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By Ding Yi / Apr 22, 2021 03:14 PM / Finance

Laiye, a Chinese developer of robotic process automation (RPA) systems, has pocketed $50 million in its series C+ funding round co-led by Ping An Global Voyager Fund and Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Industry Equity Investment Fund, reflecting a growing investor interest in a technology used to enhance productivity in workplaces.

Other investors included Lightspeed China Partners, Sequoia Capital China and Wu Capital, Laiye said in a WeChat post on Wednesday.

RPA systems are used to mimic tedious and repetitive workplace tasks like keyboard strokes and mouse clicks to help businesses reduce staffing costs and human errors. Use of RPA tools saw a boom during the Covid-19 pandemic, as a growing number of companies explored ways to automate their workflow.

The capital raised in the new round will be used for global expansion, talent recruitment, artificial intelligence technology development and the deployment of new mobile-based products, according to Laiye.

Beijing-based Laiye said that its revenue from RPA software service subscriptions skyrocketed 900% year-on-year in 2020, with the year’s final quarter seeing its enterprise-focused business achieve a positive cash flow while its chatbot business turned a profit during the quarter.

Established in 2015, Laiye offers smart robotic automation products, natural language processing, dialogue management and context-based recommendations to companies from various industries ranging from finance and manufacturing to telecoms and retail. In 2019, Laiye launched an RPA platform called UiBot which it claims can help enterprises improve operating and management efficiency as well as lower labor costs.

CEO Wang Guanchun said that Laiye aims to amass 1 million certified software robot developers by 2025, as the company expands its services globally. Currently, Laiye has a local team in Singapore consisting of experts who have worked for tech giants including Microsoft, IBM and Oracle.

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Related: Chinese AI Firm Laiye Secures $42 Million in Series C Funding Round


By Ding Yi / Apr 06, 2021 05:03 PM / Finance

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Nio and Xpeng, the two Chinese electric vehicle startups listed in the U.S., reported strong gains in deliveries for March, with both companies setting new quarterly sales records.

In March, Nio delivered 7,257 vehicles, representing a year-on-year increase of 373%. The March figure brings Nio’s total deliveries in the first quarter of the year to 20,060 vehicles, the most for any quarter, the company said in a statement released on Thursday.

The quarterly sales performance is in line with Nio’s original guidance of between 20,000 and 20,500 vehicles. Last week, Nio adjusted its outlook to about 19,500 vehicles due to a chip shortage which forced the company to halt production at one of its plants in China for five working days from March 29.

In the same month, Xpeng delivered 5,102 vehicles, up 384% year-on-year. The company also achieved record-breaking quarterly deliveries of 13,340 vehicles in the first three months of the year, beating its earlier forecast of 12,500 cars, according to a statement issued on Thursday.

The two Chinese automakers’ record-breaking quarterly figures could be seen as an indicator of consumers’ growing interest in homegrown new energy vehicles, but they are a drop in the bucket when compared with bigger rival Tesla. On Friday, Tesla announced that it delivered 184,800 vehicles worldwide in the first quarter, which the company said was helped by “the strong reception of the Model Y in China.”

Currently, Tesla only makes Model S and Model X cars at its factory in Fremont, California, while the smaller Model 3 and Model Y are made there as well as at its plant in Shanghai. The company did not break out sales by geography, but the U.S. and China are its largest markets and nearly all sales were contributed by the Model 3 and Model Y.

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Related: Chinese EV Makers Nio, Xpeng Eye Secondary Listings in Hong Kong


By Ding Yi / Apr 01, 2021 05:51 PM / Finance

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese tech unicorn ByteDance is mulling listing its TikTok twin app Douyin offshore, according to Reuters, as the aborted Ant Group’s blockbuster IPO in Shanghai has given investors the jitters.

The Beijing-based company is in talks over the feasibility of listing the shares of Douyin in either New York or Hong Kong, Reuters said on Wednesday, citing sources with knowledge of the issue.

A ByteDance representative did not respond to Caixin’s request for comment on the news.

The Reuters report appears to add fuel to speculation about Douyin’s IPO plan that intensified in February, when the South China Morning Post quoted sources as saying that its parent company was looking to raise capital by listing Douyin, with more than 600 million daily active users as of August 2020, in New York.

In February, Douyin’s domestic archrival, Kuaishou, went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, with its shares nearly tripling on the first day of trading in a clear indication of investors’ voracious appetite for the company’s offering.

According to Reuters, ByteDance has also been considering listing some of its Chinese businesses including the news aggregator Jinri Toutiao in Hong Kong or on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market.

The Reuters report came just a week after Shou Zi Chew, who oversaw Xiaomi’s IPO as its chief financial offer in 2018, made public his appointment as ByteDance’s chief financial officer, signaling that an IPO by the TikTok owner could be drawing nearer.

However, the sources told Reuters that the suspension of Ant Group’s IPO has cast a shadow over the prospect of a Shanghai IPO for ByteDance, which was one of the tech firms that Chinese regulators courted for years for a potential stock sale on the city’s STAR Market.

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Related: ByteDance Hires Xiaomi Executive Chew Shou Zi as CFO, Fuels IPO Speculation


By Bloomberg / Mar 31, 2021 11:18 AM / Finance

Photo: Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese fintech firm Bairong Inc. slumped during its debut in Hong Kong, the second listing in the financial hub this week to disappoint following a global selloff in China’s technology sector.

Shares of the artificial intelligence-powered technology platform fell by as much as 13% to HK$27.55 in Hong Kong. The company had priced its shares at HK$31.80 each in the IPO offering, the high end of its indicated range.

If the decline holds through the close, that would make it the worst debut among IPOs exceeding $500 million in Hong Kong since February 2018. A-Living Smart City Services Co. dropped 23% when it debuted.

Bairong’s $507 million listing comes after lackluster investor response to a number of tech debuts recently against the backdrop of a broader selloff due to concerns about lofty valuations and increasing crackdown by Beijing. Video streaming service Bilibili Inc. fell during its debut on Monday while Baidu Inc. - which debuted just last week - is trading nearly 15% below its listing price.

Linklogis Inc., another fintech company, is scheduled to list on April 9.

Bairong’s cornerstone investors include Cederberg Capital Ltd., China Structural Reform Fund Corp. and Franchise Fund LP, which together bought about 64 million shares in the company, accounting for over 40% of this offering, according to its prospectus. The company’s revenue jumped 47% on year in 2019, but is down during the first nine months of 2020 relative to the same period.

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Related: Bilibili Becomes Latest U.S.-Listed Stock to Fall in Hong Kong Market Debut


By Ding Yi / Mar 29, 2021 04:05 PM / Finance

Tencent Music debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018. Photo: VCG

Tencent Music debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018. Photo: VCG

Tencent Music Entertainment Group (TME) authorized a $1 billion share repurchase program after the SEC tightened auditing standards for foreign companies listed on U.S. bourses, giving investors the jitters.

It came after TME's New York Stock Exchange-listed shares plunged a dramatic 30% last week, on a double blow of the SEC announcement and a sudden massive share sale linked to private wealth manager Archegos Capital.

TME’s board said the buyback was a demonstration of “confidence in the company’s business outlook and long-term strategy.”

New York-listed TME plans to buy back up to $1 billion of its class A ordinary shares in the form of American depositary shares (ADSs) during a twelve-month period starting March 29, it said in a statement.

The proposed repurchases, which will be funded from TME’s existing cash balance, may be made through open market transactions at prevailing market prices, privately negotiated transactions, block trades or other legally permissible means, depending on the market conditions and in accordance with applicable rules and regulations, according to the statement.

On March 24, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted interim final amendments to implement congressionally mandated submission and disclosure requirements of the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which is aimed at removing foreign firms from U.S. bourses if they fail to comply with American auditing standards.

Shares of dual-listed Chinese companies including Alibaba and fell sharply last week after the SEC’s decision, which China’s foreign ministry said is discriminatory against Chinese companies and would hurt the reputation of U.S. capital markets. Reuters reported that the SEC’s move also led to a sell-off of some dual-listed Chinese companies in Hong Kong.

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Related: Tencent Music and Warner Music Launch Joint Venture and Extend Licensing Deals


By Bloomberg / Mar 26, 2021 11:55 AM / Finance

An employee pushes a trolley with a Vizio television at a store. Photographer: Laura Buckman/Bloomberg

An employee pushes a trolley with a Vizio television at a store. Photographer: Laura Buckman/Bloomberg

Smart-TV maker Vizio Holding Corp., backed by affiliates of Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group, fell 9% after its downsized initial public offering.

Vizio’s shares opened trading Thursday at $17.50 after selling for $21 in the IPO. The company and some of its investors sold 12.25 million shares Wednesday to raise $257 million, after marketing 15 million shares for $21 to $23.

The shares closed at $19.10 in New York trading, giving the company a market value of about $3.5 billion.

“We’re here to provide long-term shareholder value,” Vizio founder and Chief Executive Officer William Wang said in an interview. “Today the market is choppy. The market is what it is.”

Vizio filed to go public in 2015 but withdrew that plan the following year after reaching an agreement to sell the company for $2 billion. Vizio terminated that deal with an affiliate of China-based Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp. in 2017.

The Irvine, California-based company said it shipped 7.1 million smart TVs in 2020, a 20% increase over the previous year. Its devices are sold online, including at, and in stores such as Best Buy, Costco, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart.

Entertainment Platform

While those sales still account for the overwhelming majority of Vizio’s revenue, its entertainment platform is growing quickly.

Vizio’s Platform+ service is comprised of its SmartCast operating system and Inscape, which powers its data intelligence and services. It supports streaming apps and home smart speakers.

The company had net income of $102 million on revenue of more than $2 billion last year, compared with $23 million in income on revenue of about $1.8 billion in 2019, according to its filings. Only $147 million of the 2020 revenue came from its entertainment platform, with the rest from device sales, the company said. Still, that compared with $63 million in platform revenue in 2019.

Wang said he expects lifestyle changes during the past year to persist after the coronavirus pandemic subsides, with Americans focused on home entertainment, including streaming platforms such as Vizio’s.

Connected Homes

An enthusiastic viewer who polished off “The Queen’s Gambit” TV series in a few days, Wang said televisions will play ever larger roles as a central device in increasingly connected homes. That includes smart speakers and appliances such as, for example, smart doorbells.

“I’m a couch potato,” he said. “If someone rings my doorbell. I don’t want to get up.”

After the IPO, Wang will continue to control the company, according to Vizio’s filings. More than 25% of Vizio’s Class A shares are held by Foxconn affiliates, according to the filings.

The offering is being led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. Vizio‘s shares are expected to begin trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VZIO.

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Related: Foxconn-Backed TV-Maker Vizio Files a Second Time for IPO


By Bloomberg / Mar 23, 2021 11:15 PM / Finance

A pedestrian uses a smartphone in front of an Alipay sign outside an Ant Group Co. office building in Shanghai

A pedestrian uses a smartphone in front of an Alipay sign outside an Ant Group Co. office building in Shanghai

Ant Group Co. created an investment advisory platform on its Alipay app, allowing companies that offer robo adviser services to reach its 1 billion users.

Five Chinese asset management companies debuted on the platform known as Tougu Guanjia, which means investment advisory manager. Users will be able to choose robo advisory services from the platform that functions like a supermarket.

The service is in addition to Ant’s existing joint venture with Vanguard Group Inc. and helps it further expand in the robo advisory industry that’s expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2027 in China. Ant functions as a pipeline and helps verify user identity.

The five asset managers include Harvest Fund Management Co., Southern Asset Management Co., Zhong Ou Asset Management Co., E Fund Management Co., and China Asset Management Co. All of the companies won licenses from the Chinese securities regulator to offer investment advisory services in 2019.

A total of 18 companies are approved by the China Securities Regulatory Commission to offer fund investment advisory services in the country.


By Ding Yi / Mar 15, 2021 03:09 PM / Finance

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

I-Fitness, a Shanghai-based startup which sells fitness courses online and offline, has received an investment of more than 100 million yuan ($15 million) from Xiaomi and Xiaomi founder Lei Jun-backed venture fund Shunwei Capital, which are behind several firms focusing on developing fitness equipment for smart home gym systems.

The investment reflects growing investor interest in the fitness industry as the Covid-19 pandemic has increased demand for home workouts.

After the fundraising, I-Fitness will design fitness courses for users of smart home fitness gear developed as part of the Xiaomi ecosystem of connected products and services, according to a post published on Friday on Shunwei Capital’s public WeChat account.

Since its establishment in 2013, I-Fitness has built ties with more than 2,000 gyms across China and developed 480 fitness courses, over 200 of which are trademark protected. In 2018, I-Fitness started vigorously promoting its group class operation service in Shanghai, allowing its gym partners to select personalized courses and instructors through its self-developed platform called GX-MASTER. During the pandemic last year, the firm doubled down on online operation with an app called Aidong Jianshen that offers free and paid courses that users can attend online or at nearby gyms.

Xiaomi has been building an ecosystem of related products for years consisting of many startups like Huami, a wearable high-tech device maker. Last year, Huami announced the second generation of its proprietary artificial intelligence smart device chip, the Huangshan 2, which will power new health-focused products.

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Related: Xiaomi Wins Court Ruling Blocking U.S. Restrictions on It


By Ding Yi / Mar 12, 2021 12:54 PM / Finance

Xiaomi’s Hong Kong-listed shares rose more than 7% Friday morning after the release of its massive stock buyback plan.

The Chinese smartphone maker said in an exchange filing late Thursday that it will buy back shares worth up to HK$10 billion ($1.3 billion) on the open market as a part of a repurchase plan that the company’s board approved in June last year to buy back a maximum of 10% of its shares worth about HK$31 billion at the time.

“The board believes that a share repurchase in the present conditions will demonstrate the company’s confidence in its own business outlook…and create value to the shareholders,” Xiaomi said in the stock filing.

The repurchase plan comes as Xiaomi’s shares have lost more than a third of their value since the U.S. placed it on a backlist in January for its alleged ties to the Chinese military. Xiaomi has consistently hit back at the U.S. allegation saying it is not linked to China’s military.

In January, Xiaomi rose to the third spot in terms of smartphone shipment in China with a 16% share, filling the void left by the one-time domestic market leader Huawei, which has suffered a significant smartphone sale contraction since its loss of access to major chip suppliers due to U.S. sanctions, according to Counterpoint Research.

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Related: Xiaomi Breaks Into Top Three Smartphone Brands in Latin America for First Time as Huawei Falls


By Bloomberg / Feb 23, 2021 12:06 PM / Finance

Chinese esports firm VSPN is considering an initial public offering in the U.S. as soon as this year to build its war chest for expansion in China’s competitive gaming arena, people familiar with the matter said.

VSPN, also known as Xi’an Quantum Sports Management Co., could raise several hundred million dollars in the IPO, one of the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private.

Deliberations are at an early stage and details including size and timeline could change, the people said. A company representative said they don’t have an IPO plan at this stage.

Focusing on esports tournament organization and content creation, VSPN is expanding in a crowded space that could grow to 165 billion yuan ($26 billion) in revenue this year, according to iResearch. Founded in 2016, the company has helped with esports tournaments for games including Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s blowout hits Honor of Kings and Peacekeeper Elite, according to its website.

Headquartered in Shanghai, the company also has offices in Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Indonesia and the U.S., creating more than 13,000 competitions for broadcast. The company raised $60 million in a Series B+ funding round from backers including Prospect Avenue Capital and Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd., according to an announcement in January. Its other investors include Kuaishou Technology, Sequoia Capital China, Susquehanna International Group, Tencent and Tiantu Capital.

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Related: Tencent-Backed Esports Startup VSPN Closes $60 Million Funding


By Ding Yi / Feb 18, 2021 01:29 PM / Finance

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese search giant Baidu reported a 5% year-on-year revenue increase in last year’s fourth quarter, as advertising sales recovered and demand for its cloud services grew, according to the company’s latest earnings report released on Wednesday.

Total revenue for the quarter amounted to 30.3 billion yuan ($4.6 billion), compared with 28.9 billion yuan a year ago. Online marketing revenue from Baidu’s core search business was 18.9 billion yuan, basically flat from the same period of 2019. Revenue from its non-search businesses jumped 52% year-on-year to 4.2 billion yuan, driven by sales of cloud and other services, the report said.

However, Baidu’s registered net income of 5.2 billion yuan for the quarter was down 18% year-on-year.

The company’s Nasdaq-listed shares, which gained more than 70% in 2020, rose 3.57% to $319.70 in after-market trading on Wednesday after the report’s release.

Baidu’s video streaming unit iQiyi posted a 1% year-on-year revenue decline in the quarter to 7.5 billion yuan. Its subscribers fell by 3.1 million to 101.7 million by the end of December, when compared with the end of the third quarter.

Beijing-based Baidu said that it expects current-quarter revenue to be between 26 billion yuan and 28.5 billion yuan, representing a year-on-year increase of 15% to 26%.

The financial results come as Baidu has poured massive resources into businesses related to autonomous driving, intelligent transportation technology and livestreaming in an attempt to diversify its revenue streams.

CEO Robin Li said that Baidu will “seize the huge market opportunities in cloud services, autonomous driving, smart transportation and other AI opportunities” to lessen dependence on online marketing services.

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Related: Baidu To See in Chinese New Year With Self-Driving Car Launch in Guangzhou


By Ding Yi / Feb 17, 2021 06:05 PM / Finance

Chinese wearable high-tech device maker Huami has recently invested $5 million in U.S.-based Hyperfine Research, which aims to widen access to its portable, wheeled magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system known as Swoop.

Huami’s investment is a part of Hyperfine Research’s $90 million series D funding round, which was also joined by investors including GV, Nextrans and Colle Capital.

In a statement on Feb. 10, Huami said that it believes its engineering expertise dovetails with efforts to make medical imaging technology smaller and more portable.

The fresh capital will be used to widen the commercial use of its portable MRI system in the U.S., fast-track continued artificial intelligence and deep learning developments in image accessibility, as well as advance progress on new regulatory clearances, Hyperfine Research said in a separate statement.

It’s a departure for Huami, which has focused on developing wearables such as smart watches, smart bands and ear buds, and offering health monitoring services to customers, since it was founded in 2013. In the third quarter of 2020, the Xiaomi-backed company shipped 15.9 million wearable devices, compared with 13.7 million shipments in the same period of 2019, according to its latest earnings report. In June last year, Huami announced the second generation of its proprietary artificial intelligence smart device chip, the Huangshan 2, to power its new health-focused products.

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Related: Xiaomi-Backed Smart Wearables Maker Huami Sees Profits Slump Despite Revenue Growth


By Ding Yi / Feb 05, 2021 03:53 PM / Finance

Chinese precision medicine startup Vision Medicals has raised 200 million yuan ($31 million) in its series C funding round led by Tencent, its second funding round in seven months.

Proceeds from the round, which was also joined by existing investors such as CICC Capital and CDH Investments, will be used for product development, medical equipment registration, clinical services support and marketing activities, Vision Medicals said on Thursday.

Founded in 2018, Guangzhou-based Vision Medicals, which has labs in the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Zhengzhou, focuses on developing genetic diagnostic technologies and precision medicines for infectious diseases. The firm has built ties with more than 800 hospitals and research institutes across China such as Peking Union Medical College Hospital and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

In December 2019, Vision Medicals joined a taskforce for early detection and genome analysis of the novel coronavirus. Three months later, the firm developed a nucleic acid detection kit for the virus, according to the company’s website.

Tencent is a key financial backer of several medical startups including Miaoshou Doctor, an online platform that offers individual health consultations via video and phone.

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Related: Ping An Good Doctor to Raise $1 Billion for Recruiting Physicians


By Ding Yi / Jan 25, 2021 12:31 PM / Finance

Shanghai-based esports event organizer Versus Programming Network (VSPN) has raised $60 million in its series B+ funding round, as esports’ inclusion in the lineup for the 2022 Asian Games as a full medal event has increased investor interest.

The round was joined by Prospect Avenue Capital, Guotai Junan International and Nan Fung Group, VSPN said in a statement on Friday.

Proceeds will be used to develop esports production technologies, build up intellectual properties, create new esports products and content as well as expand business globally, according to the statement.

Four-year-old VSPN, which focuses on organizing esports tournaments, content creation and offline venue operations, said that it currently holds 70% of the market for premium esports events in China. In May 2020, the Tencent-backed firm launched its first overseas esports venue in Seoul.

On Jan. 15, VSPN said that it had acquired Banana Gaming & Media, which was created by Wang Sicong, son of billionaire Chinese property tycoon Wang Jianlin, in what it described as a crucial step to further strengthen its global reach.

The new funding comes nearly a month after esports was named as an official medal event in the 2022 Asian Games in the Chinese city of Hangzhou. Esports was first included as a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.

The topic was also in the news earlier this month when the head of iQiyi Sports, a major sports broadcaster in China, said he didn’t consider esports as sports, even if they are going to feature in next year’s Asian Games.

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Related: Tencent Bets Big on Chinese E-Sport Firm, Leading $100 Million Funding Round


By DealStreetAsia / Jan 20, 2021 03:41 PM / Finance



WeTrade Group, a membership-based platform for e-commerce services in China, is looking at raising up to $121 million as it moves its listing from the US OTC board to the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The company’s filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is heavily redacted and the $121 million is likely a placeholder amount specified to calculate the registration fee.

WeTrade’s move to Nasdaq came after the company, which has a market cap of $1.7 billion, met the stock exchange’s transfer conditions in November. It plans to list under the symbol WETG.

Based in Beijing and founded in 2019, the company booked $3 million in revenue for the 12 months ended September 30, 2020. It provides technical services and solutions through its membership-based social e-commerce platform and generates revenue from service fees charged for transactions.

“Our goal is to provide technical and auto-billing management services for 100 million micro-business online stores in China through big data analytics, machine learning mechanism, social network recommendations, and multi-channel data analysis,” the company said in its filing.

WeTrade plans to utilise the proceeds from its Nasdaq listing to fund its R&D and technology development, marketing and talent recruitment in China, strategic investment in service providers, among others.

The company’s listing comes as its microbusiness cloud intelligence system YCloud has expanded in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian countries. WeTrade plans to also expand into these markets.

“We expect to utilise the YCloud system to establish a global strategic cooperation with various social media platforms, including Kakao Talk, Line, Whatsapp, Ohho, and Bluechat,” it added.

WeTrade said its products are currently serving the e-commerce industry, tourism industry, hospitality industry, and live-streaming/short video industry.

The listing also comes as Nasdaq has removed shares of four Chinese construction and manufacturing companies for indexes as part of new restrictions on IPOs.

In May last year, Nasdaq unveiled the new restrictions, requiring companies from some countries, including China, to raise $25 million in their IPO or, alternatively, at least a quarter of their post-listing market capitalisation, according to sources.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (

Related: PayPal Becomes First Foreign Company to Offer Digital Payments in China


By DealStreetAsia / Jan 19, 2021 01:51 PM / Finance

Shanghai-headquartered online English learning platform Jiliguala on Monday announced the completion of its nearly $100-million Series C round from investors including Chinese tech giant Tencent.

China-focused PE Trustbridge Partners also re-upped in the round, the investee said in a WeChat post. Lighthouse Capital facilitated the latest transaction.

The returning investor had initially teamed up with Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI) to invest nearly $10 million in Jiliguala ’s Series A round in 2017. Subsequently, in 2018, Trustbridge, BAI along with Sequoia Capital China and Holy Capital had together invested in Jiliguala’s Series B round.

With the fresh proceeds, Jiliguala will seek to launch more products.

Jiliguala, set up in 2014, offers English reading courses for children aged 3-12. It claims to have helped over 50,000 users across 500 cities to learn English through songs, animation, picture books, interactive video classes, others.

The brand has foraged partnership with global publishing company Penguin Random House to create AI-driven education products.

Jiliguala closed its pre-A round in 2016 from Yongjin Group’s investment arm and edtech-focused Gene Capital, besides an angel round in 2014 from ZhenFund.

In other recent transactions in China’s online learning space, Palfish raised $120 million in two Series C funding tranches from SIG China, FutureX Capital, others in August last year while VIPKid garnered $80 million in a Series A round led by Sequoia Capital China and Tencent.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (

Related: More Funding Less Profits - The Chinese Online Education Paradox


By DealStreetAsia / Jan 18, 2021 03:56 PM / Finance

First High-School Education Group, which operates private high schools and offers tutoring services in China, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the US on Thursday to raise up to $100 million, a placeholder amount likely to change.

The firm, which claims to be the biggest operator of private high schools in western China by student enrolment as of the end of 2019, is yet to reveal the amount of shares that it intends to sell and the pricing terms of the offering.

The firm filed confidentially with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in late January.

Based in southwestern China’s Kunming City, Yunan Province, First High-School Education Group was founded in 2012 as a provider of after-school tutoring services. The firm has since developed into a network of 19 schools – all of which are located in western China – offering 14 high school programmes, seven middle school programs, and four tutorial school programs as of September 30, 2020.

It has collaborated with local governments and other third parties in China and expects to launch two new schools offering high school programs in September 2021.

Citing a report from market researcher China Insights Industry Consultancy Limited (CIC), the firm said in its prospectus that it focuses on western China, a region with approximately one-quarter of the national population.

The firm’s planned IPO in the US comes as the total revenues generated by China’s private high school education industry are estimated to increase from 51.0 billion yuan in 2019 to 160.0 billion yuan ($24.7 billion) in 2024. The penetration rate of private high schools in China in terms of student enrollment is expected to hit 22.0 per cent in 2024, according to the CIC report.

Driven by growing demand for high-quality education resources, the firm has experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 77.3 per cent in terms of high school student enrollment and a CAGR of 41.4 per cent in terms of the number of high schools in the four years ended December 31, 2019, according to the prospectus. That ranked it among the top 20 operators of private high schools in China.

First High-School Education Group, which had 25,867 students in total as of September 2020, saw steady growth in revenue in recent years.

Its revenues were 216.4 million yuan and 282.3 million yuan ($43.7 million) in the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The firm’s adjusted net income was 16.3 million yuan and 33.9 million yuan ($5.2 million) during the same period in 2019 and 2020, respectively. A major part of the IPO proceeds will be used to build new schools and pursue strategic acquisitions and investments. The firm also plans to use part of the money for recruiting & training teachers, upgrading standardised curriculum, and investing in teaching methodology research.

Shares of First High-School Education Group will be listed under the symbol “FHS.” The Benchmark Company, Tiger Brokers, Valuable Capital, Fosun Hani Securities, TF International, AMTD Global Markets, Maxim Group LLC, and Boustead Securities are the joint bookrunners on the deal.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (

Related: In Depth: Online Learning Specialists Burning Cash as Fast as They Can Raise It


By DealStreetAsia / Jan 15, 2021 01:25 PM / Finance

Shanghai HIUV New Materials Co Ltd, a Chinese manufacturer of new film materials, is on track for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq-style STAR Market of the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) to raise up to 1.469 billion yuan ($227.1 million).

HIUV, which is backed by domestic investors like Share Capital and Cowin Capital, plans to offer no more than 21.01 million shares at a price of 69.94 yuan ($10.8) apiece. Hong Kong-listed brokerage firm Haitong Securities is the principal underwriter for the deal.

Retail investors’ enthusiasm for HIUV’s listing, which resulted in an oversubscription of about 4500.7 times in the retail tranche, triggered a “claw-back mechanism” that resulted in the transfer of over 2 million shares to individual investors, according to the firm’s latest filing with the stock exchange on Thursday.

Shanghai-based HIUV will use a major part of the IPO proceeds to fund a project that targets an annual production capacity of 170 million square metres of specialised polymer film. The rest of the proceeds will be used for capital replenishment and repayment of bank loans, according to its prospectus.

Founded in September 2005, HIUV focuses on the R&D and production of medium-to-high-end new film materials used in the new energy and new materials sectors. Its main offerings are various kinds of photo-voltaic (PV) modules encapsulation materials, which are adopted by power generation groups and PV module manufacturers.

Its major corporate clients include Shanghai-listed PV products maker Trina Solar, and China’s Jinko Solar, which is one of the world’s largest solar panel manufacturers. Along with the public share sale, the firm is seeking to explore opportunities in areas like semiconductor, electronics, mass consumption, building construction, and transportation.

According to the prospectus, HIUV’s revenue and net profit attributable to shareholders in H1 2020 stood at 554 million yuan ($85.7 million) and 56 million yuan ($8.7 million), respectively. Its revenue was 715 million yuan ($110.6 million) and 1.1 billion yuan ($170.1 million) in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

The firm’s actual controllers Li Min and Li Xiaoyu will remain controlling shareholders with a combined 38.03% stake, down 12.67%. After the IPO, its major shareholders will be realty developer Parkland Group (3.55%), Qianhai FOF (2.08%), and Cowin Capital ($1.81%).

Prior to the planned IPO, HIUV completed a series of equity investments from investors like domestic fund of funds (FOF) Qianhai FOF, private equity (PE) firm TFTR Investment, and Shenzhen-based Cowin Capital, according to Chinese business data platform Tianyancha. Its Series A to Series C rounds were closed between 2013 and 2015, with 41.92 million yuan ($6.5 million) in total financing.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (

Related: Fuyao Glass Issues $500 Million in New Shares in Move to Get into Solar


By DealStreetAsia / Jan 14, 2021 01:01 PM / Finance



CICC Capital, the private equity (PE) fund management platform of Hong Kong-listed investment bank CICC, has reached the second closing of its biomedicine fund at over 4.2 billion yuan ($648.7 million), said the firm in a WeChat post on Monday.

The new fund — whose name can be translated into “CICC Qide Innovation Biopharmaceutical Equity Investment Fund (CICC Qide)” in English — was oversubscribed by limited partners (LPs) including Chinese state-owned asset managers, China-based pharmaceutical companies, corporates in China and worldwide, other investment institutions, as well as CICC’s ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individual clients.

“COVID-19 has catalysed exponential growth of the health industry in the past one year. Sectors like vaccines, innovative medicines, and internet-based medical care have attracted abundant stimuli, such as technological innovations, consumer demand, and favourable policies to become the major focuses of the capital market, as well as the market’s main driving forces,” said CICC Capital.

The biomedicine fund had raised more than 1.6 billion yuan in its first closing in February 2020. At its launch in late 2019, the initial target for the first closing was 1.5 billion yuan.

The vehicle has already invested in over 20 startups with several portfolio companies entering the IPO process.

Last year, it co-led a Series D round of nearly 300 million yuan for San Diego-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm Denovo Biopharma in December. In August, CICC Qide had participated in biopharmaceutical startup Sinovent’s 1-billion-yuan Series C round. It also invested in drugmaker CF PharmTech’s 360-million-yuan Series F round in July and Beijing-based Mabworks’ Series C1, C2 rounds, in which the firm pocketed a combined 1.13 billion yuan.

Among its portfolio companies is the clinical-stage oncology therapy developer Jacobio Pharmaceuticals Group, which completed an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong in December 2020 and raised about HK$1.35 billion — only seven months after CICC Qide had made the investment. Also backed by Qiming Venture Partners and Hillhouse Capital, Jacobio saw the retail tranche of its IPO being oversubscribed by 298.6 times.

CICC Capital is the flagship platform of Beijing-based China International Capital Corporation (CICC) for its global private equity businesses. The firm manages RMB- and USD-denominated funds with various strategies including venture capital, growth, buyout, fund of funds (FOF), and distressed investments.

At the end of 2020, it employed more than 300 investment professionals and managed over 350 billion yuan ($54.1) in total assets under management (AUM).

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (

Related: Chinese Biotech Giant’s Stock Surges on Approvals for Genetically Modified Crops


By DealStreetAsia / Jan 14, 2021 12:36 PM / Finance

Chinese private equity firm Orchid Asia has led Series B funding rounds in two startups – Canada’s delivery service platform Fantuan and Beijing-based edtech brand Ivydad.

Orchid Asia leads $35m funding in Fantuan Delivery

Canada-based Asian food and services platform Fantuan Delivery has closed a $35-million Series B round led by Chinese PE firm Orchid Asia, per a company statement on Tuesday.

With this round, the total corpus raised by the platform to date touches over $50 million.

The latest round was joined by existing investors including Vision Plus Capital, Celtic House Asia Partners, and China’s Meituan co-founder Jing Li. The three investors had together participated in Fantuan’s $12-million Series A round funding in March last year.

Chinese global investment bank Taihecap served as the financial advisor for the deal.

The company will use the proceeds to recruit talent and to improve its delivery services.

Vancouver-headquartered Fantuan has three flagship services – food delivery, reviews and errands management. It has a presence in 40 cities across Canada and the US. In 2020, Fantuan generated annual revenue of $400 million.

According to the German global market and consumer research giant Statista, the size of global online food delivery is expected to reach $32.3 billion by 2024.

Orchid leads $30m Series B funding in Ivydad

Orchid Asia has led a $30-million Series B round in Beijing-based edtech brand Ivydad, according to a company statement on Tuesday.

Nanjing-based home appliances supplier Fivestar Holdings’ investment arm Focustar Capital participated in the latest round as a new investor.

Returning investor V Star Capital re-upped in the round. V Star Capital had invested 50 million yuan ($7.7 million) in Ivydad’s Series A round in 2018.

Ivydad, founded by Harvard and Yale University graduate Ren Huang, offers learning courses in Maths, Chinese and foreign languages, music and animation to children up to 8 years old.

Ivydad’s early-stage investors include Sinovation Ventures, Crystal Stream Capital and others.

China’s online education industry was pegged at 486 billion yuan ($75 billion) in 2021, per market research company iiMedia Research.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (

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