Zhiketong, a Chinese start-up that utilizes social media app WeChat to provide direct-sale marketing solutions, announced on Tuesday that it has raised RMB110 million (US$15.98 million) in a series B round of financing led by the country’s venture capital firm Shunwei Capital.
Returning investors including Lightspeed China Partners, Boston-born IDG Capital, and Gobi Partners also participated in this round, said Zhiketong in a statement released on its WeChat official account.
Zhiketong, which means "a direct connection to customers" in Chinese, was founded in December 2014 and formally known as Beijing Zhiketong Technology Co Ltd. The company mainly provides direct-sale marketing solutions for hospitality, leisure and entertainment enterprises, helping them set up online sales channels on their WeChat official accounts that can boost the online to offline conversion.
The firm has launched over 40 branch offices across 294 cities in China, serving over 60% five-star hotels in the country, including those operated by InterContinental Hotels Group, Hilton Worldwide, and The Ritz-Carlton, according to the company statement. The firm said that each client has an average of over RMB10 million (US$1.45 million) in annual transactions on WeChat, with an up to 20% market penetration rate.
"Zhiketong is empowering high-quality local life service providers by building a social network-based direct-sale system on WeChat," said Cheng Tian, partner of Shunwei Capital. "We are optimistic about the great business opportunity brought by the WeChat ecology."
Proceeds of this round will mainly be used for the improvement and innovation of its technical system.
Zhiketong raised nearly RMB 100 million (US$14.52 million) in a series A+ round from IDG Capital and Lightspeed China Partners in January 2018. The company also closed a series A round from Gobi Partners in 2015, according to Chinese business data provider Tianyancha.