Tencent’s Latest Investment Teaches Old People To Dance

WeChat mascots are displayed inside Tencent office at TIT Creativity Industry Zone in Guangzhou, China May 9, 2017. (Photo: REUTERS/Bobby Yip)

Chinese tech giant Tencent is well-known for releasing video games that target China's younger generation. Additionally, the company has also built a reputation for releasing products aimed towards the elder generation. The company's latest investment is an app that teaches middle-age and elderly users how to dance.

The app is called Tangdou or "sugar beans" in Chinese. The app recently confirmed that it is closing its Series C funding round with Tencent at the helm. Among the app's major investors are GGV Capital, IDG Capital, and Shunwei Capital which is owned by Xiaomi founder Lei Jun.

Market analysts agree that Tencent's interest in middle-age and elderly demographics is a careful investment for its part. According to WeChat, a Tencent-owned company and China's largest social media platform, users over the age of 55 is its fastest-growing user group. Tech experts have also noted that Tangdou was initially embedded on WeChat.

Despite raising a lot of attention in the investment community, Tangdou did not disclose how much was raised during its recent funding. Nevertheless, market estimates pegged that apps total funds to more than $100 million. In 2016, Tangdou closed its Series B funding with a $15 million investment and another $5 million during its B-plus round in 2017.

In a statement, GGV Managing Partner Jenny Lee said, "As [China's] mobile internet enters the 'second half' of its development phase, the markets for maternal and child care, middle-age and elderly users have become the new red-hot verticals."

China has estimated online users of about 829 million. Of this massive figure, 12.5 percent of which are users who are above the age of 50. This was taken from the data gathered by the China Internet Network Information Center in 2018.

Tangbou was founded four years ago. Among its initial services offered are video tutorials teaching older women and aunts how to dance. From this simple idea, the startup has morphed into a one-stop platform for news dissemination, networking, and other useful services that aim to help seniors. Among the content curated by the app are topics ranging from food and health, fashion, skin care, even offline meetups.

Tangbou claims that it has more than 200 million users using the platform's wide range of products. The company added that more than 4,000 offline events are organized every month which in turn attracts more than 500,000 attendees. According to Tangbou's data, its users utilize the app for an average of 33 minutes daily.

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