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SenseTime, a Hong Kong-based artificial intelligence company, is setting up a hub in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, where it plans to hire hundreds of engineers. The firm said its new research and development center there will focus on AI capabilities for seven industries, including healthcare, remote sensing and education. SenseTime also said it has seen a 400% revenue increase in the past several years, due, in part, to AI applications in more industries, ranging from camera sales in retail stores to driverless cars from Honda. Previously, IDG Capital led SenseTime's initial Series A funding round in 2014 and also joined the company's Series B round in 2017.
Qkids, an online education platform which connects native English-speaking teachers to Chinese learners, has launched a new science-based English course in partnership with Singapore-based Star Publishing. Qkids is now the first Chinese online education company to co-develop and co-publish textbooks outside China with an overseas partner. IDG Capital led the firm's Series B financing in 2017. Founded in 2015, Qkids operates out of Shenzhen, Xiamen, Guangzhou and Beijing.
Razer, a $438 million global gaming hardware maker, has launched a program to support streamers with prizes, incentives, discounts and partnerships. Accepted streamers will receive discounts on Razer equipment and can also be eligible to win prizes. According to Razer, the promotion program received 10,000 applications within the first two weeks of its launch. IDG Capital-Accel China invested $50 million in Razer in 2011. Razer, based in Singapore, went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2017.
Circle, a Blockchain-based cryptocurrency fintech firm, announced the launch of a new subsidiary in Bermuda. Circle, based in Boston, said it’s the first major cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service to receive this type of permit. Because of this relationship, Circle said, each side can capitalize on the increasingly uncertain regulatory environment for cryptocurrency and digital assets globally. IDG Capital was the lead investor in Circle’s $50 million Series C and $60 million Series D funding rounds.
IDG Capital has joined a $12.36 million Series B financing round in Fenbeitong Technology, a corporate expense management startup. Based in Beijing, Fenbeitong helps Chinese enterprises reimburse employees for expenses incurred in business travel, car purchases and other business expenses. The company currently serves more than one million employees across over 1,000 enterprises, including Chinese food delivery giant Ele.me, ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing, China Southern Airlines and Spring Airlines. Previously, IDG Capital led Fenbeitong’s $4.36 million Series A round and also co-led a $5.82 million Series A+ round.
NIO, a global manufacturer of smart, electric autonomous vehicles, is expanding its recharging services to allow owners of non-NIO EVs to access its recharging equipment in 53 cities. The company first went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018, raising $1 billion during its initial public offering. Previously, IDG Capital also joined the NIO’s Series B+ funding round. Based in Shanghai, the firm also has operations in Beijing, San Jose, London and Munich.
Rokid, an artificial intelligence firm headquartered Hangzhou, China, will soon unveil a new lightweight pair of Augmented Reality glasses. The glasses will plug directly into user devices to better leverage CPU processing, Rokid said. Rokid is now scheduling the AR launch for 2020. The glasses will be priced between $800 and $1,000. An angel investor in Rokid, IDG Capital joined the start-up’s Series A and B funding rounds in 2014 and 2016 and also participated in another $100 million financing round.
Cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase, based in San Francisco, is providing major customers with exclusive data about user trading behavior and price correlation. High-end traders can now access top holders’ buy/sell positions, average hold times and other information about the popularity various assets, including asset correlation. Trading signals based on this data, Coinbase said, can help traders build stronger crypto portfolios. IDG Capital was an angel investor in Coinbase in 2013.
Jim Breyer, IDG Capital's Co-Chairman, believes that the U.S. and China now each have different strengths in the global artificial intelligence (AI) market. “There are areas in China where some of the facial-recognition AI companies are the most advanced in the world,” Breyer told Forbes. “But there are other technologies in the U.S., such as IoT (the Internet of Things) and machine learning, where AI is more advanced. But it is a race.” In addition to his work as a Co-Chair at IDG Capital, Breyer is also the Founder and CEO of Breyer Capital in Menlo Park, Calif., which was an early investor in Facebook.
IDG Capital participated in a Series B funding round at Fourier Intelligence, a Shanghai provider of low-cost robotic exoskeletons for physical rehabilitation. Fourier currently estimates the global exoskeleton market could reach $500 million by 2023, with roughly two-thirds of sales coming from the U.S. and Europe. The firm currently supplies products to more than 500 hundred hospitals and research institutions in China. Previously, IDG Capital joined Fourier’s $4.8 million Series A funding round in 2018.
Three Squirrels, China’s leading e-commerce snack brand, raised $87.5 million in an initial public offering on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. During its trading debut, the stock price surged 44%, reaching the daily trading limit. Founded in Anhui Province in 2012, Three Squirrels posted $1.5 billion in sales in 2018. The company primarily sells nuts, seeds, dried fruits and other snacks. IDG Capital led Three Squirrels’ $1.5 million Series A round in 2012 and also joined its Series B and Series C rounds.
Ctrip, a Nasdaq-listed online travel service provider, said it will offer customers access to ride-hailing services in 785 cities worldwide. Partners include U.S.-based Lyft, Southeast Asia’s Grab and a group off European-based companies. The partnership agreement is primarily designed to assist Chinese tourists who travel overseas. IDG Capital was an early investor in Ctrip, which first went public on Nasdaq in 2003.
In an interview, James Peng, the co-founder of startup Pony.ai, said his autonomous vehicle company, based in China and Silicon Valley, continues to attract more riders. He also said that while he believes the U.S. is the global leader in the AV industry, China will catch up soon due, in part, to increasing government support. IDG Capital was a seed round investor in Pony.ai, founded in 2016, and also joined the firm’s $112 million Series A funding round.
IDG Capital led a $50 million investment round in OPay, a Nigerian mobile payments firm founded by Opera Ltd , a browser company based in Norway. The new funding round will help grow the company’s digital finance profile in Africa, OPay said. Founded in 2018, the firm currently has 40,000 active customers with a daily transaction volume of roughly $5 million. IDG Capital was also an early investor in the parent company Opera, which went public on Nasdaq in 2018 and now has a market cap of $1.19 billion.
Klaytn, the blockchain network associated with Kakao, a South Korean messaging app, said its network now runs up to 150 times faster than Ethereum, a rival platform. Klaytn also estimated its transaction throughput at 3,000 per second, compared to 20 transactions per second at Etherium. In 2018, IDG Capital invested in Klaytn.
Forbes China named seven IDG Capital portfolio companies to its 2019 list of the “50 Most Innovative Companies” in China. The seven companies Forbes chose are Ecovacs Robotics, a global home robot supplier based in Suzhou; iQiyi, China’s leading video streaming platform; Pinduoduo, a popular group-buying site; Pony.ai, an autonomous vehicle startup headquartered in Freemont, Calif., and two Chinese cities; SenseTime, a Hong Kong-based artificial intelligence firm, now valued at roughly $4.5 billion; Xiaomi, the world’s fourth largest smartphone manufacturer; and Yuanfudao, an online e-learning and tutoring platform based in Beijing.