SG-based Novena merges with Chinese haircut brand Xingkeduo in $350m deal

Singapore-based healthcare firm Novena Global Lifecare has merged with Chinese 15-minute haircut brand Xingkeduo in a $350-million deal that will create AI-driven medtech-based aesthetic and hairdressing solutions in China.

In a statement, Novena said the merger provides it with access to Xingkeduo’s internet technology and physical network of nearly 100 stores in high foot-traffic prime locations in China’s first- and second-tier cities.

Founded in Beijing in 2015, Xingkeduo is the first company in China that combines hairdressing with online-to-offline commerce using Internet technology for online order, queue reservations in the cloud, with the actual hairdressing services provided in the shop.

The company claims to have served more than three millions customers, with over six million sales made online.

Novena, on the other hand, is one of the largest integrated medical healthcare and aesthetic groups regionally with presence in Singapore, Mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, India and Malaysia.

Founded in 2010, the group’s network is now in 250 locations in over 20 cities and drives a US$100 million revenue portfolio that provides lifecare management solutions tailored to Asian demographics. It owns the NOVU Aesthetics brand.

“This merger will also see an accelerated expansion of NOVU and Xingkeduo brands in China, as plans are underway for the creation of a one-of-a-kind hybrid store format offering complementary medtech-based aesthetic and hairdressing solutions driven by AI, as well as generate cross-selling opportunities for both brands,” the company said.

The merger was funded by cash and shares in Novena Global Lifecare.

The merged company’s English name will remain as Novena Global Lifecare, with the Singapore firm’s executive chairman and co-founder Nelson Loh to serve as chairman. Novena Global Lifecare CEO and co-founder Terence Loh and Xingkeduo’s founder Willy Chuang will be appointed as co-CEOs of the merged entity.

Novena Global Lifecare is one of the successful portfolio companies in DORR Group, which is a privately held investment holding company managing over $4 billion of assets across various industries from consumer, healthcare, technology and media.

Loh, who is also chairman of DORR Group, said the merger will reinforce Novena’s presence in the aesthetics beauty and wellness industry in Asia Pacific. It will also improve the group’s retail and service quality and disrupt the current industry model and cost structure.

“We strongly believe that in the future, whether in Singapore, China, or even in Asia and Latin America, we can use this model to empower customers to have more customised products and services,” Loh said.

Xingkeduo’s founder Chuang said,. China has the most developed and active e-commerce retail system in the world. With Novena Global Lifecare’s participation, Chuan expressed confidence the combined business “will grow exponentially in China and beyond”.

The merger came less than a month after Novena teamed up with Chinese healthcare private equity firm Sinopharm Capital and investor Cedarlake Capital to raise a $150-million healthcare-focused fund targeting businesses in Southeast Asia.

The vehicle, Sino-Singapore Healthcare Fund, will invest in companies engaged in medical services, biomedical projects, mature drugs, and precision medicine sectors.