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Chinese cell-based meat startups raise cash to push commercialization

Still early days for artificial products, but momentum -- and investor interest -- are growing

A waiter holds a tray of Nestle plant-based sausages during a launch event in Beijing on Dec. 9. Demand for plant-based meat is growing in China.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- Chinese food-tech startups, including Nanjing-based Zhouzi Weilai and Beijing-based CellX, have announced new fundraising with the intention to speed up development and production, as the race to move meat alternatives from labs to plates is heating up.

Founded in 2019, Zhouzi Weilai, which means "Zhouzi Future" in Mandarin, raised 20 million yuan ($3.1 million) from MatrixPartners China. The startup is led by Prof. Zhou Guanghong, who currently works at the College of Food Science and Technology of the Nanjing Agricultural University. It claims to be the first Chinese cell-based meat manufacturer. CellX, a company newly established in November, also secured an undisclosed amount of capital from its seed round.

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