This is the first in a seven-part series on China's VC investment in Q2 2022. This series features firms spanning seven industries, including automaking, healthcare, New Retail, intelligent hardware, smart manufacturing, enterprise services and emerging technologies.
For new retail, we at EqualOcean have identified 20 companies worth watching in Q2. The core criterion is to receive venture capital investments of over USD 30 million on average or the equivalent value in CNY in a single round. When compiling the list, we also considered factors such as growth prospects, brand influences and reputation, as well as planned expansions.
From SMEs about to make their mark in the market, to well-established companies that have already raised significant funds and are still seeking further capital injections, here's a list you won't want to miss.
Better Life (Chinese: 步步高生活网 ) bagged CNY 2 billion (USD 300 million) in a strategic funding round from investor Xing Xiang (Chinese: 兴湘集团) and Lugu (Chinese: 麓谷发展集团) on June 15. Founded in 2003 in Hunan province, the firm is a commercial group with multiple businesses such as supermarkets, shopping centers, commercial complexes, logistics and transportation.
In mid-June, Style3D (Chinese: 凌迪科技), a 3D fashion synthesis software developer, received tens of millions of USD in strategic investment undertaken by Hillhouse Capital and CDH Investments (Chinese: 鼎晖投资). Founded in 2015, the firm has provided products and services such as 3D design tools, collaborative work systems and supply chain delivery for apparel companies over the past few years.
On May 30, Seek (Chinese: 帅克), a company that focuses on the research, development and production of pet food, completed its Pre-IPO funding round of CNY 500 million (USD 75 million). The investment was led by Confitop Capital and Boyu Capital, followed by Riverhead Capital, Mango Fund, Sino Pacific Capital, Linyi City Fund and other investors. Founded in 2012, Seek has established a supply chain system to provide customers with one-stop pet food and pet snacks original entrusted manufacture (OEM) services.
Sunshine Dairy (Chinese: 阳光乳业, 001318:SZ), a professional dairy enterprise that integrates the research, development, production and sales of dairy products, successfully raised CNY 669 million from its IPO in the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on May 20. Headquartered in Jiangxi province, the firm advertises low-temperature dairy products and milk drinks as the main products. Besides, it also specializes in pasture and animal breeding.
MZZ (Chinese: 麻爪爪), a Chongqing-based company that specializes in the production of spicy marinated products, in late May raised nearly CNY 100 million in Series A+ funding round from investors including Jiawo Venture Capital, Jinding Capital and Fanqieziben. This round of financing will mainly be used for digital upgrades, supply chain construction and the team building required for cross-territory operations.
CellX, a firm devoted to redefining the production and consumption of food by applying advanced innovations through life and food science, received nearly CNY 100 million from Jiawo Venture Capital, Lever VC, Agronomics, and Better Bite Ventures in Series A funding round in mid-May. Founded in 2020 in Shanghai, CellX will mainly use proceeds from this round to expand the technology platform and promote the pilot test.
Wing Cafe (Chinese: 咖啡之翼), a cafe restaurant chain brand, received CNY 100 million in a strategic funding round from investor CCIG (Chinese: 中金资本) on June 27. Founded in 2000, the company integrates coffee restaurants, intelligent coffee machines, supply chain and other diversified business lines.
STARPONY (Chinese: 星空优品), a brand that focuses on providing more creative toys for children aged 3-10 around the world, closed its Series A funding round worth tens of millions of USD in mid-May. It was led by eWTP, with participation from K2VC. The proceeds from this round of financing will be mainly used for talent recruitment, product development, brand building and other aspects.
Shine+ (Chinese: 萱嘉生物), a manufacturer of skincare and health products, raised nearly CNY 200 million in Series A+ funding round on June 24. This round of investment was led by Orient Fuhai (Chinese: 东方富海) and Huaxilangya (Chinese: 华熙朗亚), and followed by Cowin Capital (Chinese: 同创伟业), Hongtai Fund (Chinese: 洪泰基金), Lihe Hongxin (Chinese: 力合鸿鑫) and Sihai New Material (Chinese: 四海新材基金). Founded in 2017, the firm is the world's first platform that applies supramolecular chemistry technology to the pan-health field.
Quantum Hi-Tech Biological
The acquisition of Quantum Hi-Tech Biological (Chinese: 量子高科), by Tate & Lyle Investments for USD 237 million was completed in late May. Quantum Hi-Tech Biological is an innovative company whose main business is biomedical research and development, micro-ecological nutrition and micro-ecological medicine. The acquisition was originally announced on March 31. Headquartered in Guangdong province, the firm will then formally join Tate & Lyle, adding to its global specialty food ingredients business.
Founded in 2021, T COMMA, a Chinese tea drink brand featuring ‘fresh nutrition’, netted EUR 50 million in its pre-Series A funding round on April 19. Italian leather goods, wine, and clothing brand RUWISHDA is the investor. The proceeds will be used to open 60 stores in Nanjing and hold summer events, per a company statement.
Sequoia China-backed retailer Bananaunder (Chinese: 蕉下), known for products with built-in sun protection technology, filed a prospectus to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 15 April. CICC and Morgan Stanley are the joint sponsors. Established in 2013, the company expands its product range from umbrellas that filter UV rays to clothing, footwear, and accessories. Previously, Bananaunder took in over USD 50 million in three funding rounds supported by Sequoia China, China Renaissance, and Borchid Capital.
Food corporation Xijie (Chinese: 喜姐炸串), known for fried skewers, gathered CNY 75 million in its Series A+ funding round on April 25, with exclusive investment from Vision Knight Capital. Previously, it raised CNY 295 million in the Series A round backed by Source Code Capital and Focustar Capital. Founded in 2019, the Nanjing-based firm aims to provide healthy leisure snacks.
The acquisition of Comicity (Chinese: 动漫星城) by GDH (Chinese: 粤海投资) for CNY 700 million was completed on June 1. The firm believes that this investment will create synergies in branding, tenant mix, marketing and help improve operational efficiency. Headquartered in Guangdong province, the firm mainly engages in the operation and management of the animation-themed shopping mall ‘Guangzhou Animation Star City’.
In April, the comprehensive deep-value social platform Anesidorabox (Chinese: 安妮斯朵拉魔盒) announced the completion of a USD 13.5 million angel round led by Insight Partners, a global private equity and venture capital firm. This round of financing will be mainly used for ecosystem construction, section optimization, and metaverse-related social research and development. Launched in May, it aims to aggregate online shopping, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence together into one.
InfoQ (Information Queue) has completed a CNY 100 million Series B+ funding round in late-April. The investment was from New System Creation (Chinese: 新系创), Orient Fuhai and CybernautVC. Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Beijing, InfoQ is a community media platform in the software development field.
Vienna Hotel Group
Vienna Hotel Group (Chinese: 维也纳酒店) closed a strategic investment from Jin Jiang International (Chinese: 锦江国际) on June 13. The amount of funding is worth CNY 219 million. Founded in 2009, the firm is a business hotel chain operator whose brands include Vienna Hotels, Vienna Royal Hotels, Vienna Apartments and other product lines, covering three-star to five-star.
Du Feng Xuan
Bone broth provider Du Feng Xuan (Chinese: 独凤轩) bagged CNY 100 million in a post-IPO funding round in May. The investment was led by China Agricultural Reclamation Industry Development Fund and Teway Food. Half of it will be used to supplement the demand for funds for business development while the remaining CNY 50 million is intended for the construction of the bone broth project. Founded in 1996, the publicly listed company focuses on high-calcium nutritional bone broth production, research and development.
Hot dog brand ECKL’S (Chinese: 爱氏热狗) secured tens of millions of CNY through an angel funding round in late April. The investment was exclusively from K2VC and will be used for product iteration, digital system upgrade, organization building and store expansion. Headquartered in Xiamen, the firm describes its style as ‘fast casual’ and provides a range of products from hamburgers to drinks.
Fondatore (Chinese: 拇指衣橱), a businessmen's clothing customization platform, completed a Series B funding round worth USD 170 million on June 18. It was led by Plum Ventures (Chinese: 梅花创投), followed by Merdian Capital (Chinese: 华映资本), Belle Fashion (Chinese: 百丽时尚) and Chisage (Chinese: 中哲集团). This round of investment will be mainly used to build a new lab that help brands develop advanced fabrics.