Friday Tech Briefing: Alibaba, DJI, JD.com
1. Alibaba Acquires Major Stake in Online Wine Retailer
Online wine and spirits retailer 1919 has received 2 billion yuan ($288 million) in its Series C funding round from tech giant Alibaba, which is now its second-largest shareholder.
The latest funding round values 1919 at 7 billion yuan. The 12-year old company is reported to be China’s largest online retailer in the wine sector, with a gross merchandise value of over 5 billion yuan last year and over 1200 stores nationwide.
China is set to become the world's second largest wine market after the U.S. in the coming years. The large but fragmented market has been slow to shift to e-commerce, giving early-comers such as 1919 plenty of room to grow. (Company announcement in Chinese, Reuters)
2. JD.com to Offer Package Delivery Service
E-commerce titan JD.com will allow customers to send parcels throughout the country using its logistics network starting Thursday.
JD.com has built a vast logistics network that's able to make same or next-day delivery for 90% of orders, and reaches 99% of China’s population.
Analysts believe the move will pose a concrete threat to industry leaders such as SF Express and YTO Express. (Caixin)
3. DJI Raises Prices in Response to U.S. Tariffs
Chinese drone maker DJI has upped the retail price of its latest drones by about 300 yuan ($43 dollars) due to the ongoing trade war between China and US, company executives said Tuesday.
Though DJI products were not targeted by the U.S. tariff list, components such as lithium batteries are now subject to additional rates.
With an over 90% share of the global consumer drone market, the Shenzhen-based company believes its products will withstand the tariffs, but has swallowed costs on less competitive products like phone accessories. (Caixin, link in Chinese)
4. Autonomous Vehicle Startup Drives Into ‘Unicorn’ Status
Beijing-based Momenta has become China’s first “unicorn” in the autonomous-car sector after netting new funding from private and state players including NIO Capital, Tencent, and the Shanghai government fund.
The two-year old startup was founded by Microsoft veteran Cao Xudong. It develops software in the areas of mapping and path planning.
China's autonomous driving sector is led by internet giant Baidu and startups like Pony.ai and Roadstar.ai. Local ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing and US-based Waymo have also recently made moves into the market. (Caixin)
5. Beijing Tops Cities for Distance Driven in Autonomous Vehicle Tests
Licensed autonomous vehicles have driven 63,000 kilometers in Beijing, making it the city with the highest road test mileage by such vehicles in China.
China has supported autonomous cars as part of its broader push into electric vehicles and AI. Earlier this year, it allowed local governments to issue permits to companies to test autonomous vehicles on public roads. (The Beijing News, link in Chinese)
6. Huawei Accused of Scheme to Steal Semiconductor Technology from US Start-up
In a lawsuit over semiconductor intellectual property, a former Huawei engineer has accused the Chinese telecom giant of trying to steal technology from his startup to help China surpass the U.S. in the field.
Huawei earlier accused the engineer of making off with sensitive trade secrets, but the former employee who left Huawei to start his own business said the company got it backward.
Huawei has been deemed a threat to US national security by American politicians and business. (SCMP)
Compiled by He Shujing
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