Issue 34 | April 30, 2018

Issue 34 | April 30, 2018
A Big Deal: Ctrip Invests in Boom Supersonic

Ctrip, China’s largest online travel company, has invested in a US supersonic airplane startup, Boom Technology, to potentially bring supersonic flight to China. If realized, a flight from San Francisco to Shanghai could shrink from 11 hours to six.

Founded in 2014, the Colorado-based Boom is building a supersonic airliner capable of carrying 55 passengers at 1,451 miles/hour (2,335 km/hour), more than twice as fast as current passenger airplanes. The service would cost the same as today’s business class fares. Boom says its airliner will enter service in the mid-2020s.

After a $10 million investment from Japan Airlines in December, Boom has now raised a total of $47.3 million. The deal also marks Ctrip’s latest move to expand globally. It previously formed an alliance with Priceline, and in 2016 it purchased online travel search site Skyscanner for GBP 1.4 billion.

Now the world’s second-largest and one of the fastest-growing air markets, the Chinese air industry is expected to surpass the US in size by 2022, according to the International Air Transportation Association.

Note: Ctrip is a GGV portfolio company.
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A Product: Milk Tea Chain Raises $63M
Chinese tea shop chain HeyTea (喜茶) has completed a $63 million series B funding round, led by Longzhu Capital, a venture capital firm owned by Meituan-Dianping.

First opened in an alleyway in Guangzhou province in 2012, HeyTea specializes in cheese-topped tea and fruit tea. Currently, HeyTea owns 90 stores in 13 cities with no franchise stores. It recently started drink delivery services within 2 km of its shops.

HeyTea is famous for having long lines at its stores:

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A Product: Yogurt Startup Receives Funding from Coca-Cola
LePur (乐纯), a young Beijing-based brand focused on producing high-quality fresh Greek yogurt, has raised “hundreds of millions in RMB” from Coca-Cola. According to media reports, this is the first time Coca-Cola has reached a strategic partnership with an Asian startup.

Founded in 2015 by Wharton grad Denny Liu, LePur yogurt is sold in major offline supermarkets and convenience stores, as well as online through Tmall and WeChat. The brand heavily leverages social media marketing—its articles often go viral on WeChat—and is able to roll out two new products per month. Last month, LePur launched an incubator to help launch food-related businesses.

A typical cup of LePur yogurt costs RMB 15-20 ($2.4-$3.2).
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A Chart: Baidu’s Profit

Source: Caixin

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996 Podcast: Bertrand Schmitt on Starting App Annie in China
We interviewed Bertrand Schmitt, CEO and co-founder of App Annie, the leading global provider of app market data. Bertrand started App Annie in Beijing in 2011 and has since grown it into a truly global company, with 450 employees across 13 countries today. App Annie is now used by industry leaders all over the world. Customers include Google, Snapchat, and The New York Times, as well as Chinese companies such as Tencent, Bytedance, and Xiaomi.

In this episode, we discuss why Bertrand, a native of France, chose to move to China despite the language and cultural barriers, how a non-Chinese entrepreneur can become successful in China, and why having multicultural DNA is the best asset for startup teams today.