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Top Investment Story
Beverage startup HeyTea completed a USD 500 million Series D financing round from investors including Tencent, Sequoia Capital China, Hillhouse Capital, Temasek, BA Capital, and L Catterton.
Founded in Shenzhen in 2012, HeyTea is an early innovator in China’s beverage market, with its unique cheese-flavored drinks bringing attention to the upstart brand. The company’s use of authentic ingredients and line of fruity flavors, complete with seasonal releases, has contributed to the brand’s success. HeyTea operates a mini program in WeChat for customers to place pick-up orders via their mobile device. The company’s mini program has accumulated 21.5 million users, and offers a membership program with rewards.
The company’s main rival, Nayuki, completed an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at the end of June, raising USD 656 million to hit a peak valuation of HKD 34 billion (USD 4.4 billion).
MNCs in China
In 2017, Swire Properties launched its corporate venture capital arm, New Ventures, to invest in promising startups and technologies that complement the company’s business units. More recently, in 2020, the company allocated USD 50 million for New Ventures to invest in companies between Series A and Series C rounds.
This year, UrbanLab—Swire’s accelerator launched in partnership with JLL and Ping An Urban Tech—cooperated with Shui On Land, Goodman China, and 36Kr to hold an innovation competition. The goal was to scout for high-quality real estate technology startups whose solutions apply to four real estate application scenarios. This includes real estate management and operation, construction and renovation, commercial real estate, and new retail. At the event’s final in Shanghai on July 13, 12 winning startups were selected to apply their solutions for Swire.
KrASIA News Picks
As the short-video wave crests, ByteDance accelerates monetization through new verticals
In our Decoded episode on ByteDance, we shared that the company’s 2020 advertising revenue stood at an estimated RMB 180 billion (USD 27.2 billion). Douyin, TikTok’s sibling app, channeled RMB 108 billion into that sum.
But with slowed growth for both Douyin and TikTok—the latter’s global downloads dived 25% year-on-year—incoming CEO Liang Rubo will have to find new ways to draw revenue from the company’s pool of more than 1 billion users by transforming their attention into spending habits. That’s where ByteDance’s on-demand services, e-commerce, healthcare, and edtech verticals come in.