China’s largest public transportation WiFi developer and operator has finished its first major round of financing, according to an announcement released on Thursday night.
16 WiFi, a pioneer in developing WiFi services on buses and subways, finished Series A financing worth more than one billion yuan ($16.3 million) from Internet giant Baidu and other investors.
The move is considered a strategic landmark for the commercial WiFi service market as another two leading IT companies, Alibaba and Tencent, both invested in WiFi start-ups last year.
“The WiFi application market enjoys enormous potential with increasing users, especially on public transportation such as buses,” said Teng Binsheng, a professor with Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.
Qiu Chaomin, chairman of 16 WiFi, said that WiFi service on buses would enjoy a boost thanks to the company’s large market share, wide regional presence and partnerships with more than 60 cities nationwide.
16 WiFi launched its Bus WiFi service in 2011 and has installed more than 30,000 WiFi hot spots and signed agreements to provide WiFi service in about 150,000 buses across the country.