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Chinese Startups to Watch in 2022
These are some Chinese startups to watch in 2022 from different industries that are looking to change the landscape.
Chongqing, China. Image courtesy of Jerry Wang via Unsplash.
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9 minute read

China’s overall market changed dramatically in 2021, and many startups collapsed due to the pandemic and other factors such as labor shortages, supply chains and consumer demand. However, in the long run, as the market growth continues and the economy is gradually recovering, some industries are ready to transform.

The global VC and PE market continues to be hot. As the pandemic has greatly accelerated the process of digitalization, a large number of startups in China have innovated in response to the changing market demand, and the amount of corporate financing has reached a new high.

These are some Chinese startups to watch in 2022 from different industries that are looking to change the landscape.

High-tech

ByteDance

Founded in 2012 in Beijing, ByteDance is one of the earliest technology companies to apply artificial intelligence to the mobile internet. The company's vision is to build a "global creation and communication platform," which they’ve done successfully with TikTok, as well as products such as Toutiao, Xigua Video, Douyin (Chinese version of TikTok), Toutiao Encyclopedia and Wukong Q&A. ByteDance's global layout began in 2015. "Technology going overseas" is the core strategy of ByteDance's global development.

Number of employees: 10001+

Funding amount: $9.4B

Number of investors: 29

Horizon Robotics

Horizon Robotics is a smart mobility company that focuses on artificial intelligence computing. Founded in 2015 in Haidian, the company aims to change people's lives by using the full potential of AI, with innovation in AI processors, AI algorithms, AI compute systems and AI toolchains. Such technologies are implemented in diverse types of autonomous vehicles and generate AI compute performance, energy efficiency, reliability, time-to-market and cost-effectiveness.

Number of employees: 251-500

Funding amount: $1.6B

Number of investors: 43

Intellifusion

Intellifusion is a company focusing on the field of visual artificial intelligence. Founded in Shenzhen in 2014, the company is the first domestic unicorn enterprise with an AI algorithm platform, AI chip platform, big data platform and other key AI technology platforms. The company is committed to transforming physics with intelligent technology. In 2020, the company was named by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as an "artificial intelligence enterprise with outstanding performance in the support of science and technology in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic."

Number of employees: 501-1000

Funding amount: $173.5M

Number of investors: 16

WeRide

WeRide is the world's leading L4 autonomous driving technology company that aims to create new modes and experiences of travel and freight for smart cities. WeRide focuses on three product matrices: Robotaxi, Mini Robobus and Robovan, providing services from online car-hailing, service of on-demand bus, to exploring the commercialization of autonomous driving.

Number of employees: 251-500

Funding amount: $312M

Number of investors: 26

Medical / Healthcare

WeDoctor

WeDoctor is the world's leading medical health technology platform with an intelligent digital health platform. Founded in Hangzhou in 2010, the company commits to promoting the digitization and intelligence of China's medical and health industry through innovation and technology for the past ten years, providing high-quality, efficient and accessible medical and health services for billions of people in China.

Number of employees: 1001-5000

Funding amount: $1B

Number of investors: 14

LinkedCare

LinkedCare was founded in 2015 in Shanghai. It is a digital platform that provides an integrated operation and management system for dental clinics, health and beauty institutions. The company provides integrated single-store management, chain management, health files/electronic medical records, customer relationship management, intelligent marketing, B2B trading platform, invoicing, insurance payment and image integration. It also connects different companies within the industry through an open platform to offer a complete set of one-stop services.

Number of employees: 251-500

Funding amount: $132.9M

Number of investors: 12

Yaoshibang

Yaoshibang is a digital service platform focusing on the intelligent supply chain of medicine. Facing the trillion-dollar pharmaceutical distribution market, the company serves over one million online and offline retail terminals and medical institutions. By building a massive standardized commodity force system, it uses technology to build the digitalization of the entire chain of the pharmaceutical industry, serving 400,000 people nationwide.

Number of employees: 101-250

Funding amount: $495.6M

Number of investors: 14

Finance

Ant Group

Ant Group is the parent company of the mobile payment platform Alipay. As one of the world's leading open platforms for financial technology, the company provides inclusive financial services for small and micro enterprises and individual consumers. It has sub-business segments such as Alipay, Yu’ebao, Zhaocaibao, Ant Jubao, MYbank, Ant Huabei and Sesame Credit.

Number of employees: 5001-10000

Funding amount: $22B

Number of investors: 15

Du Xiaoman Financial

Baidu's fintech branch, Du Xiaoman Financial, offers short-term loans and investing services. Founded in 2018, Du Xiaoman’s financial business includes consumer finance, payment, Internet wealth management, Internet banking, Internet insurance, Internet securities and other sectors, basically covering all areas of financial services.

Number of employees: 1001-5000

Funding amount: $4.8B

Number of investors: 4

Snowball Finance

Snowball Finance is a financial information service company specializing in investment solutions over the internet. Founded in 2010, Snowball is committed to providing Chinese investors with free real-time market information across markets (Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and the U.S.) and across varieties (such as stocks and funds), professional and high-quality interactive exchanges and convenient and efficient trading services.

Number of employees: 11-50

Funding amount: $293.1M

Number of investors: 6

Education

Yuanfudao

Founded in 2012, Yuanfudao is the first unicorn company in K-12 online education in China. Yuanfudao provides courses for all subjects in primary and secondary schools, with live classes from teachers at home. The company owns a variety of online education products such as Yuanfudao, Yuantiku, Xiao Yuansouti, Xiao Yuankoushu and Zebra AI Class. In July 2021, Yuanfudao launched a new education brand "Pumpkin Science," focusing on STEM education.

Number of employees: 10001+

Funding amount: $4.1B

Number of investors: 18

Knowbox

KnowBox is a digital platform with AI technology to build an intelligent education service ecosystem based on on-campus teaching and home tutoring. The AI curriculum system provides students with personalized and adaptive learning tutoring services. It includes on-campus teaching tools and home tutoring courses.

Number of employees: 251-500

Funding amount: $305.8M

Number of investors: 9

Magic Ears

Magic Ears is an online English learning platform for students ages 4 to 12 in China. The platform gained huge popularity because of its unique online teaching style by high-quality foreign teachers from North America. It offers small interactive classes and games for kids from different backgrounds and age groups.

Number of employees: 11-50

Funding amount: $27.9M

Number of investors: 4

Consumer-facing

Meituan

Meituan is a Chinese e-commerce platform for lifestyle services. The company connects consumers and merchants, providing a variety of services that meet people's daily needs. The company owns the instant delivery service brand "Meituan Waimai" and provides services through its mobile terminal. The company also owns the bike-sharing service brand Mobike.

Number of employees: 10001+

Funding amount: $17.3B

Number of investors: 7

Dazhong Dianping

Dazhong Dianping is a platform for local consumer products. It is China's leading local information and trading platform, and the world's first independent third-party consumer review website. Dianping not only provides users with information services such as local merchant information, consumer reviews and consumer discounts, but also provides O2O (online to offline) transaction services such as group purchases, restaurant reservations, delivery and electronic membership cards.

Number of employees: 1001-5000

Funding amount: $1.1B

Number of investors: 16

Weidian

Weidian Shopping is a smart mobile shopping app that recommends certain products based on the user's unique style. Today, Weidian has nearly 90 million small and micro shopkeepers. Through the two apps of Weidian and Weidian Store Manager, Weidian has transformed from a shop-opening tool preferred by small and micro shopkeepers to a system that helps entrepreneurs develop their interests and create brands.

Number of employees: 11-50

Funding amount: $368M

Number of investors: 12

Zhubajie

Zhubajie is a website that connects paid projects with freelancers in design, IT, marketing and other "creative" areas. It is a one-stop enterprise service platform that offers a variety of solutions such as brand marketing, software development, intellectual property, finance and taxation, technology consulting and office space to meet the company's professional service needs at all stages.

Number of employees: 1001-5000

Funding amount: $445.5M

Number of investors: 4

Entertainment

SOUL

SOUL is a social network that employs artificial intelligence to help users date in the metaverse. The app aims to create a metaverse that focuses on spiritual communication without showing users’ appearances. The app recommends people and content that users may like with one tap through an artificial intelligence matching algorithm. Since its launch in 2016, more than 100 million young people have used Soul in China.

Number of employees: 51-100

Funding amount: $60M

Number of investors: 4

Xiaohongshu

Xiaohongshu is a social media platform launched in 2013, with content on consumption experience and lifestyle. Users can record life moments, share moments from their lives and interact with other users through short videos, pictures and texts. Xiaohongshu has transformed from a community platform to a community e-commerce platform, and is in a leading position in China’s UGC field.

Number of employees: 1001-5000

Funding amount: $917.7M

Number of investors: 10

Mafengwo

Mafengwo is a travel social networking site, a data-driven platform and a new type of travel e-commerce. It provides information and product reservation services such as transportation, hotels, attractions, restaurants, shopping and local entertainment in over 60,000 travel destinations around the world. It has helped 120 million travelers travel every month, and has become the preferred "tourism artifact" for the younger generation in China.

Number of employees: 501-1000 Funding amount: $503M Number of investors: 12

NetEase Cloud Music

NetEase Cloud Music is an online music portal with streaming capabilities. It is China’s first music app with a personalized "playlist" as the core feature, with the largest and most diverse song collections. Users can also create their own song lists and connect with others on the platform. The platform also allows audio live streaming.

Number of employees: 251-500

Funding amount: $1.4B

Number of investors: 10

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