Property Developer Greenland Injects Capital Into Start-Ups Eyeing China’s High-Tech Space


Greenland Holdings announced on Friday that it has become the second-largest shareholder of two Chinese technology start-ups through equity investments, representing the latest effort made by the Chinese real estate developer to raise the stakes in the advanced technology space.

Greenland poured RMB200 million (US$29.10 million) into Baicells Technologies, a Beijing-based company that provides LTE/5G wireless broadband access solutions to support fixed wireless and mobile network. At the same time, the company also invested RMB156 million (US$22.68 million) in Chinese artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled visual perception solutions start-up Reconova Technologies.

Baicells Technologies, founded in March 2014, mainly develops products like unmanned aerial vehicle base stations and free spectrum mobile broadband systems. Its products and solutions are powered by technologies including virtualization, mobile edge computing, AI and 5G to serve mobile operators, broadband access operators, cable operators, mobile virtual operators, governments and enterprise private networks.

The five-year-old company has deployed over 550 LTE networks with more than 300 patents around the world. The firm said that about 75% of 350 employees are involved in the research and development, according to the company’s website. LTE, or "long-term evolution," is a 4G mobile communications standard that applies more generally to the idea of improving wireless broadband speeds to meet increasing demand.

Reconova Technologies, incorporated in 2012, offers a wide range of products including "Smart Advertising," which provides real-time analysis of viewership, age/gender distribution, and attention span, and "Danki," a customer flow analytical gadget that can help merchants recognize repeat customers, identify potential customers upon their entry, and forward their information real-time to sales assistants. The company also developed face recognition solutions for household affairs, criminal investigations, and immigration management.

Headquartered in southeastern China’s coastal city of Xiamen, Reconova Technologies currently serves 78 brands and over 200,000 brick-and-mortar stores including those owned by Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com, and smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi.

Greenland is marching into the Chinese advanced technology space, which is formed by rapidly-growing start-ups in fields like big data, cloud computing, AI, internet of things (IoT), and mobile internet.

The company injected RMB300 million (US$43.37 million) in a series C round of Chinese cloud computing and big data firm City Cloud International in June, with an aim to participate in the construction of smart cities in China. In April 2018, Greenland paid RMB300 million (US$43.37 million) for over 13% shares in DeepBlue Technology to become the second-largest shareholder of the Chinese AI firm. It also holds shares in Chinese AI and IoT-enabled home appliances platform operator Tuya Smart.

Greenland will strengthen the business model of "strategic investment plus industrial synergy" to construct its own "unicorn matrix," which will help the company speed up its comprehensive transition to becoming "an urban construction operator," said Greenland chairman and president Zhang Yuliang.

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