Ant Financial Leads $226M In Chinese Smart Vending Machine Solution Provider

Chinese smart vending machine solution provider Ubox has raised RMB1.6 billion (US$226.43 million) in a new round of financing led by Ant Financial, the fintech affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

Ant Financial poured RMB1.2 billion (US$167.90 million) into the investment. Chinese investment firm Primavera Capital Group also participated in this round, said Ubox in a statement on its WeChat official account.

Ubox said that the investment has offered it with not only abundant funding but also close cooperation with Alibaba’s new retail ecosystem. "Ant Financial’s financial investment and technical empowerment will help our smart retail solutions enhance competitiveness and achieve rapid growth," said Ubox.

Ubox, founded in 2011 and fully known as Beijing Ubox Online Technology, operates a vending machine network of more than 100,000 machines across over 300 cities in China. The company offers vending machines for coffee, coconut drinks, as well as UCMBar individual mini KTV booths and 24-hour unmanned sex toy shops.

Ubox’s intelligent vending machines enable operators to dispense new products based on 24-hour network management of inventory. These machines are integrated with social media and streaming video advertisements to connect with customers and create value-added services for machine operators. This changes the operation mode of the traditional vending machine industry and help improve management efficiency.

The company upgraded its offerings to become a platform service provider in 2019, delivering a deep cooperation platform covering smart vending machine procurement, operation, and supply chain distribution.

Ubox was listed in China’s National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ) in February 2016. The company’s previous investors include The Carlyle Group, CICC Capital, Northern Light Venture Capital, Yunfeng Capital, and Haier Capital among others.