UCloud, a China-based provider of cloud computing infrastructure and services for games companies, mobile startups and other enterprises has raised $50 million in a Series B round of financing. UCloud, which offers prices that compete against those of Amazon Web Services, says this is the largest-ever funding round for a Chinese provider of cloud-infrastructure-as-a-service. The round was led by Bertelsmann Asia Investments and Legend Capital. Previously, Bertelsmann participated in UCloud’s $10 million Series A along with DCM.
The company says that the funding will go towards building up its R&D and its data center infrastructure — with a special focus on completing facilities in North America and expanding business there.
TechNode reports that the company is eventually eyeing up an IPO in the U.S., riding the recent wave of Chinese tech companies that have listed in the U.S. like JD.com and Weibo, as well as those that plan to list in the very near future — e-commerce giant Alibaba being the biggest of them all.
In China, UCloud is not the only game in town: it competes against other AWS-like cloud services like Upyun.com, Qiniu.com, and Alibaba’s Aliyun. The idea of expanding into North America could see it offering competitive pricing against the likes of Amazon’s AWS to target U.S. and Canadian gaming and mobile businesses. But, more immediately, a North American data center would help UCloud provide better and faster services for its existing gaming and mobile out of China to extend their businesses into the key U.S. market more easily.
The company, founded in 2012 by former Tencent executive Ji Xinhua (who is currently CEO) — an engineer by training who has advised China’s National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center and Beijing for the Olympics — has also hired talent away from the likes of Shanda and Baidu, and has had some good traction with gaming and mobile companies among its customers.
As with AWS, the idea with UCloud is that it’s providing an infrastructure service to companies so that they can focus on other parts of their business. “In the long-term, most companies do not have the teams to build massive infrastructure capacity and disaster recovery capabilities,” said Xinhua Ji in a statement. “UCloud is such a technology, helping Chinese enterprises to quickly solve the problem of Internet infrastructure, operation and maintenance management issues, saving the cost of capital.”