Chang Guang Satellite Technology, a Chinese developer of commercial remote sensing satellites, has closed a 2.464 billion yuan ($374.2 million) pre-IPO round of financing, according to a statement on Monday.
The round was backed by a wide range of domestic investors such as the private equity unit of Haitong Innovation Capital Management, an investment manager affiliated with Haitong Securities; Shenzhen Capital Group, a government-guided investment group in southern China’s Shenzhen City; and Shanghai-based PE firm Estar Capital, which invests in electric vehicles (EVs) and advanced manufacturing.
Other investors included CICC Capital, the PE unit of Chinese investment banking firm CICC; Matrix Partners China, the China team of US-based Matrix Partners; partially state-owned voice recognition firm iFlytek; asset manager Shanda Capital; and CAS Star, a state-owned incubator of hard technologies, among others.
Existing investors, including a government-guided fund in northeastern China’s Jilin Province and Chang Guang’s management team, invested in the latest round.
The completion of Chang Guang’s pre-IPO round follows the successful fundraising efforts of its homegrown counterparts, including LandSpace, a privately-owned aerospace startup that had pocketed 1.2 billion yuan ($182.4 million) in a Series C+ round in September. LandSpace had, in December 2019, closed a 500-million-yuan ($76.0 million) Series C round.
Beijing-based iSpace also raised nearly 1.2 billion yuan ($182.4 million) in a Series B round in late August.
Market researcher Qianzhan.com projected that the scale of China’s commercial space launch market has reached 836.2 billion yuan ($127.1 billion) in 2019, up 23.5 per cent compared to 2018.
There were over 160 enterprises in the upstream and downstream of China’s nascent commercial space launch industry by end-2019. They collectively raised more than 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) between 2015 and 2019, according to statistics from China Space News, a publication owned by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). CASC is the state-owned contractor for the Chinese space programme.
Established in December 2014, Chang Guang designs and develops the Jilin-1 satellite constellation, which is a set of commercial remote sensing satellite sensors that are used to capture high-definition video imaging, optical and hyperspectral imaging for various mapping applications, such as environmental monitoring, forest management, smart city, agricultural production, mining, land planning, and beyond.
The Jilin-1 satellite constellation is said to have the capability to visit any place in the world eight to ten times per day, as well as to update a global map twice a year and a national map seven times per year, according to the statement.
Proceeds of the new round will be used to finance further construction of Jilin-1, the development of application products for Chang Guang’s remote sensing data, and talent recruitment.
The Jilin-based company, which has successfully sent 25 Jilin-1 satellites into space, targets to build a constellation of 60 satellites as the first phase of its development plans. For the second phase, it seeks to build a constellation of 138 satellites. The firm did not provide a specific timetable.