Maimai, LinkedIn’s China rival, hits unicorn status after raising $200m in Series D

Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese professional networking platform has raised $200 million in a Series D funding round that valued LinkedIn’s Chinese rival at $1 billion, according to a Technode report.

The latest funding round, which the career-oriented site claimed was the biggest ever in the professional networking market, was led by DST Global and backed by existing investors DCM Ventures, IDG Capital, and Morningside Venture Capital.

Founded in 2013, supports a user base of tens of millions of white-collar users, with more than 50 per cent reportedly from China’s first-tier cities. April 2017 saw the platform ranked first in a monthly popular app ranking by IIMedia, surpassing Linkedin China.

The LinkedIn rival generates revenues mainly from advertising since its inception but has started to diversify its source of income to now include charging fees for content subscription, recruitment service, among others.

With the fresh funds, the firm reportedly plans to invest about $150 million in career planning program over the next three years. It has partnered with more than 1,000 firms, including Cisco, Fashion Group, and Focus Media, for the program.

Its founder, Lin Fan, the former chief technology officer at job-hunting site, had earlier said MaiMai is planning for an initial public offering in the US next year. It also seeks to expand into overseas market in the second half of 2019.

The Series D round came after Maimai closed its Series C fundraising at $75 million, with Chinese career platform Zhaopin Ltd as lead investor.

Previously, it raised $20 million in Series B round from IDG Capital and Morningside Venture Capital in August 2014. It closed a $5 million Series A round from Morningside in August 2013.

In July, the firm decided to take down its anonymous forum, where users shared workplace gossip and expose company scandals, upon orders from the Beijing police and the city’s cyberspace watchdog.

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