China Embraces Industrial Internet, Emerging B2B Ecommerce Unicorns Targeting IPO
B2B ecommerce, a sector of the industrial internet, has been attracted more than USD 5 billion financing in the past several years. More than 10 unicorns and quasi-unicorns emerged; each secured at least USD 50 million investment.
China, the most populous country in the world, the birthplace of internet giants Alibaba and Tencent, is transferring its technology gold rush from consumer-driven to industrial driven, after more than 20 years fast development of the internet.
MA Huateng (Pony Ma, 马化腾), founder and CEO of Tencent, announced to adjust the organizational structure of the 20-years old company on September 30, in order to cope with the future industrial internet direction. MA Huateng, his perspectives often widely respected by entrepreneurs, said the main battlefield of the mobile internet in China is developing from the consumer internet stage to the industrial internet stage.
Alibaba has been more aggressive in this direction; the company regarded itself as the real economy and spent lots of money to promote this new brand positioning since December 2016. Besides billions of capital has been invested in industrial internet direction, Hema and Ele.me, two subsidiaries of Alibaba, act as the pioneers, are pushing forward to change various industries in China.
B2B ecommerce, a sector of the industrial internet, has been attracted more than USD 5 billion financing in the past several years. More than 10 unicorns and quasi-unicorns emerged; each secured at least USD 50 million investment. EqualOcean, an industrial tech media, and investment research company, did a research on China B2B ecommerce market and listed the major private players who expect to debut on public market in the next two to three years below.
Founded in March 2012 by WANG Dong (王东), Zhaogang.com is China's largest B2B e-commerce platform in the steel industry. The company has raised more than CNY 2 billion in six rounds of financing from investors including MatrixPartners China, Sequoia Capital, IDG Capital, China Renaissance, ZhenFund, Bull Capital Partners, at a value of CNY 17 billion. Zhaogang.com filed with Hongkong Stock Exchange in June 2018, the company’s revenue in 2017 is CNY 17.5 billion and the three years added net loss is CNY 1.9 billion from 2015 to 2017. As of June 2018,, Zhaogang.com has 115 steel factories as partners and more than 1300 employees nationwide. At the moment, the company is still waiting for a better time to launch its IPO.
Meicai is a Chinese startup helps farmers sell vegetables to restaurants, founded in June 2016 by LIU Chuanjun (刘传军). According to its official website, the company has about 15000 employees, at a value of USD 3 billion, after a financing of USD 450 million led by China Media Capital (CMC) and Tiger Global. In October 2018, a Bloomberg news report claimed Meicai raised at least USD 600 million from Hillhouse Capital and Tiger Global at a value of USD 7 billion, but the company did not confirm this news. In 2017, Meicai sold vegetable worth of more than CNY 10 billion.
Founded in December 2010, Huitongda is a B2B ecommerce platform serving the rural areas in China. As of June 2018, the company’s network covers 19 provinces and serves 92000 town stores. Revenue of Huidatong is CNY 7.5 billion, CNY 16 billion and CNY 23.5 billion respectively from 2015 to 2017. The company has secured CNY 6.3 billion financing in the past three years, Alibaba invested CNY 4.5 billion; now the company's market value is about CNY 20 billion, other investors include U.S.-China Green Fund, Shunwei and so on.
As the largest B2B liquor trading company in China, Yijiupi raised USD 200 million from Meituan-Dianping and Tencent in September 2019, which made the company a unicorn at a value of USD 1.1 billion. As of June 2018, the 2014-founded company has a business operation in 83 cities, providing product SKU of more than 40000; Yijiupi has more than 3000 employees, expects to finish CNY 20 billion GMV in 2018. The company is expanding its service, from liquor only into fast-moving consumer goods. Other investors include Source Code Capital, Greenwoods Asset Management, and China Everbright.
Shanghai-based Zhaoyou is an ecommerce platform for the petroleum industry. Founded in early 2015, the company acquired angel financing from Zhaogang.com before its official website went online in June 2015. Zhaoyou claimed the revenue for its self-operated business in 2016 is CNY 1.5 billion, and CNY 5 billion in 2017. The company announced a USD 150 million C1 and C2 financing in August 2018, led by Rainbow Capital and Global Logistic Properties, other investors including Tide Capital, Oceanpine Capital, G7, DCM、GGV、SIG. As of August 2018, Zhaoyou has more than 600 employees, and its business covers nearly 100 cities in China.
Founded in April 2014, the Guangzhou-based B2B fabric or cloth trading platform aims to reform the CNY 10 trillion market of China textile industry. In November 2018, Baibu raised USD 100 million financing, before that the company acquired USD 30 million in Agust 2018, investors include Tiger Globa, Bull Capital Partners, Source Code Capital, Chengwei Capital, Yunqi Partners. ZHAO Zhenhong (赵振洪), founder of Baibu told EqualOcean, the company could finish a revenue of CNY 3 billion in 2018, and expects to triple it in 2019.
Yaoshibang is a Chinese B2B pharmaceutical trading company founded by ZHANG Buzhen (张步镇) in Janurary 2015. Besides the online website and App, the company also provides SaaS for connecting upstream drug suppliers and downstream drug terminals (pharmacies, clinics, health stations). Yaoshibang secured a series C round financing this June, CNY 420 million amount led by Shunwei Capital Partners and DCM Ventures. ZHANG said as of June 2018, his company serves more than 150 thousand active drug terminals, and has a GMV of more than CNY 500 million each month.
Zhenkunxing was founded in 1998 first as a traditional MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Operations) agency, the company changed its business model in 2011 and became a B2B ecommerce MRO industrial supplies procurement service platform features internet + smart storage solutions for clients. Zhenkunxing closed two rounds CNY 580 million funding in 2017 from Eastern Bell Venture Capital, Cowin Capital, Genesis Capital, and MatrixPartners China. The company announced USD 129 million C round financing led by Tiger Global and Legend Capital On Agust 27, 2018.
Westing Area (West Area, 西域)
Shanghai-based Westing Area was founded in 2002 by YE Yongqing (叶永清), became into a MRO B2B ecommerce platform in 2009. Its parent company Westing Area Group has four B2B ecommerce websites: EHSY.com, MDSin.com, EHSsafty.com and SYSBEL, covering MRO products, medical equipment, fire system maintenance and environment protection & employee safety and health services. In March 2018, Westing Area announced that the company has closed a USD 100 million funding last December, led by CICC Alpha, other investors include Fortune Link, Fortune Capital, IDG, Chinalink, JW Ventures, participated the company's previous financings.