Where technology startups are concerned, China is the textbook definition of enigmatic in a world where Silicon Valley reigns supreme and stands undoubtedly as the world leader and European companies have shaped technologies that have dominated the market for the past few decades. Further East, however, Singapore, South Korea, has made significant strides in production, cementing South East Asia as the manufacturing capital of the world. India, has thrown its hat in the ring with its ability to attract sizeable capital investments. Yet, the progress made by Chinese tech companies has created behemoths of the industry at unprecedented levels.
These companies have now begun to morph into venture capitalists in their own right. India’s Paytm has attracted $575 million investments from Alibaba- the world’s largest e-commerce company, just after they pumped $500million into Snapdeal alongside Foxconn and Softbank. WeChat’s parent company, Tencent invested in the Indian health care company Practo, just after the news of China’s Didi Kuaidi invested in Lyft so as to compete with Uber’s United States operations. Yet, out of all the privately funded tech companies that have grown an interest in advancing their stance in the world's tech industry, a select few stand out for their size and value contribution.
Back in December 2014 when this Chinese taxi company was born out of a merger of the $3.2 billion worth Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache, it managed to raise $700 million in the last round of funding from Temasek, Tencent and DST Global. The other side of this coin, Kuaidi Dache, was valued at $2.8 billion with the last round worth USD 600 million from Alibaba, Softbank and Tiger Global. The year long talks resulted in a merger after both companies were operating at beyond optimum in order to gain a larger market share, The value of the combined entity is $16 billion at present. Didi Kuaidi recently invested $100 million in Lyft so as to sure up the competition against Uber in the United States and Canada. This Chinese taxi hailing service is also looking at collaborating with top players in other countries like Ola in India and GrabTaxi in Singapore to take their fight with Uber globally since the search engine, Baidu invested in Uber.
This smartphone company is the brainchild of founder Lei Jun in April 2010, has now become the world’s third largest producer of mobile devices. It has taken just seven years for this company to surpass Lenovo or even Sony and values at $45 billion, making $1.1 in the latest round of financing from All-Stars Investment, Yuri Milner’s DST, GIC, Hopu Fund, Yunfeng Capital and India’s Ratan Tata
Since November 2013, Zhong An Insurance has provided a rare glimpse into the Alibaba and Tencent’s ability to come together and create a platform together. In 2017, so far, the company valued at $8 billion has raised $1 billion from Morgan Stanley among others.
This is the world’s biggest consumer drone producer and does not show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Founded in 2006 by Frank Wang and headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong the Shanzhai capital. It manufactures commercial and recreational UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for aerial photography and videography. From last year, the company raised $75 million from Accel Partners with its valuation in the $10 billion range. The listed revenues were tallied at $130 million in 2013 and had passed the coveted $1 billion mark by the following year.
Founded in 2012 in Shanghai, Lufax is a company which has remained hidden from the commercial eye for some time despite being one of the fastest growing Peer 2 Peer lending platforms in the world. Its parent company, Ping An Insurance Group, is headquartered in Shenzhen. Beginning online in 2012 with a ¥151 million in assets to ¥3.3billion just the following year. The company recently closed a funding round with investors such as Black Pine Private Equity Partners, CDH Investments and China International Capital Corp’s private-equity division, which valued the company at just above $10 billion
The Wall Street Journal has provided us with an infographic from which the above companies have been profiled. Considering just how much these numbers keep fluctuating, it may be useful to keep an eye on the East and adapt lessons for Africa’s burgeoning tech economy.