China digest: Lighthouse sets up SG office; WeView raises $57m; Merck's incubation programme

Photographer: SeongJoon Cho /Bloomberg

Chinese financial advisory firm Lighthouse Capital has set up a new office in Singapore; energy storage firm WeView has snapped up $57 million; and global healthcare firm Merck has launched an incubation programme with Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp (HKSTP).

Lighthouse Capital announces new office in Singapore

Lighthouse Capital, which has facilitated investments into some of China’s top tech upstarts including online short-video giant Kuaishou Technology, has announced the opening of its new office in Singapore, according to a company announcement. 

The firm will appoint Min Xue, who is currently serving as the managing director of Lighthouse Capital, as the chief representative officer in Singapore.

“With the Singapore office serving as the headquarter of the Southeast Asian and other overseas regions, our work will involve fostering the capital investment and strategic cooperations between China and Southeast Asia. This includes offering financial advisory services to local projects in the region, covering investing, financing, M&A, and strategic partnership,” Xue said in the announcement, adding that the firm will seek to support Chinese firms that plan to expand to Southeast Asia, as well as helping those firms to localise their businesses in the region. 

Many top Chinese VCs — Shunwei Capital, Source Code Capital, and Vision Plus Capital to name a few — have expanded to the city-state lately in a bid to tap the potential of the burgeoning Southeast Asian economy that was home to 46 unicorns as of end-2021, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia.

Energy Storage firm WeView bags $57m

WeView, which produces flow batteries for grid-level energy storage, has so far notched over 4 billion yuan ($56.8 million) after completing “several funding rounds” within the past six months, according to a company announcement. 

WeView was backed by Gaorong Capital, Green Pine Capital Partners (GPCP) and ZhenFund.

Zinc-iron flow battery is one of the most promising solutions for electrochemical energy storage, thanks to its low cost and high voltage nature, as well as its potential for large-scale energy storage.

Besides its upcoming factory in Yichang, the Shanghai-headquartered WeView has two manufacturing hubs, located in the city of Yancheng in eastern Jiangsu province, and the city of Zhuhai in southern Guangdong province.

Merck, HKSTP start incubation programme

Global healthcare firm Merck has formed an incubation programme with HKSTP in a bid to develop and grow at least five biotech or healthtech firms, an HKSTP spokesperson told DealStreetAsia.

The three-year incubation programme will seek to support the commercialisation of digital health products, as well as leveraging Merck’s networks of investors and strategic partners. It will provide startups with direct funding of up to HK$6 million ($0.8 million), along with HKSTP’s biomedical cluster and lab facilities. 

The partnership plans to open up new R&D opportunities for startups, hoping to bring more innovations in the areas of digital therapeutics, digital wearable devices and AI drug discovery and development, to address unmet medical needs, per the announcement. 

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