China Digest: Li Ning to buy majority stake in UK footwear brand Clarks; Ruiyun Cold Chain, DAISCH raise funding

China Digest: Li Ning to buy majority stake in UK footwear brand Clarks; Ruiyun Cold Chain, DAISCH raise funding

Beijing, China. Photo by zhang kaiyv on Unsplash

Li Ning’s Viva China is set to pick up a majority stake in British footwear brand Clarks, while Ruiyun Cold Chain and DAISCH have raised fresh funding.

Viva China to buy rest of LionRock Capital partners 

Hong Kong-based private equity firm LionRock Capital has agreed conditionally to sell the remaining 49% stake of LionRock Capital Partners QiLe Ltd to Li Ning’s Viva China for GBP 110 million ($133 million), per Viva’s filing on November 17.  

LionRock Capital Partners owns 51% stake in C&J Clark (No 1) Limited, one of the UK’s oldest footwear brands. Should the transaction be completed, Viva China will own 51% of Clark, while the remaining 49% will be held by C&J Clark Limited, a firm owned by the individuals related to the founders of the Clark Group.

“The Board continues to believe that Clark has a growth potential by tapping into the Asia market, in particular, the PRC market, and increasing the use of the online platforms,” the company said in the filing. 

Headquartered in the UK, Clark has 6,600 staff across 571 stories worldwide, as of April 30. Although Clark’s business was hit hard during the pandemic, its performance has started turning around since 2022, and it is predicted that there will be a steady growth in 2023, Viva noted in the filing. 

In January 2021, Viva acquired 51% stake of LionRock Capital Partners for GBP 51 million ($69.7 million), per a stock market filing. 

Ruiyun Cold Chain snaps $28m in pre-Series A+ round 

Ruiyun Cold Chain, which provides cold-chain logistics solutions to enterprises, has notched 200 million yuan ($28 million) in a pre-Series A+ round, participated by Mizuho & Leaguer and Mitsubishi Corporation. Previous backers, including Panlin Capital, Qingsong Fung, Eight Roads, and China Merchants Venture, also re-upped in the round. 

The net proceeds will be used to develop its software platform as well as ramp up its sales. Since its inception in May 2020, Ruiyun has built up a cold-chain network that offers end-to-end logistics services to over 1,200 counties across China, the firm said in the announcement. 

The firm’s cold-chain service platform, named Lengyunbao, claims that it has connected with over 60,000 merchants as well as 100,000 drivers, in a bid to streamline the cold-chain delivery service and lower the logistics costs by 10-15%. 

The firm previously notched over 100 million yuan ($14 million) in a pre-Series A round led by Eight Roads in August 2021, with the participation of Panlin Capital, Qingsong Fung, and China Merchants Venture. 

DAISCH secures $14m in Lightspeed China-led Series A 

DAISCH, which provides high-precision motion and position sensors and related products for autonomous driving, has bagged almost 100 million yuan ($14 million) in a Series A round led by Lightspeed China Partners, an investor in Chinese food giant Meituan and e-commerce platform Pinduoduo.

The firm will leverage the funding to increase its production capability as well as expand its product line. Founded in January 2015, DAISCH’s core technologies lie in inertial measurement unit (IMU) and inertial fusion system (IFS), which enable the firm to build its hardware with the smallest size of IMU. 

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