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Exclusive | Tencent leads Chinese online recruiting platform Boss Zhipin’s new funding round

Tencent plans to leverage the rising e-recruiter’s resources for its enterprise-facing business.

Photo Source: tuchong.stock.com

Chinese social media giant Tencent has led an undisclosed new round of financing in Boss Zhipin, a major Chinese online job listing site, buying 10% of the company, 36Kr reported citing a source close to the deal.

The specific figure of this deal has not been disclosed, but Boss Zhipin said to have raised “hundreds of millions of dollars.” The fresh funds will be spent on marketing and acquiring more users, according to the source. Whether or how Boss Zhipin and Tencent will co-operate is unclear as of now.

Launched in 2014, Boss Zhipin, or “Boss Direct Recruit” in Chinese, has risen to become one of the biggest recruiting platforms in the country. Its mobile recruitment app, which allows job seekers and employers to talk directly through in-site instant messages, had more than 60 million users as of July.

Both Boss Zhipin and Tencent declined to comment on the matter when reached by 36Kr.

The move marks Tencent’s footprint in the enterprise services sector and its bet on “business-facing” products, as the tech conglomerate is in the middle of a transformation effort.

In the past three years, the social media giant has poured nearly RMB 20 billion into enterprise-facing service startups including e-commerce SaaS (Software as a Service) provider Youzan and online part-time job and recruitment site Doumi.

A key thing that Tencent values when considering its investments is whether these firms can help with other companies’ efficiency, 36Kr wrote, citing a person familiar with Tencent. Boss Zhipin can be considered a good example as it aims to match job seekers with openings more efficiently, by stressing the importance of “immediate communication” with “high-level managers directly.”

For Boss Zhipin, the investment comes at a time when the online recruitment sector is expected to see strong demand in the coming years amid the Chinese economic slowdown, 36Kr learned from a financial advisor who works for an unnamed leading job listing site.

A report from research institute iiMedia revealed that nearly 200 million Chinese looked for jobs online last year, up 15% from 2017. Besides, most job seekers tend to use several platforms at the same time to increase their chances. Currently, the crowded battleground has yet to see a dominant player.

As of January, 51job.com led the sector in China with 10 million monthly active users (MAUs). Zhaopin.com was the runner-up, claiming 6.9 million MAUs, while Tencent-backed Boss Zhipin and Doumi followed, both with over 3 million MAUs, the iiMedia report also showed.

In 2016, Boss Zhipin raised USD 28 million from investors including Meridian Capital China, Gaorong Capital and Shunwei Capital in its Series C round.

Earlier, in July, Boss Zhipin’s founder Zhao Peng, who previously served as CEO of bigger rival Zhaopin.com, told local media that the company had turned profitable for the first time in November 2017, and is currently preparing for an IPO.