The coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has hit China's startups hard, but they were already contending with a decline in funding long before this blow landed.
In the latter half of 2015, articles about China's capital winter began to appear in the media. Back then, China's food delivery giant Meituan slashed its valuation from a lofty $15bn to around $10bn in two months. The social commerce startup Mogujie reduced its valuation to $1.6bn from $2bn, as the renowned private equity firm Carlyle Group withdrew from the negotiations for its Series E funding.
Many startup founders were worried about the possible shift in the capital market. China's stock market crash in August 2015 added to their concerns. But it was not until 2019 that they began to feel the real chill, with funding deals nearly halved from a year before. During the first 11 months of 2019, Chinese startups raised a total of RMB 753bn funding, only 43% of the amount raised in 2018 and the