Wandoujia, one of China’s largest mobile app distribution platforms with 300 million users, announced today that it has raised $120 million in funding led by SoftBank Corp. Other investors participating in this round include existing Wandoujia investors DCM and Innovation Works Development Fund (IWDF). In a statement, Wandoujia CEO Junyu Wang said that the funding will be used “to accelerate our growth and more openly serve developers and the entire ecosystem by developing technology and innovation in mobile search.”
The size of Wandoujia’s latest round makes it the latest piece of high-profile news to emerge from China’s increasingly lucrative app ecosystem, which was worth $1.2 billion last year according to an estimate by CocoaChina, a Beijing-based mobile game developer and publisher. In July, Android app marketplace 91 Wireless was purchased for $1.9 billion by Baidu, the largest acquisition by a Chinese Internet company so far.
There are more than 200 app stores in China because Google Play isn’t widely available there. Wandoujia has taken several steps to differentiate from its many competitors. For example, the company started with a desktop manager for Android, not a mobile app, and it focused on building an app search engine instead of an app store. Wandoujia says it is “the first mobile gateway in China to integrate content across multiple verticals: apps, games, videos, music, and more.”
Top Internet companies that have distributed apps and other content through Wandoujia include Flipboard, Path, Evernote and Line. Wandoujia, which was founded in 2009 by ex-Googler Wang, launched its first international product, desktop Android manager SnapPea, in 2012, and also publishes the monthly China App Index.
In a statement, DCM general partner Hurst Lin said: “When DCM first came into contact with Wandoujia in 2011, it stood out from the mass of app stores because of its unique app search model. Since last year, Wandoujia has entered into additional mobile content verticals with its search product. We believe that Wandoujia, with its record of achievements and persistent strength in products and technology, has an opportunity to become the leader of the mobile internet industry.”