Catch the Early Bird!
by Nixon Peabody
Silicon Dragon Circle
Meet Our New
China Growth Capital
China Creation Ventures
Dr. Daqing Mao, China's co-working king, leverages smart tech at UCommune to compete with
WeWork in China
The day after Chinese co-working space operator
UCommune raised $200 million in funding, I had the opportunity to sit down with founder Dr.
Daqing Mao at Silicon Dragon in Hong Kong. There, he outlined how his emerging Beijing-based business is relying on smart technologies and its Chinese origins to compete against main rival
WeWork in the crowded co-working market in China.
He also spoke about UCommune's plans for expansion outside China into Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta and Taipei as well as Los Angeles and Seattle, building out from its U.S. launch last spring at a Wall Street location. The ample financing of some $650 million raised over the past three-and-a-half years should help UCommune go international.
During our so-called
, Dr. Mao described
's footprint - 110,000 workstations in 223 co-working spaces in 37 cities, each location with its own style, differing from the
uniform look. He also emphasized that
is evolving as a platform built on technology advancements such as a mobile app and tables with IoT functions, not just a space with hot desks, free coffee and frequent community events.
Silicon Dragon video
to hear Dr. Mao tell what
is up to with its new capital from Hong Kong-based
All Stars Investment
and Chinese investment bank
China's co-working king
China VCs at Silicon Dragon in Hong Kong, Nov. 15
The Chinese tech upstart that has traditional companies in the e-commerce market most worried is
. With its new model of marrying social group connections with e-commerce, its reach into more remote, poorer communities, its quick uptake with users, and its IPO within three years of its start,
has caught the older-generation businesses in e-commerce such as
by surprise. They like to pooh-pooh its impact and dismiss it as a threat.
Venture capitalists speaking at a recent Silicon Dragon forum in Hong Kong acknowledged that the model of social e-commerce that Pinduoduo has popularized is definitely transitioning e-commerce. Pinduoduo moves e-commerce away from concentrated searches for particular items to online recommendations from friends that can lead to impulse buys.
"Just when you think the e-commerce game is over and you think you need to give up investing in the the e-commerce market for a while, then something like Pinduoduo comes along," said Wei Zhou, managing partner at China Creation Ventures.
"There's always a company in the garage that comes out with something different," concurred James Mi, founding partner, Lightspeed China. Mi invested in Pinduoduo very early on. He met the founder Colin Huang 11 years ago when they worked at Google. He says Pinduoduo with the 300 million users it's attracted in three years has the power to disrupt the BAT - Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.
Hear more China VC views
at Silicon Dragon video.
Read more at Forbes, Pinduoduo Scares.
The former CTO of social media business
Tony Zhao, has raised $70 million in Series C funding led by hedge fund
Coatue Management for his latest startup, cloud communications service
Agora.io. Prior investors
Shunwei Capital and
Morningside also participated in the financing of the Silicon Valley-based business.
Renren, once a promising Facebook for China, has offloaded its social network for $20 million to Beijing Infinities Interactive Media plus $40 million in shares in the buyer's parent company. Renren's co-founders Joe Chen and James Liu continue to be involved through holding company Oak Pacific Interactive, a minority shareholder in the purchaser's company. Chen said Renren will continue to be listed on the NYSE and will focus on its existing used car business in China, and two in the U.S. - a SaaS business and Trucker Path, an online and mobile service connecting freight transporters.
The former phenomenon of "copy to China" has clearly turned to "copy from China." A new example of this trend is Facebook's newly launched short video product that is a "100% copy" of China's Douyin, an innovation from another Chinese tech upstart Bytedance that has put the traditional players in China's Internet on alert.