China’s 51job buys 60 percent of niche site Lagou

21 Sep 2017

51job Inc. (前程无忧, NASDAQ: JOBS), the leading jobs site in China as measured by total users, today announced that it had agreed to become the majority shareholder of China’s leading tech-sector jobs site Lagou (拉勾).

51job acquired a 60-percent stake in Lagou for $119 million U.S. in cash, in a deal which valued Lagou at about $200 million U.S.. The transaction is expected to be completed in Q4 of 2017.

“The addition of the Lagou platform further expands and deepens 51job’s ecosystem of HR services for both employers and job seekers alike,” said Rick Yan (甄荣), president and CEO of 51job.

51job currently operates three major platforms in China. In addition to 51job.com, it also provides recruitment services for high-level candidates at 51jingying.com (51精英) and recruitment services for graduates at the bare-bones site Yingjiesheng.com (应届生). 51job claims over 110 million users across these platforms.

“Combining Lagou’s targeted strengths in the technology vertical with 51job’s extensive sales resources and large user base, we are excited about opportunities to enhance the recruitment experience and improve hiring effectiveness in this important industry segment. Lagou’s founding team and management will continue to drive its rapid growth and development, and we look forward to exploring strategic business synergies together.” 

Lagou was launched in 2013 by the same team which is behind 3W Café, China’s most famous tech incubator in Beijing. The idea surfaced after the incubator was repeatedly asked for assistance by start-ups in finding the talent needed to expand. Today, the company lists the likes of Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba, Sina.com, JD.com, Beijing Xiaomi Tech, and Zhaopin.com among its clients.

Lagou is backed by Shanghai-based VC firm Qimeng Venture Partners (启明创投). Qimeng currently manages four funds with more than $1.2 billion U.S. in assets, and has invested in more than 70 companies, including AI-related company Megvii (旷视科技) and Mobike (摩拜单车).

When Lagou landed $34 million U.S. in series C funding back in April 2016 (which we reported on here), the company announced that plans for an IPO were in the works.

In the past year Lagou has received a positive response to its new cloud HR SaaS product, Lagou Cloud HR (拉勾云人事), which already has more than 20,000 paying corporate clients.

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Tom Marling

Tom is a PhD candidate in Chinese History at Hong Kong Baptist University, and former PR consultant in Mainland China. He joined the AIM Group in 2016 as a writer/analyst.