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Forbes Magazine last week singled out two IDG Capital-invested companies in its weekly Chinese news roundup. Forbes reports that Toutai, an artificial intelligence news platform, recently acquired Faceu, a popular selfie app that IDG Capital backed in 2014. Also, NIO – likewise backed by IDG Capital – is now testing an SUV model in Silicon Valley. It also recently recruited board members from several leading U.S. technology companies, including Cisco, Tesla, and Apple.
Toutiao, China’s artificial intelligence-powered news platform, has acquired augmented reality-based selfie app Faceu for $300 million. In November 2017, Toutiao invested $50 million in Live.me, a U.S. live streaming platform. An angel investor in Faceu, IDG Capital joined Faceu’s $10 million Series A fundraising round in 2014. IDG Capital also participated in a $60 million round for Live.me in May 2017.
Moncler recently partnered with the eight of the world’s leading luxury women’s wear designers. IDG Capital backed the global retailer financially in 2011. The company had a successful IPO two years later.
London-based Farfetch, an online boutique fashion retail platform, has formed a strategic partnership with Chanel. During recent years, Farfetch has also teamed up with several other leading global luxury brands, including Fendi, Gucci and Burberry, as well as country-specific e-commerce retailers like JD.com in China and Chalhoub Group in the United Arab Emirates. IDG Capital, Eurazeo and Temasek led Farfetch’s $110 million Series F investment round in May 2016.
Electric vehicle and autonomous car startups are disrupting the traditional auto manufacturing industry in China. In recent years, IDG Capital backed NIO and Xpeng Motors, both of which are scheduled to deliver their first electric vehicle models in 2018. In the auto-driving sector, IDG Capital has invested in another Chinese startup, Pony.ai, which is planning to introduce a robo-taxi service this year.
Beijing’s support for new-energy transportation is encouraging the growth of Chinese electric vehicle startups. Among China’s most prominent electric vehicle companies, IDG Capital recently invested in two: NIO and Xpeng Motors.
The easing of regulations for electric vehicles and autonomous cars is helping spur the growth of multiple startups in China. Of the leading Chinese electric vehicle unicorns in China in 2017, IDG Capital invested in Xpeng Motors and NIO. IDG Capital also joined the Series A of autonomous car startup Pony.ai.
Private equity and venture capital companies continue to invest in the blockchain industry. IDG Capital recently led a $60 million Series D investment in Circle, a blockchain-based peer-to-peer payment company based in Boston.
Sina Finance and People’s Daily named the leaders of four companies in which IDG Capital invested to its list of the top ten Chinese business leaders of 2017. The list includes Jun Lei, CEO of Xiaomi; Hongyi Zhou, founder and CEO of Qihoo 360; Yu Gong, founder and CEO of iQiyi; and Bin Lei, founder and chairman of NIO.
James Peng and Tiancheng Lou, one of China’s leading software coders, left Baidu in 2016 to found autonomous vehicle startup Pony.ai. This fall IDG Capital joined Pony.ai’s $112 million Series A Round. Pony.ai plans to launch robo-taxi services in Guangdong Province by year-end.
Softbank Vision Fund, IDG Capital and SBI Group have jointly provided $2.2 billion in private placement financing to three subsidiaries of Shenzhen-based Ping An Insurance. The three subsidiaries include Ping An Good Doctor, China’s largest healthcare app with over 20 million monthly active users; Ping An Healthcare Technology, a managed care platform serving 800 million customers at Chinese hospitals; and OneConnect, Ping An’s artificial intelligence and blockchain-powered fin-tech business providing financial services to 2,300 financial institutions, including 420 banks.
Boston University (BU) opened its BUild Lab/IDG Capital Student Innovation Center last week. The new center is designed to encourage BU students from different disciplines to network and acquire technological and entrepreneurial skills. IDG Capital Global Chairman and BU trustee Hugo Shong represented the venture capital/private equity firm at the Boston ribbon-cutting. BU President Robert A. Brown describes the BUild Lab as the school’s "most fitting place” for students “to start up a start-up."
Xiaopeng Motors, a leading Chinese electric car start-up, has announced a $348 million Series B round led by Alibaba, Foxconn and IDG Capital. Xpeng is one of more than a dozen emerging electric car start-ups formed after the Chinese government began issuing manufacturing permits to non-traditional automobile manufacturers.
Xiaomi outsold Samsung in smartphones in India in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Canalys. The market research firm estimates Xiaomi shipped 8.2 million smartphones in the fourth quarter, compared to 7.3 million by Samsung. It was the first time Samsung has been outsold in India in six years. IDG Capital was an early investor in Xiaomi.
SenseTime has 13% of its business outside China but the Hong Kong-based facial recognition firm is planning to open operations in Singapore soon, as well as an R&D center in the U.S. The Beijing-based company is also moving into autonomous driving, partnering last month with Honda through its Japanese subsidiary. SenseTime recently raised $450 million from a variety of investors, including IDG Capital and chipmaker Qualcomm.