Beijing Kunlun Tech is to invest US$50 million for a 3% stake in Guangzhou-based autonomous driving technology startup Pony.ai, reports Technode.
claimed to be the first to offer fully self-driving car rides to the public in China. It did a
soft launch of an autonomous ride-hailing fleet in Guangzhou in February 2018.
It was also the first startup to secure an autonomous vehicle testing license
Pony.ai completed its Series A and A1 financing rounds in
2018, raising a total of $214 million, with backers including Sequoia Capital
China, China Merchants Capital and Morningside Ventures.
Instead of making its
own cars, the company partners with local automobile groups like BYD Auto and
GAC to provide AI solutions that turn their cars into driverless vehicles.
It may not be well known that Shenzhen-listed Kunlun Tech is the Chinese owner of U.S. gay dating app Grindr. The Beijing-based company is talking with the US agency that overseas cross-border acquisitions for national security risks, after an earlier report said the agency could be aiming to force a divestiture, reports Caixin Global.
Kunlun Tech made headlines when it purchased the popular Grindr in two stages in 2016 and 2017 for a combined total of about US$250 million. It said at the time the move was aimed at diversifying beyond its roots as a game operator into social media.
A forced sale of Grindr would mark one of the first such cases for CFIUS involving an internet asset. It would also mark one of the first times an increasingly security-conscious White House used CFIUS to undo a deal that was already consummated.