China VC Weekly: SoftBank Goes Into Chinese Real Estate and More
As the coronavirus spreads around the world creating a new wave of panic and uncertainty, the VC landscape starts to look desolated again. However, no public emergency is an obstacle to SoftBank’s global ambitions. This time the Japanese giant has made a large bet on the Chinese real estate market. Other sectors that saw significant capital inflows this week are AR and RF chips.
Softbank leads hefty investments in Beike and Ziroom
One of China’s leading online long-term apartment rental companies Beike officially confirmed that it had completed a D+ round of financing in November 2019. The participants of the round include SoftBank, Tencent, Hillhouse Capital, and Sequoia, with a total financing amount of about $1.5 billion. SoftBank leads the pack with an investment of almost $1 billion. The company’s property management and subleasing brand Ziroom also received a $1 billion investment from Softbank.
The company plans to use the raised funds for research and development, product application innovation, and talent recruitment and training in the industrial Internet field. It is committed to promoting the digitalization and ecological optimization of the apartment rental industry, and further improving the efficiency of the Chinese residential service industry.
Founded in 2018, Beike was born out of real estate brokerage Lianjia’s effort to expand and rebrand its online business to connect property agents and property seekers across the country. Ziroom is Lianjia’s other platform focused on property management and subleasing.
AR glasses producer Mad Gaze banks an $18.6 million series A
Mad Gaze, a Chinese AR glasses producer, announced that it closed its $18.6 million series A funding round last month. Investors include DNS, a mobile phone accessories and electronic products company, and Black30 Venture, a VC firm based in Hong Kong. The company previously bagged $12 million in a pre-series A round in 2019.
The firm plans to use the raised money for research and development of new products, optical technology, and AR technology. Apart from developing their smart glasses business, Mad Gaze also looks into smart watches and expanding into new markets.
About Mad Gaze
Established in 2013, Mad Gaze specializes in smart AR glasses as well as various solutions that include an app-based online marketplace, an automatic AR app generator, a developer platform, and a remote solution platform.
Chip-maker XinpleTek raises a pre-series A round
5G radio frequency (RF) chip company XinpleTek raised a pre-series A round of financing of tens of millions of yuan (the exact amount was not specified). The round was led by Nothern Light Ventures. The funds will be mainly used for team building, chip development and iteration, and market expansion. The company currently produces RF front-end modules for mobile phones and IoT devices.
Xiong Weiming, partner at Northern Light Ventures, said, “At the time when the country strongly encourages the promotion of 5G, China still lacks a world-class RF chip supplier. XinpleTek’s team has proved their ability to design and mass-produce advanced RF front-end chips. With the popularization of next-generation cellular communication technology, we are firmly optimistic that Xinpletek will surprise the Chinese semiconductor industry in the high-end RF front-end field.
Shanghai-headquartered Xinpletek was founded in late 2018. It has a complete mobile phone front-end R & D team, with its R & D capabilities cover various fields such as GaAs, RF SOI, CMOS Analog and Digital.