Tencent invests additional $120m in Chinese CRM firm Xiaoshouyi: Report

A man uses a mobile phone in front of a logo of Tencent. REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings has invested an additional $120 million in Beijing-based customer relationship management (CRM) service provider Xiaoshouyi, according to a report by Chinese-language site 36Kr.

Xiaoshouyi, which is backed by Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners China, and Zhen Fund, closed its Series E funding round with Tencent as the sole investor, the report said. Tencent first invested in the CRM firm in 2017 by leading its $40-million Series D financing round

The $120-million investment is reportedly the single largest investment in the history of China’s CRM sector. The latest funding round brings Xiaoshouyi’s total funds raised to $191.5 million over six rounds. The company first raised an undisclosed amount in its Series A round in November 2013.

Founded in 2011, Xiaoshouyi provides CRM solutions by leveraging the mobile social platform and big data technologies. It has grown to become one of the country’s largest CRM providers in terms of business scale and number of clients.

As China’s e-commerce sector continues to boom and competition among key players heats up, many companies now tap into CRM to remain relevant and stay ahead of the pack. One of the most significant benefits of CRM is that it makes all customer-related information available at any time, making the customer experience better and more personalised.

The additional investment in Xiaoshouyi further highlights Tencent’s ongoing efforts to expand its foothold in the yet-to-mature CRM market.

In July, Tencent led the $11.6-million Series C+ equity financing round in EC, a cloud-based sales and marketing tool vendor headquartered in Shenzhen. EC’s software products integrate CRM, marketing, and transaction functions with social apps such as Tencent’s WeChat and QQ, serving more than 40,000 clients.

Earlier in 2016, Tencent launched its own CRM product, called Tencent Qidian, that integrates the firm’s various social networking tools into an easy-to-use dashboard. The platform connects users and enterprises via many methods.

It is not just Tencent that sees the potential of the CRM market. E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings is also jumping into the bandwagon. In July Alibaba announced an exclusive partnership with global CRM leader and cloud-based service provider Salesforce.

The partnership makes Alibaba the sole provider of Salesforce to customers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Additionally, Salesforce will become the exclusive enterprise CRM product suite sold by the Chinese ecommerce company.