Global smartphones fell 11% in 2022 Q1 compared to the same period last year, according to data from market analysts firm Canalys released on Tuesday. The figures show that the top two global brands Samsung and Apple expanded their market share from 22% to 24% and 15% to 18% respectively. Leading Chinese phonemakers Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo saw their global market shares shrink, with shipments by the three Chinese brands accounting for 31% of the global total compared to 35% for the same period in 2021. Canalys’ analysis notes that the overall decrease is due to “unfavorable economic conditions and sluggish seasonal demand.” [Canalys]
Chinese metaverse infrastructure firm Xmov today announced Series B and Series C funding totaling $130 million. The company’s $20 million Series B was co-led by Fresh Capital and Jinsha Capital, while SoftBank’s Vision Fund and an unnamed strategic investor led the $110 million Series C with participation from Northern Light Venture Capital and Index Ventures. Founded in 2018, the computer vision and computer graphics company developed the popular virtual idol Ling, as well as virtual avatars for clients including Tencent, Alibaba, Xiaomi, and L’Oréal. The investment underlines the increasing interest from the market in the metaverse industry. [Xmov press release, in Chinese]
Boyuan Capital, an investment arm of German car supplier Bosch, has invested an undisclosed sum into Chinese semiconductor startup Black Sesame, making its first bet on artificial intelligence chips for self-driving vehicles in China. The chipmaker, already backed by Xiaomi, closed multiple rounds of funding with a post-money valuation of nearly $2 billion last year, according to a statement published on Wednesday. The world’s largest automotive supplier, Bosch has backed several Chinese startups including self-driving car brand Momenta and lidar developer Hesai. [Black Sesame press release, in Chinese]
The move comes against the backdrop of China’s big tech firms pushing to develop vehicles with smart cabin systems and autonomous driving technologies.
Chinese gaming giant Tencent has abandoned the acquisition of Xiaomi-invested gaming phone maker Black Shark, Chinese media outlet 21st Century News reported on Thursday. Luo Yuzhou, CEO of Black Shark, was quoted in the report as saying that the purchase between Tencent and the firm “doesn’t exist, and the firm still has plans for raising money and acquisition.” Founded in 2017, Black Shark is a major gaming phone maker, accounting for 13% of global gaming smartphone markets from 2018 Q2 to 2021 Q1, according to Canalys. [21st Century News, in Chinese]
Technology market analysts Canalys released a report on Wednesday saying that global wearables shipments hit 193 million units in 2021, representing a growth of 4.3% year-on-year, ITHome reports. Apple Watch shipments increased 11.8% to 39 million units last year, accounting for 20% of the global market. Xiaomi saw a 23% yearly fall to 29 million units, largely due to adjustments in product categories. Huawei also saw a fall, with its split with the Honor brand and regulatory struggles in oversea markets resulting in a 40% drop in shipments to 19 million units. Huawei’s share of the domestic market also fell by 25% from 2020 to 2021, but the company still accounts for 30% of the Chinese wearables market, ranking first in 2021 for shipments in its home country. [ITHome, in Chinese]
Neil Shen, the founding and managing partner of Sequoia China, is the top Chinese investor on Forbes’ Midas List for the third year in a row, thanks to his bets in ByteDance, Meituan, and Pinduoduo. Fifteen other Chinese names made it into the annual list of the world’s top 100 VC investors, with four of those being women. That’s five fewer Chinese investors than last year. 5Y Capital, formally known as Morningside Venture Capital, has the most Chinese investors on the list. They are Richard Liu (ranked fourth), Fisher Zhang (19th), and Elwin Yuan (78th), thanks to their investment in Xiaomi and Kuaishou. Anna Fang, a partner and CEO of ZhenFund, is the top-rank Chinese female investor, ranking 12th on the list. She led the fund’s investment in Xiaohongshu, Perfect Diary, Horizon Robotics, VIPKID, NiceTuan, and others.
Tencent led a funding round of $100 million for a new electric vehicle startup called Luoke Qiche at the end of 2021, Chinese media outlet 36Kr reported, citing people familiar with the matter. It’s the latest big bet by the Chinese tech giant on the fast-growing EV industry, after it became one of Nio’s biggest investors in 2015. Luoke Qiche was established in late 2020 by Chang Jing, the CEO of Roborock, a Shanghai-listed consumer electronics firm that is backed by smartphone maker Xiaomi. The EV startup is currently carrying out another round of financing at a valuation of $2 billion, the report said. Tencent declined to comment when contacted by TechNode on Tuesday and Luoke was unavailable for comment. [36Kr, in Chinese]
Chinese smartphone maker ZTE launched Axon 40 Ultra on Monday, the third generation of a smartphone that features an under-display camera.
Taiwan-based chip foundry TSMC is expected to overpass semiconductor giant Intel in the second quarter, according to Yahoo Finance estimates.