(Yicai Global) June 1 -- NextTao Information Technology, which provides data applications for the retail sector, has bagged tens of millions of dollars in B-round funding led by Tencent Holdings, China's biggest tech firm by market cap, as the latter looks to keep step in China's quickly-evolving retail sector.
Lightspeed China Partners is a secondary investor in the round, tech news site 36Kr reported. The Shanghai-based startup helps retail businesses go digital by building front-end applications and online platforms and forming data banks to support companies in their expansion plans.
NextTao's Smart Center covers both back- and front-end development, acting as a 'brain' for entire offline stores and connecting business management software like Sap, Kingdee and other software-as-a-service packages. The firm lists a number of global tech giants, including Apple, Microsoft and Tencent nemeses JD.Com and Alibaba, among its partners.
Shenzhen-based Tencent has been elevating its rivalry with the two e-commerce titans as it looks to keep step in the rapidly expanding New Retail sector, which merges online and offline businesses with deep logistics networks. Earlier this week, it teamed up with the world's biggest private property developer Dalian Wanda Group to turn the latter's malls, which attract annual footfall of more than three billion, into smart shopping hubs.
Unlike many service providers looking to help traditional retailers adapt to China's changing consumer landscape, NextTao has opted to partner existing vendors rather than replace them. "Only a seamless connection with existing business systems at offline stores will bring more space for development," said Wang Hua, the startup's chief executive officer.