internet & e-commerce

Chinese celeb Angelababy's investment fund goes on shopping spree for e-commerce site, juice-diet brand

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 June, 2015, 2:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 22 June, 2015, 12:02pm

Chinese actress and model “Angelababy” Yang Ying made the first two investments using her venture capital fund AB Capital on Wednesday. She set the fund up this week.

The Shanghai-born actress, who is set to appear next year in the Hollywood blockbuster Independence Day 2, snapped up shares in Chinese overseas purchasing e-commerce site Ymatou and beverage brand HeyJuice, according to the two companies’ official blogs on Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo.

The size of the investments was not publicly disclosed.

Her move to gain at least partial control of Ymatou comes as cross-border e-commerce has been identified by Barclays as one of five trends to watch in the second half of 2015 in China’s internet industry.

Yang, famous for her pretty face and stylish wardrobe choices, will take up a new role as product manager of Ymatou’s mobile app, the company posted on Weibo. A quick glimpse of the app suggests she will help promote overseas fashion and online purchasing.

Cashing in on her celebrity status, Yang intends to focus mainly on female lifestyle start-ups, according to AB Capital.

Her second investment was directed at HeyJuice, which makes healthy drinks using biotechnology to assist with dieting. 

The Beijing-based company, which launched in 2013 in tandem with the Chinese government's moves to promote healthier lifestyles, already has several high-profile investors. The Chinese capital recently imposed an indoor smoking ban.

Richard Liu Qiangdong, founder and chief executive of JD.com, China’s second largest online business-to-consumer retailer, is perhaps HeyJuice's most recognisable investor.

Yang was ranked No. 12 on the Forbes China Celebrity List this year with an estimated income of 41 million yuan (US$6,604,000). 

She has operated offline businesses before, but this week’s moves represent her first foray into e-commerce. The actress owns a café and nail salon in Hong Kong. 

The 26-year-old moved to Hong Kong at the age of 13, where she worked as a model before being cast in various movies in mainland China.

She shot to fame on the popular Chinese reality show Running Man, where contestants complete missions at various landmarks. Yang spent two seasons on the show.

She married Chinese actor and venture capital fund operator Huang Xiaoming in May.

Star VC, a fund Huang launched with two other Chinese celebrities in 2014, has poured money into an online fashion store, a video mobile app, a home theatre device, and an express delivery agency. Huang placed fifth on the same Forbes list this year with a personal fortune of 79 million yuan.

The married couple join a growing list of Chinese celebrities who have stepped into the investment world and collaborated with the biggest names in China’s tech and internet industries.

Ren Quan, co-founder of Huang’s Star VC, owns a movie production business, several restaurants and some venture capital funds.

Testament to his growing stature, Ren attended the Boao Forum for Asia this year, which is modelled on the World Economic Forum in Davos and is based in Hainan Island, dubbed “China’s Hawaii”.

Chinese actress and director Vicky Zhao Wei has also invested nearly HK$3.1 billion in Alibaba Pictures, the media and movie production company run by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, an e-commerce behemoth.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong actress Carina Lau launched her online wine and champagne brand on Alibaba’s Tmall on Thursday. 

This adds another string to Lau’s bow, as she also has an e-commerce business selling a brand of whitening facial masks, a jewellery business, and a portfolio of nightclubs in China.

Retired basketball star Yao Ming has also switched from delivering three-pointers and alley-oops for the Houston Rockets and Team China, to making large business deals of his own. 

He started the Yao Ming Foundation in 2008 and now has interests in sports and hospitality, in addition to his philanthropic endeavours.