China-based startup Beijing Hongsong Online Technology that operates social networking platform for the elderly ‘Hongsong’ has raised US$100 million in funding in its Series A+ round led by Bertelsmann Asia Investments. The funding round was joined by its existing investors CCV, Matrix Partners China, and BlueRun Ventures.
The latest funding comes at the backdrop of an aging society in China, where more than a third of its total population will reach at least 60 years of age by 2050.
Hongsong offers an online platform for retired people to socialize through various communities based on activities such as playing musical instruments, singing, painting, calligraphy, reading, dancing, learning English, and keeping healthy.
Each community operates through “xiaozhan” which are small groups that help users make friends with people with similar interest while receiving guidance online from experts around the country.
Hongsong provides leaders of these groups with operational tools, including subchannels, livestreaming pages, and a ‘party’ function. The users can socialize via subchannel and livestreaming chats. The company claims that it has more than 10 million users and thousands of group leaders and is growing quickly.
Founded in 2019, Hongsong focuses on meeting the needs of senior citizens in the country who have retired. It aims to tap the expanding demographic that has time, spending power, and a higher quality of life than earlier generations of elderly.
“Products circulating in the market cannot meet the basic needs of the senior generation,” said CEO Li Qiao. “They (retirees) need high quality places to form ‘second human relationships’ in order to overcome loneliness after retirement. Our hope is that they will find suitable places on the internet and socialize more freely.”
He added, “We need time to build relationships of trust. But although senior citizens spend time choosing something, their loyalty to what they have chosen is then high.”
According to him the present user participation and retention rates are favorable and the reason is that livestreaming is effective when people socialize under specific themes. Also, the chat among members as well as distribution of event materials and notices through the small groups created in each community has helped.
“We will continue to improve the functions of small groups and thereby meet the respective needs of their leaders and ordinary users.” Said Li for its future business policy.