Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Shanghai To Establish An Innovation Centre for Israeli Companies

Hongkou District today established a science and technology center in the Dabaishu area that includes an incubation center to help more Israeli companies invest in Shanghai. The Dabaishu Science and Technology Innovative Center includes laboratories studying energy dissipation and industrial bacteria strains in cooperation with universities like Fudan and Tongji.

It will also offer supporting services in the fields of intellectual property and risk assessment to institutes and companies based in the center, the district science and technology commission said. Haifa, Israel, signed an agreement with the center to establish the Hicenter to help high-tech companies from the country invest in Shanghai.

Arnon Perlman, consul general of Israel in Shanghai, said the Hicenter would work two ways. It will allow Israeli companies to get a foothold in China while also allowing Chinese firms to apply to enter Israel, he said. Perlman said Israeli companies investing in Shanghai mainly focus on hi-tech, medicine, water treatment, the environment and agriculture. The commission built an apartment building beside the center on Handan Road to accommodate experts from outside the city and abroad.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Teddy Sagi buys Israeli startup Adience

Adience, founded 18 months ago, today announced that it had been acquired by the Teddy Sagi group. Sources inform "Globes" that the price was $20 million. Adience operates in the mobile applications market, in which Sagi is trying to get as big a foothold as possible. The company has developed a system for managing mobile user applications, based on deep learning technology. The purpose of this technology is to understand the user's needs, which are becoming more complex with time and the increase in the mass of information on the Internet. Adience's solution generates a user profile, which helps mobile advertising agencies and their customers improve their offerings to users of their applications, thereby upgrading the user experience and maintaining their loyalty to the application as much as possible.

Adience, a very young company, has only 10 employees in its Tel Aviv offices, so the $20 million value generated by its founders is quite considerable. The company was founded by three veterans of the IDF 8200 Intelligence Corps unit: CPO Sasha Medvedovsky, CTO Eran Eidinger, and CEO Roee Nahir. According to the Registrar of Companies, each of the three owns 19.6% of Adience, while the largest financial shareholder in the company is Magma Venture Partners (7.7%). It is believed that Adience has raised $1.6 million since it was founded, which means that its shareholders have made a return of 13 times on their money.

Nahir said, "We are excited and glad to join Teddy Sagi's group of companies. We have developed an amazing technology, and we, together with and through the group, can bring it to the biggest market - the e-commerce market - in a shorter time."

Sagi's still-private e-commerce activity is growing, and Adience is expected to constitute the technological base for it. In this framework, the company will take part in developing the e-commerce of Camden Market, the popular UK shopping forum owned by Sagi, which held its IPO on the AIM UK stock exchange only last week at a valuation of $1.2 billion. In order to perform this task, Adience will open offices in the UK, Germany, and other European countries. The company's R&D unit will continue operating from Israel, and is expected to triple its staff in the first stage, according to Adience's announcement.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Israel's Trax Image Recognition Closed a $15m Investment Round, Singapore Fund to Invest

Israeli-Singaporean company Trax Image Recognition, which provides in-store shelf monitoring, analysis and technology powered by image recognition, has raised $15 million in a Series D round of financing from previous investors and Singapore's Broad Peak Master Fund.

The company has raised $37 million to date.

Trax will use the fourth round of investment, which is its largest to date, to expand its global operations with a focus on developing its market share in the US and Europe.

In addition, the new funds will also allow the company to launch new products and services enabling it to meet the growing requirements of its global manufacturing and retail customers. The new offerings, available in 2015, will be initiatives in market research and the consumer space.

The investment will also help Trax secure a leading position in the crowdsourcing market by forming partnerships in this sector.

Mr. Joel Bar-El, Trax CEO, stated, “Trax is committed to constant innovation so we can always meet our customers’ needs and provide tailored offerings for the ever-changing retail industry. This round of funding will allow us to continue providing our manufacturing and retail customers with services that will ultimately allow them to make better decisions, thus helping improve sales and increase market share.”

“It will also support our growth in geographic markets such as the US and Europe and our desire to form partnerships with companies that complement our technologies. This will ensure both new and existing customers can access the best and most accurate technology in the industry at cost-effective prices.”

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Glide closed a $20m Investment Round. Qihoo360 of China to Invest $3m

Israeli video messaging company Glide raised a $20 million funding round led by Marker LLC, with participation from Two Sigma Ventures, Menlo Ventures, New Ground Ventures, Eniac Venture and a $3m investment by Chinese company Qihoo 360.

To date, Glide has raised $28.5 million in venture funding.

The new funds will be used to continue development of the company’s Android and iOS messaging apps, as well as to develop apps for Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches.

Glide has roughly 10 million registered users in the U.S., and the Glide apps for Android and iOS are used by 1 million people every day.

Glide’s secret sauce is a video compression technology that allows for near-real-time video messaging but doesn’t overwhelm the Wi-Fi and cellular networks on which the service runs. According to the company's CEO, Glide will continue to invest in its proprietary video streaming technologies, with a focus on developing them for smartwatch hardware and network services.

To support these efforts, Glide is currently expanding its operations by opening new offices in both Silicon Valley and New York.

Glide was founded in May 2012 by Ari Roisman, Jonathan Caras, and Adam Korbl. The three friends lived thousands of miles away from their friends and family and created Glide as an economical and efficient way to keep in touch using video and audio messaging.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Israel's Integra Holdings Closes $3M Investment from China's Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group

Integra Holdings, the biotechnology holdings company of Yissum the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced today that it has received US $3 million investment from Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. a subsidiary of the Guangxi Wuzhou Zongheng Group a Chinese investment holdings company.

Integra Holdings Founded by Yissum Integra Holdings is a unique venture fund focusing on an exclusive selection of biotech companies with proprietary solutions and a competitive advantage in their respective fields. Integra Holdings takes a hands-on approach by providing its portfolio companies with the strategic planning business development and R&D guidance they need to bring their technology to the market.

Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Guangxi Wuzhou Zongheng Group a Chinese investment holdings company traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange with a current market cap of approximately US $2.8B. The parent company focuses on pharmaceuticals health and food products while Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group is the largest pharmaceutical company in Guangxi and among the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in China.

The funds raised will be used to advance Integra Holdings’ existing portfolio companies and to create new companies based on promising projects originating from the Hebrew University.

Integra Holdings founded by Yissum in 2012 has a robust portfolio of companies operating in a variety of therapeutic areas such as oncology Alzheimer’s disease infectious diseases analgesia and inflammation.

The innovative products developed by the portfolio companies range in maturity from pre-clinical stages of development through clinical stages to registration. Currently the portfolio includes Ayana Atox Bio Avraham Pharmaceuticals Lipomedix Tiltan Pharma Lipocure and HIL Applied Medical in addition to two new companies which are now being established and develop products with expected short time to market. Investors in Integra Holdings are Invatech Holdings a group of private US and Israeli investors; Halman-Aldubi Provident and Pension Fund; the Funds of Teaching Personnel and the HUJI Provident Fund. Integra Holdings has raised a total of US $12 million to date.

“We are pleased to have Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group join as an investor that can also assist us in introducing biotech products and technologies based on research performed at the Hebrew University to the Chinese market” stated Yaacov Michlin CEO of Yissum and Chairman of Integra Holdings' Board of Directors. “After only two years since its inception Integra Holdings has obtained an investment at twice its original valuation.” “We welcome Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group’s investment and vote of confidence in the therapeutic products of our exclusive companies and our unique model of advancing cutting edge science and innovation towards commercial realization” commented Dr.Liana Patt CEO of Integra Holdings.

“We look forward to using this investment to advance products currently in the pipeline of our portfolio companies and forming new companies based on the Hebrew University's most promising inventions in the field of life science.”

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Baidu to Invest $3m in Israeli Start Up Pixellot

Chinese Internet giant Baidu is making its first direct investment in an Israeli startup.

The Chinese company, sometimes called the Chinese Google, is investing $3 million in Pixellot, which provides a unique high-quality and affordable alternative to traditional video capture and production processes, opening the way to a new era in sports and music video production. Pixellot has raised $5.3 million to date with previous investos including the TheTime incubator and the founders.

Founded in 2013 by chairman Miky Tamir and CTO Gal Oz, Pixellot develops an ultra-high resolution, unmanned video ‘capture-all’ system with a remote proxy video production suite. This novel solution effectively automates video production by deploying a multi-camera system that covers an entire scene, instead of the traditional method of using several manned cameras and hoping to catch just the right shots. Using a series of ingenious algorithms, Pixellot allows its users to choose an object to zoom in on any part of the venue and to navigate back and forth in time - previously impossible.

Pixellot's target market is primarily the multibillion-dollar "long tail" sports and music production domains, such as high school team sports and amateur community football (soccer) leagues. Pixellot will enable the players, their families and fans to create their own personal videos, as well as to monitor the players' performance parameters using cloud-based services.

Here too, Pixellot’s technology offers new capabilities to a still largely untapped market. Along with its "long tail" product, Pixellot also addresses the needs of the professional broadcast market by offering alternate, low-cost production systems and workflows, as well as unique effects, like spatial replay, tied-to-field graphics, special cameras and unprecedented second-screen applications.

Pixellot is already in advanced talks with leading global networks and sports federations that are interested in using its technology to capture high-profile sports and music events. Pixellot's systems were recently tested by the French Tennis Federation.

“We’re very enthusiastic about bringing Pixellot’s ground-breaking technology to Chinese Internet users. For the first time, video content producers can broadcast concerts, sports, and stage events and enable the audience to watch streaming video with total freedom to choose camera angles in real time on their devices. “We think this will revolutionize video content production," said Senior Director of Baidu Corporate Development Peter Fang.

"We are truly excited to kick off this partnership with Baidu as a strategic investor, which will enable us to grow globally and bring us into the Chinese market. We are both honored and proud to become Baidu's first investment in an Israeli company. With this capital inflow, we plan to invest in further expanding our R&D and advancing our global marketing and business development platform,” said Dr. Tamir. The current investment is Baidu's first in an Israeli start-up, but not its first in the Israeli start-up sector.

Baidu was among the investors in Carmel Ventures' fourth fund, which recently finished raising $194 million. Baidu has been prospering recently, with its share price climbing to a record-breaking $250.

The company held its IPO in 2005 at a company value of $120 million, and is now traded at an $81.5 billion market cap.

Pixellot is not Tamir and Oz's first company. They also founded SportVu, which developed a system for automatic monitoring of players for statistical purposes. SportVu was sold in 2008 to Stats, jointly owned by communications corporations News Corporation and AP. Dr. Tamir was also a co-founder of Orad High Tec Systems, which specializes in broadcasting graphics and virtual studios.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Xiaomi to Invest In 4G Chip Making Solutions

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi and China-based IC design company Leadcore Technology have come together and formed a joint venture to develop 4G chip solutions.

According to sources in the Taiwan handset supply chain, Xiaomi will hold a 51% stake in the joint venture whereas Leadcore Technology will have a 49% stake.

Leadcore Technology is a subsidiary of Datang Telecom, a leading Chinese telecom company.

It is being said that the main idea behind the joint venture is for Xiaomi to be able to save cost on 4G chips, which will enable it to launch competitively priced 4G smartphones. So far Xiaomi has been using system on chips by manufacturers such as Qualcomm, MediaTek and Spreadtrum Communications.

This joint venture, say sources, will most likely affect sales of Spreadtrums shipments to Xiaomi. Xiaomi recently came out as no.3 in terms of global shipments of phones for Q3, 2014, before the Lenovo – Motorola acquisition closed (a day later). It has managed to sell 17.3 million handsets, thereby being the only company to have jumped up by 200 per cent in terms of year-on-year shipment numbers.

With an affordable 4G handset, Xiaomi may just push those numbers further in the next round up. Looking at the response to their flash sales in India, its popularity is unquestioned here.

With 4G circles already present in India and many more expected to come out next year, the time is ripe to woo customers with 4G handsets.

Although there are a lot of 4G handsets around, if Xiaomi is indeed going ahead with its joint venture, an affordable 4G handset from it will certainly have many buyers here.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Outbrain Files for Possible Nasdaq Listing

Source: Wall Street Journal, By Orr Hirschauge

Outbrain Inc., a provider of “native ads,” filed confidentially with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month seeking preliminary approval to list shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market, according to people familiar with the matter.

If a decision is made to go ahead, Outbrain is expected to seek a valuation of around $1 billion, according to one person familiar with the matter. It is unclear how much of the company it would seek to sell in any listing.

Outbrain has tapped Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan as lead underwriters for any listing, these people said. If the filing passes SEC scrutiny, the company is aiming to go public in the first quarter of 2015, according to these people.

Founded in Israel in 2006, Outbrain was a pioneer in native advertising, or ads that are meant to be more integrated into a website than other forms of ads, like pop-ups and banner ads. It is now based in New York.

Outbrain places content, like recommended further reading, on a website, linking to the publisher’s own content or sponsored content.

Currently employing around 430 people, the company has raised roughly $100 million in the past from a list of investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Carmel Ventures, Glenrock Israel, Gemini Israel Funds Ltd., Index Ventures, Vintage Partners and HarbourVest Partners LLC. 

Outbrain’s biggest competitor in the content recommendation domain is Taboola Inc., itself a New-York based Israeli company.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported the company is now seeking to raise $75 million to $100 million from investors in a U.S. roadshow, after hiring Credit Suisse Group .

In August, Taboola disclosed an annual revenue run rate—a metric that estimates future performance based on most recent results—of $250 million.

Israel’s Bennett to Lobby for Resources to Boost China Exports

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said he’ll seek a deeper commitment from the government in order to take exports to China to “a whole new level.”

Bennett said yesterday he plans to move some commercial attaches to China from other nations, and will seek greater investment in developing the trade, including increased credit for Israeli companies. He’ll also press for more ministerial visits. “We have to make a bigger and deeper commitment,”

Bennett, 42, said by phone from China where he was leading a delegation of 15 Israeli water-technology companies. “The potential is immense. We can do more and we will do more.” Israel is seeking to boost sales to economies such as China and India, which are growing faster than its traditional trading partners, the U.S. and Europe.

Exports account for about 30 percent of Israel’s gross domestic product. During the first 10 months of the year, the export of goods to China totaled $2.4 billion, a 6-percent increase from 2013, according to Central Bureau of Statistics figures published this month. Total goods exports rose by about 3.8 percent in the same period.

“China clearly has the biggest market potential in terms of growth in the world, and we want to diversify,” said Bennett, who was a successful technology entrepreneur before he went into politics. “There is a lot of added value that we can specifically give China, that exists to a lesser degree in other places.” Industries with the greatest potential include water technology, including water production and conservation, agriculture and medical devices, Bennett said.

Israeli agricultural technology can help Chinese farmers in areas that lack land or water, he said. While China presents some special hurdles to Israeli exporters, such as intellectual property issues and cultural differences, it views Israel “in a very positive light,” Bennett said.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fosun Pharma seeks strategic Israeli partner

Representatives of the Hermed Fund, Chinese company Fosun Pharma's venture capital fund, are searching for a strategic partner in Israel, and are also considering investments in Israeli companies. Fosun Pharma is part of giant company Fosun, which is worth $8 billion.

Fosun Pharma has been active in Israel since acquiring Alma Lasers for $240 million, and has already made investments in medical devices company Check-Cap, and Tyto Care, which makes possible remote family medicine, but these two investments were made directly by Fosun Pharma, whose venture capital fund is now looking for investments and partnerships in Israel.

The fund is not considering beginning its own activity in Israel; it is considering a connection with a local fund or a non-fund investment entity, which will act as its representative and partner in Israel. It is also considering investments in specific pharmaceutical companies at an earlier stage than the direct investments made by Fosun Pharma, and investments more distant from Fosun Pharma's core business, but which could fit in with it in the future.

In a "Globes" interview six months ago, Fosun Pharma CEO Yao Fang stated that his company would make acquisitions in Israel, adding, "Maybe one day the company will only be Alma, and it will concentrate all of Fosun Pharmaceuticals' medical devices activity from Israel. Fosun Pharma currently emphasizes generic drugs, biosimilars, diagnosis, and health services.

Daniel Cohen is responsible for conducting its technology search in Israel and other countries.

Israeli Minister of Economy Bennett Launches Israeli ‘Water City’ in China

Israel's Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett launched the flagship “Water City” project in China on Monday, announcing that the city of Shougang in the Shandong province would be the focus of Israel’s water-related activities in the country.

The announcement was made in the presence of Chinese municipal officials during Minister Bennett’s current visit to China. The minister landed in China on Sunday to head a business delegation with representatives of 15 Israeli companies seeking opportunities for Israeli water technologies.

The minister’s visit is the high point of an ongoing process led by the Israeli Ministry of Economy through its trade attachés in China. The attachés are working with Chinese authorities to advance Israeli companies and incorporate Israeli technology in the country’s massive water system. The Chinese water system faces many challenges including rapid population growth and widespread contamination of the country’s water resources. Beijing is therefore “thirsty” for Israeli solutions. 

Israeli water technologies will be implemented in the “Water City” project in Shougang for commercial use, which will showcase solutions offered by Israeli companies in real-world conditions in an effort to persuade Chinese authorities to adopt these solutions in other Chinese cities. The city of Shougang was chosen following a stringent selection process by representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and their Chinese counterparts. As part of the project, the city will enjoy technologies offered by Israeli firms in the fields of desalination, sewage management, irrigation, reuse of water for agricultural, water supply and more. This is a first-of-its-kind enterprise supported by the joint Israel-China Mission entrusted with advancing bilateral economic ties.

“Israel and China are natural partners for technological and business cooperation,” said Minister Bennett during the inauguration of Shougang as ‘Water City.’ “We have extensive experience in management of water resources and the ‘Water City’ project will help open the Chinese market to Israeli water companies, as well as advancing bilateral relations.”

The minister’s tour will continue until Thursday, during which the delegation will visit Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing. In Nanjing, seminars and business meetings will take place between representatives of the Israeli companies and a wide range of government and non-government representatives in the country’s water-management sector.

Minister Bennett will hold further meetings with senior Chinese government officials from the Ministry of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM), as well as senior executives from the Chinese business sector, including Robin Li, CEO of Internet trade giant Baidu, and with the Chairman of trade giant Suning, with an eye towards helping Israeli companies forge partnerships with these companies and towards bringing the Chinese concerns to Israel to open investment arms and R&D centers. The minister is also expected to launch the China-Israel Business Center in Shanghai and, at the end of his visit, to inaugurate the Israeli exhibition farm in the south China province of Fujian. This agricultural demonstration center is a commercial farm established and supported by the Israeli Ministry of Economy, housing several Israeli companies which showcase their expertise and knowhow in the hopes of drawing clients from China and across Asia.

According to the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Israel’s trade with China stood at $10.8 billion in 2013. Trade with China is expected to rise by 15% in 2014.

Israel water trade

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Israeli IoT Startup Atomation Raised $900k

atomationIsraeli startup Atomation announced that it raised $900,000 in a round led by the Explore incubator, Israel’s chief scientist and other private investors. The company is developing a platform to turn any top into a ‘smart’ toy that is able to connect and communicate with other toys and with a smartphone application. Atomation was founded by Guy Weizman and hopes to bring toys into the Internet of Things revolution.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ping An to Invest in eToro, Israeli Online Trading Platform

Source: Wall Street Jurnal, By Orr Hirschauge

Chinese financial powerhouse Ping An and Russia’s largest lender Sberbank are in advanced discussions to back Israeli online trading company eToro, according to people familiar with the matter, as Chinese interest in Israel’s technology sector heats up.

The company is expected to raise about $15 million from Ping An Insurance Group, Sberbank’s financial technology fund SBT Venture Capital and existing investors, the people said.

The final amount of the investment has yet to be finalized, they said. As part of the move eToro is also expected to expand operations into China and Russia by providing its online trading platform through Ping An and Sberbank, the sources said.

eToro has previously raised about $31.5 million from various investors, including Spark Capital and BRM Capital. The deal would come as Chinese investors pour millions in Israel-focused technology investment funds and large financial institutions increasingly turn to startups for fresh ideas.

Ping An Ventures, the venture investment arm of China’s largest financial conglomerates, last November launched a $100 million fund dedicated to investing in U.S.-Israel technology companies. Yongjin Group a Chinese equity-investment management and financial-services company, has put between $15 million and $20 million into Israeli venture fund Pitango Venture Capital during the past year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Chinese computer maker Lenovo invested about $10 million in venture fund Canaan Partners Israel, in August. Daniel Tu, chief innovation officer of the Ping An Group, recently visited Israel for a second time.

While he didn’t comment directly on the company’s intention to invest in eToro, he did speak about Ping-An’s general aims. Mr. Tu said: “Ping An is an integrated financial group and we embarked on an online strategy. We are always looking into fintech startups and companies like eToro make for an interesting target for us. They can help us and our clients.”

eToro, which was founded in 2007, enables retail traders to invest and share information about their trades, performance and strategies online. Much as on Twitter , social traders can “follow” each other and are updated on trades through a live feed or messages. They can also sign up to a service that will automatically copy trades of a top performer.

The company, which competes with firms such as ZuluTrade and Ayondo, aims to ultimately bridge the information gap between retail and institutional traders. It has four million users in 170 countries, according to information presented by the company this month. Ping An and Sberbank are one of several large financial institutions that have recently launched venture arms to invest in technology companies as they seek to keep up with the rapid pace of digital innovation. Sberbank launched its $100 million fund late last year to invest in young fintech firms, while U.K. bank HSBC this year allocated up to $200 million to invest in fintech firms. Shortly after Santander announced the launch of a $100 million fintech fund.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Temasek of Singapore to Invest in Tel Aviv University Technology Innovation Momentum Fund

Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd. (Ramot), the University's tech transfer company, and Temasek, a Singapore-based investment company, have entered into a strategic agreement to fund and generate leading edge 'commercialization ready' technologies in a wide range of fields, including engineering and exact sciences, environment and clean technology, pharmaceuticals and health care.

With a $5 million commitment from Temasek, as the second lead investor, together with Tata, the Momentum Fund is announcing its closing with an over subscribed level of investment of $23.5 million.

The Momentum Fund invests in promising breakthrough technologies. Multiple committees, comprising global domain experts, Tata and Temasek representatives, will select technologies with significant commercial potential. Such technologies will be further developed under the supervision of dedicated program managers to be brought to an advanced state where Ramot, TAU's technology transfer company, will drive the process to translate such innovations into attractive licensing opportunities for the industry.

Commenting on the development, the TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter said, "We are extremely proud that Temasek, a world leading investment company, following Tata, has selected TAU as a partner. Our innovative initiative and inter-disciplinary research set an example for others to follow. With support from both Tata and Temasek, TAU aims to develop groundbreaking advanced technologies that have the potential to positively impact communities across the world in many technological areas."

Mr. Shlomo Nimrodi, Ramot's CEO, said: "Being the second lead investor, Temasek will be able to see promising technologies at Tel Aviv University, as well as participate in the different Scientific Committees and in the Investment Committee." Shlomo added, "I am extremely pleased and proud that the Ramot and TAU teams were able to exceed the initial goal we set for ourselves of $20 million. This is a testament to the strength of our institution as well as the ability of our team to plan and execute.

The Momentum Fund already selected six leading technologies in Q1 2014 and is in the process of selecting an additional 4-6 technologies in Q4 2014. We expect the Momentum Fund to support 20-40 promising innovations over time."

About Temasek:

Incorporated in 1974, Temasek is an investment company based in Singapore, with a S$223 billion (US$177 billion) portfolio as at 31 March 2014.

Temasek's portfolio covers a broad spectrum of sectors: financial services; transportation, logistics and industrials; telecommunications, media & technology; life sciences, consumer & real estate; energy & resources. Its investment themes reflect Temasek's perspectives on the long term trends:

  • Transforming Economies; 
  • Growing Middle Income Populations; 
  • Deepening Comparative Advantages; 
  • Emerging Champions. 
Temasek's compounded annualized Total Shareholder Return since inception in 1974 is 16% in Singapore dollar terms, or 18% in U.S. dollar terms.

The company has had a corporate credit rating of AAA/Aaa since its inaugural credit rating in 2004, by rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody's respectively.

Temasek has offices in 11 cities around the world, including São Paulo and Mexico City in Latin America, and London and New York, which both opened in 2014. The remaining offices are all in Asia, including China and India.

About Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd:

Ramot is Tel Aviv University's technology transfer company and its liaison to industry, bringing promising scientific innovations made at the university to commercialize with industry. The company provides the legal and commercial frameworks for inventions made by TAU faculty, students and researchers, protecting discoveries and innovations with patents and working jointly with industry to bring scientific innovations to the market.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Qihoo 360 Plans $60 Million Israeli IoT Fund

Source: Wall Street Jurnal, By Orr Hirschauge

Chinese Internet-security company Qihoo 360 Technology Co. plans to establish a global, early-stage fund with a $60 million target size for investments in Internet-of-Things companies, according to a presentation shown last week by a company representative during a visit in Israel.

The intended fund, called 360 Capital—IoT Fund will focus on investments in China, the U.S. and Israel, the presentation says. Qihoo, which listed American depository receipts on the New York Stock Exchange in 2011, develops and distributes free personal-computer and mobile-security software, deriving revenue from advertising.

The company also has a Web browser and a mobile-application store. With around 7,000 employees, its current market capitalization is more than $9 billion. Qihoo didn't respond to a request for comment.

Qihoo intends to be the leading limited partner in the fund, with other limited partners including both strategic investors and financial institutions, the presentation says. While the fund will be focused on early-stage investments it will be flexible enough to enable later-stage investments, it says.

Qihoo has made several investments in Israel over the past year, including investments in two of the country’s leading venture funds, Carmel Ventures and Jerusalem Venture Partners. It has also led a round of investment in Israeli image-recognition-technology company Cortica Inc.

The company has made at least two more investments in Israeli startups, according to a person familiar with the deals: one in gesture-control-technology company Extreme Reality Ltd. and another in messaging-app maker Glide Talk Ltd. Both companies declined to comment.

Interest in Israeli tech investments by Asian investors, and specifically Chinese investors, has grown significantly in the last two years. In 2013, Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. announced a $100 million fund dedicated to investments in the U.S. and Israel, and Chinese financial-services company Ping An allocated a fund focused on the same geographies in November 2013.

Other Chinese companies investing in Israeli venture funds have included Lenovo Group Ltd. and Baidu Inc. During the past two weeks, a representative of Qihoo met with numerous Israeli startups, including ones developing technology for wearable computing and connected homes, according to a person familiar with the company’s activities.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Microsoft to Buy Israeli Cybersecurity Start-Up Aorato for $200 million

Microsoft Corp. buys Israel cyber security company Aorato for $200 million.

Aorato raised $10 million in January from Accel Partners Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors and Glilot Capital Partners, and private investors Mickey Boodaei, a co-founder of Imperva Inc. and Trusteer. Last year Boodaei earned $151 million from the sale of Trusteer to IBM.

Aorato was founded in 2012 by CEO Idan Plotnik, VP R&D Michael Dolinsky, and VP professional services Ohad Plotnik. The company is based in Herzliya and has 10 employees and has raised $11 million to date.

All the founders served in the IDF cyber security unit, and have a decade of experience in the field.

The Plotnik brothers previously founded Foreity which was acquired by Aman Group in 2012.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Xiaomi to buy stake in Youku Tudou as part of online video push

Xiaomi Technology Co Ltd will acquire a stake in Chinese video streaming firm Youku Tudou Inc, cementing ties between China's leading smartphone maker and one of the most popular content providers in the video-hungry country.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, the companies said the transaction would take place on the open market but did not specify how large the smartphone maker's stake would be or how much would be invested.
Word of the stake acquisition, coming a week after Xiaomi pledged to invest a total of $1 billion (628.22 million pound) to expand its Internet TV content, adds to the frenzy in China's fast-growing online video market. E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd already owns nearly a quarter of Youku Tudou.
Online video sites include those run by Sohu.Com Inc, Baidu Inc's iQiyi and Tencent Holdings Ltd have been jockeying for position in a market estimated to be worth $3 billion in 2014.
Youku Tudou and Xiaomi will jointly invest in the production and distribution of online video content and films, while Xiaomi will license Youku Tudou's video content, the companies said.
But Xiaomi may be entering a regulatory quagmire. China's authorities have in recent months moved to cut unapproved and "harmful" online TV content, which had been freely proliferating.
The world's third-largest smartphone maker has been ramping up its push into the living room by offering a set-top box as well as a Mi TV television set.

The investment in Youku Tudou shows how Xiaomi's strategic direction may put it increasingly at odds with Alibaba, the $285 billion behemoth that also offers set-top online video boxes.
As of May, Alibaba Group owned a 23.4 percent stake in Youku Tudou, now worth slightly more than $1 billion, part of the e-commerce titan's own push into selling digital products such as online film and TV.
Alibaba, meanwhile, has long been rumoured to be interested in the mobile handset market, although Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai told reporters this week he didn't think Alibaba had plans to buy a phone maker.
"The question was are we going to go out and buy a (handset) manufacturer to accomplish what we want. I don't think so."
In August 2013 Xiaomi invested in Israel's leading gesture control start-up Pebbles Interfaces.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Israel’s Meekan gets US$870K in seed fund led by Horizons Ventures

Tel Aviv-based scheduling app Meekan has secured $870,000 in seed funding. Horizons Ventures was the lead investor. According to the firm, the capital will be used for product development as well as to add more personnel to its R & D and sales staff.

Meekan, the Israeli-based startup developing the technology that will connect the world’s calendars, has announced a seed funding round of $870k: $750k from Horizons Ventures and $120k from private investors. The funds will go towards developing a portfolio of products based on Meekan’s patent-pending technology, as well as expanding its R&D and sales workforce.

‘We are honored to have Horizons Ventures as our investors and welcome Gilad Novik to our board of directors. Over the past months we’ve worked hard on developing a portfolio of products that will provide the best value for consumers and businesses alike’, said Lior Yavor, Co-Founder & CEO. ‘The scheduling & optimization engines we develop can disrupt several industries and we have much more in store.’

Meekan was founded in 2013 by a father-son duo, Lior & Eyal Yavor, along with veteran product executive Matty Mariansky. As VP Operations and Chief Pilot at El-Al Israeli Airlines, Lior has experienced too many times what happens when a 15-people meeting needs to be rescheduled, so he brought this up at the Friday dinner table, which sparked Eyal’s problem-solving mind.

Meekan’s scheduling & optimization engines are the core of the technology, alongside the Flexible Time Algorithm. 3 months ago the company released a beta version of its iOS app for iPhone and iPad devices, which aims at simplifying scheduling of business meetings. Meekan for iPhone/iPad can pinpoint the best times for a meeting, taking into account free/busy availability, time zones and working hours, of all attendees – regardless of their calendar vendor (Gmail, Google Apps, Exchange/Office365 and iCloud).

Gilad Novik, CTO at Horizons Ventures: ‘”Scheduling meetings is a daily task, and it is also often a time consuming one, especially when different time zones and many parties are involved. Bolstered by the Flexible Time Algorithm, Meekan takes the hassle out of this task, and provides a simple solution to an avoidable inconvenience, allowing us to work more efficiently – it is much more than a productivity or calendar app. We are thrilled Meekan is joining the family at Horizons Labs.”

The company is continuing to develop its portfolio of products, which includes the iPhone/iPad app and an API for 3rd party developers and online booking services. An Android app and an Outlook plugin are coming soon, along with an enterprise product for businesses running on Microsoft Exchange.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Chinese tech giant Founder to open Israel subsidiary

Founder Technologies, a subsidiary of the Founder Group, one of China’s biggest companies, is set to open a subsidiary in Israel, according to documents released by the company. In 2012, Founder it took in $9.9 billion and had a net worth of $5.2 billion, operating in 80 countries.

Now it’s adding Israel, the company said in documents filed with local regulatory authorities, establishing a company in Tel Aviv to be called FounderTech (Israel) Limited. The Israeli company will belong to Founder subsidiary Shanghai Founder Technology (HK) Limited, and will concentrate on providing smart cities solutions. Participating in projects to be developed in Israel will be two other Founder organizations, Founder International Software Co. and Founder Broadband Network Service Co.

Staff will be hired locally, and the Israel operation will seek to reach out and work with Israeli start-ups and tech firms to develop its solutions, the Founder documents said, with solutions to be marketed in Israel and abroad.

Founder, established by Peking University in 1986, is perhaps China’s biggest tech conglomerate, supplying software, hardware and services to companies in five major industry groups via its divisions: PKU Founder IT Group (IT), PKU Healthcare Group (health care and pharmaceuticals), PKU Resource Group (real estate), Founder Financial (finance), and Founder Commodities (commodities trading).

It’s the latest in a series of deals between Israel and China in recent weeks. Last week, Chinese pharmaceutical giant WuXi PharmaTech — one of the world’s largest medical research companies — announced that it would open an office in Israel to “promote WuXi’s broad platform of integrated R&D services to local customers.” It will also be on the lookout for promising investments in the biotech and medical devices spheres, in cooperation with its new partner Pontifax, a venture capital firm that specializes in medical industry investments. Before that, another Chinese life sciences firm, Fosun Pharmaceuticals, announced that it was investing Israel’s Check-Cap, developer of a new technology to allow for non-invasive colon cancer screening. Fosun led the round that brought an additional $12 million in financing to Check-Cap.

That announcement coincided with one by Israel’s Carmel Ventures, which established a new investment fund valued at $194 million, with the assistance of Chinese giants like web services provider Baidu, insurer Ping-An, and software company Qihoo360, among others.

The Founder announcement came as Chief Scientist Avi Hasson was leading the biggest “roadshow” of Israeli life science companies ever to visit China. The roadshow, which runs through mid-November, will feature 13 Israeli companies in life science industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, medical communication and software, bio-informatics and others visiting seven cities throughout China, where they will hold more than 700 meetings with potential investors and partners.

The roadshow, Hasson’s office said, “is another of the multi-tiered efforts the Office of the Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy is making to increase accessibility to the Chinese market by Israeli companies. In recent years, we have been making significant efforts to increase cooperation with China in light of the huge, as-yet untapped potential of this market. Experience shows that the roadshow’s activity yields real fruit for companies, by cementing deals and long term cooperation.”

Thursday, November 6, 2014

China's Xiaomi to invest $1 bln to expand internet TV content

China's Xiaomi Technology Co Ltd said it would spend $1 billion to expand its internet TV content as the world's third largest smartphone maker ramps up its push into the living room, and a market estimated to be worth $3 billion.

Xiaomi's burgeoning TV unit includes its Xiaomi TV as well as a set-top box, which both use its SOFTWARE and content. The company is best known for its budget smartphones and tablets that have won it legions of fans worldwide.

In a post on its official Weibo microblog, Xiaomi said it had hired Chen Tong, a former executive at Chinese internet firm SINA Corp, to overhaul the TV business and make it more "diverse and exciting". "We want to repeat the success of Xiaomi's hardware integration model in the television industry," Chen said at a press conference, according to Xiaomi's microblog.

The company did not to provide further details.

Xiaomi's expansion of its internet TV business pits it against local internet companies including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Tencent Holdings Ltd and BAIDU Inc, all of which have recently increased their investment into internet TV, a market Chinese consultancy iResearch says is estimated to be worth $3 billion in 2014. Xiaomi said it could invest further in internet TV in the future.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Xiaomi Becames World's Third Biggest Smartphone Company

China's Xiaomi Inc has become the world's third-largest smartphone vendor just three years after first hitting the market, trailing only Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc, according to a new industry study.

Xiaomi is exploring the option of raising funding that could value the company at more than $40 billion.

Multiple sources confirmed that Xiaomi is considering raising more money and possibly quadrupling its previous valuation of $10 billion, which it attained after an undisclosed amount of funding in August of last year. Prior to that Xiaomi had raised $216 million in June 2014 at $4 billion.

Strategy Analytics said Xiaomi accounted for 6 percent of all 320 million smartphones shipped during July-September. Samsung made up 25 percent, down from 35 percent a year earlier due to rising competition from several directions.

Apple's share also fell slightly to 12 percent.

"Xiaomi was the star performer," Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston said in a statement.

"Samsung continues to face tough competition from Apple at the higher-end of the smartphone market, from Xiaomi and Huawei in the middle-tiers, and from Lenovo and others at the entry-level."

Xiaomi has been the top seller in its home market of China and recently entered India, where it sells phones exclusively through e-commerce site Flipkart.

Vice President Hugo Barra told Reuters in Bangalore last month that the company aimed to sell 100,000 phones a week in India in October when the country celebrates Diwali.

Xiaoning invested last year an undisclosed amount in Israeli gesture control start-up Pebbels Interfaces. 

Xiaomi reported sales in the first half of 2014 to be about $5.31 billion–up about 150% from last year—and those inside the company expect revenue to be more than $11 billion for the whole year. At a potential valuation of $40 billion, Xiaomi, which does not discuss profits but is reported to be profitable, would be trading at a little under four times projected 2014 revenues. Apple has a current price-to-sales ratio of 3.7.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

China's GoCapital to Invest $12m in Israeli Medical Device Company CNoga

Israel’s CNoga Medical, which develops non-invasive, touch free medical technology, has raised $12.5 million in financing from the Chinese investment fund GoCapital. The investment is the second investment made by GoCapital in Israeli start-up.

The new investment will be used to continue the development of its products.

Former CEO and founder of OPlus Technology, Dr. Yosef Segman, established CNoga Medical in 2004. The company works with international prominent technology companies such as Texas Instruments and PNY Inc., which dominates the US flash memory market.

CNoga Medical is focused on research and development into enhancing and developing its range of non-invasive technologies. The company’s main product is used to check the glucose levels in people who suffer from diabetes.

Its TensorTip Combo Glucometer (CoG) is a non – invasive, needle-free, portable device. CNoga’s patented algorithms and technology transform the current blood glucose test into a painless and easy procedure. CNoga also has a device for monitoring blood pressure. The TensorTip Vital Signs Monitor (VSM) takes advantage of CNoga Medical’s non-invasive technology to offer continuous readings of blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) and pulse rate (PPM) as well as blood pressure (diastolic and systolic), without needles or cuffs.

A detailed panel reveals the capillary pulse waveform and blood pressure variation. Results, past and present, are at your fingertips, stored as easy-to-read history entries in your VSM.

The company previously raised $8 million from private investors in Israel and abroad.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Israeli Company Credorax Raises $40 Million

Managing the arcane arts of processing transactions for online purchases is a complicated job. Once a shopper enters the numbers on their card, the expiration date on their credit card, and their zip code, a complicated machinery of transaction processors springs into action representing both buyer, seller, and processing network in a matter of seconds. Until now, most of the infrastructure to support those sales existed in silos, but Credorax, a small startup based outside of Boston in Southborough, Mass. is looking to change that.

The company has spent the past six years laying the groundwork to build an integrated, international architecture for online retailers to receive payments, no matter their location. The idea, according to company chief executive Benny Nachman is to give online retailers one service provider for any geography around the world.

And Credorax has raised nearly $130 million to support that vision. The last round, a $40 million investment including the new backer Columbus Nova Technology Partners and previous investor Blumberg Capital, followed a previous $40 million round raised last August from FTV Capital.

Companies like Credorax need so much capital, because they’re trying to compete in massive industries where a number of existing players have already plying their wares. Whenever a credit card purchase is made, there’s an agreement between two financial institutions that sit between a buyer and a seller. The issuing institution that gives the card to the buyer and vouches for them, and the acquiring institution that handles the transaction for the seller. Initially, when credit card networks get rolled out, these acquiring institutions, which basically function as banks, dealt with one country. But with the explosion of online retail, a shopper could be based in the U.S. and making purchases in the UK, or Spain, or China or India. For sellers, managing the process could be a hassle.

Since the company’s launch in 2008, Credorax has been working with national governments to comply with all relevant financial regulations, so that retailers can use the company as its acquiring bank no matter where in the world they are.

So far, Credorax is in 28 countries including Japan, where the company received its license just this quarter. The next step for Credorax will be to receive its US license, which should be happening before the end of the year, according to Nachman.

“The exchange of money, ideas, and services is becoming increasingly international, so countries and geographies become less important,” Nachman says. “I’m a pure play acquirer that deals with e-commerce and mobile commerce.”

By contrast, giant competitors like First Data have eight or nine platforms aimed for physical points of sale, and a hodge-podge of legacy systems in different countries around the world. Traditional brick and mortar vendors, or stores that only sell items in one country are not Credorax’s target, according to Nachman.
Credorax has 200 employees and offices in Malta, London, Tokyo, Tel Aviv in addition to its offices in Southborough.

“The e-commerce market is $1.2 trillion and 30% of this is cross-border,” says Nachman.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Baidu, Qihoo 360 and Ping An invest in Israeli VC fund Carmel

Carmel Ventures, a leading Israeli venture capital firm and a member of the Viola Group, today announced the final closing of its latest investment fund, Carmel Ventures IV (“Fund IV”), with total commitments of $194 million.

Fund IV, like its predecessor funds, will be invested in early-stage transformative technology companies in high growth sectors that include enterprise software, data center infrastructure, big data, cyber security, FinTech, digital media and consumer applications. Carmel began investing out of the new fund in January 2014 and has made investments in PlayBuzz, LuckyFish and three other promising early stage technology companies.

Fund IV was raised with equity commitments from global institutional investors that include a significant number of return investors as well as selected new investors. In addition, several leading Asian strategic investors have joined the new fund including Baidu, Ping-An, and Qihoo360 amongst others.

“We are delighted to be making our first investment in an Israeli Venture fund with Carmel Ventures,” said Daniel Tu, Group Chief Innovation Officer at Ping An Group of China. “Carmel offers us reliable access to Israeli innovation and we look forward to partnering with them.”

Today, Carmel Ventures manages over $800 million of investor capital and is invested in 35 active companies.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Forbes: Israeli App Clean One Of Six Companies That Are ReimaginingExisting Tech Trends

Published on

As a close observer of entrepreneurship and the tech industry overall, I am well aware that this business is not immune to fads and trends just like other markets. Whether it’s the multitude of social networks that led to the dominance of Facebook, or the tsunami of simple games that were released following the explosion of Candy Crush, the tech industry is not immune to borrowing good ideas.

In fact, if the vast war of legal battles between tech giants like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Microsoft is any indication, tech companies small and large are clearly influenced by each other and are constantly on the look out for inspiration in their competitors.
Sometimes that can seem like copying, but other times it leads to genuine innovation as entrepreneurs take existing concepts and either remix them to create something new, or go against the trend in such a way to create a whole new experience.
I love these companies that stand out for either reimagining a trend or discarding it entirely. So here is a list of six companies that are taking tech trends along a different path.
LIFE IN HI-FI – Bringing Hashtags Into The Spotlight
The hashtag has quickly become a standard part of tech vocabulary. Like the @ symbol, it started out years ago with a much simpler purpose – usually serving as a convenient button for telephone menus. Now, thanks to the inventiveness of Twitter users, the hashtag is a useful catch-all symbol that lets social web users quickly identify and categorize their content. Of course, on most networks, the hashtag is a secondary device used only to quickly tag something with a specific identity.
HI-FI 2.0, a newly launched app, is taking a very different approach, bringing the hashtag to the center of the action and building an entire platform around interest-based channels. Whether it’s photos, GIFs, or videos, everything starts with a hashtag, giving all of the content on the platform an easy to identify category. It changes the nature of browsing from content and focuses it around the things people love most.
Clean – Applying Tinder’s Quick Decision Swiping UI To The Mess Of Photos On Your Phone
While Tinder has grabbed considerable attention for its remarkably simple UI that lets users swipe through potential dates based on their photo alone, not everyone is in love with the idea of judging someone based purely on a photo. However, there is no doubt that the UI makes the app incredibly simple to use, and takes away much of hesitation users have about making decisions.
Clean, a newly released free app, is taking the same idea and applying it to the process of cleaning up your iPhones photo gallery. When you open the app, your photos are presented one by one and you just need to swipe up or down to keep or delete the photos respectively. With so many people’s phones cluttered with unwanted photos, it’s nice to see an app that applies the idea of quick decision making to a ‘cleaner’ idea than dating.
Chatpetz – Interactive Toys, Without The Complex Connectivity
Going through old stories on Kickstarter and Indiegogo reveals a number of campaigns for interactive and connected toys. Most of these devices rely on web, wifi, or Bluetooth connections to work with smartphones or other devices. They provide great experiences, but can be too complicated for kids to use.
That’s why I found the approach of a new interactive toy campaign so interesting. ChatPetz are furry interactive toys that can interact with each other, but also with devices like smartphones and with almost any media such as video or TV. They use an established technology to identify sound from almost any device with a speaker, and leave it the brain in the toy to do the hard work. The company has also just launched an Indiegogo campaign to build a content creation platform so that almost anyone could be interactive programs for the toys.
Pixit – Taking The Web’s Sideshow To Center Stage
Animated GIFs are one of the oldest technologies on the web. With the rise of Flash and now HTML5 video, it seemed as though these little video clips had reached the limit of their usefulness. But thanks to the sea of “BuzzFeedy-like” posts featuring list upon list of GIFs, they are taking on a whole new life.
With Pixit, GIFs are being elevated even further, serving as the centerpiece of the app. Pixit is essentially a light chat client that lets users quickly and easily add animated GIFs to the conversation. Just typing a word brings up a list of recommendations, and it’s as easy as typing to add a GIF to the conversation. You have been warned, the app is addicting.
Credit: Aurimas Adomavicius; Flickr
MAPS.ME – This Map-App’s Silver Lining Is The Fact That It Doesn’t Need The Cloud
Today, it seems like everything is moving to the cloud. Map apps such as Google Maps, Waze, or Apple’s own offering, were amongst the first services to rely on data stored in the cloud, pulling down detailed maps and presenting them in a neat package on your phone. Of course, none of these apps provide a solution for those moments when you don’t have an Internet connection.
MAPS.ME is taking a very different approach. The app lets you download detailed maps with all of the key point of interest info to your phone. It’s stored locally, letting you see your location and find points of interest without any need to connect to the cloud. This is great when you don’t have a data connection, such as when you’re traveling abroad or on a remote hiking trail. Additionally, with the incredible power of modern smartphones, locally stored maps can often load significantly faster than those on the cloud.
Medivizor – Forget Tracking, When It Comes To Health Information Is Key
Fitbit. Fuelband. Apple Health Kit. Theses are just the latest names in the long list of devices and services intended to help users track their health and fitness and collect data that may one day help doctors make decisions about our health. But today, they provide only low resolution info that is more of thumbnail than a complete picture. However, there is still a serious need for patients to access in-depth information about the conditions that doctors have already diagnosed.
That’s where Medivizor, an online health service, is stepping in. Medivizor helps users understand and access medical information about serious or chronic diseases while providing the necessary context about where it came from. The unique platform combines patent-pending personalization technology with easy-to-understand synopses of complex medical material, and mixes in the wisdom of the crowd. It helps users find all the most important information that is specifically relevant and personalized for their medical situation.
It always seems like the safe bet to follow the trends as most people assume that will lead them to success. However, if these companies are any example, it might be that trends are just another sign on the path to real innovation, the only question is which direction to take. What about you, do you know companies that are spinning tech trends in new directions? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Chinese Smartphone Brands Take 64% of Domestic Market by Q2 2014

Android’s near-monopoly in China continues with daily active users of the system advanced by 16% quarter-on-quarter in 2014 Q1 and 10% quarter-on-quarter growth in Q2, according to the Baidu Mobile Distribution Report. The slowdown in the growth rate may however mean that the demographic dividend which triggered Android’s great expansion in recent years is tailing off.

With the rise of domestic smartphone manufacturers, 64% of Chinese smartphone users chose domestic brands as of Q2 2014, up from 58% in Q4 2013. Amongst the benefactors of this growth like Huawei and Lenovo, the two up-and-coming mobile makers Xiaomi and OPPO are the major driving forces for this surge, with their market shares climbing 3% and 2% during the six-month period respectively, according to the report.

Chinese users are keen to use the latest versions of Android, with v.4.2 or above becoming the mainstream systems for Android users in China, the report noted. 50% of Android-powered smartphones feature screens with 720p resolution or above.

Driven by the popularity of smartphones and improvement of network coverage, China’s mobile app users surged 27% in H1 this year, with each user estimated to download or update 2.9 apps per day. Some 94% of app downloads are completed in a Wi-Fi environment.

In terms of user demographics, white collar and other urban working groups still constitute the majority of users, but the percentage of student and rural users are increasing. Video and music are the favorite app category for both groups. Search, social networking, news and shopping apps witnessed the most robust growth in H1 2014.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Alibaba Unveils Mobile Open Strategy Baichuan Program to Boost Innovation

Chinese Internet giant Alibaba rolled out Baichuan Program today to boost startup innovations. Under the program, Alibaba will offer various infrastructure supports to mobile developers with a view to construct a mobile ecosystem that connects cloud and mobile services.

In terms of technical supports, Alibaba will provide cloud, data storage and security services, helping projects to lower development and maintenance costs. Business operation, investment and working space resources will also be given to startups. In addition, the e-commerce company will open its data to app developers, helping them to understand the users so as to build custom services.

It is worth nothing that companies under the program will be able to capitalize on Alibaba’s e-commerce capabilities and being integrated to Alibaba’s trading and payment systems.

According to Alibaba spokesman, Meilimei, a beauty app under the program, has activated more than 7 million users by leveraging the resources offered by Alibaba. Maternal social shopping app Mamazhidemai witnessed a 50% leap in user retention rate after using its user base profile data.

With Baichuan Program, there’s no need to hire a CTO, said Wang Xiruo, VP of Alibaba Group, a good project manager and a good idea are sufficient to build an excellent app. Wang added that Baichuan’s supports will accelerate the development cycle and lower cost for developers.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tencent Leads US$100M Investment in Chinese Medical Service, an online medical service provider, announced today over US$100 million funding which is led by Tencent.

Weiyi, a pair of mobile apps for connecting patients and doctors, will be integrated into Tencent’s mobile messaging apps, WeChat and Mobile QQ, according to the announcement. Guahao means patient appointment scheduling in Chinese. That’s where the company started off in 2010. has introduced more than 900 hospitals in 23 Chinese provincial level regions. Users are able to find all the hospitals and doctors on the site, schedule appointments, read medical tips provided by doctors, or rate hospitals/doctors.

The site has more than 37 million verified users and 120,000 registered doctors, according to the company.

Weiyi is a newly established service that will expand existing offerings to mobile payments, medical record keeping, and more features for interactions between doctors and users. Weiyi will be officially launched later this week.

Medical and healthcare has become another vertical industry, apart from transportation, mobile commerce/payments, and the like, where Chinese Internet giants have begun fighting. Alibaba Group announced a Future Hospital plan earlier this year that would add features similar to what Guahao has and will offer onto Alipay Wallet, the flagship mobile app of the Chinese e-commerce giant.

Before Guahao, Tencent has invested US$70 million in Dingxiangyuan (DXY), a Chinese online medical service which is focused on medical & health information and hospital & doctor data.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Alibaba invests $50 million in TV remote app maker Peel

(Reuters) - Peel, the maker of an app that acts as a "smart remote" for TVs, said it secured an additional $50 million in funding from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd

The Peel Smart Remote app, launched in 2012, turns Android and iOS smartphones and tablets into remote controls that work on TVs, PCs, air-conditioners and other smart appliances.

The California-based startup says it has more than 90 million users in 200 countries.

Alibaba, whose recent initial public offering in the United States was the biggest in history, invested an initial $5 million in Peel in 2013.

Peel charges TV networks to promote their shows on the app, which displays TV show listings and times.

Peel Chief Executive Thiru Arunachalam told technology blog Re/code that the company would generate about $8 million in revenue this year and forecast revenue of $20 million for 2015.

He added that the company was facing no pressure from Alibaba to integrate any e-commerce elements into its app.

Peel has raised nearly $95 million in venture capital to date from investors including Redpoint Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Harrison Metal and Translink Capital.