360 Family Member, 360 ESG, Announces a New Financing and Valued at USD 3 Bn
COVID-19 and China
Photo: Florian Olivo on Unsplash

360 ESG (Enterprise Security Group) announced its series B financial of USD 131 million and a total value of USD 3 billion. Early in November 2018, 360 ESG announced its Pre-B financing of USD 182 million and was valued at 2.7 billion. Shortly after less than two months from the last financing, a boost of USD 300 million is added on 360 ESG's value.

As a cybersecurity company with 2B (to-Business) services, 360 ESG was separated from its mother company Qihoo 360 (奇虎360) in 2015 and operating independently. 360 family started from making free anti-virus software in 2005 and swiftly took over the market when antivirus market was predominated by fee-charging service. Qihoo 360 was the pioneer of free antivirus software, which was and is effective for most PC users and free. After 14 years past, 360 family’s business has expanded to various fields, but all are rooted in its core security services. Dated now, 360 family's internet security market penetration has reached 96.6% with over 600 million users in China.

Most Chinese PC users still remember the ugly fight between Tencent and Qihoo 360 back in 2012, which is also referred as 3Q Battle (3Q大战), when Q stands for Tencent because Tencent is famed for its flagship SMS product QQ. Both parties are free anti-virus software providers, but back at then, Qihoo 360’s anti-virus product 360 SafeGuard (360安全卫士) announced that QQ was spying on users’ activities and privacy when Tencent just entered the antivirus market, and this announcement could be regarded as the direct cause of the battle. After sequences of suits filed both parties, the largest-ever anti-unfair competition case was won Tencent. However, the similarity of their products decides there is no absolute winner in the real market. Till now, the numbers of users of each released are approximately tantamount. After over a decade of accumulated experience in security, Qihoo 360 has been the first choice for the public when selecting antivirus and cybersecurity services.

360 ESG’s sister company,360 Finance, was listed in NASDAQ in 2018. 360 Finance founded in 2015 is one of the top 5 digital consumer finance platforms in China. As commonly expected, internet financial companies are equipped with the most solid firewalls to prevent from leaking any sensitive customer information. 360 Finance, which is rooted from security service provider Qihoo 360, has inherited the brand and conveys a reliable image as a safety provider for its customers. As same as 360 Finance, 360 ESG shares the same legacy of 360 family – the reputation in security. The biggest difference between 360 ESG and other 360 family members is that 360 ESG provides security services to enterprises and government departments. 360 ESG’s products include cybersecurity and cloud services, security-related consultation, maintenance, training, and other related solutions. As a member of the most famous security service family, 360 ESG integrates products and services from cybersecurity to cloud storage, while its competitors like Kingsoft, another star antivirus product owner, has separate lines for each service and other security-unrelated operations.

In China, when talking about PC and internet security services, 360 family is the only one with rich experience and the deepest influence on the mass. Its competitors like Tencent and Kingsoft’s main businesses are not security, hence 360 family somehow becomes the most professional security solution providers. Though Tencent is involved in the 3Q Battle, it concentrates in communication and entertainment products, and other products that derived from the previous two. Another competitor, Kingsoft is a company making PC software, games, application tools, and others. Comparing to Tencent and Kingsoft, 360 family has much fewer experience in security-unrelated areas. The less distraction might be the reason that makes 360 family a big brand in security industries. Another advantage of 360 family is that during to its few businesses outside security, 360 family could be a reliable neutral security provider for non-interest-related companies for those that might have conflict products with Tencent, Kingsoft or equivalent.

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