19Lou.com, a platform running local portal sites for Chinese cities, announced RMB60 million (US$9.7 million) in series A funding from two Hangzhou-based early-stage venture capital funds under NewMargin Ventures (announcement in Chinese). An angel round was  raised in 2008.

Founded in 2006 by several local newspaper reporters in Hangzhou and only serving Hangzhou citizens then, 19Lou now covers twenty cities in Zhejiang province and a dozen outside it, including first-tier cities such as Shanghai, Chongqing and Wuhan. A total of more than 30 million users are on all those sites.

Local portals sites are everywhere. Some cities have more than one sites dedicated to them. But 19Lou stands out as one of the most popular and has become a brand speaking for itself. It has created some innovative services and a well-functioning business model.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com