(Bloomberg LP via Shari Oster) Online crowdfunding sites have been the place to raise money to research the theory of everything or back a San Francisco startup. Now, Chinese tech companies are using them to crack the U.S. market.
Yet these aren’t exactly struggling startups.
China-based campaigns represent over 10 percent of the funds raised in the first three months of this year on IndieGoGo, and are its fastest growing foreign market. Overall, the San Francisco-based platform has raised $850 million from 6 million people in more than 600,000 fundraising campaigns since its inception in 2008.
Take for example XGimi Technology, a Chinese manufacturer of miniature, home-theater projectors that are Internet-enabled. The company, based in the western China city of Chengdu, raised more than $300,000 this year for a new LED projector on the crowdfunding website IndieGoGo Inc. All while getting glowing coverage from tech blogs.
Back home, it hardly needs cash or publicity. It’s already raised 400 million yuan ($61 million) and is valued at more than 1 billion yuan by investors, including Mango TV, part of the popular state-owned television broadcaster Hunan Broadcasting System. Having sold some 200,000 units last year, and forecasting sales this year of between 400,000 to 600,000, it claims to be the biggest pico-projector seller in China. Chinese premier Li Keqiang stopped by during a visit to Chengdu startups in April.