Maimai.cn is China’s biggest and toughest rival to LinkedIn, the world renowned professional social media network. Maimai announced a funding round of $750 million from leading American VC investors, DCM Ventures and IDG Capital. Chinese media report that the startup is readying for an initial public offering (IPO) in 2019.
The funding round was led by California-based DCM, with IDG Capital and Hong Kong’s Morningside Venture Capital also taking part as investors. Zhilian Zhaopin, a Chinese job recruitment site, also agreed to become a strategic investor.”
“The completion of this Series C funding round signals the company has entered a stage of rapid development. Our target is to sign up all the employees from China’s top 500 Chinese companies and top 500 global companies operating in the country,” Lin Fan, Maimai’s founder and chief executive officer, has said according to the South China Morning Post.
Lin Fan has further said Maimai will use the new capital to expand beyond China and improve existing services.
“We want to go public in 2019, with a target market value of US$10 billion,” Lin had said.
“As China transforms from an acquaintance society to a society of strangers, Maimai is set to play a more important role based on its products and user base,” Ramon Zeng, general partner of DCM Ventures, had said.
Launched in 2013, Maimai says it has 30 million registered users in China and 10 million monthly active users. It broke even last year.
In February article, People’s Daily reported Lin as saying that that 80 per cent of Maimai revenue is from advertising, and the rest from premium customer subscriptions which include corporate users.
LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, generated around $1.1 billion of annual revenue this financial year, but is not as dependent as Maimai on advertising income.
Some of Maimai’s stand out features are their individual and group chat rooms, the news feed, a referral system, and an anonymous messaging feature nicknamed ‘office gossip’.
LinkedIn claims to be the world’s largest professional social media network, and says it has 36 million registered users in the mainland of China. However, the company recently locked horns with Chinese regulators, following amped up scrutiny on its jobs listing policies.
After heading operations for three years, in June this year Derek Shen, president of LinkedIn China, resigned allegedly after being unable to reach the goal 140 million professional users in China.
In April 2017, the Chinese market research firm, iResearch ranked Maimai ahead of LinkedIn in China’s most popular social networking apps, according to South China Morning Post.