Alibaba Group has invested 500 million yuan ($71 million) in a Series C round raised by 3vjia.com, which will help the Chinese cloud-enabled home design and decoration startup explore business opportunities in the fields of smart manufacturing and new retail.
The investment comes on the heels of a Series D+ round announced by its domestic rival Kujiale.com, whose valuation topped $1 billion roughly one week ago. This is not the first time the two companies have gone toe-to-toe in raising capital.
Right after Kujiale closed a $100 million Series D round led by Shunwei Capital in March 2018, 3vjia also revealed its Series B round worth 300 million yuan ($43 million) led by Chinese home decoration and furniture stores operator Red Star Macalline Group later the same month.
The two companies are tapping into China’s internet-based home design and decoration industry, which is projected to grow 26 per cent year-on-year to reach 433.8 billion yuan ($61 billion) in 2019, according to iiMedia Research.
Along with the Series C round, 3vjia unveiled a new strategy to utilize information technology and solutions to explore applications in the smart manufacturing and new retail sectors, founder and CEO Cai Zhisen said in a statement on Thursday.
“[The investment] will promote the comprehensive adoption of Alibaba’s technologies in the home design and decoration industry to help the sector solve pain points in a better and more thorough manner,” said Cai.
3vjia was named after the abbreviation of “Sanweijia”, which literally means “3D home” in Chinese. The company, founded in January 2013 and operated by Guangdong Sanweijia Information Technology, leverages technologies such as cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to operate as an industrial internet platform for home design and decoration.
Its offerings cover marketing, design and production, such as cloud-based 3D home design and production systems, and a WeChat mini-program for product marketing.
The seven-year-old company, with over 1,000 employees, serves enterprises such as home building materials providers, decoration companies and furniture distributors, as well as individual designers in the home design and decoration industry. The company claims to have more than 4,000 cooperative enterprises and over 2 million registered designers on its platform.
“The most important function of the industrial internet is not reducing costs while increasing efficiency, but realizing the connection between front-end demands and back-end supplies,” said Tang Xing, vice president of Alibaba, in a statement.
Besides the aforementioned Series B round, 3vjia had also completed a Series A round worth tens of millions of yuan from SoftBank China Venture Capital (SBCVC) and GF Xinde Investment, a wholly-owned private equity platform of China’s GF Securities, in April 2015.