Xiaozhu, an Airbnb-like service based in China, has announced that it has brought in $300 million in its latest financing round, and will use part of the capital influx to develop smart home technology, which could involve biometrics.
The funding round was led by Advantech Capital and Yunfeng Capital, a venture capital firm backed by Alibaba head Jack Ma. The affiliation is worth noting because an Alibaba subsidiary, Ant Financial, engaged in a partnership with Xiaozhu this past spring revolving around the development of biometric door locks based on facial recognition. This suggests the technology could play a growing role in Xiaozhu’s home-sharing ecosystem, further spreading the proliferation of face scanning technology in everyday life in China.
In a statement announcing the funding, Xiaozhu noted that facial recognition technology “is believed by many to be a solution to the regulatory uncertainty” in China. Elaborating further on how the new funding will be used, Xiaozhu CEO Chen Chi said his company “will continue to invest in its global network and smart home IoT system,” adding, “Through building a smarter service chain, Xiaozhu hopes to provide shared home users with a safer, more reliable, and convenient living environment globally.”
Other investors in the funding round included GIC Private Limited, Capital Today, Joy Capital, and Morningside Ventures, the latter three being previous investors in Xiaozhu. A previous funding round, concluded in November of last year, brought in $120 million, and was also led by Yunfeng Capital.