s bid.
Banking on China’s growing number of serial entrepreneurs, strong government support and accelerating global technology advance, Sand Hill Road veteran investor Redpoint Ventures has raised a China-specific $180 million fund to invest in emerging Chinese consumer and enterprise technology companies. The new fund, Redpoint China I, is being led by David Yuan, Tony Wu and Reggie Zhang, through offices in Beijing and Shanghai. The fund will invest in 25 companies with investment sizes of $1 million to $4 million. Redpoint counts Qihoo 360 as one of its successful exits in China.
Breaking rank from many other venture firms in the Valley, Sequoia Capital has hired its first female investing partner, Jess Lee, who comes to the firm from a Yahoo-acquired shopping startup Polyvore she co-founded. Lee becomes the 11th partner at the firm, which has been seeking to bring on a female investing partner for several years.
To lure more Hollywood studios to China, Wanda Group and the Qingdao municipal government have formed a film and TV development fund of $750 million to back productions. The news, announced at a gathering of film makers and politicians in LA this past week, lures include cost-saving incentives (40% rebate) on movie production expenses. Wanda is pitching its Qingdao movie-making complex, and several studios including Lionsgate and Arclight Films have agreed to shoot films at the studio. The studio was promoted as the world’s biggest and most technologically advanced production facility.
HTC Vive, seeking to make it easier for consumers to try VR on their phones and find quality content, has beta launched Viveport M specifically designed as an alternative to PC access for purchasing mobile VR content. It’s being test-launched in China with plans to expand to other markets after first tests.
The Chinese government likes to control social media and what people do with it—but Facebook looks willing to launch in China anyway. Read Mark Zuckerberg’s long march to China, in Technology Review.
Hillhouse Capital, Tencent, Baidu and New Hope Group, a food and agribusiness conglomerate, have raised $40 million in a second round financing in Doumi, a Chinese platform for finding part-time jobs.
China B2B liquor platform Yijiupi raises $100m Series C. The investment was led by existing investor Greenwoods Asset Management.
VC-backed Tujia, AirBNB’s Chinese rival, is acquiring the home sharing businesses of Ctrip and Qunar for an undisclosed sum.
India’s tech titans are getting deeper into the U.S. acquisition act, as leading outsourcing company Wipro is acquiring an Indianapolis-based cloud service company Appirio for $500 million. The acquisition loops in Topcoder, a crowdsourcing platform connecting designers, developers and data scientists with customers.