Hello and welcome back to the China Roundup of TechCrunch, a digest of recent events that shape the Chinese tech landscape and what they mean to the rest of the world.
Despite the geopolitical heads for foreign technology companies to enter China, many companies, especially those looking for a reliable partner, are still moving forward. For this week’s roundup, I include a conversation with Profession, a French vision tech startup, which was funded with a general news digest from the recent Kai-Fu Li and Xiaomi.
Spotting opportunities in China
Like many companies working on future, advanced tech in Europe, there were spinouts from the Profession University research laboratory. Previously, I covered two such companies from Sweden: Imint, which improves smartphone video production through deep learning, and Dirac, an expert in sound optimization.
The three companies have two things in common: they are all in specific areas, and they have all found eager customers in China.
As for the profession, they are production lines in China, ma tomakers and smartphone companies looking for technological advances in terms of how their robots will react to the environment in return. So it’s no surprise that Xiaomi and Chinese chip-centric investment company Ino-Chip supported Profession in its most recent round of funding, led by Synovation Ventures.
The size of the fund was unknown but TechCrunch knew it was in the “ten million dollar” range. It was also Chi-Fu Lee’s first investment in Europe through Synovation. As recalled by Lucas Lure, CEO of Profession:
I am Dr. Kai-fu Li દરમિયાન during the World Economic Forum three years ago… and he was very interested when I told him about the profession. And then over the last three years, we’ve been in touch and last year, seeing increasing traction we’re in China, especially in the mobile and IoT industry, he decided to jump. That said, well, now is the right time Prophecy is getting bigger.
The Paris-based company was not actively seeking funding, but believes that being a Chinese strategic investor could help it gain more access to complex markets.
Instead of sending the information collected by sensors and cameras to a computing platform, Prophesy fits the process inside a chip (forged by Sony) that mimics the human eye, a technology built on neuromorphic engineering.
The older method takes a collection of fixed images so when the information increases in volume, a huge amount of computing power is required. In contrast, prophecy sensors, which he describes as “event-based”, change the environment just like photoreceptors in our eyes and can process information and process continuously and quickly.
Europe has been at the forefront of neuromorphic computing, but in recent years, Verre has seen a surge in research by Chinese universities and tech companies, confirming his belief in market appetite.
We push Chinese OEMs (manufacturers of original devices), especially Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo to raise the standard of image quality very, very high … It is very keen to adopt new technology for more difference as it is faster and more aggressive. Than Apple. Apple Pal is a trendy company that makes me feel like Huawei. So maybe for some technology, the technology matures and takes longer to adopt, which is often appropriate later. So I’m sure Apple will come to a certain stage of integrating event-based technology with some products. In fact, we see them moving. We want them to file patents in space. I’m sure it will come, but maybe not first.
Still, China is striving for technological independence, but Ware believes the prophetic address market is large enough – by its estimate of 20 billion. However, he acknowledged that he believed the prophet would be “naive to believe” and would seize the opportunity.
WeRide bought a truck company
One of China’s most valuable robotaxi startups has just acquired an autonomous trucking company called MoonX. The size of the deal is undisclosed, but we know that MoonX raised “millions of RMBs” in the Series A round 15 months ago.
While the Weird Level 4 self-driving technology focuses on the focused G, its robotaxis is also looking for a new monetization way before people fall prey to the scale. This has been done by developing minibuses, and possibly MoonX Acquire-Hire, which brings the company’s founder and more than 50 engineers to Viraid. Will help diversify its revenue pool.
There is a deep-rooted relationship between WeRide and MoonX. Their respective founders, Tony Han and Yang Kingsionge, worked together in Jingchi, later renamed Vered. Han co-founded Jingchi and took the helm as CEO in March 2018 when Yang was made vice president of engineering. But Yang soon left MoonX.
The head, a Baidu Pte, gave Yang a warm return and handed him over to the pay firm’s research institute in Shenzhen and its new office fees at MoonX’s home. The sprawling headquarters of Weiride is an hour’s drive from the nearby city of Guangzhou.
AI surveillance giant Cloudwalk is close to IPO
Cloudwalk belongs to a group of Chinese unicorns that developed in the second half of 2010 by selling computer vision technology to Chinese government agencies. At the same time, Cloudwalk and its rivals Suntime, Maggie and Yitu have been dubbed “Four AI Dragons” for their rapid ascent and round of generous funding.
Of course, the term “AI Dragon” is now a misnomer because AI application is becoming widespread in all industries. Investors soon realized that these surges needed to diversify revenue streams beyond smart city contracts, and they were anxiously awaiting exit. Finally, here comes Cloudwalk, which will be the first in its group to go public.
Cloudwalk’s request to raise 75.75 billion yuan ($ 80 million) from the Shanghai STR Board’s IPO was approved this week, although it could be months before trading begins. With a net loss of 720 million yuan in 2020, the firm does not look particularly attractive to financial investors.
So in the news
- Speaking about the news flow in autonomous driving, vehicle vision provider Kalmak Arre said this week that Is Raised 150 million In the Series C round. Founded in 2016 by a number of foreign Chinese returnees, Kalmkar AS uses deep learning to develop ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) used in tomative, industrial and surveillance scenarios. German auto parts maker ZFA led the round.
- Baby clothing directly from the consumer brand Pett said he has raised $ 510 million from the Series C and D rounds. The D2C ecosystem, benefiting from China’s strong supply chain, is gaining interest from more venture capitalists. Brands like Shane, Pettat, Cedar and Outer all have secured funds from established VCs. Founded by Carnegie Mellon Grade, Petpet counts among its investors IDG Capital, General Atlantic, DST Global, GGV Capital, SEG China and Sequoia China.