Huiyilian to Close CNY 300 Million, Enabling Startups to Survive in the Pandemic 
COVID-19 and China
Good stewardship with the help of software navigates suffering startups in the journey of cost management. Image Credit: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

Huiyilian, a Hand Enterprise-backed expense management software company, is said to have raised at least CNY 300 million from investors, including China Renaissance, according to people familiar with the matter.

Amid the global pandemic, companies – and especially startups – have had to cut their burn rates dramatically and manage expenses with care. 

Government support remains the most significant driver of the digital reimbursement software market in China. The number of e-invoices issued in 2021 is expected to grow to 49 billion, from 3.5 million in 2016. In the long run, the trend toward ‘digital government’ has shifted from optional toward compulsory electronic tax compliance. For instance, Qianhai, Shenzhen, is implementing e-invoicing fully from 2020 onwards. 

Despite the exceptional growth the market enjoys, Chinese SMBs are still at a low level of adoption, with only 30% of invoices being e-invoices nowadays. However, the coronavirus outbreak has triggered a sudden demand. It has greatly accelerated the enterprise expense side of the Software-as-a-Service industry. 

Companies facing difficulties in traditional processes of reimbursement are changing to online software systems, since employees are working from home. Managers can evaluate the advantages of electronic invoicing and spare the cost of software and implementation to increase efficiency and for a better result. 

Three pain points need to be solved for these software vendors, especially when they are facing enterprises in China, some of which are notoriously payment-process-unaware :

Incorporating procurement, payment and accounting into a full-stack system; connecting the database to Chinese tax authorities for authentication and duplicate checking

Managers need to navigate business and do budget control with an understanding of account books; traceable records for expenses are necessary 

Rather than tracking data in various platforms (say, CRM, ERP, OA, third-party service providers), enterprises ask expense management software vendors for opening Application Program Interfaces (APIs), giving a full view of expenses with one click. 

Yikuaibao, eRoad and Huiyilian are among the top players in the area, solving the needs and problems above. Global counterparts include Abacus and Intuit (INTU:NASDAQ). The ones who survive and thrive in the market will be those providing a fruitful set of functions to nudge competition. Add-ons, APIs and partners contribute to a sound ecosystem and lead to less churn. 

eRoad was selected for Enterprise Services: Trends and Startups 2019 (read more)

Editor: Luke Sheehan

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