Dear //firstname//,

Chinese hospitals, which were recently overflowing with COVID-19 patients, now have many empty beds. It's the result of an extraordinary, concerted effort by China's private and public sector to tackle a crisis which could have been much, much worse.

Searches on China's main search engine, Baidu, for "复工" (basically "going back to work") have grown by 678% in the last few days.

Number of Baidu searches related to "复工" in the last week

Of course, this comes at a time when things are getting much worse elsewhere. In China, the slow resumption of business activity also does not mean that the negative reverberations are over.

Foxconn, which is critical to Apple's iPhone supply chain, announced this week its first quarter consumer electronics revenue may decline by 15% as a result of the epidemic.

Airbnb may postpone its IPO to 2021, after a 80% decrease in China-related business. OYO, the Indian budget hotel chain which Airbnb invested in, has started a worldwide layoff plan, including a 60% cut in staff in China.

OYO hotel in China

Throughout these very tough times, some companies keep investing and trying to take advantage. Chinese car manufacturer, Geely, which owns Volvo, is certainly one of them.

When auto industry icon, Elon Musk, launched Starlink satellites to provide high speed internet access globally, we all noticed:

Photo of Starlink satellites after their launch in 2019

Geely however made little fanfare about its internet access initiatives; their low-orbit satellites, which are designed to support high-speed data transmission, precise navigation, and cloud computing.

If and when the world fills up with autonomous cars, then Geely's move could be the backbone to how these cars operate. It could be a game changer.

Geely concept car driving under the guidance of its satellites network

This isn't so far off. Last year, I saw the successful trial in Seoul of autonomous cars driving on a 5G network.

Hanyang University's ACE Lab's autonomous car running on LG Uplus's 5G network

There's a lot of interesting innovation developments this week. Before you read more, let me put a thought to you that came to me as I was looking through the below.

Thought: The combination of artificial intelligence and cloud computing changes urban life as we know it.

How? Through dynamic two-way sharing of data between infrastructure, automobiles and emergency services, a city becomes a living organism. The city communicates through signal the same way the body does, sending messages backwards and forward.

If that wasn't thought-provoking enough, let me finish by sharing a magnificent essay in Nature, on life: What is Life?. Nature 123, 73-75 (1929).

It was written in 1929 and I've found it hugely helpful in thinking about viruses like the COVID-19, which came 90 years later.

As ever, stay safe.

Selected Fundraising Activities

Raised an estimated 357Mn RMB for its A round.

Raised 100Mn RMB for its B round from Hong Shan China Capital.

Raised 1Bn USD in a strategic investment round.

Raised an estimated 1Bn RMB in a Strategic investment round.

Raised 2Bn USD for its D+ round, led by SoftBank Vision Fund.

Raised an estimated 18Mn RMB for its Angel round.

Raised an estimated 11Mn RMB for its Angel round.

Raised an estimated 11Mn RMB for its Angel round.

Selected IPO & M&A Events

Raised 186Mn RMB for its Secondary Offering round.

Raised 235Mn USD from convertible bond.

Raised 570Mn RMB for its IPO.

Significant Developments

Active role of companies in response to the Coronavirus outbreak

- Genomics, a genetic diagnosis & solution provider, has partnered with Lenovo and Intel to facilitate the genetic analysis of Coronavirus

- Xiaohengshuijiao, leading dumpling brand, is deploying its unmanned food delivery cars for food order delivery in industrial parks, schools and hospitals

- China Telecom has supported the first successful trial using 5G to conduct CT scanning and diagnosis between provinces (Sichuan and Hubei)

- Ant Financial, the digital payment provider affiliated to Alibaba and the highest valued fintech start-up globally, has helped Zhejiang province launch a blockchain platform for donations to improve transparency around donations

- Easpeedtech, a precision optical technology, has deployed its core DCT-plate technology to enable elevator control avoiding physical contact

- Sensetime, AI company, has launched an enterprise solution which integrates facial recognition-based control to buildings, elevators, printers and payment solutions

Business Development & Strategic Partnerships

- Nintendo has turned to electronics manufacturer, Foxconn, for production of its videogame console, Switch. Production is estimated to require 30k+ workers

- Telecom equipment manufactuer, Huawei, has started trialing "Huawei Search" to replace Google Search in its mobiles

- JD.com, e-commerce platform, has recently indicated its GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) hit a historic high of 2 trillion RMB, with active yearly users of 362 million

- Secoo, a luxury goods e-commerce platform, has signed a partnership with Sevenfriday (Swiss lifestyle brand), to launch its flagship store on the platform

- 3Songshu, a food brand only available online, has announced plans to recruit 1k workers within 40 days to support its business operation and development

- Alitrip, the online tourism services platform, has launched livestream platform for companies linked to staying at home to help boost homestay sector sales

- You Zan, mobile merchant service solutions provider, has announced a cash prize of 10 million RMB to reward any employee or team of employees, which innovates its consumer experience, client data security and consumer rights protection

- Toyota, Japan's largest automobile company, has partnered with FAW (Chinese automobile group) to build a USD1.22Bn electric vehicle factory in Tianjin China with an estimated annual production capacity of 200k vehicles

- Xiaojuchefu, an automobile services platform under Didi group, has partnered with Jinggu Group (wheel manufacturing company) to develop after sales services deploying 5G and vehicle mounted networks

- 4K garden, a video content production and distribution platform, has partnered with Migu video (video content production & streaming platform) to develop 5G-based high-definition sports broadcasting

- Idriverplus, autonomous driving technology & solutions provider, has signed a 3-year contract to purchase Puck Lidar sensors from Velodyne (American auto-driving Lidar tech)

- iFlytek, a voice recognition technology, has declared a 1.19% equity interest in Cambricon (AI chip unicorn which plans to IPO in 2020)

- Oppo, smartphone manufacturer, has joined the Avanci IP authorization platform, enabling Oppo to roll out its 3G/4G standard IP to global IoT and IoV companies

- Risecenter, focussed on English language education, has launched an online course to accelerate implementation of its digital strategy

- Jing Xi, social e-commerce platform under JD.com, has begun efforts to encourage hundreds of livestreamers to stream about product traceability

- JD.com has initiated an "Online Catering & Retailing Service Alliance Plan" which will enable 151 catering business to sell on JD's fresh food platform

- North Summit Capital has acquired 5% equity in Topscore (leading consumer retail service provider of fashion women's shoes) for 186 million RMB, to support Topscore's digitalization development

- Hozonauto, smart EV company, has formed a battery solutions partnership with Catlbattery (energy battery storage solutions provider)

- LEGO plans to increase its physical shops in China by 60% in 2020 in spite of the coronavirus outbreak

- Shein, cross-border social e-commerce platform targeting female consumers, plans to IPO in USA in 2020

Establishment of New Companies and New Products

- Xiaomi, smartphone company, has set up a big data company with a registered capital of 66 million RMB, registered for big data, AI data platform and blockchain technology development

- Geely, automobile company, has announced it is building a satellite production facility and testing center in Taizhou (Zhejiang Province), with an estimated investment amount of $326 million and an annual production capacity of 500 satellites

- Greenland group, real estate group, has set up another education technology company with a registered capital of 10 million RMB, to sit alongside Greenland Education Group

- Nokia has launched its new smartphone C2 which is embedded with Unisoc (integrated circuit company) CPU technology

- Evergrande group, real estate group, which has a JV (established in 2019) with Koenigsegg Automotive AB (Swedish supercar manufacturer) has launched in Genèva a premium new energy supercar - Gemera

- Foxconn, electronics manufacturer, has expanded into the EV sector and plans to launch EV products in 2021

- Thundersoft, operating system technology company, has launched an innovation center for vehicle-mounted software innovation with GAC (Guangzhou Automobile Corporation)

- TikTok, short video sharing platform under Bytedance, has started an internal trial for audio livestreaming

- JD has combined its cloud, AI and IOT business units into one brand as "JD Smart Connected Cloud"

- Toutiao, the news content platform owned by Bytedance, has added lifestyle services (including online fitness, online course, food delivery and medicine delivery ) to its super app. This connects it to Meicai (online fresh food retailer), Dingdang Pharmacy (online medicine distributor) and Meituan Delivery (food delivery platform)

International activities of Chinese innovative companies

- Hope Education Group, private vocational education group, has acquired one university and 5 educational institutes in Malaysia, at a total price of 140 million USD

- Genomics, genetic diagnosis & analysis solutions & services, received approval to sell its coronavirus nucleic acids test kit in the European Union

- 4paradigm, AI machine learning technology & solution provider, has become the first Chinese AI company to be certified by EU GDPR

- Chery, automobile manufacturer, has dominated China passenger vehicle export for the past 17 consecutive years and announced an export YoY growth rate of 39.9% in February

- Pony.ai, autonomous driving technology company, has partnered with Fremont government in California to launch PonyPilot ride-hailing services for government staff

- Ant Financial has made a small investment in Klarna (a Swedish fintech company) to collaborate on online shopping

- Huawei has partnered with Sberbank (Russia's largest state-owned bank) on cloud services for Russian enterprises

- Lenovo Japan has partnered with Japanese telco NTT to launch personal computers customized for students in primary and middle schools

- China UnionPay, payment solutions provider, has become the first foreign mobile payment solutions provider to be integrated into Japan's unified payment QR code system JPQR

- OPPO, smartphone brand, has launched an online financial platform OPPO Kash in India

Unicorns Outlook

- Lianlian, third-party payment service provider, has acquired "Netease Microcredit" from Netease group

- Wtoip, intellectual property trading service platform, has increased its registered capital to 300 million RMB, to develop its digitalization and internationalization

- Inspur, leading cloud computing and big data service provider, has partnered with Shandong First Medical University to build a healthcare and medical big data platform

Senior Management Shifts

- Jiaxing Xing, founder of La Chapelle Fashion (fashion clothing group), has become CEO of La Chapelle Fashion again to lead company restructuring and address recent loss-making

- Yongji Liu, former CFO of Square Panda (American AI education company), has joined Tarena (IT vocational education institution) as CFO

- Hong Gao, former senior director of sales planning of Volkswagen Group (China), has joined Polestar (EV brand of Geely and Volvo) as CEO for China

- Xuangde Huang, CFO of JD.com, will retire from his position as CFO and Ran Xu (current CEO of JD Retailing and VP of JD.com) will take over

- Shou Yan, former head of strategic investment of Bytedance group, is to lead the gaming department

- Jia Ma, CEO of Booking.com China Region and VP of Booking.com Global, has stepped down as China CEO, indicating Booking.com's China business will soon cease to exist as an independent business unit and integrate into the Asian division

- Baofang Li, chairman of Moutai Group (Chinese liquor group), may step down from his position and be replaced by Weidong Gao (Guizhou Provincial Party Committee Member)

- Xi Chen will become general manager role in Chery EXCEED Auto in place of Yaquan Jia (former VP in Dongfeng-Renault group) who will remain as Chery Group VP and marketing general manager

Investment & Investor-related developments

- Konka, consumer electronics company, plans to establish an emerging industry development fund of 1 billion RMB focussed on semiconductors and online consumption

- The National Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund has invested 240 million RMB to set up Guangzhou Xingke Semiconductor company

- Sequoia China announced it has completed investments in 25 companies in February in the fields of TMT, consumer services, medical healthcare and industry technology

- Guangzhou government has invested 5 billion RMB into the National Integrated Circuit Industry Fund

- Tsinghua University has set up "Spring Breeze Fund" with 150 million RMB to invest in R&D for coronavirus containment medical solutions

Technology Advancement and R&D

Newly proven technologies

- China National Nuclear Corporation has completed a thermal performance test for its Fuqing nuclear power plant, the first reactor of China's proprietary 3rd generation nuclear power

- Yuducomm, broadband network devices & chips R&D, has completed trials for China's first RF chip for a 5G micro base station

- ZTE, telecom infrastructure provider, has completed tests for commercial telecommunication devices for the 5G network led by China Telecom

- Foxconn has begun a quantum computer R&D project

Important milestones

- Alibaba Damo Academy, Innovative Technology R&D center under Alibaba group, won first prize in a global NLP competition, GLUE Benchmark, beating teams from Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Stanford university

- Skspace, satellite R&D company under Geely group, has successfully completed the test for its first two proprietary low-orbit satellites. It is expected the satellites will be to launched in 2020

- Alibaba Damo Academy, the innovation R&D institute under Alibaba group, has invested 20 billion RMB in the construction of a center which will focus on the R&D of big data, AI algorithm, chips computing capacity, unmanned driving and quantum computation

National Innovation Focus and Plan

Coronavirus related

- Beijing has launched "Beijing Jiankangbao" allowing Beijing citizens to enter their identity card number and use facial identification then generate a preliminary assessment report on their health status

- Beijing has announced a 100 million RMB subsidy to help rent payment for offline bookstores

- Shanghai has resumed outpatient departments for all public and private hospitals, and launched online medical consultation and online issuance of prescriptions

- China's Industry and Commerce Federation has submitted suggestions to the Ministry of Commerce to delay the implementation of national VI vehicle emission standards, which demand diesel particulate filters on all new diesel heavy-duty vehicles introduced to the market after July, 2020

- Xuzhou, a city in Jiangsu province, has launched N95 masks vending machined, which requires identity card scanning and are equipped with cloud services and big data collection to measure and report the consumers' body temperature in the purchase process

National & regional plan

- China has issued guidance on the development of the intelligent coal industry, to promote the development of robotic R&D

- Education Ministry is promoting an AI talent system in response to the approval for 180+ colleges to offer AI as a major

- Ministry of Natural Resources has launched a WeChat mini-program to provide the public with more easy access to marine satellite data

- Politburo Standing Committee held a conference on coronavirus containment and economy stabilization, during which it said it will accelerate the construction of 5G infrastructure

- Beijing has started trials for blockchain-based electronic invoice

Coronavirus Impact on Business

- Youxin, e-commerce platform for used cars, has ceased operation since 1st of March

- Da Sou Che, automobile retailing & services platform, has laid off 13 - 14% of its employees

- King of Party, leading KTV brand in Beijing, has announced entering liquidation

- China civilian airlines sector is estimated to have suffered a 100 billion RMB loss since the outbreak of the coronavirus

- Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) said that a sentiment survey among Chinese smaller factory operators plunged to 40.3 in February from 51.1 in January

- Suning, supermarket retailer, said fresh food sales in February sales increased by 7 month on month, with a 60% increase in online sales

- Tencent Document, the online document editing platform, announced a historic high in active monthly user of 160 million

- Taobao, e-commerce platform under Alibaba group, experienced a 7 fold increase in February in livestream sales merchants on its platform, and an average weekly growth rate 20% in livestream sales

- Jinshan Document, online editing document tool under Kingsoft group, hit a historic high in monthly active users of 239 million

- Hakim Unique Holding made a provision for impairment losses of 672 million RMB for its investment portfolio company Weidai (a P2P lending platform for automobile mortgage)

- Passenger Vehicle Association announced a YoY 80% decrease in passenger vehicle sales in February

- Foxconn has indicated a 15% decrease in revenue from consumer electronics business unit for the first quarter 2020

- SpringTour, tourism services group, has estimated a loss of 400 million RMB

- Haima Auto, automobile company, sold 134 vehicles in February, meaning a yearly decrease of 92.88%

As ever, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or comments.

Best,

Jordan