Yang Dan, mother of a three-month old son in Beijing, remembers relying on an array of digital apps for tips throughout her pregnancy: What to eat, when to have a checkup and how to connect with other expectant mothers.Venture capitalists are now betting that the Chinese Communist Party s decision to repeal its decades-old one-child policy will create more demand for digital services like those used by Yang.
The policy change announced last year has piqued investor interest and led to 10 fundraising rounds in the first half for startups in the maternity and pediatric market, according to VC Beat Research, which tracks internet health-related investment and fundraising.
"Luckily with the relaxation of the one-child policy last year investors did become more enthusiastic in pursuing us," said Liang Liang, chief executive officer for Shenzhen Easyhin Technology Co., the company that developed Mami Zhidao, an app that provides online consultations with pediatricians.
His firm raised 100 million yuan $15 million in March, from investors including Soft Bank China Capital and Morningside Ventures.Chinese consumers are avid users of digital apps for everything from banking to health care, and that demand has spawned a vast industry.
China has 450 million mobile devices for which 7,350 Chinese companies have developed over 33,000 mobile apps, according to a report from China Internet Watch, a website that tracks online statistics in the country.
Use of health and fitness apps grew by nearly 130 percent in the past year, the second-fastest growing category after photography apps, according to the report, which cited researcher Flurry Analytics.The Chinese government has said that allowing all families to have two children is likely to add three million newborns each year.