Chinese property platform Beike nets $2.41b in Series D+ round ahead of HK IPO

Zuo Hui, chairman of Beijing-based real-estate brokerage platform Beike Zhaofang. Source: Beike Zhaofang official Weibo account

Beike Zhaofang, a Chinese real-estate brokerage platform also known as Ke.com, has garnered $2.414 billion in a Series D+ round of financing from a battery of marquee investors including SoftBank, Tencent, Hillhouse Capital and Sequoia Capital China.

The new round, which was completed in November 2019, will be used to hire talent, enhance R&D efforts in the industrial internet space and innovate new product applications, Beike said, in a statement obtained by DealStreetAsia on Thursday.

“Beike targets to promote the digitalization and industrial optimization of the residential property market, in an attempt to lift the efficiency of China’s residence services and improve customer experience,” said the firm.

SoftBank injected $1 billion into the Series D+ round, which was among the first by a new vehicle SoftBank hopes to become the second Vision Fund, said people familiar with the deal, cited by The Wall Street Journal in a report published earlier this week. The new round valued Beike at slightly over $14 billion.

The billion-dollar round comes about one year after Beike closed $800 million in a Series D round led by Chinese social media and gaming giant Tencent, who was also a major backer of its parent company, Lianjia.

Lianjia, one of China’s largest real estate agencies formerly known as Beijing Lianjia Real Estate Agency Co Ltd, established Beike in April 2018.

The previous round was expanded to more than $1.2 billion in July 2019, after subsequent capital injections from investors including Hillhouse Capital, and Hong Kong-based private equity fund Gaw Capital Partners.

Chinese venture capital firm Source Code Capital, investment bank China Renaissance, and property developer Country Garden also participated in the round, which valued Beike at over $10 billion.

Beike operates as an online real-estate brokerage platform to match apartment buyers with sellers, apart from providing real-estate financing, home decoration, and property management services. The firm offered services through nearly 30,000 brick-and-mortar stores and over 250,000 real estate agents across 98 cities in China as of July 2019, according to official statistics.

The mega-deal comes as Beike aims to move toward an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong that could raise at least $1 billion as soon as this year, according to a Bloomberg report in December 2019, citing people familiar with the matter. The WSJ said that the IPO is targeted to value the firm at $20 billion to $30 billion.

Apart from Beike’s Series D+ round, the WSJ report said that the Vision Fund also invested $500 million directly in Beijing-based online apartment-rental firm Ziroom and purchased an additional $500 million of shares from its founders. The deal valued the firm at $6.6 billion.

Ziroom, which was spun out of Lianjia in 2016, is a long-term apartment rental platform that serves three million tenants in China and internationally, shows the company website. It has previously raised at least $1 billion across two funding rounds from Warburg Pincus, Tencent, Sequoia Capital China, and New York-based private equity firm General Atlantic, among others.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.