China Digest: Fintech startup XTransfer, supermarket Heli Chaoshi, blockchain firm Lingzhu raise funds

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Chinese fintech startup XTransfer, local fresh produce supermarket chain Heli Chaoshi, and blockchain technology firm Lingzhu Technology have raised new funding rounds.

Alibaba-backed eWTP leads $15m Series B1 round in fintech startup XTransfer

XTransfer, a Chinese fintech startup providing cross-border financial services, announced on Thursday the completion of a $15 million Series B1 round of financing led by Alibaba-backed Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).

Return backers including China Merchants Venture, an investment platform of state-owned China Merchants Group; TMT-focused investment firm Gaorong Capital; and Shanghai-based venture capital companies 01VC and Yunqi Capital also participated in the new round.

XTransfer, founded in May 2017 and headquartered in Shanghai, provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with one-stop cross-border financial services, such as multi-currency cash management and global business to business (B2B) platform payment solutions. The company currently has offices in Hong Kong, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan.

“eWTP focuses on the global development of technological innovation enterprises in the Belt and Road region. With the implementation of the Belt and Road initiative, an increasing number of SMEs are exploring [business opportunities] overseas,” said Jiang Dawei, partner of eWPT. “XTransfer will largely help these enterprises reduce cost.”

The company plans to enhance its technology and marketing efforts upon the completion of the investment. It will also use the proceeds to finance the acquisition of financial licences in overseas markets and expand its international financial network in countries such as India, Indonesia and Japan.

XTransfer has raised a total of $30 million across three funding rounds. It had earlier secured $10 million in a Series A round led by China Merchants Venture in October 2018.

Local fresh produce retailer Heli Chaoshi raises $14m Series B round

Heli Chaoshi, a fresh produce supermarket chain in southwestern China’s Guizhou province, announced on Wednesday that it has raised 100 million yuan ($14.07 million) in a Series B round of financing led by Shanghai-based investment firm PBG Capital.

Heli Chaoshi, which means ‘Heli supermarket’ in Chinese, was founded in 2000 to operate fresh food supermarkets in Guizhou. The company targets the landlocked region where the economy is backward compared to China’s eastern coastal areas.

“The logistics network in Guizhou has been rapidly developing in the past five years,” said Li Dexiang, chairman of Heli Chaoshi, in a company statement. “But there was no retail enterprise strong enough [to tap into the market], which left us a great opportunity to develop.”

The retailer has laid down a three-year development plan, aiming to expand the number of its supermarkets in Guizhou to over 100 with total sales volume exceeding 8 billion yuan ($1.12 billion) by 2020. Claimed to be registering nearly 30 per cent in annual sales growth, the company also targets expansion into major regions in southwestern China including Yunnan, Sichuan and Chongqing after it reaches an annual sales volume of 10 billion yuan ($1.40 billion).

Along with the new investment, Heli Chaoshi revealed that it has started preparation for an initial public offering (IPO) on a domestic bourse by 2020.

Heli Chaoshi completed a Series A round from Chinese investment firm Calor Capital in November 2017. Financial terms of the previous round were not disclosed.   

Beijing-based Lingzhu debuts micro blockchain fund after new round  

Chinese blockchain technology firm Beijing Lingzhu Technology has teamed up with several investment companies to launch a 100 million yuan ($14.07 million) fund, which will promote the use of blockchain technology in areas such as agriculture and distributed advertising.

“The venture capital mini-fund will finance technology companies that are integrating technologies into practical industry applications, like products and services closely related to the basic necessities of life,” said Liu Dahong, founder of Lingzhu Technology, in a statement released on the company’s WeChat official account on Tuesday.

“The industries of agriculture, distributed advertising and university students’ innovative undertaking will be our main focuses,” said Liu.

Along with the new fund, Lingzhu Technology also announced the completion of a new funding round led by Lu Hanquan, a Chinese investment banker who owns 100 per cent of Chinese semiconductor firm Hangzhou SDIC Microelectronics. Financial details of the investment were not disclosed.

Lingzhu Technology, founded in September 2016, operates as a distributed company that promotes the application of blockchain technology in the fields of blockchain product traceability, e-commerce and business credit management. The company claims to have offered its services to China’s Ministry of Commerce for its poverty alleviation projects.

Lingzhu Technology completed a pre-Series A round from an investment platform operated by Beijing-based software firm Tsinghua Tongfangin in September 2017. The company also closed an angel round from investors including Chinese investment company ZE Capital Investment Management, according to Chinese business data provider Tianyancha.

Chinese angel investor Wu Sheng and Fei Qi, former vice president of Chinese entertainment major Huayi Brothers Media Group, were also investors in its previous rounds.