China Digest: Furniture brand Qumei raises $48m; Dark Horse invests in AIoT startup

Visuals from Qumei's Website

Qumei, a Beijing-based furniture brand that owns Ekornes, plans to sell a 10.11 per cent stake to a Chinese state-owned investment firm while Chinese startup incubator Dark Horse has invested in Pi2Star Technology.

Qumei raises $48m from Chinese state-owned fund

Beijing-based furniture brand Qumei Home Furnishings Group plans to sell a 10.11 per cent stake to Chinese state-owned investment firm Zhangjiagang Industrial Capital Centre for 334 million yuan ($48 million).

Qumei chairman Zhao Ruihai and his brother Zhao Ruibin have entered into an agreement with the state-owned investment company on March 3 to offload a combined 49.39 million shares at a price of 6.77 yuan ($0.97) apiece, according to a recent filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE).

Zhangjiagang Industrial Capital Centre will hold 10.11 per cent shares in Qumei post the deal.

Qumei, founded in April 1993, is engaged in the design, manufacture and sale of medium and high-grade home furnishing products. The company raised 543 million yuan ($78 million) in an initial public offering (IPO) on the main board of the SSE in April 2015.

In October 2018, the firm teamed up with Huatai Zijin Investment, an affiliate of China’s Huatai Securities, to acquire Norwegian furniture giant Ekornes for 4.06 billion yuan ($584 million) in cash – one of the largest overseas M&A deals in the Chinese furniture space.

Ekornes, which is best known for its “Stressless” furniture brand, was delisted from the Oslo Stock Exchange as a result of the acquisition.

Dark Horse buys 8% stake in AIoT solutions developer Pi2Star

An investment platform of Chinese startup incubator Dark Horse Technology has picked up an 8 per cent stake in Pi2Star Technology, which provides artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) solutions in the country, according to a filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) on March 4.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Dark Horse made the strategic investment through a vehicle it launched in June 2019 to specialize in early-stage opportunities in the AI, big data, cloud computing, robotics, and integrated circuit space. The company disclosed in the filing that the vehicle has invested 23.67 per cent of the total fund capital.

Pi2Star Technology, founded in September 2018 by alumni of Tsinghua University, uses AI chips and AI algorithms to develop full-stack AIoT solutions for the equipment management. The company claimed to have delivered solutions to over 100 enterprises in the fields of logistics, automotive, petroleum, infrastructure construction, machinery, and chemical, among others.

In 2018, the company completed an angel round from investors like Matrix Partners China, Tsinghua Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tsinghua University, and Baidu Ventures, the investment arm of Chinese internet search giant Baidu.

Beijing-based Dark Horse raised 183 million yuan ($26 million) in an initial public offering (IPO) on the ChiNext board of the SZSE in August 2017. The company has a market capitalisation of 2.81 billion yuan ($404 million) as of March 5.

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.