Haier leads funding round in washing machine sharing platform

Light Oxygen Technology, which runs a software-based shared washing machine platform, has bagged CNY55 million (USD8 million) in a funding round led by home appliance giant Haier’s investment arm.

Haier Capital and the 58 Industry Investment Fund led the A+ series, the startup’s fourth funding round, tech news portal 36Kr reported. The Hubei province-based firm has now raised a total CNY100 million, and will use the latest injection source talent and develop data systems.

Oxygen Light was founded in early 2017 with early investors including IDG Capital. It provides app-controlled washing machines for shared use in university dormitories, hotels and similar accommodations. By partnering up with Haier, one of China’s top white goods makers, the startup hopes to develop smart sterilization equipment based on international standards and use the Internet of Things to improve its services.

Chinese tech users are among the world’s most willing to adopt new technology and ideas, which has led to the nation’s shared economy spreading like wildfire, allowing citizens to rent umbrellas, bikes and even electric cars for a matter of minutes or hours. The rapid growth has not been without issue though, and intense competition has led to back-breaking price wars that have crippled hundreds of companies including cycle sharer Bluegogo — once the country’s third-largest shared bike provider.

Oxygen Light has more than 800 service outlets across 21 Chinese cities, operating smart washing machines, dryers and washers for shoes. It boasts more than 500,000 users, over half of which are students, who can use lifestyle and messaging app WeChat to control the appliance. – YICAI Global

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