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Shenzhen-based indoor GPS ShuWei (数位) recently completed several hundred million Series B+ financing, from Ant Financial (with HuPanLiCheng 湖畔里程 and Huasheng Yixuan as co-investors). Funds will be used for technological research and development, expansion of POI (point of interest) coverage and expansion of corporate customers.
Prior to this financing, ShuWei has completed 4 rounds of funding in less than 2 years, with a total amount of several hundred million RMB. It has raised 50 million (Series A) from Fosun RZ Capital and Ji Guang in September 2017 , tens of millions (Series A+) from Oriental Fortune Capital in November 2017, and Series B from SAIF Partners and Changrun Capital in July 2018.
With the self-developed indoor location technology and a large collection of POI, ShuWei has launched an accurate indoor location recognition engine with ELBS (electronic location-based services), which can recognize indoor locations with ease.
The current ShuWei POI information has covered 209+ cities in China, and the accuracy rate of the seven-floor in-store identification is 95%. It has also reached more than 800 million mobile phone devices.
The digital ELBS indoor location identification service can be directly provided to APP developers, mobile phone brands and intelligent hardware vendors. Take children’s watch Alilo (火火兔) as an example. Hospitals, stations, shopping malls and other indoor places are places where children lost their way easily. The watch can then identify their precise location in real time through the built-in digital ELBS recognition engine to help parents prevent children from getting lost.
With this technology, ShuWei is also able to help companies form a more accurate user portrait of their customers, and provide users with interesting recommendations according to their needs.
For example, shopping malls have discount activities every day, but people want to know exactly which shops and brands are having a sale. Shu Wei can promptly and accurately push relevant brand offers when users visit the mall. When users enter a Subway station, Shu Wei will automatically produce a QR code as a train ticket. It is also able to track whether the users are working overtime and provide frequently used services such as food delivery, subway timetable, and cab hailing.
Other than developing the app, ShuWei has also partnered with the major domestic mobile phone providers, so that their app is part of their built-in on the left swipe homescreen. This accelerates their execution process.
Shu Wei has several goals. The first goal is to integrate users’ offline habits with the location recognition technology and thus provide accurate recommendations to provide convenience and enhance the user experience and security. The second goal is to enable services to reach customers, instead of the other way around. This helps enterprises to acquire offline tractions and leading Alibaba’s concept of new retail.
KrASIA’s parent 36Kr had reported on other local companies that provide the same services. This includes ZhiHuiTu、Dropbeacon、Zhongke Jindian and Huiner Technology. ShuWei’s founder and CEO Huang Xingli pointed out that unlike other companies, Shu Wei wants to establish a nationwide location recognition system coupled with business application services which have greater value and potential. In addition, Shu Wei has verified its technology capabilities by their launching on location recognition services nation-wide.
Ant Financial’s investment will undoubtedly help Shu Wei to quickly promote its products and services to a broader market while providing a strong endorsement of its technical product service capabilities. For Ant Financial (or even Alibaba), ShuWei can serve as a location service engine for its entire ecosystem, helping Alibaba in their new plans on lifestyle services and their development on new retail.