China Digest: Uber-like truck startup, AI chip developer, cashier-free store raise funds

Photo: Reuters

All-Stars Investment Ltd has led the third series B round in Huochebang  while Chinese artificial intelligence chip developer Cambricon Technologies gets $100-million in series A. Also, IDG Capital has led an undisclosed sum in series A round in an automated convenience store operator Guoxiaomei.

All-Stars Investment leads series B in Uber-like truck service startup

All-Stars Investment Ltd has led a $56-million series B-3 round in an Uber-type service for trucks Huochebang, bringing its funding in this round to a total of $327 million.

The company reportedly said that a number of investors, who asked not to be named, also joined the round.

The startup closed a $115-million series B-1 round from International Finance Corp, All-Stars, Tencent Holdings, DCM and Genesis Capital last December before it completed a $156-million series B-2 round from Baidu Capital and All-Stars in May.

In 2015, it raised undisclosed amount in series A from Tencent Holdings and Zhongding Power.

Huochebang, founded in 2008, provides an online-to-offline truck freight platform that provides integrated services to truckers and shippers in China.

Huochebang has become the largest online logistics platform in China as it claims its users make up for 0.133 per cent of the population, followed by Yunmanman and 58 Suyun.

It plans to use the latest proceeds to expand its business by attracting more truck drivers, and improve the efficiency of its service by perfecting the algorithm of its matching system as well as its big data analysis.

Chinese AI chip developer secures $100m series A

Cambricon Technologies, a Chinese artificial intelligence chip maker, has raised $100 million in series A round to develop processors for cloud and terminals and provide high-performance and low-power cloud processor solutions.

According to local media’s reports, SDIC Chuangye Investment Management has led the round with participation from Alibaba’s investment firm, Lenovo Capital, CAS Investment Management, Turing, Oriza Seed Venture Capital and Yonghua Capital.

In addition, the latest round has boosted the company’s valuation to over $1 billion, making it a new unicorn in China.

Cambricon, which was set up last year by Professor Chen Tianshi, has launched the world’s first commercial chip for deep learning, used in smartphones, security, drones and autonomous driving.

It first received the angel funding from Chinese Academy of Sciences in April before completing pre-series A round worth tens of millions of RMB from Oriza, Yonghua and iFlytek in August last year.

IDG Capital leads series A in cashier-free convenience store Guoxiaomei

IDG Capital has led an undisclosed sum in series A round in an automated convenience store operator Guoxiaomei, according to China Money Network’s report.

The report cited it’s likely that IDG has already invested tens of millions of RMB in the startup, including a pre-series A round last month.

Guoxiaomei was set up in June and received an undisclosed pre-A round from IDG Capital a month later.

It is the latest startup that makes the competition in the staff-free convenience stores fiercer. However, it has differentiated its business by focusing on snack bars and setting up the stores in the large companies’ offices including Tencent, Alibaba, China Telecom and Focus Media.

“The theme of New Retail is one of the most important focuses of IDG,” said Lou Jun, chairman of IDG Capital, in a company announcement. “What Guoxiaomei offers is like placing a convenience shop right in an office, so goods are much closer to consumers.”

Last month, Beijing-based operator of automated convenience stores Xiaomai secured RMB125 million ($18.5 million) funding round led by Aplus Capital and BingoBox, a Chinese version of AmazonGo, also raised RMB100 million ($14 million) series A financing round led by GGV Capital.

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