viot-20f_20181231.htm

 

 

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 20-F

(Mark One)

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR 12(g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018.

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                      to

OR

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Date of event requiring this shell company report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Commission file number: 001-38649

 

Viomi Technology Co., Ltd

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

N/A
(Translation of Registrant’s Name Into English)

 

 

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)

 

Wansheng Square, Rm 1302 Tower C, Xingang East Road, Haizhu District
Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510220

People’s Republic of China

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

Shun Jiang, Chief Financial Officer
Wansheng Square, Rm 1302 Tower C, Xingang East Road, Haizhu District
Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510220
People’s Republic of China
Phone: +86 20 8930 9496
Email: jiangshun@viomi.com.cn
(Name, Telephone, Email and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

 

Name of Each Exchange On Which Registered

American depositary shares, each representing three Class A ordinary shares


Class A ordinary shares, par value US$0.00001 per share*


*Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market of American depositary shares.

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

(The Nasdaq Global Select  Market)

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

(The Nasdaq Global Select  Market)

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None
(Title of Class)

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:

None
(Title of Class)

 


 

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report:

As of December 31, 2018, there were 207,800,000 ordinary shares issued and outstanding, being the sum of (i) 90,200,000 Class A ordinary shares, par value US$0.00001 per share, and (ii) 117,600,000 Class B ordinary shares, par value US$0.00001 per share.

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes   ☒  No

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.    Yes   ☒  No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  ☒  Yes     No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).   Yes     No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

 

Non-accelerated filer ☒

Emerging growth company

 

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☒

†The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

U.S. GAAP ☒

International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board

Other

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.    Item 17     Item 18

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).   Yes   ☒  No

(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.   Yes     No

 

 

 

 

 


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION

 

4

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

5

PART I

 

 

6

 

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

 

6

 

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

 

6

 

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

 

6

 

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

37

 

ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

57

 

ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

 

57

 

ITEM 6. DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

 

75

 

ITEM 7. MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

 

82

 

ITEM 8. FINANCIAL INFORMATION

 

85

 

ITEM 9. THE OFFER AND LISTING

 

86

 

ITEM 10. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

86

 

ITEM 11. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

 

95

 

ITEM 12. DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

 

96

PART II.

 

 

98

 

ITEM 13. DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

 

98

 

ITEM 14. MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

 

98

 

ITEM 15. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

 

98

 

ITEM 16A. AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

 

99

 

ITEM 16B. CODE OF ETHICS

 

99

 

ITEM 16C. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

 

99

 

ITEM 16D. EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

 

100

 

ITEM 16E. PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS

 

100

 

ITEM 16F. CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT

 

100

 

ITEM 16G. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

 

100

 

ITEM 16H. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

 

100

PART III.

 

 

101

 

ITEM 17. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

101

 

ITEM 18. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

101

 

ITEM 19. EXHIBITS

 

101

 

 

 

 

 


 

INTRODUCTION

Unless otherwise indicated and except where the context otherwise requires, references in this annual report on Form 20-F to:

 

“ADRs” are to the American depositary receipts that evidence our ADSs;

 

“ADSs” are to our American depositary shares, each of which represents three Class A ordinary shares of par value US$0.00001 each;

 

“China” or the “PRC” are to the People’s Republic of China, excluding, for the purposes of this annual report only, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan;

 

“Class A ordinary shares” refers to our Class A ordinary shares of par value US$0.00001 per share;

 

“Class B ordinary shares” refers to our Class B ordinary shares of par value US$0.00001 per share;

 

“household users” as of a specified date are to households where at least one of our IoT products was connected to the internet;

 

“IoT” are to the Internet of Things, an interconnected network of devices, or “things,” that can communicate with one another through the internet;

 

our “IoT @ Home platform” are to our ecosystem of innovative IoT-enabled smart home products, together with a suite of complementary consumable products and value-added businesses, powered by advanced AI, proprietary software and data analytics systems;

 

our “IoT-enabled smart home products” and our “IoT products” are to our portfolio of smart home products with internet or Bluetooth interconnectivity and communication capabilities, including our smart water purification systems, smart kitchen products and other smart products (such as smart water kettles);

 

“ordinary shares” are to our Class A and Class B ordinary shares, par value US$0.00001 per share;

 

“our VIEs” are to Foshan Yunmi Electric Appliances Technology Co., Ltd, or Foshan Viomi, and Beijing Yunmi Technology Co., Ltd, or Beijing Viomi;

 

“Viomi,” “we,” “us,” “our Company” and “our” are to Viomi Technology Co., Ltd, our Cayman Islands holding company and its subsidiaries, its consolidated variable interest entities and the subsidiaries of the consolidated variable interest entities;

 

“our WFOE” are to Lequan Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd, or Lequan Technology;

 

“RMB” and “Renminbi” are to the legal currency of China;

 

“US$,” “U.S. dollars,” “$,” and “dollars” are to the legal currency of the United States; and

 

“Xiaomi” are to Xiaomi Corporation, an internet company and a principal shareholder of our Company as of the date of this annual report, and/or any of its affiliates.


4

 


 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements that relate to our current expectations and views of future events. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigations Reform Act of 1995.

You can identify some of these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “is/are likely to,” “potential,” “continue” or other similar expressions. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These forward-looking statements include statements relating to:

 

our mission and strategies;

 

our future business development, financial conditions and results of operations;

 

the expected growth of the IoT-enabled smart home products market and the home appliances market in China;

 

the expected growing application of AI technology in smart home devices;

 

our expectations regarding our relationships with our ecosystem partners;

 

our expectations regarding demand for and market acceptance of our F2C new retail model;

 

competition in our industry; and

 

relevant government policies and regulations relating to our industry.

You should read this annual report and the documents that we refer to in this annual report and have filed as exhibits to this annual report completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. Other sections of this annual report discuss factors that could adversely impact our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The forward-looking statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.


5

 


 

PART I

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

A.

Selected Financial Data

Our Selected Consolidated Financial Data

The following selected consolidated statements of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and selected consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2017 and 2018 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements, which are included in this annual report beginning on page F-1. Our selected consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2016 has been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements not included in this annual report. Our consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Our historical results do not necessarily indicate results expected for any future periods. You should read this Selected Consolidated Financial Data and Selected Operating Data section together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes in conjunction with “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” below.

The following table presents our selected consolidated statements of comprehensive (loss) income data for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

 

 

 

For the year ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

US$

 

 

 

(in thousands, except for share and per share data)

 

Selected Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive

   (Loss) Income Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net revenues(1)

 

 

312,574

 

 

 

873,219

 

 

 

2,561,229

 

 

 

372,515

 

Cost of revenues

 

 

(232,544

)

 

 

(598,036

)

 

 

(1,843,432

)

 

 

(268,116

)

Gross profit

 

 

80,030

 

 

 

275,183

 

 

 

717,797

 

 

 

104,399

 

Operating expenses(2):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research and development expenses(2)

 

 

(29,926

)

 

 

(60,749

)

 

 

(124,230

)

 

 

(18,069

)

Selling and marketing expenses(2)

 

 

(20,929

)

 

 

(95,296

)

 

 

(379,554

)

 

 

(55,204

)

General and administrative expenses(2)

 

 

(14,386

)

 

 

(15,818

)

 

 

(135,532

)

 

 

(19,712

)

Total operating expenses

 

 

(65,241

)

 

 

(171,863

)

 

 

(639,316

)

 

 

(92,985

)

Other (expenses) income

 

 

(481

)

 

 

2,236

 

 

 

1,829

 

 

 

266

 

Income from operations

 

 

14,308

 

 

 

105,556

 

 

 

80,310

 

 

 

11,680

 

Interest (expenses) income and short-term investment

   income

 

 

(296

)

 

 

2,402

 

 

 

8,846

 

 

 

1,287

 

Income before income tax benefits (expenses)

 

 

14,012

 

 

 

107,958

 

 

 

89,411

 

 

 

13,004

 

Income tax benefits (expenses)

 

 

2,247

 

 

 

(14,718

)

 

 

(24,061

)

 

 

(3,500

)

Net income

 

 

16,259

 

 

 

93,240

 

 

 

65,350

 

 

 

9,504

 

Net income attributable to the Company

 

 

16,259

 

 

 

93,240

 

 

 

65,358

 

 

 

9,505

 

Net (loss) income attributable to ordinary

   shareholders of the Company

 

 

(3,453

)

 

 

8,033

 

 

 

50,544

 

 

 

7,350

 

Net (loss) income per share attributable to ordinary

   shareholders of the Company:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net (loss) income per ordinary share—basic

 

 

(0.28

)

 

 

0.39

 

 

 

0.70

 

 

 

0.10

 

Net (loss) income per ordinary share—diluted

 

 

(0.28

)

 

 

0.31

 

 

 

0.64

 

 

 

0.09

 

Weighted average number of ordinary shares used in

   computing net (loss) income per share:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ordinary shares—basic

 

 

12,230,136

 

 

 

20,684,681

 

 

 

71,771,033

 

 

 

71,771,033

 

Ordinary shares—diluted

 

 

12,230,136

 

 

 

25,579,806

 

 

 

79,590,780

 

 

 

79,590,780

 

 

Notes:

(1)

Includes RMB299.8 million, RMB739.5 million and RMB1,311.9 million (US$190.8 million) from sales to Xiaomi for the year ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.

6

 


 

(2)

Share-based compensation expenses were allocated as follows:

 

 

 

For the year ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

US$

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

General and administrative expenses

 

 

6,863

 

 

 

3,303

 

 

 

93,718

 

 

 

13,631

 

Research and development expenses

 

 

3,464

 

 

 

1,903

 

 

 

14,476

 

 

 

2,105

 

Selling and marketing expenses

 

 

251

 

 

 

615

 

 

 

8,417

 

 

 

1,224

 

Total

 

 

10,578

 

 

 

5,821

 

 

 

116,611

 

 

 

16,960

 

 

The following table presents our selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

US$

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Selected Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current assets:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

 

156,930

 

 

 

279,952

 

 

 

940,298

 

 

 

136,761

 

Amounts receivable from a related party, net

 

 

45,021

 

 

 

249,548

 

 

 

260,984

 

 

 

37,959

 

Short-term investments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

168,993

 

 

 

24,579

 

Total current assets

 

 

276,166

 

 

 

665,431

 

 

 

1,902,728

 

 

 

276,740

 

Total assets

 

 

281,945

 

 

 

671,565

 

 

 

1,923,068

 

 

 

279,699

 

Total current liabilities

 

 

136,886

 

 

 

432,385

 

 

 

851,685

 

 

 

123,873

 

Total liabilities

 

 

136,886

 

 

 

432,845

 

 

 

852,203

 

 

 

123,948

 

Total mezzanine equity

 

 

423,999

 

 

 

407,928

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class A ordinary shares (US$0.00001 par value; 3,465,454,540,

   3,465,454,540 and nil shares authorized as of December 31,

   2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively; 33,818,182, 33,818,182

   and nil shares issued as of December 31, 2016, 2017 and

   2018, respectively; 16,909,090, 25,363,636 and none

   outstanding as of December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018,

   respectively)

 

 

1

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post-IPO Class A Ordinary Shares (US$0.00001 par value;

   4,800,000,000 shares authorized; nil, nil and 90,200,000

   shares issued and outstanding as of December 31,

   2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

1

 

Post-IPO Class B Ordinary Shares (US$0.00001 par value;

   150,000,000 shares authorized; nil, nil and 117,600,000

   shares issued and outstanding as of December 31,

   2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

1

 

Total shareholders’ (deficit) equity

 

 

(278,940

)

 

 

(169,208

)

 

 

1,070,865

 

 

 

155,751

 

 

7

 


 

The following table presents our selected consolidated cash flow data for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

 

 

 

For the year ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

US$

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Selected Consolidated Cash Flow Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash provided by operating activities

 

 

15,499

 

 

 

123,906

 

 

 

222,269

 

 

 

32,328

 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

 

(1,609

)

 

 

(1,234

)

 

 

(151,821

)

 

 

(22,081

)

Net cash provided by financing activities

 

 

12,999

 

 

 

2,671

 

 

 

604,975

 

 

 

87,989

 

Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash

   equivalents

 

 

2,913

 

 

 

(2,321

)

 

 

14,473

 

 

 

2,105

 

Net increase in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash

 

 

29,802

 

 

 

123,022

 

 

 

689,896

 

 

 

100,341

 

Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the year

 

 

127,128

 

 

 

156,930

 

 

 

279,952

 

 

 

40,718

 

Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash at the end of the year

 

 

156,930

 

 

 

279,952

 

 

 

969,848

 

 

 

141,059

 

 

We present our financial results in RMB. We make no representation that any RMB or U.S. dollar amounts could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. dollars or RMB, as the case may be, at any particular rate, or at all. The PRC government imposes control over its foreign currency reserves in part through direct regulation of the conversion of RMB into foreign exchange and through restrictions on foreign trade. Unless otherwise noted, all translations from Renminbi to U.S. dollars and from U.S. dollars to Renminbi in this annual report were made at a rate of RMB6.8755 to US$1.00, the exchange rate in effect as of December 31, 2018.

B.

Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not applicable.

C.

Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not applicable.

D.

Risk Factors

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

We operate in highly competitive markets, and the scale and resources of some of our competitors may allow them to compete more effectively than we can, which could result in a loss of our market share and a decrease in our net revenues and profitability.

We have developed an IoT @ Home platform consisting of an ecosystem of IoT-enabled smart home products, complementary consumable products and value-added businesses. We face intense competition from other smart home solution providers, internet companies, and traditional home appliances companies. We also face regional competition from local brands in the various geographies where our products are sold. We compete in various aspects, including brand recognition, value for money, user experience, breadth of product and service offerings, product functionality and quality, sales and distribution, supply chain management, customer loyalty, and talents, among others. Intensified competition may result in pricing pressures and reduced profitability and may impede our ability to achieve sustainable growth in our revenues or cause us to lose market share. Our competitors may also engage in aggressive and negative marketing or public relations strategies which may harm our reputation and increase our marketing expenses. Any of these results could substantially harm our results of operations.

Some of our existing and potential competitors enjoy substantial competitive advantages, including: longer operating history, the capability to leverage their sales efforts and marketing expenditures across a broader portfolio of products, more established relationships with a larger number of suppliers, contract manufacturers and channel partners, access to larger and broader user bases, greater brand recognition, greater financial, research and development, marketing, distribution and other resources, more resources to make investments and acquisitions, larger intellectual property portfolios, and the ability to bundle competitive offerings with other products and services. We cannot assure you that we will compete with them successfully.

As we continue to grow, we may not be able to effectively manage our growth and the increased complexity of our business, which could negatively impact our brand and financial performance.

Since our founding in May 2014, we have experienced rapid growth. Continued growth of our business and household user base requires us to expand our product portfolio, strengthen our brand recognition, expand our sales channels, enhance our aftersales services capabilities, better manage our supply chain, upgrade our information systems and technologies, secure more space for our expanding workforce, and devote other resources to our business expansions, among others. As we continue to grow, managing our business will become more complicated as we develop a wider product and service mix, some of which we may have less experience in. In addition, as we increase our product and service offerings, we will need to work with a larger number of business partners and maintain and expand mutually beneficial relationships with our existing and new business partners.

8

 


 

We cannot assure you that we will be able to effectively manage our growth, that our current personnel, infrastructure, systems, procedures and controls or any measures to enhance them will be adequate and successful to support our expanding operations or that our strategies and new business initiatives will be executed successfully. If we are not able to manage our growth or execute our strategies effectively, our expansion may not be successful and our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

We have experienced certain operating difficulties in the past in ramping up certain of our contract manufacturers’ production in a timely manner to meet the increasing demand and purchase orders from our customers. As we continue to expand, we may experience similar difficulties if we are unable to manage our growth, which may adversely affect our reputation and results of operations.

We have a limited operating history, which makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects.

We were established in May 2014 and launched our first product in 2015. As we only have a limited history of operating our business at its current scale, it is difficult to evaluate our future prospects, including our ability to plan for our future growth. Our limited operating experience, substantial uncertainty concerning how the IoT-enabled smart home market in China may develop, and other economic factors beyond our control, may reduce our ability to accurately forecast demand for our products and accordingly, our quarterly or annual revenues. As such, any predictions about our future revenues and expenses may not be as accurate as they would be if we had a longer operating history or operated in a more developed and predictable market.

Xiaomi is our strategic partner and our most important customer. Any deterioration of our relationship with Xiaomi could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.

Xiaomi is our strategic partner and our most important customer. We sell a wide range of products to Xiaomi, including Xiaomi-branded water purification systems, water purifier filters, as well as other complementary products such as kettles and water quality meters. We may discuss with Xiaomi to expand the product categories that we collaborate with Xiaomi on, which may lead to increase of revenues from Xiaomi, but there is no assurance that such discussion and expansion of cooperation will materialize. Historically, we recorded RMB299.8 million, RMB739.5 million and RMB1,311.9 million (US$190.8 million) in net revenues from sales to Xiaomi in the year ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively, which represented 95.9%, 84.7% and 51.2% of our total net revenues during such periods respectively. We recover all our production costs when we sell our products to Xiaomi, and are additionally entitled to a portion of the respective gross profit when Xiaomi sells these products to end-users. Various reasons may lead to Xiaomi’s failure to sell these products, many of which are not within our control, including those related to Xiaomi but unrelated to the products we produced and risks that we could not preempt or prevent with commercially reasonable efforts.

The sales of our products to Xiaomi are governed by a business cooperation agreement, which will be automatically renewed upon the expiration of the current term in August 2019, unless objected by a party at least 30 days prior to the expiration date. We also sell our own Viomi-branded products through Xiaomi’s e-commerce platform, www.xiaomiyoupin.com, directly to consumers, pursuant to a commission sales agreement with Xiaomi, which has been renewed up to December 31, 2019. We will initiate good faith negotiations with Xiaomi to renew the agreement near the end of the term. In the past, we successfully replaced a commission sales agreement with Xiaomi for sales through the predecessor of www.xiaomiyoupin.com that expired on December 31, 2017 with the current Youpin commission sales agreement. However, we cannot assure you that we will be able to renew the business cooperation agreement or the commission sales agreement, or on the same or more favorable terms. In addition, both agreements are subject to early termination by Xiaomi under certain circumstances. For more details of the agreements with Xiaomi, including conditions for early termination, please see the section titled “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—B. Related Party Transactions—Our Relationship with Xiaomi.” If, for any reason, we cannot maintain our cooperation relationship with Xiaomi or Xiaomi significantly reduces or ceases purchases from us, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

Furthermore, Xiaomi sells a broad spectrum of products, including our Xiaomi-branded and our self-branded products, as well as products unrelated to us through its various sales channels. We cannot assure you that our products can always receive the same level of attention and promotion efforts from Xiaomi thus far. If Xiaomi dedicates less resources to promoting and selling our products or introduces products that compete with ours, our net revenues may decrease as well. Negative publicity related to Xiaomi, including products offered by Xiaomi unrelated to us, the celebrities Xiaomi are associated with, or even the labor policies or environmental issues of any of Xiaomi’s suppliers or manufacturers, may also have a material adverse effect on the sales of our products and public recognition of our brand.

Xiaomi is also a shareholder of our Company. Xiaomi is a public company listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. When exercising its rights as our shareholder, Xiaomi may take into account not only the interests of our Company and our other shareholders but also its own interests, the interests of its public shareholders and the interests of its other affiliates. The interests of our Company and our other shareholders may at times conflict with the interests of Xiaomi and its public shareholders and other affiliates. Such conflicts may result in losing business opportunities for us, including opportunities to enter into lines of business that may overlap with those pursued by Xiaomi or the companies within its ecosystem. Currently, we do not have any formal processes to address such conflicts.

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Our future success depends on our ability to promote our brand and protect our reputation. Our failure to establish and promote our brand and any damage to our reputation will hinder our growth.

We utilize a number of marketing initiatives to promote our brand. We also actively participate in a variety of online and offline marketing events, such as the “Singles’ Day” and “Double Twelve” shopping festivals. We believe our strategy to enhance our brand recognition is crucial to our future success. We have invested, and will need to continue to dedicate, significant time, efforts and resources to advertising and market promotion initiatives. Our sales and marketing expenses were RMB379.6 million (US$55.2 million) for the year ended December 31, 2018, representing 14.8% of our net revenues, a substantial increase from 2017. We may need to devote an even greater portion of our resources to continue to strengthen our brand recognition and build our user base, which may impact our profitability. We cannot guarantee that our marketing efforts will ultimately be successful, as it is affected by numerous factors, including the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns, our ability to provide consistent, high quality products and services, consumers’ satisfaction with our products, as well as supports and services we provide, among others.

In addition, any negative publicity related to our brand, products, contract manufacturers, suppliers, distribution partners, strategic partners, such as Xiaomi, third-party ecosystem partners, or celebrities we are associated with could have an adverse impact on our brand, which may negatively affect our business and results of operations.

If we fail to successfully develop and commercialize new products, services and technologies that are well received by consumers in a timely manner, our operating results may be materially and adversely affected.

Our ability to compete successfully depends in large part on our ability to continue to introduce new and innovative products, services and technologies that are well received by consumers and in a timely manner, and in turn, grow our household user base.

Our ability to roll out new and innovative products and services depends on a number of factors, including significant investments in research and development, quality control of our products and services and effective management of our supply chain. The execution of such initiatives can be complex and costly. As such, we could experience delays in completing the development and introduction of new products, services and technologies in the future. We may need to devote an even greater portion of our resources to the research and development of new or enhanced products, services and technologies, which may adversely affect our profitability. In addition, our research and development efforts may not yield the benefits we expect to achieve in a timely manner, or at all. To the extent we are unable to execute our strategy of continuously introducing new and innovative products, diversifying our product portfolio and satisfying consumers’ changing preferences, we may not be able to grow our household user base and our competitive position and results of operations may be adversely affected.

Our expansion into new product categories and scenarios, and substantial increases in product lines may expose us to new challenges and more risks.

We strive to continue to expand and diversify our IoT-enabled smart home product offerings to cover additional scenarios in the home environment. Expanding into new product categories and scenarios and substantially increasing our product lines involve new risks and challenges. Our potential lack of familiarity with new products and scenarios and the lack of relevant customer data relating to these products may make it more difficult for us to anticipate user demand and preferences. We may misjudge market demand, resulting in inventory buildup and possible inventory write-downs. We may not be able to effectively control our costs and expenses in rolling out these new product categories and scenarios. We may have certain quality issues and experience higher return rates on new products, receive more customer complaints and face costly product liability claims, such as injury allegedly or actually caused by our products, which would harm our brand and reputation as well as our financial performance.

Furthermore, we may need to price our new products more aggressively to penetrate new markets, and gain market share or remain competitive. It may be difficult for us to achieve profitability in the new product categories and our profit margin, if any, may be lower than we anticipate, which would adversely affect our overall profitability and results of operations.

We operate in the emerging and evolving IoT-enabled smart home products market in China, which may develop more slowly or differently than we expect. If the IoT-enabled smart home products market does not grow as we expect, or if we cannot expand our products and services to meet consumer demands, our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

The IoT-enabled smart home products market in China has experienced rapid growth in recent years. However, the growth rate may decrease due to uncertainties with respect to China’s macro-economy, disposable income growth, the acceptance of IoT technology and products, and pace of development of technologies and other factors. Furthermore, the IoT-enabled smart home products market is constantly evolving, and it is uncertain whether our products and services will achieve and sustain high levels of demand and market acceptance. Our ability to expand the sales of our IoT products to a broader consumer base depends on several factors, including Chinese consumers’ receptiveness towards and adoption of smart home AI and IoT technology, the market awareness of our brand, the timely introduction and market acceptance of our products and services, the network effects of our products and services, our ability to attract, retain and effectively train sales and marketing personnel, the effectiveness of our marketing programs, our ability to develop effective relationships with distribution partners and expand our network of offline experience stores, the cost and functionality of our products and services and the success of our competitors. If we are unsuccessful in developing and marketing our IoT products to consumers, or if these consumers do not perceive or value the benefits of our holistic IoT @ Home approach, the market for our products and services may not continue to develop or may develop more slowly than we expect, either of which would adversely affect our profitability and growth prospects.

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If our user engagement ceases to grow or declines, our business and operating results may be materially and adversely affected.

User engagement is important to our business model, as we utilize the data generated through users’ interaction with our products to enhance algorithms and data analytics capabilities of our software to deliver a better user experience. In addition, our value-added businesses ecosystem and the virtuous cycle that we anticipate it to create depend heavily on the level of user engagement with the products and services provided by us.

Many factors may prevent users from continually engaging and habitually using our products, including:

 

technical glitches may occur, which may prevent our products and services from operating in a smooth and reliable manner, and hence adversely affect user experience;

 

we may be unable to identify and meet evolving user demands and preferences;

 

we may not successfully develop functionalities that could further enhance user engagement and generate recurring revenues, or the new or updated products and services we introduce may not be favorably received by users;

 

we may not be able to continue to successfully drive organic growth of users through word-of-mouth referrals, which may cause the growth of our user base to slow down or stall or require us to increase our promotion and advertising spending or devote additional resources to acquire users;

 

we may be unable to prevent or combat inappropriate use of our products and services, which may lead to negative public perception of us and damage our brand or reputation;

 

our competitors may launch or develop similar or disruptive products and services with better user experience, which may result in a loss of existing users or declines in new user growth;

 

we may fail to address user concerns related to privacy and communication, data safety or security, and as a result, users may be deferred from using our products and services in scenarios that we hope to capture; and

 

we may be compelled to modify our products and services to address requirements imposed by legislation, regulations, government policies or requests from government authorities in manners that may compromise user experience or make our products less affordable.

If we are unable to adapt to technological changes and implement technological enhancements to our products and services, our ability to remain competitive could be adversely affected.

The IoT-enabled smart home products market, together with the broader home appliances market, is characterized by rapid technological changes, frequent introductions of new products and evolving industry standards. However, product development often requires significant lead-time and upfront investment. Our ability to attract new consumers and increase revenues from existing consumers will depend significantly on our ability to accurately anticipate changes in industry standards and to continue to appropriately fund development efforts to enhance our existing products and services or introduce new products and services in a timely manner to keep pace with technological developments. For example, voice- and gesture-control and facial- and image-recognition are important features of our IoT @ Home platform, and the technologies supporting them have been rapidly developing. If any of our competitors implement new technologies before us, those competitors may be able to provide products that are more effective or with more user-friendly features than ours, possibly at lower prices, which could adversely impact our sales and impact our market share. In addition, any delay or failure in our introduction of new or enhanced products and services could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We are susceptible to supply shortages and interruptions, long lead times, and price fluctuations for raw materials and components, any of which could disrupt our supply chain and have a material adverse impact on our results of operations.

Our product portfolio includes various product categories and product lines. Mass production of our products requires timely and adequate supply of various types of raw materials and components. A substantial majority of the components and raw materials used to produce our products are sourced from third-party suppliers, and some of these components and raw materials are sourced from a limited number of suppliers or a single supplier. Therefore, we are subject to risks of shortages or discontinuation in supply, long lead times, cost increases and quality control issues with our suppliers. In addition, some of our suppliers may have more established relationships with our competitors, and as a result of these relationships, such suppliers may choose to limit or terminate their relationships with us or prioritize our competitors’ orders in the case of supply shortages.

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In the event of a component or raw material shortage or supply interruption from suppliers, we will need to identify alternative sources of supply, which can be time-consuming, difficult to locate, and costly. We may not be able to source these components or raw materials on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all, which may undermine our ability to meet our production requirements or to fill customer orders in a timely manner. This could cause delays in shipment of our products, harm our relationships with our customers, network partners and other business partners, and adversely affect our results of operations.

Moreover, the market prices for certain raw materials have been volatile. For example, we have experienced significant increases in the market prices for certain material raw materials used in manufacturing refrigerators recently, and we may not be able to recover these costs through selling price increases to our customers, which would have a negative effect on our financial results.

We rely on certain contract manufacturers to produce a majority of our products. If we encounter issues with them, our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

We rely on certain contract manufacturers to produce a majority of our products. We may experience operational difficulties with our contract manufacturers, including reductions in the availability of production capacity, failure to comply with product specifications, insufficient quality control, failure to meet production deadlines, increases in manufacturing costs and longer lead time. Our contract manufacturers may experience disruptions in their manufacturing operations due to equipment breakdowns, labor strikes or shortages, natural disasters, component or material shortages, cost increases, violation of environmental, health or safety laws and regulations, or other problems. We may be unable to pass the cost increases to our customers. We may have disputes with our contract manufacturers, which may result in litigation expenses, divert our management’s attention and cause supply shortages to us. In addition, we may not be able to renew contracts with our contract manufacturers for our existing products or identify contract manufacturers who are capable of producing new products we target to launch in the future.

While we have constant access to each manufacturing facility of our contract manufacturers, and have quality control teams to continually monitor the manufacturing processes at our contract manufacturers’ facilities, any failure of such partners to perform may have a material negative impact on our cost or supply of finished goods. In addition, if such failure affects our supplies to Xiaomi, our relationship with Xiaomi may be adversely affected.

Furthermore, although our agreements with our contract manufacturers contain confidential obligations, and we have adopted security protocols to ensure knowhow and technologies for manufacturing our products could not be easily leaked or plagiarized, we cannot guarantee the effectiveness of these efforts and, any leakage or plagiary of our knowhow and technologies could be detrimental to our business prospects and results of operations.

We may from time to time enter into contracts with some customers that provide certain favorable terms to such customers, which may, in certain situations, adversely affect our results of operations or profitability.

We may from time to time enter into contracts with some customers that provide certain favorable terms to such customers to expand our sales channels and increase our market penetration, which may, in certain situations, adversely affect our results of operations or profitability. For example, our contract with a leading e-commerce platform provides, among others, return or discount clearance of certain slow-moving products and potential payment of various consideration to the platform including payment for gross margin guarantee on certain products, monthly compensation for promotion and marketing activities, and fees for advertising through such platform. For more details on the contract, please see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results—Critical Accounting Policies.”

Our business may be adversely impacted by product defects.

Product defects can occur throughout the product development, design and manufacturing processes or as a result of our reliance on third parties for components, raw materials, and manufacturing. Any product defects or any other failure of our products or substandard product quality could harm our reputation and result in adverse publicity, lost revenues, delivery delays, product recalls, relationships with our network partners and other business partners, product liability claims, administrative penalties, harm to our brand and reputation, and significant warranty and other expenses, and could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects. While we maintain a reserve for product warranty costs based on certain estimates and our knowledge of current events and actions, our actual warranty costs may exceed our reserve, resulting in current period expenses and a need to increase our reserve for warranty costs.

Moreover, since our products combine hardware and software, any glitches in the software may intervene and disrupt our efforts to integrate our products in consumers’ lifestyles. We rely on the connectivity and network effects of our products and services to attract consumers to expand their collection of our products, which we believe will reinforce a positive smart home experience. Any failure or defects that a consumer experiences in one product, however, may prevent this connectivity or network effect from being realized. As a result, we may be prevented from providing holistic IoT @ Home solutions to our customers and our business prospectus, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

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We are exposed to potential liabilities arising from the products we sell, and costs related to defective products could have a material adverse impact on us.

Disputes over warranties of our products can arise in the ordinary course of our business. In extreme situations, we may be exposed to various liabilities relating to potential personal injuries as a result of misuse or quality defects of the products we sell. We may experience material product liability losses, and we may be unable to defend these claims at a contained level of cost or at all. Although we have product liability insurance, we cannot assure you that our insurance coverage will be sufficient or that we will be able to obtain sufficient coverage at an acceptable cost in the future. A successful claim brought against us in excess of our available insurance coverage may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Although we historically had insignificant volumes of product replacements or product returns, the cost of product replacements or product returns in the future may be substantial, particularly given our increasing product categories and models, and we could incur substantial costs to implement modifications to fix defects in our products.

Our consumers may experience service failures or interruptions due to defects in the software, infrastructure, components or processes that compromise our products and services, or due to errors in product installation, any of which could harm our business.

Our products and services may contain undetected defects in the software, infrastructure, components or processes. Sophisticated software and applications, such as those offered by us, often contain “bugs” that can unexpectedly interfere with the software and applications’ intended operations. Our internet services may from time to time experience outages, service slowdowns or errors. Defects may also occur in components or processes used in our products or for our services. There can be no assurance that we will be able to detect and fix all defects in the hardware, software and services we offer. Failure to do so could result in decreases in sales of our products and services, lost revenues, significant warranty and other expenses, decreases in customer confidence and loyalty, lost market share to our competitors, and harm to our reputation.

Our delivery, return and exchange policies may adversely affect our results of operations.

We have adopted shipping policies that do not necessarily pass the full cost of shipping onto our customers. We also have adopted customer-friendly return and exchange policies that make it convenient and easy for customers to change their minds within seven days after completing direct online purchases from us. We may also be required by law to adopt new or amend existing return and exchange policies from time to time. These policies improve users’ shopping experience and promote customer loyalty, which in turn help us acquire and retain users. However, these policies also subject us to additional costs and expenses which we may not recoup through increased revenues. If our delivery, return and exchange policies are misused by a significant number of customers, our costs may increase significantly and our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. If we revise these policies to reduce our costs and expenses, our users may be dissatisfied, which may result in loss of existing users or failure to acquire new users at a desirable pace, which may materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

Our operating results could be materially harmed if we are unable to accurately forecast consumer demand for our products or manage our inventory.

To ensure adequate supply for our products, we must forecast consumer demand for our products, including Xiaomi’s demand. Our ability to accurately forecast demand for our products could be affected by many factors, including changes in consumer perception of our products or our competitors’, sales promotions by us or our competitors, our sales channel inventory levels, and unanticipated changes in general market and economic conditions, among others.

We manage our inventory by constantly monitoring and tracking our current inventory levels, while keeping a small portion of reserve stock, based on our forecast customer demand. If we fail to accurately forecast customer demand, we may experience excess inventory levels or a shortage of products available for sale. For example, our inventory level could increase in the fourth quarter as we prepare for large online sales promotion events, and it would be difficult for us to forecast the sales that we may achieve in those events. Inventory levels in excess of customer demand may result in inventory write-downs or write-offs and the sale of excess inventory at discounted prices, which may cause our gross margin to suffer and could impair the strength of our brand. On the other hand, in the case we experience shortage of products, we may be unable to meet the demand for our products, and our business and operating results could be adversely affected. We have experienced inventory shortage of popular products in the past. Such arrangement may lead to loss of consumer confidence and further uncertainty with respect to our inventory level.

As market competition for products similar to ours intensifies, we expect that it will become more difficult to forecast demand. In addition, as we continue to introduce new product and services and expand our products portfolio, we may face increasing challenges managing the production plan and appropriate inventory levels for our product portfolio.

Our efforts to manage and expand our customer base and sales channels may not be successful.

We sell our products via multiple online and offline sales channels, including sales to Xiaomi and other online sales channels and through online direct sales, together with a network of Viomi offline experience stores. Historically, Xiaomi has been our most important customer. In the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018, we generated a substantial portion of our net revenues from sales to Xiaomi of Xiaomi-branded products.

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Although we have devoted significant resources to expanding and diversifying our customer base and sales channels, we cannot assure you that such efforts would succeed. Our current agreements with third-party online sales generally do not prohibit them from working with our competitors or from selling competing products. Our competitors may be more effective in providing incentives to our third-party online sales to favor our competitors’ products and promote their sales. Pursuing, establishing and maintaining relationships with our online sales partners requires significant time and resources. We cannot assure you that we will be able to renew those agreements upon their expiry on commercially acceptable terms, or at all.

In addition, we have been adding offline experience stores and cooperating with more network partners. With the increased scale of operations, we will be required to invest additional resources in managing our network partners, and hence we may not be able to expand as fast or as successfully as we expect. In addition, our sales network management systems may not be effective.

We face risks associated with our network partners and their personnel for our network of Viomi offline experience stores.

We rely on third-party network partners to operate our network of Viomi offline experience stores. We rely on these network partners to directly interact with and serve end customers, but the interest of a network partner may not be entirely aligned with ours. We set standards of practice of our network partners and provide incentives and periodic evaluation. However, our control over the network partners may not be as effective as if we directly owned and operated these offline experience stores.

Our network partners carry out a significant amount of direct interactions with end users of our products, and their performance directly affects our brand image. However, we do not directly supervise their interactions or services provided. Although we have established and distributed service standards across our network and provide extensive ongoing training to our third-party network partners, we may not be able to successfully monitor, maintain and improve the services they provide. We may experience service disruptions, customer complaints and reduced sales, and our reputation may be materially and adversely affected if end users of our products are unsatisfied with our network partners’ performance.

Our offline experience stores may not be successful due to factors beyond our control, such as underperformance of the stores or adverse market conditions. We may also have disputes with our network partners. Suspension or termination of a network partner’s services in a particular area may cause interruption to or failure in our services in the corresponding area. We may not be able to promptly replace our network partners or find alternative ways to provide services in a timely, reliable and cost-effective manner, or at all. Any service disruptions associated with our network partners could result in our customer satisfaction, reputation, operations and financial performance being materially and adversely affected.

We may not be successful in monetizing our household user base.

It is an important growth strategy for us to continue to grow our user base and enrich our value-added businesses ecosystem, key components of our IoT @ Home platform, which enable us to differentiate our offerings and create additional monetization opportunities for us, including the sale of complementary products and provision of value-added services. While we have successfully grown our household user base from approximately 113 thousand as of December 31, 2016 to over 1.7 million as of December 31, 2018, there is no assurance that we will be successful in monetizing this user base through such offerings, for example, if:

 

we are not able to increase or maintain the amount of time our household users spend interacting with our IoT products;

 

we are not able to incentivize our household users to engage in relevant consumption activities related to our IoT @ Home platform; or

 

we are not able to maintain or attract ecosystem partners to supply products or services on our IoT @ Home platform that are attractive to our household users.

If we fail to expand or maintain the pool of our ecosystem partners, our net revenues growth may be adversely affected and the number of application scenarios of our products may not grow as quickly as we expect, or at all, which may reduce the attractiveness of our products. Any underperformance of or negative publicity about our ecosystem partners may also adversely affect our operating results.

Various of our IoT products allow users to directly access various media and entertainment content, as well as purchase and order products from us and our ecosystem partners. We have been actively seeking ecosystem partners on this front to expand our offerings and potentially create additional revenues streams for us. If we fail to expand and maintain the pool of our ecosystem partners, the ecosystem that we strive to establish may not succeed, which in turn may affect the willingness of consumers to purchase our products, and in turn increase the difficulty for us to attract suitable ecosystem partners.

In addition, as we associate ourselves with these ecosystem partners in providing services, any negative publicity on them may also have adverse impact on our own reputation and results of operations. Furthermore, although products that these ecosystem partners offer are not our products, customers may still associate us with any dissatisfaction with the products and services offered by our ecosystem partners. Moreover, we may be subject to litigation or potential sanctions under PRC law if we were to negligently participate or assist in infringement activities associated with counterfeit or defective goods.

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We depend on third party service providers for logistics and aftersales services.

We outsource a majority of our transportation and logistics services, as well as installation and after-sale services, for our products to third-party service providers. We rely on these outsourcing partners to bring our products to our customers and in some cases, install them for our customers, and provide after-sale services. While these arrangements allow us to focus on our main business, they also reduce our direct control over the logistics and aftersales services provided to our customers. Any failure of our logistics partners to perform may have a material negative impact on the timely delivery of our products and customer satisfaction. In addition, logistics in our primary locations or transit to final destinations may be disrupted for a variety of reasons including, natural and man-made disasters, information technology system failures, commercial disputes, military actions or economic, business, labor, environmental, public health, or political issues. We may also be unable to pass any increase in logistics costs to our customers. Errors that occur in product installation or product maintenance processes can compromise our products and services, adversely affect customer experience, and harm our business.

An economic downturn may adversely affect consumer discretionary spending and demand for our products and service.

Our products and services may be considered discretionary items for consumers. Factors affecting the level of consumer spending for such discretionary items include general economic conditions and other factors, such as consumer confidence in future economic conditions, consumer sentiment, the availability and cost of consumer credit, levels of unemployment, and tax rates. Unfavorable economic conditions may lead consumers to delay or reduce purchases of our products and services and consumer demand for our products and services may not grow as we expect. Our sensitivity to economic cycles and any related fluctuation in consumer demand for our products and services may have an adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.

Any significant cybersecurity incident or disruption of our information technology systems or those of third-party partners could materially damage our user relationships and subject us to significant reputational, financial, legal and operational consequences.

We depend on our information technology systems, as well as those of third parties, to develop new products and services, operate our platform, host and manage our services, store data, process transactions, respond to user inquiries, and manage inventory and our supply chain. Any material disruption or slowdown of our systems or those of third parties whom we depend upon, including a disruption or slowdown caused by our failure to successfully manage significant increases in user volume, could cause outages or delays in our services, which could harm our brand and adversely affect our operating results.

We rely on cloud servers maintained by KSYUN and Alibaba Cloud Services to store our data. Problems with our cloud service providers or the telecommunications network providers with whom they contract could adversely affect the experience of our users. Our cloud service providers could decide to cease providing us with services without adequate prior notice. Any change in service levels at our cloud servers or any errors, defects, disruptions, or other performance problems with our platform could harm our brand and may damage the data of our users. If changes in technology cause our information systems, or those of third parties whom we depend upon, to become obsolete, or if our or their information systems are inadequate to handle our growth, we could lose users and our business and operating results could be adversely affected.

Due to the ever-changing cyber threat landscape, our products may be subject to potential vulnerabilities of IoT products, and our services may be subject to certain risks, including hacking or other unauthorized access to control or view systems and obtain private information.

Companies that collect and retain sensitive and confidential information are under increasing attack by cyber-criminals around the world. IoT products, being connected to the internet, are particularly vulnerable to cyberattack. While we implement security measures within our products, services, operations and systems, those measures may not prevent cybersecurity breaches, the access, capture or alteration of information by criminals, the exposure or exploitation of potential security vulnerabilities, distributed denial of service attacks, the installation of malware or ransomware, acts of vandalism, computer viruses, misplaced data or data loss that could disrupt the function of our products or services, and be detrimental to our reputation, business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Third parties, including distribution partners, ecosystem partners and our other business partners, could also be a source of security risk to us in the event of a failure of their own products, components, networks, security systems, and infrastructure. In addition, we cannot be certain that advances in criminal capabilities, new discoveries in the field of cryptography, or other developments will not compromise or breach the technology protecting the networks that access our products and services. A significant actual or perceived (whether or not valid) theft, loss, fraudulent use or misuse of customer, employee, or other data, whether by us, our business partners, or other third parties, or as a result of employee error or negligence or otherwise, non-compliance with applicable industry standards or our contractual or other legal obligations regarding such data, or a violation of our privacy and information security policies with respect to such data, could result in costs, fines, litigation, or regulatory actions against us. Such an event could additionally result in unfavorable publicity and therefore materially and adversely affect the market’s perception of the security and reliability of our services and our credibility and reputation with our customers, which may lead to customer dissatisfaction and could result in lost sales and increased customer revenues attrition.

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We collect, store, process and use a variety of user data and information, which subjects us to governmental regulations and other legal obligations related to privacy, information security, and data protection, and any security breaches, and our actual or perceived failure to comply with our legal obligations could harm our brand and business.

Exploring growth opportunities by expanding our user base is one of our key strategies. Due to the volume and sensitivity of the information and data of our users we collect and manage and the nature of our products, the security features of our website, Viomi Store mobile app, e-commerce platform, IoT @ Home platform, and information systems are critical to our success. We have adopted security policies and measures, including encryption technology, to protect our proprietary data and user information. However, our website, Viomi Store mobile app, e-commerce platform, IoT @ Home platform and information systems may be targets of attacks, such as viruses, malware or phishing attempts by cyber criminals or other wrongdoers seeking to steal our user data for financial gain or to harm our business operations or reputation. The loss, misuse or compromise of such information may result in costly investigations, remediation efforts and notification to affected users. If such content is accessed by unauthorized third parties or deleted inadvertently by us or third parties, our brand and reputation and our sales could be adversely affected. Cyber-attacks could also adversely affect our operating results, consume internal resources, and result in litigation or potential liability for us and otherwise harm our business.

In addition, according to our business cooperation agreement with Xiaomi, both Xiaomi and us can collect and use user data of all products we develop and sell to Xiaomi. Consequently, any leak or abuse of user data by Xiaomi may be perceived by consumers as a result of the compromise of our information security system. Any failure or perceived failure by us to prevent information security breaches or to comply with privacy policies or privacy-related legal obligations, or any compromise of security that results in the unauthorized release or transfer of sensitive information or other customer data, could cause our users to lose trust in us and could expose us to legal claims.

A growing number of legislative and regulatory bodies have adopted consumer notification requirements in the event of unauthorized access to or acquisition of certain types of data. Those breach notification laws continue to evolve and may be inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another, which might become a particular concern as we accelerate our international expansion. Complying with these obligations could cause us to incur substantial costs and could increase negative publicity surrounding any incident that compromises user data. Any failure to comply with applicable regulations, whether by us, our business partners, or other third parties, or as a result of employee error or negligence or otherwise, could result in regulatory enforcement actions against us, harm to our reputation and even our business partners to cease cooperation with us.

Our intellectual property and proprietary rights may not adequately protect our products, and our business may suffer if third parties infringe our intellectual property and proprietary rights.

We may not have sufficient intellectual property rights in all countries and regions where unauthorized third-party copying or use of our proprietary technology may occur and the scope of our intellectual property might be more limited in certain countries and regions. Our existing and future patents may not be sufficient to protect our products, services, technologies or designs and/or may not prevent others from developing competing products, services, technologies or designs. We cannot predict the validity and enforceability of our patents and other intellectual property with certainty. Litigation may be necessary to enforce our intellectual property rights. Initiating infringement proceedings against third parties can be expensive and time-consuming, and divert management’s attention from other business concerns. We may not prevail in litigation to enforce our intellectual property against unauthorized use.

According to our business cooperation agreement with Xiaomi, Xiaomi and we have joint ownership over all technology properties (other than industrial designs) and related intellectual properties generated from the process of design, development, manufacturing and sales of Xiaomi-branded products and certain of our self-branded products we supply to Xiaomi. We believe we have properly filed or registered those patents we jointly own with Xiaomi. Nevertheless, we may face claims from Xiaomi for joint ownership of more intellectual properties related to Xiaomi-branded products and certain of our self-branded products we supply to Xiaomi. In addition, Xiaomi may use these intellectual properties and user data to develop and manufacture competing products on its own and although the business cooperation agreement forbids the parties to license any third party to use the jointly owned intellectual properties without prior consent of the other party, we cannot ensure the compliance of Xiaomi with such agreement.

Under a license agreement effective from June 24, 2018, we have obtained an exclusive and royalty-free right to use 11 patents owned by our founder and CEO Mr. Xiaoping Chen. If, for any reason, we are no longer able to use such patents or are charged significant fees for the use, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.

We may encounter claims alleging our infringement of third-party intellectual properties from time to time.

We may encounter claims from time to time relating to our use of intellectual properties of third parties, and we may not prevail in those disputes. We have adopted policies and procedures to prohibit our contract manufacturers from infringing third-party copyright or other intellectual property rights. However, we cannot ensure that they will strictly comply with our policy. In addition, any misconduct of our employees could also result in us infringing third-party intellectual property rights. Therefore, liabilities and expenses may be incurred in respect of the unauthorized use of third parties’ intellectual properties or defending against relevant claims. We have been involved in claims against us alleging our infringement of third-party intellectual property rights and we may be subject to further claims in the future. Any such intellectual property infringement claim could result in costly litigation and divert our management attention and resources. If we are found to have infringed intellectual property rights of third parties, we may be subject to monetary damages and may be required to cease production and sales of the relevant products. For example, in May 2018, a Chinese household electronic appliance producer brought some claims against us and certain other parties alleging that a type of our dishwashers infringed their utility model and industrial design patents, and required us to compensate their economic losses, litigation related expenses and litigation fees, and to cease selling this product. While we do not expect the outcome of this litigation to have a material adverse impact on our reputation or results of operations, other similar lawsuits that may be brought against us in the future could have a negative impact on us.

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We rely on technology that we license from third parties, including artificial intelligence, that is integrated with our internally developed algorithms, software, or products.

We rely on technology that we license from third parties. For example, for our voice recognition technologies, we have incorporated speech synthesis engine and Q&A components provided by AISpeech and iFLYTEK. We cannot be certain that our licensors are not infringing the intellectual property rights of third parties or that our licensors have sufficient rights to the licensed intellectual property in all jurisdictions in which we may sell our products. If we are unable to continue to license those technologies on commercially reasonable terms, we will face delays in releases of new products or functions or we will be required to delete this functionality from our products until equivalent, non-infringing technology can be licensed or developed and integrated into our current products. This effort could take significant time (during which we would be unable to continue to offer our affected products or services) and expenses and may ultimately not be successful.

Our use of open source software could negatively affect our ability to sell our products and subject us to possible litigation.

A portion of the technologies we use incorporates open source software, and we may incorporate open source software in the future. Such open source software is generally licensed by its authors or other third parties under open source licenses. These licenses may subject us to certain unfavorable conditions, including requirements that we offer our products and services that incorporate the open source software for no cost, that we make publicly available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon, incorporating, or using the open source software, or that we license such modifications or derivative works under the terms of the particular open source license.

Additionally, if a third-party software provider has incorporated open source software into software that we license from such provider, we could be required to disclose or provide at no cost any of our source code that incorporates or is a modification of such licensed software. If an author or any third party that distributes open source software that we use or license were to allege that we had not complied with the conditions of the applicable license, we may need to incur significant legal expenses defending against such allegations and could be subject to significant damages and enjoined from the sale of our products and services that contained the open source software. Any of the foregoing could disrupt the distribution and sale of our products and services and harm our business.

We may need additional capital, and financing may not be available on terms acceptable to us, or at all.

We believe that our current cash and cash equivalents and anticipated cash flow from operations will be sufficient to meet our anticipated cash needs for the next 12 months. We may, however, require additional cash resources due to changed business conditions or other future developments, including any changes in our pricing policy, marketing initiatives or investments we may decide to pursue. If these resources are insufficient to satisfy our cash requirements, we may seek to obtain a credit facility or sell additional equity or debt securities. The sale of additional equity securities could result in dilution of our existing shareholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased debt service obligations and could result in operating and financing covenants that would restrict our operations. It is uncertain whether financing will be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all.

We may engage in acquisition and investment activities, which could require significant management attention, disrupt our business, dilute shareholder value, and adversely affect our operating results.

As part of our business strategy, we may acquire or make investments in other companies, products, or technologies along our product value chain to complement our business, enhance the features and functionality of our products, and accelerate the expansion of our platform and network of strategic partners. We may not be able to find suitable acquisition or investment candidates and we may not be able to complete acquisition and investment on favorable terms, if at all. If we do complete acquisition and investment as we expect, we may not ultimately strengthen our competitive position or achieve our goals; and any acquisition and investment we complete could be viewed negatively by users or investors. In addition, if we fail to successfully integrate such acquisitions, or the technologies associated with such acquisitions, into our company, the revenues and operating results of the combined company could be adversely affected. Acquisitions and investments are inherently risky and may not be successful, and they may disrupt our ongoing operations, divert management from their primary responsibilities, subject us to greater-than-expected liabilities and our expenses, and adversely impact our business, financial condition, operating results, and cash flows.

Our results of operations may be subject to seasonality.

Our operating results may vary significantly from period to period due to many factors, including seasonal factors that may have an effect on the demand for our IoT products. While seasonality has not been particularly prevalent in our historical results of operations due to the rapid growth of our business, we generally expect to experience higher sales in the second and fourth quarters, primarily attributable to the major shopping festivals across online e-commerce platforms such as “618,” “Singles’ Day” and “Double Twelve,” which are highly popular among Chinese consumers. Given the impact of this seasonality, our quarterly results of operation and financial position at the end of a particular quarter may not necessarily be representative of the results we expect at year end or in other quarters of a year. Our operating results could also suffer if we do not achieve revenues consistent with our expectations for this seasonal demand because many of our expenses are based on anticipated levels of annual revenues.

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Higher labor costs and increasing raw material prices may adversely affect our business and our profitability.

Labor costs in China have risen in recent years as a result of the enactment of new labor laws and social development. Given that substantially all of our contract manufacturers are currently located in China, rising labor costs in China will increase our personnel expenses. In addition, we have witnessed growing inflation rates in many areas of the world, and particularly in China, where we procure most of our raw materials, which adversely affects our costs of raw materials. We may not be able to pass on rising costs as a result of higher labor costs and increasing raw material prices to end consumers in the form of higher retail sale prices. Accordingly, our profitability may be adversely affected if labor costs and raw material prices continue to rise in the future.

Certain of our directors may have conflicts of interest.

One of our directors, Mr. De Liu, is also a director of Xiaomi. This association may give rise to potential conflicts of interest, especially with regard to our business cooperation with Xiaomi. Directors of our Company are required by law to act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best of our interests and to disclose any interest that they may have in any of our projects or opportunities. In addition, we have adopted a code of ethics and an audit committee charter. Our code of ethics provides that an interested director needs to refrain from participating in any discussion among senior officers of our company relating to an interested business and may not be involved in any proposed transaction with such interested business. Furthermore, our audit committee charter provides that most related party transactions must be pre-approved by the audit committee, a majority of which consist of independent directors. Our audit committee charter, however, exempts the pre-approval requirement for related party transactions that are immaterial to us or not unusual by nature. In the event of such transactions with Xiaomi, Mr. Liu will still be entitled to vote in our board meeting, and we cannot assure you that Mr. Liu’s decision will not be impacted by any potential conflict of interest arising from his relationship with Xiaomi.

In connection with the audit of our consolidated financial statements included in this annual report, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified three material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. If we fail to develop and maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud.

In connection with the audit of our consolidated financial statements included in this annual report, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified three material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting as well as other control deficiencies. As defined in the standards established by the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a “material weakness” is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

The material weaknesses identified related to (i) our lack of sufficient resources regarding financial reporting and accounting personnel with understanding of U.S. GAAP, in particular, to address complex U.S. GAAP technical accounting issues, related disclosures in accordance with U.S. GAAP and financial reporting requirements set forth by the SEC, (ii) lack of comprehensive U.S. GAAP accounting policies and financial reporting procedures and (iii) lack of an effective control procedure to track and estimate warranty provision relating to our products sold to ensure accuracy.

Following the identification of the material weaknesses, we have taken measures and plan to continue to take measures to remedy the material weaknesses. See “Item 15. Controls and Procedures—Internal Control over Financial Reporting.” However, the implementation of these measures may not fully address the material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, and we cannot conclude that they have been fully remedied. Our failure to correct the material weaknesses or our failure to discover and address any other control deficiencies could result in inaccuracies in our financial statements and impair our ability to comply with applicable financial reporting requirements and related regulatory filings on a timely basis. Moreover, ineffective internal control over financial reporting could significantly hinder our ability to prevent fraud.

We are now subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or Section 404, requires that we include a report from management on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in our annual report on Form 20-F beginning with our annual report for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2019. In addition, once we cease to be an “emerging growth company” as such term is defined in the JOBS Act, our independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Our management may conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective. Moreover, even if our management concludes that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, our independent registered public accounting firm, after conducting its own independent testing, may issue a report that is qualified if it is not satisfied with our internal controls or the level at which our controls are documented, designed, operated or reviewed, or if it interprets the relevant requirements differently from us. In addition, after we become a public company, our reporting obligations may place a significant strain on our management, operational and financial resources and systems for the foreseeable future. We may be unable to timely complete our evaluation testing and any required remediation.

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During the course of documenting and testing our internal control procedures, in order to satisfy the requirements of Section 404, we may identify other weaknesses and deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, if we fail to maintain the adequacy of our internal control over financial reporting, as these standards are modified, supplemented or amended from time to time, we may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404. If we fail to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment, we could suffer material misstatements in our financial statements and fail to meet our reporting obligations, which would likely cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information. This could in turn limit our access to capital markets, harm our results of operations, and lead to a decline in the trading price of our ADSs. Additionally, ineffective internal control over financial reporting could expose us to increased risk of fraud or misuse of corporate assets and subject us to potential delisting from the stock exchange on which we list, regulatory investigations and civil or criminal sanctions. We may also be required to restate our financial statements for prior periods.

We have granted, and may continue to grant, options and other types of awards under our share incentive plan, which may result in increased share-based compensation expense and have dilutive impact to you.

Our shareholders and board of directors have adopted two share incentive plans. Pursuant to these two plans, a total of 30,400,000 ordinary shares underlying the awards may be issued. As of December 31, 2018, there are 13,260,000 ordinary shares issuable upon exercise of outstanding share options under these two plans at a weighted average price of $0.4258 per share. Competition for highly skilled personnel is often intense, and we may incur significant costs or be not successful in attracting, integrating, or retaining qualified personnel to fulfil our current or future needs. We believe the granting of share-based awards is of significant importance to our ability to attract and retain key personnel and employees, and we will continue to grant share-based compensation to employees in the future. As a result, our expenses associated with share-based compensation may increase, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations. In addition, the granting, vesting and exercise of the awards under these share incentive plans will have dilutive effect on your shareholding in our Company.

Our future success depends, in part, on our ability to continue to attract, motivate and retain highly skilled personnel. In particular, the growth of our ecosystem may require us to hire experienced personnel with a wide range of skills.

We have, from time to time, experienced, and we expect to continue to experience, difficulty in hiring and retaining highly skilled employees with appropriate qualifications. The loss of any key personnel, especially our founder, chairman, and chief executive officer Mr. Xiaoping Chen, could be disruptive to our operations and research and development activities, reduce our employee retention and revenues, and impair our ability to compete. In addition, if any of our senior management or key personnel joins a competitor or forms a competing company, we may lose know-how, trade secrets, business partners and key personnel. Furthermore, perspective candidates and existing employees often consider the value of the equity awards they receive in connection with their employment. Thus, our ability to attract or retain highly skilled employees may be adversely affected by declines in the perceived value of our equity or equity awards. Furthermore, there are no assurances that the number of shares reserved for issuance under our share incentive plans will be sufficient to grant equity awards adequate to recruit new employees and to compensate existing employees.

We have limited insurance coverage, which could expose us to significant costs and business disruption.

Although we maintain property insurance, product liability insurance and public liability insurance, we cannot assure you that our insurance coverage is sufficient. In addition, we do not have business disruption insurance or insurance policies covering damages to our IT infrastructure or information technology systems. Any disruptions to our IT infrastructures or systems or other business disruption event could result in substantial cost to us and diversion of our resources.

We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics and other acts of god, which could significantly disrupt our operations.

Our business could be adversely affected by the effects of epidemics and other acts of god. In recent years, there have been outbreaks of epidemics in China and globally. Our business operations could be disrupted if one of our employees is suspected of having H1N1 flu, avian flu or another epidemic, since it could require our employees to be quarantined and/or our offices to be disinfected. In addition, our results of operations could be adversely affected to the extent that the outbreak harms the Chinese economy in general and the IoT-enabled smart home products industry in particular.

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Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating some of our business operations in China do not comply with PRC regulations relating to the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties, or be forced to relinquish our interest in those operations.

Due to PRC restrictions or prohibitions on foreign ownership of internet and other related business in China, we operate our business in China through our consolidated affiliated entities, in which we have no ownership interest. Although our provision of e-commerce services falls within the permitted category according to the Negative List (as defined elsewhere in this annual report) that took effect on July 28, 2018, foreign investments in this business are still restricted by other qualifications and requirements under related regulations in China. Our WFOE has entered into a series of contractual arrangements with our VIEs, and their respective shareholders, which enable us to (i) exercise effective control over our VIEs, (ii) receive substantially all of the economic benefits of our VIEs, and (iii) have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests and assets in our VIEs when and to the extent permitted by PRC law. As a result of these contractual arrangements, we have control over and are the primary beneficiary of our VIEs and hence consolidate their financial results into our consolidated financial statements under U.S. GAAP. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure” for further details.

In the opinion of our PRC legal counsel, Han Kun Law Offices, (i) the ownership structure of our VIEs in China and our WFOE, are not in violation of applicable PRC laws and regulations currently in effect; and (ii) the contractual arrangements between our WFOE, our VIEs and their shareholders governed by PRC law are valid, binding and enforceable, and will not result in any violation of applicable PRC laws. However, our PRC legal counsel has also advised us that there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations and rules. Accordingly, the PRC regulatory authorities may take a view that is contrary to the opinion of our PRC legal counsel. It is uncertain whether any new PRC laws or regulations relating to variable interest entity structures will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. If we or our VIEs are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities would have broad discretion to take action in dealing with such violations or failures, including:

 

levying fines or confiscating our income or the income of our PRC subsidiary or our VIEs, or imposing other requirements with which we or our VIEs may not be able to comply;

 

revoking or suspending the business licenses or operating licenses of our PRC subsidiary or our VIEs;

 

discontinuing or placing restrictions or onerous conditions on our operations through any transactions between our WFOE and our VIEs;

 

requiring us to restructure our ownership structure or operations, including terminating the contractual arrangements with our VIEs and deregistering the equity pledges of our VIEs, which in turn would affect our ability to consolidate, derive economic interests from, or exert effective control over our VIEs;

 

restricting or prohibiting our use of the proceeds of our initial public offering to finance our business and operations in China; and

 

taking other regulatory or enforcement actions that could be harmful to our business.

The imposition of any of these penalties would result in a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business. In addition, it is unclear what impact the PRC government actions would have on us and on our ability to consolidate the financial results of our VIEs in our consolidated financial statements, if the PRC government authorities were to find our legal structure and contractual arrangements to be in violation of PRC laws and regulations. If the imposition of any of these government actions causes us to lose our right to direct the activities of our VIEs or our right to receive substantially all the economic benefits and residual returns from our VIEs and we are not able to restructure our ownership structure and operations in a satisfactory manner, we would no longer be able to consolidate the financial results of our VIEs in our consolidated financial statements. Either of these results, or any other significant penalties that might be imposed on us in this event, would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

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We rely on contractual arrangements with our VIEs and their respective shareholders for substantially all of our business operation, which may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operation control.

We have relied and expect to continue to rely on contractual arrangements with our VIEs and their shareholders to conduct our business. These contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over our VIEs. For example, our VIEs and their shareholders could breach their contractual arrangements with us by, among other things, failing to conduct their operations in an acceptable manner or taking other actions that are detrimental to our interests.

If we had direct ownership of our VIEs, we would be able to exercise our rights as a shareholder to effect changes in the board of directors of our VIEs, which in turn could implement changes, subject to any applicable fiduciary obligations, at the management and operational level. However, under the current contractual arrangements, we rely on the performance by our VIEs and their shareholders of their obligations under the contracts to exercise control over our VIEs. However, the shareholders of our consolidated VIEs may not act in the best interests of our company or may not perform their obligations under these contracts. Such risks exist throughout the period in which we intend to operate certain portions of our business through the contractual arrangements with our VIEs. If any disputes relating to these contracts remains unresolved, we will have to enforce our rights under these contracts through the operations of PRC law and arbitration, litigation and other legal proceedings and therefore will be subject to uncertainties in the PRC legal system. See “—Any failure by our VIEs or their shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material and adverse effect on our business.” Therefore, our contractual arrangements with our VIEs and their shareholders may not be as effective in ensuring our control over the relevant portion of our business operations as direct ownership would be.

Any failure by our VIEs or their shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material and adverse effect on our business.

We refer to the shareholders of our VIEs as their nominee shareholders because although they remain the holders of equity interests on record in our VIEs, pursuant to the terms of the relevant shareholder voting proxy agreements, each such shareholder has irrevocably authorized any person designated by our WFOE to exercise the rights as a shareholder of the VIEs. However, if our VIEs or their shareholders fail to perform their respective obligations under the contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and expend additional resources to enforce such arrangements. We may also have to rely on legal remedies under PRC law, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief, and claiming damages, which we cannot assure will be effective under PRC law. For example, if the shareholders of our VIEs refuse to transfer their equity interest in our VIEs to us or our designee if we exercise the purchase option pursuant to these contractual arrangements, or if they otherwise act in bad faith toward us, then we may have to take legal actions to compel them to perform their contractual obligations.

All of the agreements under our contractual arrangements are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in China (the arbitration provisions relate to the claims arising out of the contractual relationship created by the VIE agreements, rather than claims under the United States federal securities laws and do not prevent shareholders of our Company from pursuing claims under the United States federal securities laws). Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC law and any disputes arising from these contracts would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal system in the PRC is not as developed as in some other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. See “—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system and changes in laws and regulations in China could adversely affect us.” Meanwhile, there are very few precedents and little formal guidance as to how contractual arrangements in the context of a VIE should be interpreted or enforced under PRC law. There remain significant uncertainties regarding the ultimate outcome of such arbitration should legal action become necessary. In addition, under PRC law, rulings by arbitrators are final, which means parties cannot appeal the arbitration results in courts, and if the losing parties fail to carry out the arbitration awards within a prescribed time limit, the prevailing parties may only enforce the arbitration awards in PRC courts through arbitration award recognition proceedings, which would require additional expenses and delay. In the event we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, or if we suffer significant delays or other obstacles in the process of enforcing these contractual arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over our VIEs, and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected.

Contractual arrangements in relation to our VIEs may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and they may determine that we or our VIEs owe additional taxes, which could negatively affect our financial condition and the value of your investment.

Under applicable PRC laws and regulations, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities. We could face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the VIE contractual arrangements were not entered into on an arm’s length basis in such a way as to result in an impermissible reduction in taxes under applicable PRC laws, rules and regulations, and adjust the income of our VIEs in the form of a transfer pricing adjustment. A transfer pricing adjustment could, among other things, result in a reduction of expense deductions recorded by our VIEs for PRC tax purposes, which could in turn increase its tax liabilities without reducing our WFOE’s tax expenses. In addition, the PRC tax authorities may impose late payment fees and other penalties on our VIEs for the adjusted but unpaid taxes according to the applicable regulations. Our financial position could be materially and adversely affected if our VIEs’ tax liabilities increase or if it is required to pay late payment fees and other penalties.

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The shareholders of our VIEs may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

Shareholders of our VIEs may have potential conflicts of interest with us. For instance, Mr. Xiaoping Chen, our founder, chairman of our board of directors, and chief executive officer, holds 100% of equity interests in one of our VIE and 60% in another. The remaining 40% in the latter is held by affiliates or employees of certain of our principal shareholders, Red Better Limited and Shunwei Talent Limited. Conflicts of interests may arise between their roles in our Company or in our principal shareholders and their positions as nominal shareholders of our VIEs. These shareholders of our VIEs may breach, or cause our VIEs to breach, or refuse to renew, the existing contractual arrangements we have with them and our VIEs, which would have a material and adverse effect on our ability to effectively control our VIEs and receive economic benefits from them. For example, the shareholders may be able to cause our agreements with our VIEs to be performed in a manner adverse to us by, among other things, failing to remit payments due under the contractual arrangements to us on a timely basis. We cannot assure you that when conflicts of interest arise the shareholder will act in the best interests of our company or such conflicts will be resolved in our favor.

Currently, we do not have any arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest between these shareholders and our company, except that we could exercise our purchase option under the exclusive option agreements with these shareholders to request them to transfer all of their equity interests in the VIE to a PRC entity or individual designated by us, to the extent permitted by PRC law. Two nominee shareholders of our VIEs, namely Mr. Xiaoping Chen and Mr. De Liu, are also our directors. We rely on them to abide by the laws of the Cayman Islands, which provide that directors owe a fiduciary duty to the company that requires them to act in good faith and in what they believe to be the best interests of the company and not to use their position for personal gains. If we cannot resolve any conflict of interest or dispute between us and the shareholders of our VIEs, we would have to rely on legal proceedings, which could result in disruption of our business and subject us to substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.

The shareholders of our VIEs may be involved in personal disputes with third parties or other incidents that may have an adverse effect on their respective equity interests in our VIEs and the validity or enforceability of our contractual arrangements with our VIEs and their shareholders. For example, in the event that any of the shareholders of our VIEs divorces his or her spouse, the spouse may claim that the equity interest of our VIEs held by such shareholder is part of their community property and should be divided between such shareholder and his or her spouse. If such claim is supported by the court, the relevant equity interest may be obtained by the shareholder’s spouse or any third party who is not subject to obligations under our contractual arrangements, which could result in a loss of our effective control over the VIEs. Similarly, if any of the equity interests of our VIEs is inherited by a third party on whom the current contractual arrangements are not binding, we could lose our control over the VIEs or have to maintain such control by incurring unpredictable costs, which could cause significant disruption to our business and operations and harm our financial condition and results of operations.

Although under our current contractual arrangements, the spouse of Mr. Chen has executed spousal consent letters, under which she agrees that she will not take any actions or raise any claims to interfere with the performance by her spouse of the obligations under these contractual arrangements, including claiming community property ownership on the equity interest, and renounce any and all right and interest related to the equity interest that she may be entitled to under applicable laws. We cannot assure you that these undertakings and arrangements will be complied with or effectively enforced. In the event that any of them is breached or becomes unenforceable and leads to legal proceedings, it could disrupt our business, distract our management’s attention and subject us to substantial uncertainties as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.

We may rely on dividends paid by our PRC subsidiary to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have. Any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiary to pay dividends to us could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business and to pay dividends to holders of the ADSs and our ordinary shares.

We are a holding company, and we may rely on dividends to be paid by our wholly-owned PRC subsidiary for our cash and financing requirements, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to the holders of the ADSs and our ordinary shares and service any debt we may incur. If our wholly owned PRC subsidiary incurs debt on its own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict its ability to pay dividends or make other distributions to us.

Under PRC laws and regulations, wholly foreign-owned enterprises in the PRC, such as our WFOE, may pay dividends only out of its accumulated profits as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, a wholly foreign-owned enterprise is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, after making up previous years’ accumulated losses, if any, to fund certain statutory reserve funds, until the aggregate amount of such a fund reaches 50% of its registered capital. At the discretion of the board of directors of the wholly foreign-owned enterprise, it may allocate a portion of its after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to staff welfare and bonus funds. These reserve funds and staff welfare and bonus funds are not distributable as cash dividends. Any limitation on the ability of our wholly-owned PRC subsidiary to pay dividends or make other distributions to us could materially and adversely limit our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our business, pay dividends, or otherwise fund and conduct our business.

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We may lose the ability to use and enjoy assets held by our VIEs that are material to the operation of certain portion of our business if the VIEs go bankrupt or becomes subject to a dissolution or liquidation proceeding.

Our VIEs and their subsidiaries hold substantially all of our assets, some of which are material to the operation of our business. If our VIEs go bankrupt and all or part of their assets become subject to liens or rights of third-party creditors, we may be unable to continue some or all of our business activities, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Under the contractual arrangements, our VIEs may not, in any manner, sell, transfer, mortgage or dispose of any of their material assets outside the ordinary course of operation or equity interests in the business operation without our prior consent. If our VIEs undergo voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceedings, independent third-party creditors may claim rights to some or all of these assets, thereby hindering our ability to operate our business, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If the chops of our PRC subsidiary and our VIEs are not kept safely, are stolen or are used by unauthorized persons or for unauthorized purposes, the corporate governance of these entities could be severely and adversely compromised.

In China, a company chop or seal serves as the legal representation of the company towards third parties even when unaccompanied by a signature. Each legally registered company in China is required to maintain a company chop, which must be registered with the local Public Security Bureau. In addition to this mandatory company chop, companies may have several other chops which can be used for specific purposes. The chops of our PRC subsidiary and VIEs are generally held securely by personnel designated or approved by us in accordance with our internal control procedures. To the extent those chops are not kept safely, are stolen or are used by unauthorized persons or for unauthorized purposes, the corporate governance of these entities could be severely and adversely compromised and those corporate entities may be bound to abide by the terms of any documents so chopped, even if they were chopped by an individual who lacked the requisite power and authority to do so. In addition, if the chops are misused by unauthorized persons, we could experience disruption to our normal business operations. We may have to take corporate or legal action, which could involve significant time and resources to resolve while distracting management from our operations.

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system and changes in laws and regulations in China could adversely affect us.

We conduct our business primarily through our PRC subsidiary and consolidated VIEs in China. Our operations in China are governed by PRC laws and regulations. Our PRC subsidiary is subject to laws and regulations applicable to foreign investment in China. The PRC legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes. Unlike the common law system, prior court decisions under the civil law system may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value. In addition, any new or changes in PRC laws and regulations related to foreign investment in China could affect the business environment and our ability to operate our business in China. For example, the Foreign Investment Law, which was promulgated on March 15, 2019 by the State Council and will come into force on January 1, 2020, will replace the trio of existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations. This Foreign Investment Law embodies an expected PRC regulatory trend to rationalize its foreign investment regulatory regime in line with prevailing international practice and the legislative efforts to unify the corporate legal requirements for both foreign and domestic investments. However, substantial uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the Foreign Investment Law, its implementation rules and ancillary regulations, which may materially impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations.

From time to time, we may have to resort to administrative and court proceedings to enforce our legal rights. Any administrative and court proceedings in China may be protracted, resulting in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention. Since PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory provisions and contractual terms, it may be more difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we enjoy than in more developed legal systems. These uncertainties may impede our ability to enforce the contracts we have entered into and could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Furthermore, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules, some of which are not published on a timely basis or at all and may have retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of any of these policies and rules until sometime after the violation. Such unpredictability towards our contractual, property and procedural rights could adversely affect our business and impede our ability to continue our operations.

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Changes in China’s economic, political or social conditions or government policies could have a material adverse effect on our business and operations.

Substantially all our operations are located in China. Accordingly, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may be influenced to a significant degree by political, economic and social conditions in China generally. The Chinese economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the level of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Although the Chinese government has implemented measures emphasizing the utilization of market forces for economic reform, the reduction of state ownership of productive assets, and the establishment of improved corporate governance in business enterprises, a substantial portion of productive assets in China is still owned by the government. In addition, the Chinese government continues to play a significant role in regulating industry development by imposing industrial policies. The Chinese government also exercises significant control over China’s economic growth through allocating resources, controlling payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy, and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.

While the Chinese economy has experienced significant growth over the past decades, growth has been uneven, both geographically and among various sectors of the economy, and the rate of growth has been slowing since 2012. Any adverse changes in economic conditions in China, in the policies of the Chinese government or in the laws and regulations in China could have a material adverse effect on the overall economic growth of China. Such developments could adversely affect our business and operating results, lead to reduction in demand for our services and adversely affect our competitive position. The Chinese government has implemented various measures to encourage economic growth and guide the allocation of resources. Some of these measures may benefit the overall Chinese economy, but may have a negative effect on us. For example, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by government control over capital investments or changes in tax regulations. In addition, in the past the Chinese government has implemented certain measures, including interest rate adjustment, to control the pace of economic growth. These measures may cause decreased economic activity in China, which may adversely affect our business and operating results.

We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC regulation of internet-related businesses and companies, and any lack of requisite approvals, licenses or permits applicable to our business may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

The PRC government extensively regulates the internet industry, including foreign ownership of, and the licensing and permit requirements pertaining to, companies in the internet industry. These internet-related laws and regulations are relatively new and evolving, and their interpretation and enforcement involve significant uncertainties. As a result, in certain circumstances it may be difficult to determine what actions or omissions may be deemed to be in violation of applicable laws and regulations.

The evolving PRC regulatory system for the internet industry may lead to the establishment of new regulatory agencies. For example, in May 2011, the State Council announced the establishment of a new department, Cyberspace Administration of China (with the involvement of the State Council Information Office, the MIIT, and the Ministry of Public Security). The primary role of this agency is to facilitate the policy-making and legislative development in this field, to direct and coordinate with the relevant departments in connection with online content administration and to deal with cross-ministry regulatory matters in relation to the internet industry.

The interpretation and application of existing PRC laws, regulations and policies and possible new laws, regulations or policies relating to the internet industry have created substantial uncertainties regarding the legality of existing and future foreign investments in, and the businesses and activities of, internet businesses in China, including our business. We cannot assure you that we have obtained all the permits or licenses required for conducting our business in China or will be able to maintain our existing licenses or obtain new ones. If the PRC government considers that we were operating without the proper approvals, licenses or permits or promulgates new laws and regulations that require additional approvals or licenses or imposes additional restrictions on the operation of any part of our business, it has the power, among other things, to levy fines, confiscate our income, revoke our business licenses, and require us to discontinue our relevant business or impose restrictions on the affected portion of our business. Any of these actions by the PRC government may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

You may experience difficulties in effecting service of legal process, enforcing foreign judgments or bringing actions in China against us or our management based on foreign laws.

We are an exempted company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands, we conduct substantially all of our operations in China and substantially all of our assets are located in China. In addition, most of our senior executive officers reside within China for a significant portion of the time and are PRC nationals. As a result, it may be difficult for you to effect service of process upon us or those persons inside mainland China. It may also be difficult for you to enforce in U.S. courts judgments obtained in U.S. courts based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us and our officers and directors, none of whom currently reside in the United States and whose assets are located outside the United States. In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of the Cayman Islands or the PRC would recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts against us or such persons predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state.

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The recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments are provided for under the PRC Civil Procedures Law. PRC courts may recognize and enforce foreign judgments in accordance with the requirements of the PRC Civil Procedures Law based either on treaties between China and the country where the judgment is made or on principles of reciprocity between jurisdictions. China does not have any treaties or other forms of reciprocity with the United States that provide for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. In addition, according to the PRC Civil Procedures Law, the PRC courts will not enforce a foreign judgment against us or our directors and officers if they decide that the judgment violates the basic principles of PRC laws or national sovereignty, security or public interest. As a result, it is uncertain whether and on what basis a PRC court would enforce a judgment rendered by a court in the United States.

If we are classified as a PRC resident enterprise for PRC income tax purposes, such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders or ADS holders.

Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules, an enterprise established outside of the PRC with a “de facto management body” within the PRC is considered a “resident enterprise” and will be subject to the enterprise income tax on its global income at the rate of 25%. The implementation rules define the term “de facto management body” as the body that exercises full and substantial control over and overall and substantial management of the business, productions, personnel, accounts and properties of an enterprise. In 2009, the State Administration of Taxation, or SAT, issued a circular, known as SAT Circular 82, which provides certain specific criteria for determining whether the “de facto management body” of a PRC-controlled enterprise that is incorporated offshore is located in China. Although this circular only applies to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC enterprise groups, not those controlled by PRC individuals or foreigners, the criteria set forth in the circular may reflect the SAT’s general position on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax resident status of all offshore enterprises. According to SAT Circular 82, an offshore incorporated enterprise controlled by a PRC enterprise or a PRC enterprise group will be regarded as a PRC tax resident by virtue of having its “de facto management body” in China and will be subject to PRC enterprise income tax on its global income only if all of the following conditions are met: (i) the primary location where senior management personnel and departments that are responsible for the day-to-day operational management is in the PRC; (ii) decisions relating to the enterprise’s financial and human resource matters are made or are subject to approval by organizations or personnel in the PRC; (iii) the enterprise’s primary assets, accounting books and records, company seals, and board and shareholder resolutions, are located or maintained in the PRC; and (iv) at least 50% of voting board members or senior executives habitually reside in the PRC.

We believe that we are not a PRC resident enterprise for PRC tax purposes. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulation on Tax—PRC Enterprise Income Tax.” However, the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by the PRC tax authorities and uncertainties remain with respect to the interpretation of the term “de facto management body.” If the PRC tax authorities determine that we are a PRC resident enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes, we may be required to withhold a 10% withholding tax, unless a reduced rate is available under an applicable tax treaty, from dividends we pay to our shareholders that are non-resident enterprises, including the holders of our ADSs. In addition, non-resident enterprise shareholders (including our ADS holders) may be subject to PRC tax on gains realized on the sale or other disposition of ADSs or ordinary shares, if such income is treated as sourced from within the PRC. Furthermore, if we are deemed a PRC resident enterprise, dividends payable to our non-PRC individual shareholders (including our ADS holders) and any gain realized on the transfer of ADSs or ordinary shares by such shareholders may be subject to PRC tax at a rate of 20% unless a reduced rate is available under an applicable tax treaty. It is unclear whether non-PRC shareholders of our company would be able to claim the benefits of any tax treaties between their country of tax residence and the PRC in the event that we are treated as a PRC resident enterprise. Any such tax may reduce the returns on your investment in the ADSs or ordinary shares.

We face uncertainty with respect to indirect transfers of equity interests in PRC resident enterprises by their non-PRC holding companies.

On February 3, 2015, the SAT issued a Public Notice Regarding Certain Corporate Income Tax Matters on Indirect Transfer of Properties by Non-Tax Resident Enterprises, or SAT Public Notice 7. SAT Public Notice 7 has introduced a new tax regime that is significantly different from the previous one under former SAT Circular 698 (which was repealed by the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Matters Concerning Withholding of Income Tax of Non-resident Enterprises at Source by SAT). SAT Public Notice 7 extends its tax jurisdiction to not only Indirect Transfers set forth under former SAT Circular 698 but also transactions involving transfer of other taxable assets through offshore transfer of a foreign intermediate holding company. In addition, SAT Public Notice 7 provides clearer criteria than former SAT Circular 698 for assessment of reasonable commercial purposes and has introduced safe harbors for internal group restructurings and the purchase and sale of equity of a same listed foreign enterprise by a non-resident enterprise through a public securities market. SAT Public Notice 7 also brings challenges to both foreign transferor and transferee (or other person who is obligated to pay for the transfer) of taxable assets. Where a non-resident enterprise transfers taxable assets indirectly by disposing of the equity interests of an overseas holding company, which is an Indirect Transfer, the non-resident enterprise, being the transferor, or the transferee, or the PRC entity that directly owns the taxable assets, may report such Indirect Transfer to the relevant tax authority. Using a “substance over form” principle, the PRC tax authority may disregard the existence of the overseas holding company if it lacks a reasonable commercial purpose and was established for the purpose of reducing, avoiding or deferring PRC tax. As a result, gains derived from such Indirect Transfer may be subject to PRC enterprise income tax, and the transferee or other person who is obligated to pay for the transfer is obligated to withhold the applicable taxes, currently at a rate of 10% for the transfer of equity interests in a PRC resident enterprise. Both the transferor and the transferee may be subject to penalties under PRC tax laws if the transferee fails to withhold the taxes and the transferor fails to pay the taxes. However, according to the aforesaid safe harbor rule, the PRC tax would not be applicable to the transfer by any non-resident enterprise of ADSs of the Company acquired and sold on public securities markets.

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On October 17, 2017, SAT issued a Public Notice of SAT on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or SAT Public Notice 37, which, among others, repealed the Circular 698 on December 1, 2017. SAT Public Notice 37 further details and clarifies the tax withholding methods in respect of income of non-resident enterprises under Circular 698. And certain rules stipulated in SAT Public Notice 7 are replaced by SAT Public Notice 37. Where the non-resident enterprise fails to declare the tax payable pursuant to Article 39 of the Enterprise Income Tax Law, the tax authority may order it to pay the tax due within required time limits, and the non-resident enterprise shall declare and pay the tax payable within such time limits specified by the tax authority; however, if the non-resident enterprise voluntarily declares and pays the tax payable before the tax authority orders it to do so within required time limits, it shall be deemed that such enterprise has paid the tax in time.

We face uncertainties as to the reporting and other implications of certain past and future transactions where PRC taxable assets are involved, such as offshore restructuring, sale of the shares in our offshore subsidiaries and investments. Our company may be subject to filing obligations or taxed if our company is transferor in such transactions, and may be subject to withholding obligations if our company is transferee in such transactions, under SAT Public Notice 7 and SAT Public Notice 37. For transfer of shares in our company by investors who are non-PRC resident enterprises, our PRC subsidiary may be requested to assist in the filing under SAT Public Notice 7 and SAT Public Notice 37. As a result, we may be required to expend valuable resources to comply with SAT Public Notice 7 and SAT Public Notice 37 or to request the relevant transferors from whom we purchase taxable assets to comply with these circulars, or to establish that our company should not be taxed under these circulars, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

If our preferential tax treatments are revoked, become unavailable or if the calculation of our tax liability is successfully challenged by the PRC tax authorities, we may be required to pay tax, interest and penalties in excess of our tax provisions, and our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

The PRC government has provided various tax incentives to our VIE entity—Foshan Viomi in China. These incentives include reduced enterprise income tax rates. For example, under the Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules, the statutory enterprise income tax rate is 25%. However, enterprises which obtained a new software enterprise certification were entitled to an exemption of enterprise income tax for the first two years and a 50% reduction of enterprise income tax for the subsequent three years, commencing from the first profit-making year. In addition, the income tax of an enterprise that has been determined to be a high and new technology enterprise can be reduced to a preferential rate of 15%. Foshan Viomi has obtained High and New Technology Enterprise status since November 31, 2016 and is thus eligible to enjoy a preferential tax rate of 15% for the periods presented, to the extent it has taxable income under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law. Any increase in the enterprise income tax rate applicable to our PRC subsidiary or VIE in China, or any discontinuation or retroactive or future reduction of any of the preferential tax treatments currently enjoyed by our PRC subsidiary or VIE in China, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, in the ordinary course of our business, we are subject to complex income tax and other tax regulations and significant judgment is required in the determination of a provision for income taxes. Although we believe our tax provisions are reasonable, if the PRC tax authorities successfully challenge our position and we are required to pay tax, interest and penalties in excess of our tax provisions, our financial condition and results of operations would be materially and adversely affected.

Certain PRC regulations may make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions.

Among other things, the Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rules, adopted by six PRC regulatory agencies in 2006 and amended by Ministry of Commerce in 2009, established additional procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex. Such regulation requires, among other things, that the MOFCOM be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor acquires control of a PRC domestic enterprise or a foreign company with substantial PRC operations, if certain thresholds under the Provisions on Thresholds for Prior Notification of Concentrations of Undertakings, issued by the State Council in 2008, were triggered. Moreover, the Anti-Monopoly Law promulgated by the Standing Committee of the NPC which became effective in 2008 requires that transactions which are deemed concentrations and involve parties with specified turnover thresholds must be cleared by the MOFCOM before they can be completed. In addition, PRC national security review rules which became effective in September 2011 require acquisitions by foreign investors of PRC companies engaged in military related or certain other industries that are crucial to national security be subject to security review before consummation of any such acquisition. We may pursue potential strategic acquisitions that are complementary to our business and operations. Complying with the requirements of these regulations to complete such transactions could be time-consuming, and any required approval processes, including obtaining approval or clearance from the MOFCOM, may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand our business or maintain our market share.

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PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiary to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into our PRC subsidiary, limit our PRC subsidiary’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits to us, or may otherwise adversely affect us.

In July 2014, SAFE promulgated the Circular on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Control on Domestic Residents’ Offshore Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment Through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37, to replace the Notice on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Residents’ Financing and Roundtrip Investment Through Offshore Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 75, which ceased to be effective upon the promulgation of SAFE Circular 37. SAFE Circular 37 requires PRC residents (including PRC individuals and PRC corporate entities as well as foreign individuals that are deemed as PRC residents for foreign exchange administration purpose) to register with SAFE or its local branches in connection with their direct or indirect offshore investment activities. SAFE Circular 37 is applicable to our shareholders who are PRC residents and may be applicable to any offshore acquisitions that we make in the future.

Under SAFE Circular 37, PRC residents who make, or have prior to the implementation of SAFE Circular 37 made, direct or indirect investments in offshore special purpose vehicles, or SPVs, will be required to register such investments with SAFE or its local branches. In addition, any PRC resident who is a direct or indirect shareholder of an SPV, is required to update its filed registration with the local branch of SAFE with respect to that SPV, to reflect any material change. Moreover, any subsidiary of such SPV in China is required to urge the PRC resident shareholders to update their registration with the local branch of SAFE. If any PRC shareholder of such SPV fails to make the required registration or to update the previously filed registration, the subsidiary of such SPV in China may be prohibited from distributing its profits or the proceeds from any capital reduction, share transfer or liquidation to the SPV, and the SPV may also be prohibited from making additional capital contributions into its subsidiary in China. On February 13, 2015, SAFE promulgated a Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving Foreign Exchange Administration Policy on Direct Investment, or SAFE Notice 13, which became effective on June 1, 2015. Under SAFE Notice 13, applications for foreign exchange registration of inbound foreign direct investments and outbound overseas direct investments, including those required under SAFE Circular 37, will be filed with qualified banks instead of SAFE. The qualified banks will directly examine the applications and accept registrations under the supervision of SAFE.

We have requested PRC residents who we know hold direct or indirect interest in our company to make the necessary applications, filings and registrations as required under SAFE Circular 37. However, we may not be informed of the identities of all the PRC residents holding direct or indirect interest in our company, and we cannot provide any assurance that all these PRC residents will comply with SAFE Circular No. 37 or the subsequent implementation rules to complete the applicable registrations. The failure or inability of our PRC resident shareholders to comply with the registration procedures set forth in these regulations may subject us to fines and legal sanctions, restrict our cross-border investment activities, limit the ability of our wholly foreign-owned subsidiary in China to distribute dividends and the proceeds from any reduction in capital, share transfer or liquidation to us, and we may also be prohibited from injecting additional capital into the subsidiary. Moreover, failure to comply with the various foreign exchange registration requirements described above could result in liability under PRC law for circumventing applicable foreign exchange restrictions. As a result, our business operations and our ability to distribute profits to you could be materially and adversely affected.

Furthermore, as these foreign exchange regulations are still relatively new and their interpretation and implementation has been constantly evolving, it is unclear how these regulations, and any future regulation concerning offshore or cross-border transactions, will be interpreted, amended and implemented by the relevant government authorities. For example, we may be subject to a more stringent review and approval process with respect to our foreign exchange activities, such as remittance of dividends and foreign-currency-denominated borrowings, which may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, if we decide to acquire a PRC domestic company, we cannot assure you that we or the owners of such company, as the case may be, will be able to obtain the necessary approvals or complete the necessary filings and registrations required by the foreign exchange regulations. This may restrict our ability to implement our acquisition strategy and could adversely affect our business and prospects.

Any failure to comply with PRC regulations regarding the registration requirements for employee stock incentive plans may subject the PRC plan participants or us to fines and other legal or administrative sanctions.

In February 2012, SAFE promulgated the Notices on Issues Concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in Stock Incentive Plan of Overseas Publicly Listed Company, replacing earlier rules promulgated in 2007. Pursuant to these rules, PRC citizens and non-PRC citizens who reside in China for a continuous period of not less than one year who participate in any stock incentive plan of an overseas publicly listed company, subject to a few exceptions, are required to register with SAFE through a domestic qualified agent, which could be the PRC subsidiary of such overseas-listed company, and complete certain other procedures. In addition, an overseas-entrusted institution must be retained to handle matters in connection with the exercise or sale of stock options and the purchase or sale of shares and interests. We and our executive officers and other employees who are PRC citizens or who reside in the PRC for a continuous period of not less than one year and who have been granted options will be subject to these regulations when our company becomes an overseas-listed company upon the completion of our initial public offering. Failure to complete SAFE registrations may subject them to fines of up to RMB300,000 for entities and up to RMB50,000 for individuals, and legal sanctions and may also limit our ability to contribute additional capital into our PRC subsidiary and limit our PRC subsidiary’ ability to distribute dividends to us. We also face regulatory uncertainties that could restrict our ability to adopt additional incentive plans for our directors, executive officers and employees under PRC law. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulation on Employee Share Incentive Plan of Overseas Publicly Listed Company.”

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Failure to make adequate contributions to various government-sponsored employee benefits plans as required by PRC regulations may subject us to penalties.

Companies operating in China are required to participate in various government-sponsored employee benefit plans, including certain social insurance, housing funds and other welfare-oriented payment obligations, and contribute to the plans in amounts equal to certain percentages of salaries, including bonuses and allowances, of employees up to a maximum amount specified by the local government from time to time at locations where our employees are based. The requirements of employee benefit plans have not been implemented consistently by the local governments in China given the different levels of economic development in different locations. We did not pay, or were not able to pay, certain social insurance or housing fund contributions for all of our employees and the amount we paid was lower than the requirements of relevant PRC regulations. If we are determined by local authorities to fail to make adequate contributions to any employee benefits as required by relevant PRC regulations, we may face late fees or fines in relation to the underpaid employee benefits. In addition, our provision for these liabilities may not be adequate, particularly in light of the recent tightening regulations. As a result, our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

We face certain risks relating to the real properties that we lease.

We lease real properties from third parties primarily for our office use in China, and none of our eight lease agreements for these properties has been registered with the PRC governmental authorities as required by PRC law. Although the failure to do so does not in itself invalidate the leases, we may be ordered by the PRC government authorities to rectify such noncompliance and, if such noncompliance were not rectified within a given period of time, we may be subject to fines imposed by PRC government authorities ranging from RMB1,000 and RMB10,000 for each lease agreement that has not been registered with the relevant PRC governmental authorities.

The ownership certificates or other similar proof of three of our leased properties have not been provided to us by the relevant lessors. Therefore, we cannot assure you that such lessors are entitled to lease the relevant real properties to us. If the lessors are not entitled to lease the real properties to us and the owners of such real properties decline to ratify the lease agreements between us and the respective lessors, we may not be able to enforce our rights to lease such properties under the respective lease agreements against the owners. As of December 31, 2018, we are not aware of any claim or challenge brought by any third parties concerning the use of our leased properties without obtaining proper ownership proof. If our lease agreements are claimed as null and void by third parties who are the real owners of such leased real properties, we could be required to vacate the properties, in the event of which we could only initiate the claim against the lessors under relevant lease agreements for indemnities for their breach of the relevant leasing agreements. We cannot assure you that suitable alternative locations are readily available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, and if we are unable to relocate our officers in a timely manner, our operations may be interrupted.

PRC regulation of loans to and direct investment in PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control of currency conversion may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds of our initial public offering to make loans or additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiary, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

We are an offshore holding company conducting our operations in China through our PRC subsidiary and VIEs. We may make loans to our PRC subsidiary and VIEs subject to the approval or registration from governmental authorities and limitation of amount, or we may make additional capital contributions to our wholly foreign-owned subsidiary in China. Any loans to our wholly foreign-owned subsidiary in China, which are treated as foreign-invested enterprises under PRC law, are subject to foreign exchange loan registrations. In addition, a foreign-invested enterprise, or FIE, shall use its capital pursuant to the principle of authenticity and self-use within its business scope. The capital of an FIE shall not be used for the following purposes: (i) directly or indirectly used for payment beyond the business scope of the enterprises or the payment prohibited by relevant laws and regulations; (ii) directly or indirectly used for investment in securities or investments other than banks’ principal-secured products unless otherwise provided by relevant laws and regulations; (iii) the granting of loans to non-affiliated enterprises, except where it is expressly permitted in the business license; and (iv) paying the expenses related to the purchase of real estate that is not for self-use (except for the foreign-invested real estate enterprises).

In light of the various requirements imposed by PRC regulations on loans to and direct investment in PRC entities by offshore holding companies, we cannot assure you that we will be able to complete the necessary government registrations or obtain the necessary government approvals on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to future loans by us to our PRC subsidiary or VIEs or with respect to future capital contributions by us to our PRC subsidiary. If we fail to complete such registrations or obtain such approvals, our ability to use the proceeds from our initial public offering and to capitalize or otherwise fund our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

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Fluctuations in exchange rates could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.

The value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies may fluctuate and is affected by, among other things, changes in political and economic conditions in China and by China’s foreign exchange policies. On July 21, 2005, the PRC government changed its decade-old policy of pegging the value of the Renminbi to the U.S. dollar, and the Renminbi appreciated more than 20% against the U.S. dollar over the following three years. Between July 2008 and June 2010, this appreciation halted and the exchange rate between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar remained within a narrow band. Since June 2010, the Renminbi has fluctuated against the U.S. dollar, at times significantly and unpredictably. Since October 1, 2016, Renminbi has joined the International Monetary Fund’s basket of currencies that make up the Special Drawing Right (SDR) along with the U.S. dollar, the Euro, the Japanese yen and the British pound. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the Renminbi has depreciated significantly in the backdrop of a surging U.S. dollar and persistent capital outflows of China. With the development of the foreign exchange market and progress towards interest rate liberalization and Renminbi internationalization, the PRC government may in the future announce further changes to the exchange rate system, and we cannot assure you that the Renminbi will not appreciate or depreciate significantly in value against the U.S. dollar in the future. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or U.S. government policy may impact the exchange rate between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar in the future.

Significant revaluation of the Renminbi may have a material and adverse effect on your investment. For example, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars we receive from our initial public offering into Renminbi for our operations, appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the Renminbi amount we would receive from the conversion. Conversely, if we decide to convert our Renminbi into U.S. dollars for the purpose of making payments for dividends on our ordinary shares or ADSs or for other business purposes, appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Renminbi would have a negative effect on the U.S. dollar amount available to us.

Very limited hedging options are available in China to reduce our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. To date, we have not entered into any hedging transactions in an effort to reduce our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk. While we may decide to enter into hedging transactions in the future, the availability and effectiveness of these hedges may be limited and we may not be able to adequately hedge our exposure or at all. In addition, our currency exchange losses may be magnified by PRC exchange control regulations that restrict our ability to convert Renminbi into foreign currency.

Governmental control of currency conversion may limit our ability to utilize our cash balance effectively and affect the value of your investment.

The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility of the Renminbi into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. We receive substantially all of our net revenues in Renminbi. Under our current corporate structure, our Cayman Islands holding company primarily relies on dividend payments from our PRC subsidiary to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, including profit distributions, interest payments and trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval of SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. Specifically, under the existing exchange restrictions, without prior approval of SAFE, cash generated from the operations of our PRC subsidiary in China may be used to pay dividends to our company. However, approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities is required where Renminbi is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. As a result, we need to obtain SAFE approval to use cash generated from the operations of our PRC subsidiary and VIE to pay off their respective debt in a currency other than Renminbi owed to entities outside China, or to make other capital expenditure payments outside China in a currency other than Renminbi. The PRC government may at its discretion restrict access to foreign currencies for current account transactions in the future. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currencies to satisfy our foreign currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of our ADSs.

Proceedings instituted by the SEC against Chinese affiliates of the “big four” accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.

Starting in 2011 the Chinese affiliates of the “big four” accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, were affected by a conflict between U.S. and Chinese law. Specifically, for certain U.S.-listed companies operating and audited in mainland China, the SEC and the PCAOB sought to obtain from the Chinese firms access to their audit work papers and related documents. The firms were, however, advised and directed that under Chinese law, they could not respond directly to the U.S. regulators on those requests, and that requests by foreign regulators for access to such papers in China had to be channeled through the CSRC.

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In late 2012, this impasse led the SEC to commence administrative proceedings under Rule 102(e) of its Rules of Practice and also under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 against the Chinese accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm. A first instance trial of the proceedings in July 2013 in the SEC’s internal administrative court resulted in an adverse judgment against the firms. The administrative law judge proposed penalties on the firms including a temporary suspension of their right to practice before the SEC, although that proposed penalty did not take effect pending review by the Commissioners of the SEC. On February 6, 2015, before a review by the Commissioner had taken place, the firms reached a settlement with the SEC. Under the settlement, the SEC accepts that future requests by the SEC for the production of documents will normally be made to the CSRC. The firms will receive matching Section 106 requests, and are required to abide by a detailed set of procedures with respect to such requests, which in substance require them to facilitate production via the CSRC. If they fail to meet specified criteria, the SEC retains authority to impose a variety of additional remedial measures on the firms depending on the nature of the failure. Remedies for any future noncompliance could include, as appropriate, an automatic six-month bar on a single firm’s performance of certain audit work, commencement of a new proceeding against a firm, or in extreme cases the resumption of the current proceeding against all four firms. If additional remedial measures are imposed on the Chinese affiliates of the “big four” accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, in administrative proceedings brought by the SEC alleging the firms’ failure to meet specific criteria set by the SEC with respect to requests for the production of documents, we could be unable to timely file future financial statements in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act. Under the terms of the settlement, the underlying proceeding against the four PRC-based accounting firms was deemed dismissed with prejudice four years after entry of the settlement. The four-year mark occurred on February 6, 2019. However, we cannot predict if the SEC will further challenge the four PRC-based accounting firms' compliance with U.S. law in connection with U.S. regulatory requests for audit work papers or if the results of such challenge would result in the SEC imposing penalties such as suspensions.

In the event that the PRC-based affiliates of the Big Four accounting firms become subject to additional legal challenges by the SEC or PCAOB, depending upon the final outcome, listed companies in the United States with major PRC operations may find it difficult or impossible to retain auditors in respect of their operations in the PRC, which could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act, including possible delisting. Moreover, any negative news about any such future proceedings against these audit firms may cause investor uncertainty regarding China-based, U.S.-listed companies and the market price of our common stock may be adversely affected.

If our independent registered public accounting firm was denied, even temporarily, the ability to practice before the SEC and we were unable to timely find another registered public accounting firm to audit and issue an opinion on our financial statements, our financial statements could be determined not to be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act. Such a determination could ultimately lead to the delisting of our ADSs from Nasdaq or deregistration from the SEC, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of our ADSs in the United States.

The audit report included in this annual report is prepared by an auditor who is not inspected by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and, as such, you are deprived of the benefits of such inspection.

Our independent registered public accounting firm that issues the audit reports included in our annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as auditors of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), or the PCAOB, is subject to laws in the United States pursuant to which the PCAOB conducts regular inspections to assess its compliance with the applicable professional standards. Because our auditors are located in the Peoples’ Republic of China, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB is currently unable to conduct inspections without the approval of the Chinese authorities, our auditors are not currently inspected by the PCAOB. On May 24, 2013, PCAOB announced that it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on Enforcement Cooperation with the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, and the Ministry of Finance which establishes a cooperative framework between the parties for the production and exchange of audit documents relevant to investigations in the United States and China. PCAOB continues to be in discussions with the CSRC and the Ministry of Finance to permit joint inspections in the PRC of audit firms that are registered with the PCAOB and audit Chinese companies that trade on U.S. exchanges.

Inspections of other firms that the PCAOB has conducted outside China have identified deficiencies in those firms’ audit procedures and quality control procedures, which may be addressed as part of the inspection process to improve future audit quality. This lack of PCAOB inspections in China prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating our auditor’s audits and its quality control procedures. As a result, investors may be deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections. The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our auditor’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to PCAOB inspections. Investors may lose confidence in our reported financial information and procedures and the quality of our financial statements.

On December 7, 2018, the SEC and the PCAOB issued a joint statement highlighting continued challenges faced by the U.S. regulators in their oversight of financial statement audits of U.S.-listed companies with significant operations in China. However, it remains unclear what further actions, if any, the SEC and PCAOB will take to address the problem.

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Risks Related to the ADSs

The trading price of the ADSs is likely to be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors.

The trading price of our ADSs is likely to be volatile and could fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control. This may happen because of broad market and industry factors, including the performance and fluctuation of the market prices of other companies with business operations located mainly in China that have listed their securities in the United States. In addition to market and industry factors, the price and trading volume for our ADSs may be highly volatile for factors specific to our own operations, including the following:

 

variations in our net revenues, earnings and cash flow;

 

announcements of new investments, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, or joint ventures by us or our competitors;

 

announcements of new products and services and expansions by us or our competitors;

 

changes in financial estimates by securities analysts;

 

failure on our part to realize monetization opportunities as expected;

 

changes in revenues generated from our significant business partners;

 

additions or departures of key personnel;

 

release of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding equity securities or sales of additional equity securities;

 

detrimental negative publicity about us, our management, our competitors or our industry;

 

regulatory developments affecting us or our industry; and

 

potential litigation or regulatory investigations.

Any of these factors may result in large and sudden changes in the trading volume and price of the ADSs.

In the past, shareholders of public companies have often brought securities class action suits against those companies following periods of instability in the market price of their securities. If we were involved in a class action suit, it could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit, which could harm our results of operations. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Our dual-class share structure with different voting rights will limit your ability to influence corporate matters (and in certain situations, give certain holders of Class B ordinary shares control over the outcome of matters put to a vote of shareholders) and could discourage others from pursuing any change of control transactions that holders of our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

We have a dual-class share structure such that our ordinary shares consist of Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares. One of our key strengths is our visionary and professional management team led by the founder and CEO Mr. Xiaoping Chen and supported by our strategic partner Xiaomi. The dual-class share structure ensures that the vision of the management team and the proven strategies can be consistently implemented, especially during the phase of our rapid growth. Furthermore, the dual-class structure enables us to better focus on long-term strategies by serving as effective defense against corporate actions which might not be in our long-term interest. Each Class A ordinary share shall entitle the holder thereof to one vote on all matters subject to vote at general meetings of the Company, and each Class B ordinary share shall entitle the holder thereof to ten votes on all matters subject to vote at general meetings of the Company based on our dual-class share structure. Each Class B ordinary share is convertible into one Class A ordinary share at any time at the option of the holder thereof, while Class A ordinary shares are not convertible into Class B ordinary shares under any circumstances. Upon any sale, transfer, assignment or disposition of any Class B ordinary share by Mr. Xiaoping Chen or Viomi Limited to any person who is not Mr. Chen Xiaoping or his affiliate(s), or upon a change of ultimate beneficial ownership of any Class B ordinary share to any person who is not Mr. Xiaoping Chen or his affiliate(s), such Class B ordinary share shall be automatically and immediately converted into one Class A ordinary share. Upon any sale, transfer, assignment or disposition of any Class B ordinary share by a shareholder other than Mr. Xiaoping Chen or his affiliate(s) to any person, such Class B ordinary share shall be automatically and immediately converted into one Class A ordinary share. Conversion of Class B ordinary shares to Class A ordinary shares will increase the voting power of holders of Class A ordinary shares and ADSs, while at the same time increasing the relative voting power of individual Class B ordinary shareholders who retain their shares.

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As a result of the dual-class share structure and the concentration of ownership, Mr. Xiaoping Chen, certain of our employees and Xiaomi beneficially own all of our issued Class B ordinary shares, and they have considerable influence (and in certain situations, complete control) over matters such as decisions regarding mergers, consolidations and the sale of all or substantially all of our assets, election of directors and other significant corporate actions. Such holders may take actions that are not in the best interest of us or our other shareholders. Due to the disproportionate voting powers associated with our two classes of ordinary shares, the holders of our Class B ordinary shares and our founder, Mr. Xiaoping Chen, beneficially own 92.9% and 66.2%, respectively, of the aggregate voting power of our Company. Assuming that the Class B shareholders hold Class B ordinary shares only, the Class B shareholders only need to keep 9.1% of the outstanding shares to continue to control the outcome of matters submitted to shareholders for approval through ordinary resolutions. The concentration of ownership may discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our Company, which could have the effect of depriving our other shareholders of the opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and may reduce the price of our ADSs. This concentrated control will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any potential merger, takeover or other change of control transactions that holders of Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

The dual-class structure of our ordinary shares may adversely affect the trading market for our ADSs.

S&P Dow Jones and FTSE Russell have recently announced changes to their eligibility criteria for inclusion of shares of public companies on certain indices, including the S&P 500, to exclude companies with multiple classes of shares and companies whose public shareholders hold no more than 5% of total voting power from being added to such indices. In addition, several shareholder advisory firms have announced their opposition to the use of multiple class structures. As a result, the dual class structure of our ordinary shares may prevent the inclusion of our ADSs representing Class A ordinary shares in such indices and may cause shareholder advisory firms to publish negative commentary about our corporate governance practices or otherwise seek to cause us to change our capital structure. Any such exclusion from indices could result in a less active trading market for our ADSs. Any actions or publications by shareholder advisory firms critical of our corporate governance practices or capital structure could also adversely affect the value of our ADSs.

We are an emerging growth company within the meaning of the Securities Act and may take advantage of certain reduced reporting requirements.

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act, and we may take advantage of certain exemptions from requirements applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies including, most significantly, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 for so long as we remain an emerging growth company. As a result, if we elect not to comply with such auditor attestation requirements, our investors may not have access to certain information they may deem important.

The JOBS Act also provides that an emerging growth company does not need to comply with any new or revised financial accounting standards until such date that a private company is otherwise required to comply with such new or revised accounting standards. However, we have elected to “opt out” of this provision and, as a result, we will comply with new or revised accounting standards as required when they are adopted for public companies. This decision to opt out of the extended transition period under the JOBS Act is irrevocable.

If securities or industry analysts cease to publish research or reports about our business, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding the ADSs, the market price for the ADSs and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for the ADSs will be influenced by research or reports that industry or securities analysts publish about our business. If one or more analysts who cover us downgrade the ADSs, the market price for the ADSs would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which, in turn, could cause the market price or trading volume for the ADSs to decline.

The sale or availability for sale, or perceived sale or availability for sale, of substantial amounts of our ADSs could adversely affect their market price.

Sales of substantial amounts of our ADSs in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur, could adversely affect the market price of our ADSs and could materially impair our ability to raise capital through equity offerings in the future. We cannot predict what effect, if any, market sales of securities held by our significant shareholders or any other shareholder or the availability of these securities for future sale will have on the market price of our ADSs.

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Our memorandum and articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could have a material adverse effect on the rights of holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs.

Our memorandum and articles of association contain provisions to limit the ability of others to acquire control of our Company or cause us to engage in change-of-control transactions. These provisions could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transaction. Our proposed dual-class voting structure gives disproportionate voting power to the holders of our Class A and Class B ordinary shares. Our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our shareholders, to issue preferred shares in one or more series and to fix their designations, powers, preferences, privileges, and relative participating, optional or special rights and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions, including dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the rights associated with our ordinary shares, in the form of ADS or otherwise. Preferred shares could be issued quickly with terms calculated to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. If our board of directors decides to issue preferred shares, the price of our ADSs may fall and the voting and other rights of the holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

The voting rights of holders of ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement, and you may not be able to exercise your right to vote the underlying your Class A ordinary shares represented by your ADSs.

Holders of ADSs do not have the same rights as our registered shareholders. As a holder of our ADSs, you will not have any direct right to attend general meetings of our shareholders or to cast any votes at such meetings. You will only be able to exercise the voting rights which are carried by the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by your ADSs indirectly by giving voting instructions to the depositary in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Upon receipt of your voting instructions, the depositary will try, as far as is practicable, to vote the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by your ADSs in accordance with your instructions. If we ask for your instructions, then upon receipt of your voting instructions, the depositary will try to vote the underlying Class A ordinary shares in accordance with these instructions. If we do not instruct the depositary to ask for your instructions, the depositary may still vote in accordance with instructions you give, but it is not required to do so. You will not be able to directly exercise your right to vote with respect to the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by your ADSs unless you withdraw such shares, and become the registered holder of such shares prior to the record date for the general meeting. When a general meeting is convened, you may not receive sufficient advance notice of the meeting to withdraw the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by your ADSs and become the registered holder of such shares to allow you to attend the general meeting and to vote directly with respect to any specific matter or resolution to be considered and voted upon at the general meeting. In addition, under our memorandum and articles of association, for the purposes of determining those shareholders who are entitled to attend and vote at any general meeting, our directors may close our register of members and/or fix in advance a record date for such meeting, and such closure of our register of members or the setting of such a record date may prevent you from withdrawing the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by your ADSs and becoming the registered holder of such shares prior to the record date, so that you would not be able to attend the general meeting or to vote directly. If we ask for your instructions, the depositary will notify you of the upcoming vote and will arrange to deliver our voting materials to you. We have agreed to give the depositary at least 30 days’ prior notice of shareholder meetings. Nevertheless, we cannot assure you that you will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that you can instruct the depositary to vote the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by your ADSs. In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for their manner of carrying out your voting instructions. This means that you may not be able to exercise your right to direct how the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by your ADSs are voted and you may have no legal remedy if the underlying Class A ordinary shares represented by your ADSs are not voted as you requested. In addition, in your capacity as an ADS holder, you will not be able to call a shareholders’ meeting.

Because we do not expect to pay regular dividends in the foreseeable future, you must rely on price appreciation of the ADSs for return on your investment.

On March 18, 2019, our board of directors declared a special cash dividend of US$0.0333 per ordinary share (or US$0.1 per ADS) on our outstanding ordinary shares. Going forward, we intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. We do not have any present plan to pay regular cash dividends on our ordinary shares in the foreseeable future. Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in our ADSs as a source for any future dividend income.

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Pursuant to our memorandum and articles of association, our board of directors has complete discretion as to whether to distribute dividends, subject to certain requirements of Cayman Islands law. In addition, our shareholders may by ordinary resolution declare a dividend, but no dividend may exceed the amount recommended by our board of directors. Under Cayman Islands law, a Cayman Islands company may pay a dividend either out of profits or share premium account, provided that in no circumstances may a dividend be paid if this would result in the company being unable to pay its debts as it falls due in the ordinary course of business. Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on, among other things, our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return on your investment in our ADSs will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of our ADSs. There is no guarantee that our ADSs will appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which you purchased the ADSs. You may not realize a return on your investment in our ADSs and you may even lose your entire investment in our ADSs.

You may not receive dividends or other distributions on our ordinary shares and you may not receive any value for them, if it is illegal or impractical to make them available to you.

The depositary of the ADSs has agreed to pay to you the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on ordinary shares or other deposited securities underlying the ADSs, after deducting its fees and expenses. You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of ordinary shares your ADSs represent. However, the depositary is not responsible if it decides that it is unlawful or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, it would be unlawful to make a distribution to a holder of ADSs if it consists of securities that require registration under the Securities Act of 1933 but that are not properly registered or distributed under an applicable exemption from registration. The depositary may also determine that it is not feasible to distribute certain property through the mail. Additionally, the value of certain distributions may be less than the cost of mailing them. In these cases, the depositary may determine not to distribute such property. We have no obligation to register under U.S. securities laws any ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or other securities received through such distributions. We also have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or anything else to holders of ADSs. This means that you may not receive distributions we make on our ordinary shares or any value for them if it is illegal or impractical for us to make them available to you. These restrictions may cause a material decline in the value of the ADSs.

You may experience dilution of your holdings due to the inability to participate in rights offerings.

We may, from time to time, distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire securities. Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not distribute rights to holders of ADSs unless the distribution and sale of rights and the securities to which these rights relate are either exempt from registration under the Securities Act with respect to all holders of ADSs, or are registered under the provisions of the Securities Act. The depositary may, but is not required to, attempt to sell these undistributed rights to third parties, and may allow the rights to lapse. We may be unable to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act, and we are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to these rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to have a registration statement declared effective. Accordingly, holders of ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution of their holdings as a result.

You may be subject to limitations on transfer of your ADSs.

Your ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its books at any time or from time to time when it deems it expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. The depositary may close its books from time to time for a number of reasons, including in connection with corporate events such as a rights offering, during which time the depositary needs to maintain an exact number of ADS holders on its books for a specified period. The depositary may also close its books in emergencies, and on weekends and public holidays. The depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of our ADSs generally when our share register or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary thinks it is advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

We will incur increased costs as a result of being a public company, particularly after we cease to qualify as an “emerging growth company.”

We are now a public company and expect to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules subsequently implemented by the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, and Nasdaq, impose various requirements on the corporate governance practices of public companies. As a company with less than US$1.07 billion in revenues for our last fiscal year, we qualify as an “emerging growth company” pursuant to the JOBS Act. An emerging growth company may take advantage of specified reduced reporting and other requirements that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies. These provisions include exemption from the auditor attestation requirement under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or Section 404, in the assessment of the emerging growth company’s internal control over financial reporting and permission to delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies.

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We expect these rules and regulations to increase our legal and financial compliance costs and to make some corporate activities more time-consuming and costly. After we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” we expect to incur significant expenses and devote substantial management effort toward ensuring compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the other rules and regulations of the SEC. For example, as a result of becoming a public company, we will need to increase the number of independent directors and adopt policies regarding internal controls and disclosure controls and procedures. We also expect that operating as a public company will make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. In addition, we will incur additional costs associated with our public company reporting requirements. It may also be more difficult for us to find qualified persons to serve on our board of directors or as executive officers. We are currently evaluating and monitoring developments with respect to these rules and regulations, and we cannot predict or estimate with any degree of certainty the amount of additional costs we may incur or the timing of such costs.

In the past, shareholders of a public company often brought securities class action suits against the company following periods of instability in the market price of that company’s securities. If we were involved in a class action suit, it could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations, which could harm our results of operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law.

We are an exempted company limited by shares incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Companies Law (2018 Revision) of the Cayman Islands and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary duties owed to us by our directors under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from the common law of England, the decisions of whose courts are of persuasive authority, but are not binding, on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary duties owed to us by our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States. Some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States.

Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies like us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders of these companies. Our directors have discretion under our memorandum and articles of association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may make it more difficult for our shareholders to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for them to motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.

As a result of all of the above, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of our board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a company incorporated in the United States.

Your rights to pursue claims against the depositary as a holder of ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement.

The deposit agreement governing the ADSs representing our ordinary shares provides that, subject to the depositary’s right to require a claim to be submitted to arbitration, the federal or state courts in the City of New York have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine claims arising under the deposit agreement and in that regard, to the fullest extent permitted by law, ADS holders waive the right to a jury trial of any claim they may have against us or the depositary arising out of or relating to our shares, the ADSs or the deposit agreement, including any claim under the U.S. federal securities laws.

If we or the depositary opposed a jury trial demand based on the waiver, the court would determine whether the waiver was enforceable based on the facts and circumstances of that case in accordance with the applicable U.S. state and federal law. To our knowledge, the enforceability of a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver in connection with claims arising under the U.S. federal securities laws has not been finally adjudicated by the United States Supreme Court. However, we believe that a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver provision is generally enforceable, including under the laws of the State of New York, which govern the deposit agreement. In determining whether to enforce a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver provision, courts will generally consider whether a party knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived the right to a jury trial. We believe that this is the case with respect to the deposit agreement and the ADSs. It is advisable that you consult legal counsel regarding the jury waiver provision before investing in the ADSs.

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If you or any other holders or beneficial owners of ADSs bring a claim against us or the depositary in connection with matters arising under the deposit agreement or the ADSs, including claims under U.S. federal securities laws, you or such other holder or beneficial owner may not be entitled to a jury trial with respect to such claims, which may have the effect of limiting and discouraging lawsuits against us and/or the depositary. If a lawsuit is brought against us and/or the depositary under the deposit agreement, it may be heard only by a judge or justice of the applicable trial court, which would be conducted according to different civil procedures and may result in different outcomes than a trial by jury would have had, including results that could be less favorable to the plaintiff(s) in any such action.

Nevertheless, if this jury trial waiver provision is not enforced, to the extent a court action proceeds, it would proceed under the terms of the deposit agreement with a jury trial. No condition, stipulation or provision of the deposit agreement or ADSs serves as a waiver by any holder or beneficial owner of ADSs or by us or the depositary of compliance with any substantive provision of the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.

In addition, the depositary may, in its sole discretion, require that any dispute or difference arising from the relationship created by the deposit agreement be referred to and finally settled by an arbitration conducted under the terms described in the deposit agreement, although the arbitration provisions do not preclude you from pursuing claims under U.S. federal securities laws in federal courts.

Certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.

We are a Cayman Islands exempted company and substantially all of our assets are located outside of the United States. Substantially all of our current operations are conducted in China. In addition, all of our current directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. Substantially all of the assets of these persons are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the U.S. federal securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of China may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers.

As an exempted company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, we are permitted to adopt certain home country practices in relation to corporate governance matters that differ significantly from the Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards; these practices may afford less protection to shareholders than they would enjoy if we complied fully with the Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards.

As a Cayman Islands company listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market, we are subject to the Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards. However, Nasdaq rules permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country. Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, may differ significantly from the Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards. Currently, we do not plan to rely on home country practice with respect to our corporate governance. However, if we choose to follow home country practice in the future, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they would otherwise enjoy under the Nasdaq governance listing standards applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

There can be no assurance that we will not be a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes for any taxable year, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. holders of our ADSs or ordinary shares.

A non-U.S. corporation will be treated as a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes for any taxable year if either (i) at least 75% of its gross income for such year consists of certain types of “passive” income; or (ii) at least 50% of the value of its assets (based on an average of the quarterly values of the assets) during such year is attributable to assets that produce passive income or are held for the production of passive income. Based on our current and expected income and assets, and the market value of our ADSs, we do not believe we were a PFIC for the taxable year ended December 31, 2018, nor do we presently expect to be a PFIC for the current taxable year or the foreseeable future. However, no assurance can be given in this regard because the determination of whether we are or will become a PFIC is a fact-intensive inquiry made on an annual basis that depends, in part, upon the composition of our income and assets. Fluctuations in the market price of our ADSs may cause us to become a PFIC for the current or subsequent taxable years because the value of our assets for the purpose of the asset test may be determined by reference to the market price of our ADSs. The composition of our income and assets may also be affected by how, and how quickly, we use our liquid assets and the cash raised in our initial public offering.

If we were to be or become a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. Holder (as defined in “Taxation—United States Federal Income Tax Considerations”) holds our ADSs or ordinary shares, certain adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences could apply to such U.S. Holder. See “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—Passive foreign investment company considerations.”

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ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

A.

History and Development of the Company

We commenced our operation in May 2014 through Foshan Yunmi Electric Appliances Technology Co., Ltd, or Foshan Viomi, a PRC domestic company, to develop, manufacture and sell IoT products, including smart water purification systems. Foshan Viomi was established by Mr. Xiaoping Chen and Tianjin Jinxing Investment Co., Ltd., or Tianjin Jinxing, a subsidiary of Xiaomi. Certain equity interests in Foshan Viomi under Mr. Chen’s name were held by Mr. Chen on behalf of our management.

In January 2015, we incorporated Viomi Technology Co., Ltd as our offshore holding company in order to facilitate foreign investment in our company. Subsequently, we established Viomi HK Technology Co., Limited, or Viomi HK, as our intermediate holding company, which in turn established a wholly-owned PRC subsidiary, Lequan Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd., or Lequan Technology or our WFOE, in April 2015.

In January 2015, we formed a PRC domestic company, Beijing Yunmi Technology Co., Ltd, or Beijing Viomi, to develop and manage our big data, software and product design. In July 2015, we issued class A ordinary shares of Viomi Technology Co., Ltd. in exchange for the equity interests in Foshan Viomi held by Mr. Chen on behalf of the management, class B ordinary shares in exchange for the equity interests in Foshan Viomi owned by Mr. Chen, and class B ordinary shares to Red Better Limited and Shunwei Talent Limited in exchange for the equity interests in Foshan Viomi held by Tianjin Jinxing. Concurrently, we obtained control over Foshan Viomi and Beijing Viomi by entering into a series of contractual arrangements with them and their respective shareholders. In September 2018, Foshan Viomi reduced its registered capital and changed its shareholders from Mr. Xiaoping Chen and Tianjin Jinxing Investment Company, an affiliate of our principal shareholder, Red Better Limited, to Mr. Xiaoping Chen alone. Concurrently, we entered into a series of contractual arrangements in substantially the same forms with Foshan Viomi and Mr. Xiaoping Chen. We collectively refer to Foshan Viomi and Beijing Viomi as our VIEs in this annual report. We use contractual arrangements with VIEs due to PRC restrictions or prohibitions on foreign ownership of internet and other related businesses in China.

As a result of our direct ownership in our WFOE and the contractual arrangements with the VIEs, we are regarded as the primary beneficiary of our VIEs, and we treat them as our consolidated affiliated entities under U.S. GAAP. We have consolidated the financial results of our VIEs in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

On September 25, 2018, our ADSs commenced trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol “VIOT.” We raised from our initial public offering approximately US$91.4 million in net proceeds, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses payable by us.

In July 2018, we established Guangdong Lizi Technology Co., Ltd. (“Guangdong Lizi”), a subsidiary of Foshan Viomi, as a smart water purification system facility focusing on the research, design, production and supply of smart water purifiers and water purifier filters. Guangdong Lizi began commercial manufacturing operations in January 2019.

In January 2019, we established Guangdong AI Touch Technology Co., Ltd. (“Guangdong AI Touch”), a subsidiary of Foshan Viomi, for the development, production and supply of touch screen components for our smart products. Guangdong AI Touch has begun its pilot run and is expected to commence commercial manufacturing operations during the first half of 2019.

Our principal executive offices are located at Wansheng Square, Rm 1302 Tower C, Xingang East Road, Haizhu District, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510220, People’s Republic of China. Our telephone number at this address is +86 20 8930 9496. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at offices of Maples Corporate Services Limited at PO Box 309 Ugland House, Grand Cayman, KY1-1104, Cayman Islands.

SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC on www.sec.gov. You can also find information on our website http://ir.viomi.com/

B.

Business Overview

We have developed a unique IoT @ Home platform, consisting of an ecosystem of innovative IoT products, together with a suite of complementary consumable products and value-added businesses. This platform provides an attractive entry point into the consumer home, enabling consumers to intelligently interact with a broad portfolio of IoT products in an intuitive and human-like manner to make daily life more convenient, efficient and enjoyable, while allowing us to grow our household user base and capture various additional scenario-driven consumption events in the home environment. As of December 31, 2018, our IoT @ Home platform had over 1.7 million household users.

Powered by advanced AI, proprietary software and data analytics systems, our IoT @ Home platform generates extensive and deep consumer behavior data and insights, enabling us to continue to enhance our products and offer additional bespoke value-added businesses over time.

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Xiaomi is our strategic partner, shareholder and customer. Our strategic partnership with Xiaomi gives us access to Xiaomi’s ecosystem users, market and data resources and related support. Meanwhile, our strong research and development capabilities and innovative products and services also enrich Xiaomi’s suite of offerings, resulting in a mutually beneficial relationship between Xiaomi and us.

Our Business Model

We operate a highly scalable business model based on three key pillars: 1) our IoT-enabled smart home products; 2) complementary consumable products and value-added businesses ecosystem; and 3) a factory-to-consumer, or F2C, new retail sales strategy.

IoT-enabled smart home products

We generate a significant portion of our revenues through sales of our IoT products. Aimed at China’s young, modern, “new middle-class” consumers, our portfolio of innovative IoT products form the core of our IoT @ Home platform. We have successfully brought to market an extensive range of IoT products, including our smart water purification systems, smart kitchen products, including smart refrigerators and range hoods, and other smart products such as smart washing machines, water heaters and other smart devices. These products engage users across a wide spectrum of essential daily activities and create new consumption scenarios for the home environment. We think of customers’ initial purchases of our products as the start of our relationship with them rather than the end, as that first purchase drives broad home-wide adoption of our products and long-term customer loyalty. The inherent connected nature, synergies, and network effects within our IoT @ Home platform are demonstrated by the fact that the percentage of our household users possessing at least two of our IoT products increased from 3.5% as of March 31, 2016 to 14.3% as of December 31, 2018.

Consumable products and value-added businesses ecosystem

In addition to our IoT products, we offer a suite of complementary consumable products and value-added businesses. Consumable products, such as water purifier filters, are complementary, and often essential, to our IoT products, allowing us to generate additional, recurring and ongoing revenue streams for us beyond the initial sales of the IoT products with minimal customer acquisition costs. Our value-added businesses consist of sales of other products such as water quality meters and water filter pitchers, provision of installation services, and services related to our e-commerce platform embedded within various of our IoT products.

We believe home is the most important and natural consumption environment. Hence, in addition to facilitating sales of our IoT products, our IoT @ Home platform, together with our vibrant partner ecosystem, is also set up to capture scenario-driven consumption events in the home environment. For example, users can easily and directly access various media and entertainment content, as well as purchase products, including our consumable products together with other fast-moving consumer goods, supplied by us or our ecosystem partners, through platforms and interfaces integrated and embedded within various of our IoT products. This unique aspect of our business model allows us to capture users’ consumption events and purchasing behavior across the entire life cycle of our core products and differentiates us from hardware-focused peers.

F2C new retail

At the heart of our omnichannel F2C new retail experience is our network of approximately 1,500 Viomi offline experience stores across China, the majority of which were stand-alone stores, as of December 31, 2018. These stores, operated by our third-party network partners, enable consumers to physically test our IoT @ Home lifestyle experience firsthand. After experiencing our products in this home lifestyle environment, consumers can then purchase the products they like by either directly placing orders with the store or scanning the QR code, after which the selected products will be delivered to them directly. We also sell our products directly to customers through our online platforms as well as through other platforms at prices consistent with the network of Viomi offline experience stores, subject to occasional sales promotions offered through different sales channels.

Our efficient omnichannel F2C new retail strategy enhances our brand awareness and cuts out unnecessary layers of middlemen, preserving profitability for us, supports attractive pricing of our products, and also promotes bundled product sales.

Our IoT @ Home platform

Our unique IoT @ Home platform consists of an ecosystem of innovative IoT products together with a suite of complementary consumable products and value-added businesses.

Powered by our advanced software, innovative AI technology and powerful data analytics capabilities, our IoT @ Home platform generates extensive and deep consumer behavior data and insights, which enable us to continue enhancing our products and offering additional bespoke value-added businesses over time. As of December 31, 2018, our IoT @ Home platform had over 1.7 million household users.

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We generate a significant portion of our net revenues through sales of our IoT products, which form the core of our IoT @ Home platform. We have successfully brought to market an extensive range of IoT products that engage users across a wide spectrum of essential daily usage activities. We also sell a range of consumable products complementary, and often essential, to our IoT products, such as water filters for our water purifiers and air filters for our refrigerators, which provide us with additional, recurring and ongoing revenues streams across the life cycle of the IoT product. In addition, we have various value-added businesses, including sales of related household products as well as offering various installation services and e-commerce services through a platform embedded within various of our IoT products.

The table below sets forth the revenue contribution of our key business lines:

 

 

 

For the year ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

2018

 

 

 

RMB

 

 

%

 

 

RMB

 

 

%

 

 

RMB

 

 

US$

 

 

%

 

 

 

(in thousands, except for percentages)

 

Net revenues:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IoT-enabled smart home products

 

 

273,282

 

 

 

87.4

 

 

 

712,317

 

 

 

81.6

 

 

 

2,081,273

 

 

 

302,709

 

 

 

81.3

 

Smart water purification systems

 

 

250,442

 

 

 

80.1

 

 

 

570,784

 

 

 

65.4

 

 

 

930,178

 

 

 

135,289

 

 

 

36.3

 

Smart kitchen products

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,656

 

 

 

5.8

 

 

 

744,990

 

 

 

108,354

 

 

 

29.1

 

Other smart products

 

 

22,840

 

 

 

7.3

 

 

 

90,877

 

 

 

10.4

 

 

 

406,105

 

 

 

59,066

 

 

 

15.9

 

Consumable products

 

 

19,376

 

 

 

6.2

 

 

 

87,500

 

 

 

10.0

 

 

 

141,940

 

 

 

20,644

 

 

 

5.5

 

Value-added businesses(1)

 

 

19,916

 

 

 

6.4

 

 

 

73,402

 

 

 

8.4

 

 

 

338,016

 

 

 

49,162

 

 

 

13.2

 

Total

 

 

312,574

 

 

 

100.0

 

 

 

873,219

 

 

 

100.0

 

 

 

2,561,229

 

 

 

372,515

 

 

 

100.0

 

 

Note:

(1)

Including sales of other products and rendering of services. See footnote 11 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for more details.

Our IoT products

The IoT products we offer can be divided into smart water purification systems, smart kitchen products and other smart products.

Smart water purification systems

We offer comprehensive water purification solutions, including home-wide water purification and hot water distribution, sharing and exchange of water quality data, and seamless integration and interaction with other water-consuming smart home products, such as water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers. The core of our water purification solutions is our self-branded and Xiaomi-branded smart water purifiers, which are complemented by our easy-to-install replaceable water filter consumable products. Some of our key smart water purification system product lines include V1 Super Water Purifier, X series Instant Boiling Water Purifiers and Mi Water Purifier. Our smart water purifier product line also includes Mee, C1, and S1 water purifiers and hot water dispensers. Our smart water purifiers generally features precision sensors that enable them to monitor in real time the water purification process and analyze the data collected using AI technology and automatically adjusts various aspects of its operation, innovation water purification technologies such as high-flow reverse osmosis membrane, and mobile application connectivity that enables users to monitor the status of the water purifier and reminds the users to replace the filters.

Smart kitchen products

Our smart kitchen products include refrigerators, oven steamers, dishwashers, range hoods and gas stoves. Some of our key smart kitchen products lines include, 21Face Smart Refrigerator, Connected Oven Steamer, EyeBot and Hurri Series Smart Range Hoods, Power Series Gas Stoves, and Viomi Dishwasher. In particular, our 21Face smart refrigerator helps users manage their home and life with food management, connected living, and information and entertainment capabilities—all controlled through voice recognition, hands-free AI technology from anywhere in the kitchen. 21Face is seamlessly embedded with an interface through which users can access our value-added businesses, such as various media and entertainment content, as well as the ability to purchase various household fast-moving consumer goods, including fresh produce, as well as ordering food delivery.

Other smart products

In addition to our smart water purification system and our smart kitchen products lineup, we also offer a diverse array of IoT products that complements our IoT @ Home platform and addresses users’ needs across different home scenarios, such as washing machines, water heaters, smart water kettles, robot vacuum cleaners, smart locks and other smart devices, among others.

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Consumable products

We offer a range of consumable products complementary, and often essential, to our IoT products, which provide us with additional, recurring and ongoing revenue streams across the life cycle of our IoT products. Consumers can purchase such products either through our sales channels or through the e-commerce platform embedded within various of our IoT products. The consumable products include water filters and water pitcher filters for our smart water purifiers, water pitcher filters, and air filters for our refrigerators. They feature easy installation mechanisms so that consumers can effortlessly install the products themselves.

Value-added businesses

Another key component of our IoT @ Home platform is our suite of value-added businesses.

Services

Together with our vibrant partner ecosystem, we offer value-added services that can capture various scenario-driven consumption events in the home environment, such as enabling users to easily and directly access media and entertainment content, as well as purchase various household fast-moving consumer goods as and when the need arises within the comfort of their home. We achieve this through e-commerce platforms and interfaces embedded within and integrated with various of our IoT products. We work closely with our ecosystem partners to deliver these services to our users.

A consumption scenario is a combination of specific location, timing and user that leads to a user’s ultimate decision to make a purchase. A user’s willingness to purchase and the considerations related to the purchase vary depending on the scenario. When there is a household need in a specific scenario, our products can address that need the moment it arises. Moreover, because our products can collect a vast amount of household behavior data, analyze that data utilizing AI technology and deep learning, and create accurate household profiles, the consumption need can be addressed before the user realizes that it exists. After the need is identified, the user can interact with our IoT products operating in that exact scenario and place the order for the product or service.

For example, when the laundry detergent is running low, our washing machine can remind the user or automatically place the order for refill. Similarly, our water purifier can detect when the water filter needs to be replaced and alert the user or automatically order replacements.

We also offer certain installation services for our products.

Other products

We also offer a variety of other household products to supplement our IoT products and promote regular impulse purchases by consumers. These products include food processors, rice cookers, water quality meters, aromatherapy humidifiers, water filter pitchers, and stainless steel insulated water bottles.

Software, Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics Systems

We rely on our advanced software, innovative AI technology and powerful data analytics capability to develop, operate, and continuously enhance our IoT @ Home platform.

Advanced software

We have developed advanced software to achieve interconnectivity among our IoT products and to support and expand their functionalities. Our software is equipped with public API (application programming interface) through which other parties’ software and products can be connected to and integrated with ours.

Our IoT products that are equipped with interactive screens run the Android operating system, which can operate software applications with advanced and diverse functions and serve as the platform on which our IoT products connect. The rest of our products have embedded systems that operate both locally and on the cloud. Our Viomi Store mobile app allows customers to quickly and efficiently discover, review, select and purchase our products. In addition, the Viomi Store serves as the control app for our products, and enables our users to manage, monitor and interact with our IoT products. Using our cloud-based software system, our products receive automatic updates, often on an overnight basis, to incorporate new functionalities and grow smarter over time based on our data analysis.

Artificial Intelligence

We intend to leverage ongoing advancements in artificial intelligence by incorporating them into our products and services. Our AI technology team develops and refines our proprietary, artificial intelligence-based algorithms, and leverages third-party AI components to build a more effective system. Artificial intelligence technology is widely implemented through our services, for example in voice and gesture control, as well as in water quality analysis.

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Data analytics

Through users’ interaction with many of our products, advanced sensors embedded in our products can capture, accumulate and upload large quantities of user and household usage data. Our users’ behavior and sequential data is stored strictly in compliance with stringent data privacy standards and data security requirements.

Our dedicated big data analysis team has developed our own data analytics platform. We use this platform to extract intelligence from large amounts of data. Analyzing this data enhances our understanding of user behavior, and we are thus able to further develop our IoT @ Home platform to better serve our customers. By providing better solutions, we believe we will attract more household users over time. More household users on our platform can then generate more data for our software analytics, enhance our software and algorithms, and lead to a better user experience, which in turn can attract more household users to our platform, a powerful virtuous cycle.

We consider the protection of the personal privacy of each of our users to be of paramount importance. We collect only anonymous data and only with users’ consent, and all sensitive data is encrypted. We use such data only for the improvement of our products and services. Furthermore, our employees’ access to our internal information management system is limited to verified IP address and we restrict the scope of such access based on the duty of the employee. Our data is stored securely in both KSYUN and Alibaba Cloud.

Omnichannel F2C New Retail Platform

Our Omnichannel F2C new retail platform consists of an efficient network of online retail channels and Viomi offline experience stores. This platform supports us in offering consistent pricing and a flattened distribution channel. We provide a seamless, consistent shopping experience that makes purchasing our products easy, inviting and hassle-free.

Online

We sell our products directly to consumers through our official website, our Viomi Store mobile app, and our flagship stores on TMall.com and JD.com, as well as through www.xiaomiyoupin.com. Through our official website, potential customers can learn about our customer service and after-sale service programs. Our official website provides a detailed description and illustration of the innovative features and technologies of our full product line-up. Our official website also includes a QR code linked to our WeChat Viomi store, which has a logical layout that makes the purchasing experience more convenient. Our official website can also connect potential customers to their nearest offline stores for them to experience our IoT products in a home-like setting. Our Viomi Store mobile app allows customers to quickly and efficiently discover, review, select and purchase our products.

We also sell our products to third-party online platforms, including major e-commerce players such as JD.com and Suning. We believe that the sales of our products to these leading e-commerce platforms enables us to take advantage of their established customer base and brand recognition, and helps us to reach a wide group of customers in a variety of markets.

Offline

As an integral part of our F2C new retail strategy, we have established a large network of Viomi offline experience stores operated by our third-party network partners. We provide consistent training to educate the salespersons of our network of offline experience stores as we believe that the sales of our products can be enhanced by knowledgeable salespersons who can convey the value of hardware and software integration and demonstrate the benefits of our IoT @ Home platform. Also, we believe that having direct interaction with our targeted customers is an effective way to demonstrate the advantages of our products over those of our competitors, and that providing a high-quality sales and after-sales customer support is critical to attracting new users and retaining existing ones.

Together with our network partners, we had established a network of approximately 1,500 Viomi offline experience stores, the majority of which were stand-alone stores, as of December 31, 2018.

Scenario-driven presentation and bundled sales

We display our products so that consumers can test first-hand our IoT @ Home platform and the IoT @ Home lifestyle experience. In addition, since customers in these Viomi offline experience stores can experience the full range of our products and see how they interact with each other, we believe they are more likely to engage in bundled purchases, which drive higher revenue and wallet share per customer while reducing average customer acquisition costs.

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Asset-light model and flattened distribution channel

Through our agreements with our regional network partners, we authorize them to open and operate Viomi offline experience stores within a designated area, either by directly operating those stores or through franchise operating arrangements. We have the technology infrastructure to manage our regional network partners. We control the qualification of new regional network partners, provide extensive ongoing training to them, and periodically review their performance.

Such an asset-light model is cost-efficient, and we believe the network of Viomi offline experience stores is well-suited to China’s fragmented and localized customer needs. With our flattened distribution layers, we are able to support attractive pricing of our products. Utilizing this highly scalable model, we can leverage the resources of our regional network partners to achieve rapid expansion and deep penetration of our network without significant capital outlays.

Retail channel control

We conduct our offline sales mostly through the network of Viomi offline experience stores, giving us control of the presentation of our brand. This strategy allows us to present our brand in a consistent manner, including marketing, pricing and product presentation. It also enables us to reduce logistical complexities and costs as we are not subject to timing, delivery and quantity requirements set by third-party retailers, allowing our employees to instead concentrate on product development and customer service.

Research and Development

We are passionate about developing new and innovative products and services.

Scenario-driven approach

Instead of focusing on bringing a new product to market, we start our product development process by identifying a scenario built upon a number of our IoT products that together can address the user’s specific scenario-based needs. Based on this information, we identify the respective products necessary to cater to such a scenario.

Team composition

As of December 31, 2018, our total research and development staff consisted of approximately 286 employees across multiple R&D centers and product groups teams, representing 45.6% of our total number of employees. We incurred RMB29.9 million, RMB60.7 million and RMB124.2 million (US$18.1 million) in research and development expenses in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Our research and development team include global and cross-industry experts in technical product hardware development, software, AI, including industry experts who previously worked at Dyson, Siemens, and Bosch.

Hardware

Our hardware engineering team supports our product design and the design of key system components. Our industrial design team works closely with product managers and development engineers throughout the entire production cycle. We opened a hardware innovation center in 2017, which is headed by an industry expert who previously worked with market leaders for innovation.

Software

Our software engineering team, consisting of about 106 software engineers as of December 31, 2018, is responsible for developing our company-wide software platform to support the integration of our products and applications, the transmission, storage and processing of user data, the implementation of user-product interaction, the internal management of manufacturing and distribution, as well as our AI algorithms. We rely on our software to connect our IoT products and our cloud-based system. The key elements of our software engineering philosophy include security, reliability and extensibility.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property rights are fundamental to our business, and we devote significant time and resources to their development and protection. We rely on a combination of patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws, as well as confidentiality agreements, to establish and protect our proprietary rights. We generally do not rely on third-party licenses of intellectual property for use in our business.

As of December 31, 2018, we had over 940 patents registered with the State Intellectual Property Office of China.

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Globally, as of December 31, 2018, we had over 40 patents registered and over 70 pending patent applications in various overseas countries and jurisdictions, including the United States, Europe, India, Korea and certain Southeast Asia countries.

As of December 31, 2018, we had registered over 200 trademarks in China.

Relationship with Xiaomi

Xiaomi is our strategic partner and shareholder. Our strategic partnership with Xiaomi gives us access to Xiaomi’s ecosystem users, market and data resources and related support. Meanwhile, our strong research and development capabilities and innovative products and services also enrich Xiaomi’s suite of offerings, resulting in a mutually-beneficial relationship between Xiaomi and us.

Our cooperation with and sales to Xiaomi extends to a wide arrange of products, which currently include Xiaomi-branded water purification systems, water purifier filters, as well as other complimentary products such as kettles and water quality meters. Sales of these products are governed by a business cooperation agreement, pursuant to which Xiaomi is responsible for the distribution and sales of these products through its networks and sales channels. Please see the description under “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—B. Related Party Transaction—Our Relationship with Xiaomi—Strategic Cooperation Agreement.” for a summary of the material terms of this business cooperation agreement. We recover our manufacturers and logistics cost when we deliver Xiaomi-branded products. In addition, we will also share a portion of net profits when Xiaomi is successful in selling such products to end users.

We also sell our own Viomi-branded products through Xiaomi’s e-commerce platform, www.xiaomiyoupin.com, directly to consumers. We are charged with service fees proportionate to the sales amount of our products excluding refunds, or as otherwise agreed for certain products. Please see the description under “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—B. Related Party Transaction—Our Relationship with Xiaomi—Strategic Cooperation Agreement.” for a summary of the material terms of the commission sales agreement.

In 2016, 2017, and 2018, we generated a substantial portion of our net revenues from sales to Xiaomi, predominantly consisting of Xiaomi-branded smart water purifiers and related products. For a detailed discussion of our risks associated with the cooperation with Xiaomi, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors——Risks Related to Our Business and Industry—Xiaomi is our strategic partner and our most important customer. Any deterioration of our relationship with Xiaomi could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.”

Sales and Marketing

Marketing

Our marketing is focused on building our brand reputation, increasing market awareness of our IoT @ Home platform, driving customer demand and developing a strong sales pipeline, as well as collaborating with our third-party partners across our sales channels. Examples of our marketing initiatives include:

Branding and endorsements

Since our inception we have been emphasizing the value of customer feedback and direct communications with our users. In order to reach a wider customer base, we engage popular celebrities and sponsor popular variety shows in China. For example, under our brand ambassador program, we seek to engage celebrities with popular following to convey our brand value and our vision of IoT @ Home, an example of which is our collaboration with a successful actress since 2017. We also partnered with Wandering Earth, a science fiction film that enjoyed both box office success and critical acclaims to imagine the future home together, kicking off with our new product launch event in March 2019.

Events marketing

We organize and participate in various official offline events to promote our brand and the idea of a connected smart home. Our “Viomi 11-18 Brand Day” campaign includes online promotions, as well as offline marketing efforts such as product launch events. We participated in exhibitions and forums such as the Appliance & Electronics World Expo in 2018 and 2019 and the 2018 “Belt and Road” Finance and Investment Forum. We also actively participate in shopping festivals across e-commerce platforms such as “618,” “Singles’ Day” and “Double Twelve,” which are highly popular among Chinese consumers.

Social media

Our Viomi fans form WeChat groups where they can learn about our upcoming products, share thoughts and experiences, discover new functionalities, and make recommendations for improvements for our products and service. Our representatives regularly participate in the group discussions to respond to users’ queries and to better understand users’ fast-changing needs. We also maintain various official social media accounts to actively engage with users by answering their questions and concerns.

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Customer service

User experience is a key focus for our business. We strive to provide personalized support for our users, including support from live customer service representatives. If customers who shop through our online channels have any inquiries or complaints about our products or the ordering process, they can contact customer service representatives through real-time online chat or through our toll-free customer service phone number. To better serve our customers who may prefer offline interaction, our Viomi Store app also automatically shows the nearest Viomi offline experience store based on the location of the user.

After-sale service

The goal of our after-sale service is to create the best user experience for our customers. Our customers may return all products purchased from our official Viomi online store and other online platforms within seven days from receipt. Our customers may also have their products replaced for specific types of defects or quality issues as required under the relevant laws and regulations.

Manufacturing and Fulfillment

Procurement and manufacturing

We outsource the majority of the manufacturing of our products to our contract manufacturers. Going forward, we expect that a material proportion of smart water purifiers and water purifier filters will be produced by our subsidiaries. We believe that outsourcing certain manufacturing of our products while retaining others at our own facilities provides us with greater scale and flexibility at lower costs while at the same time ensures our control over our supply chain and technological expansion.

We outsource the manufacturing of our products to a number of contract manufacturers, who produce our products using design specifications and standards that we have established. We also help our contract manufacturers to design the equipment and tooling used in the production and help train their workers. We evaluate on an ongoing basis our current contract manufacturers and component suppliers, including whether or not to utilize new or alternative contract manufacturers or component suppliers.

Our outsourcing arrangements include confidentiality agreements, supply agreements, and quality control agreements. For products we sell to Xiaomi, Xiaomi provides us with production forecasts on a rolling basis, which serve as the primary indicator for our component procurement efforts. For our self-branded products, we procure completed components based on our internal sales and production plan for the next three months at the beginning of each month on a rolling basis.

We procure certain key raw materials and components from domestic and overseas suppliers, and then consign them to our contract manufacturers. Our suppliers generally also provide direct order fulfillment services with logistics that include delivery of parts and assembly to either our own facility for inspection or our contract manufacturers directly.

Inventory management

Our inventory primarily consists of finished products and raw materials. We manage our inventory with measures appropriate to the use and nature of the inventory. Our manufacturing plans are designed and implemented to accommodate our sales and maintain reasonable inventory levels. We receive aggregated and geographically-enabled inventory data feeds from our centralized distribution network, which facilitates product shipment from warehouses that are closer to the delivery destination. Through close coordination with our customers and contract manufacturers and frequent purchases of components from suppliers, we are able to carry relatively efficient levels of raw materials and in-process inventories, minimizing inventory risk.

Product quality assurance

We are committed to maintaining the highest level of quality in our products. We developed the quality assurance management software that monitors the manufacturing and quality assurance process used across our own manufacturing facility as well as our contract manufacturers. We have designed and implemented a quality management system that provides the framework for continuing improvement of our products and processes. For our new product lines, we conduct thorough examinations of product samples and each of their components at the product verification testing stage to make sure they satisfy our technical requirements. For our existing product lines, we also have a quality assurance team that establishes, communicates and monitors quality standards by product category. In addition, we have quality assurance personnel seconded to the facilities of our contract manufacturers to ensure that they fully adhere to our quality standards in the production process.

We have constant access to each manufacturing facility of our contract manufacturers, and our quality control team continuously monitors the quality of incoming components, materials and finished products, as well as the manufacturing processes at our contract manufacturers’ facilities. We also require our partners to maintain quality control over their logistics, production and quality inspection procedures based on ISO9001 quality standards.

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IT Infrastructure

Our network infrastructure is designed to satisfy the requirements of our operations, to support the growth of our business and to ensure the reliability of our operations as well as the security of information on our platform. We continuously develop our platform to offer users an effortless and seamless experience across our products and services, while at the same time enhancing the reliability and scalability of our platform.

We have contracted with KSYUN and Alibaba Cloud Services to utilize their infrastructure, such as computing services, storage, server and bandwidth. We have a working data redundancy model with comprehensive backups of both cloud services. This redundancy supports the reliability of our network and the stable operation of our business.

Competition

We compete with other companies in all aspects of our business, particularly companies that are in the household appliances and smart home markets. The household appliances and smart home markets have a large number of participants, including traditional appliances and consumer electronics companies as well as AI and consumer internet companies that are moving into the hardware space.

We believe the principal competitive factors impacting the market for our products include: brand recognition, value for money, user experience, breadth of product and service offerings, product functionality and quality, sales and distribution as well as supply chain management. We believe we can compete favorably on the basis of these factors. Viomi has been developed as an aspirational, “next generation” brand with attractive value propositions that aims to bring the full suite of AI capabilities and IoT experience to the home environment, while continuing to leverage Xiaomi’s brand recognition for Xiaomi-branded products. We plan to continue to leverage our strong research and development capabilities and introduce new and innovative products with advanced functionalities to market. In addition, we have developed strong and diversified sales channels via our omnichannel F2C new retail sales strategy and are making investments to strengthen our supply chain management resources. However, the industry in which we compete is evolving rapidly and is becoming increasingly competitive. For additional information, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to our Business and Industry—We operate in highly competitive markets, and the scale and resources of some of our competitors may allow them to compete more effectively than we can, which could result in a loss of our market share and a decrease in our net revenues and profitability.”

Insurance

We maintain various insurance policies to safeguard against risks and unexpected events. We have purchased product liability insurance for our products, including water purifiers, gas stoves, range hoods and refrigerators, sold in the domestic market as well as those exported to the overseas market. We maintain public liability insurance for any personal injury or property loss of any third party occurred in our operating address of Foshan Viomi.

In line with general market practice, we do not maintain any business interruption insurance, which is not typical in our industry or mandatory under Chinese laws. We do not maintain key-man life insurance or insurance policies covering damages to our IT infrastructure or information technology systems. We also do not maintain insurance policies against risks relating to the Contractual Arrangements.

Regulation

Substantially all of our business is located in PRC, and laws and regulations in PRC are most relevant to our business. This section sets forth a summary of the most significant rules and regulations that affect our business activities in China.

Regulation on value-added telecommunication services

The Telecommunications Regulations of the PRC, promulgated by the State Council in 2000 and last amended in February 2016, provide a regulatory framework for telecommunications services providers in PRC. These regulations require telecommunications services providers to obtain operating licenses prior to the commencement of their operations. The telecommunications services are categorized into basic telecommunications services and value-added telecommunications services. According to the Catalog of Telecommunications Business, attached to the Telecommunications Regulations and last amended by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, in December 2015, transaction processing services provided via fixed network, mobile network and Internet fall within value-added telecommunications services.

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The Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services, promulgated by the State Council in 2000 and amended in January 2011, set out guidelines on the provision of internet information services. This rule classified internet information services into commercial internet information services and non-commercial internet information services, and a commercial operator of transaction processing services must obtain an operating permit for value-added telecommunications services of internet information for the provision of online data processing and transaction processing services (the EDI License) from the appropriate telecommunications administration authorities. The Administrative Measures for Telecommunications Businesses Operating Licensing, promulgated by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or the MIIT, in July 2017 and effective on September 1, 2017, provides that a commercial operator of value-added telecommunications services must first obtain a telecommunication operating license, from the MIIT or its provincial level counterparts. The Value-added Telecommunications Operating License is classified as the Cross-regional Value-added Telecommunications Operating License and the Value-added Telecommunications Operating License within a province, autonomous region and municipality directly under the central government. In addition, in the first quarter of every year while the operator is holding the license, it must report information such as business performance of the telecommunications business in the previous year, the actual progress in network buildup, business development, turnover of staff, institutional restructuring and service quality to the issuing authorities.

Pursuant to the Provisions on the Administration of Foreign-Invested Telecom Enterprises, promulgated by the State Council in 2001 and amended in 2016, the primary foreign investor of a foreign-invested telecom enterprise operating value-added telecom services shall have a good track record of, and operation experience in, operating value-added telecom services. In addition, the establishment of a foreign-invested telecom enterprise operating value-added telecom services requires approval from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

To comply with these regulations, we have adopted the VIE structure and obtained an EDI license through Foshan Viomi, one of our VIEs, which allows us to provide value-added telecommunications services through our value-added e-commerce platform.

Regulation on catalogue relating to foreign investment

Investment activities in the PRC by foreign investors are subject to the Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industry, or the Catalogue, which was promulgated and is amended from time to time by the Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission. Pursuant to the latest Catalogue, amended and issued on June 28, 2018, and effective on July 28, 2018, or the 2018 Catalogue, industries listed therein are divided into two categories: encouraged industries and the industries within the catalogue of special management measures, or the Negative List. The Negative List is further divided into two sub-categories: restricted industries and prohibited industries. Any industry not falling into any of the encouraged, restricted or prohibited categories is classified as a permitted industry for foreign investment. Establishment of wholly foreign-owned enterprises is generally allowed in industries outside of the Negative List. For the restricted industries within the Negative List, some are limited to equity or contractual joint ventures, while in some cases Chinese partners are required to hold the majority interests in such joint ventures. In addition, restricted category projects are subject to government approvals and certain special requirements. Foreign investors are not allowed to invest in industries in the prohibited category. Industries not listed in the Negative List are generally open to foreign investment unless specifically restricted by other PRC regulations.

In October 2016, the Ministry of Commerce issued the Interim Measures for Record-filing Administration of the Establishment and Change of Foreign-invested Enterprises, and revised in July 2017. Pursuant to FIE Record-filing Interim Measures, the establishment and change of FIE are subject to record-filing procedures, instead of prior approval requirements, provided that the establishment or change does not involve special entry administration measures. If the establishment or change of FIE matters involves the special entry administration measures, the approval of the Ministry of Commerce or its local counterparts is still required. Pursuant to the Announcement [2016] No. 22 of the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce dated October 8, 2016, the special entry administration measures for foreign investment apply to restricted and prohibited categories specified in the Catalogue, and the encouraged categories are subject to certain requirements relating to equity ownership and senior management under the special entry administration measures.

The Foreign Investment Law of the PRC, or the Foreign Investment Law, was promulgated on March 15, 2019 by the State Council and will come into force on January 1, 2020, which stipulates that the state implements a management system of pre-entry national treatment plus Negative List for the administration of foreign investment. According to the Foreign Investment Law, foreign investors and their investments are entitled to pre-entry national treatment and are subject to the negative list management system. The pre-entry national treatment refers to the treatment given to foreign investors and their investments at the market access stage that is no less favorable than that given to domestic investors and their investments. The negative list management system means that the state implements special administrative measures for access of foreign investment in specific fields. Foreign Investors shall not invest in any field forbidden by the Negative List for access of foreign investment and shall conform to the investment conditions stipulated under the Negative List for any restricted field thereunder. Fields not included in the Negative List shall be managed under the principle that domestic investment and foreign investment shall be treated equally.

Currently, our business related to the development and application of IoT technology falls within the encouraged category while our provision of e-commerce services falls within the permitted category.

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Regulation on product quality and consumer protection

The PRC Product Quality Law applies to all production and sale activities in China. Pursuant to this law, products offered for sale must satisfy the relevant quality and safety standards. Enterprises may not produce or sell counterfeit products in any fashion. Any producer or seller producing or selling products that do not conform to the national standards or trade standards for ensuring human health and the personal or property safety shall be ordered to stop production or sale of the products; the products illegally produced or sold shall be confiscated; a fine no less than the equivalent of, but not more than three times, the value of the products illegally produced or sold (including those already sold and those not yet sold, hereinafter the same) shall be imposed concurrently; if there are illegal proceeds, such proceeds shall be confiscated concurrently; if the circumstances are serious, the business license shall be revoked. If the case constitutes a crime, criminal liability shall be investigated. Where a defective product causes physical injury to a person or damage to another person’s property, the victim may claim compensation from the manufacturer or from the seller of the product. If the seller pays compensation and it is the manufacturer that should bear the liability, the seller has a right of recourse against the manufacturer. Similarly, if the manufacturer pays compensation and it is the seller that should bear the liability, the manufacturer has a right of recourse against the seller.

The PRC Consumer Protection Law, as amended in October 2013 and effective in March 2014, sets out the obligations of business operators and the rights and interests of the consumers. Pursuant to this law, business operators must guarantee that the commodities they sell satisfy the requirements for personal or property safety, provide consumers with authentic information about the commodities and guarantee the quality, function, usage and term of validity of the commodities. Where business operators use internet, television, telephone, mail or other means to sell their commodities, consumers have the right to return such commodities, except the following commodities within seven days from the date when the consumers receive the commodities without giving any reason:

 

1.

commodities customized by the consumers;

 

2.

fresh perishable commodities;

 

3.

digitized commodities such as audio-video products and computer software downloaded online or opened by the consumers; and

 

4.

delivered newspapers and periodicals.

Where business operators use internet, television, telephone, mail or other means to provide goods or services, or provide securities, insurance, banking or other financial services, they shall provide consumers with information in regard to themselves and the goods or services provided such as business address, contact information, quantity and quality, price or fees, term and method of performance, safety precautions, risk warnings, after-sale services, and civil liabilities. Consumers whose legitimate rights and interests are infringed while purchasing goods or receiving services via an online trading platform shall have the right to claim compensation from the vendor of the goods or the provider of the services. Failure to comply with the Consumer Protection Law may subject business operators to civil liabilities such as refunding purchase prices, exchanging commodities, repairing, remanufacturing, ceasing damages, compensation, and restoring reputation, and even subject the business operators or the responsible individuals to criminal penalties if business operators commit crimes by infringing the legitimate rights and interests of consumers. If the goods or services a business operator provide have caused personal injuries to consumers or other victims, the business operator shall compensate for the medical expenses, nursing expenses, transportation expenses and other reasonable fees for treatment and rehabilitation as well as the reduced income for loss of working time.

Under the Tort Law of the PRC, which became effective on July 1, 2010, producers shall bear tortious liability for damage caused to others by their defective products. If damages to other persons are caused by defective products due to the fault of a third party, such as the parties providing transportation or warehousing, the producers and the sellers of the products have the right to recover their respective losses from such third parties. If defective products are identified after they have been put into circulation, the producers or the sellers shall take remedial measures such as issuance of a warning, recall of products, etc. in a timely manner. The producers or the sellers shall be liable under tort if they fail to take remedial measures in a timely manner or have not made efforts to take remedial measures, thus causing damages. If the products are produced or sold with known defects, causing deaths or severe adverse health issues, the infringed party has the right to claim punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.

We are subject to the above laws and regulations as an online retailer of IoT products and believe that we are currently in compliance with these regulations in all material aspects.

Regulation on intellectual property rights

The PRC has adopted comprehensive legislation governing intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and domain names.

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Patents

Pursuant to the PRC Patent Law, most recently amended on December 27, 2008, and its implementation rules, most recently amended on January 9, 2010, patents in China fall into three categories: invention, utility model and design. An invention patent is granted to a new technical solution proposed in respect of a product or method or an improvement of a product or method. A utility model is granted to a new technical solution that is practicable for application and proposed in respect of the shape, structure or a combination of both of a product. A design patent is granted to the new design of a certain product in shape, pattern or a combination of both, and in color, shape and pattern combinations aesthetically suitable for industrial application. Under the PRC Patent Law, the term of patent protection starts from the date of application. Patents relating to invention are effective for twenty years, and utility models and designs are effective for ten years from the date of application. The PRC Patent Law adopts the principle of “first-to-file” system, which provides that where more than one person files a patent application for the same invention, a patent will be granted to the person who files the application first.

Existing patents can become narrowed, invalid or unenforceable due to a variety of grounds, including lack of novelty, creativity, and deficiencies in patent application. In China, a patent must have novelty, creativity and practical applicability. Under the PRC Patent Law, novelty means that before a patent application is filed, no identical invention or utility model has been publicly disclosed in any publication in China or overseas or has been publicly used or made known to the public by any other means, whether in or outside of China, nor has any other person filed with the patent authority an application that describes an identical invention or utility model and is recorded in patent application documents or patent documents published after the filing date. Creativity means that, compared with existing technology, an invention has prominent substantial features and represents notable progress, and a utility model has substantial features and represents any progress. Practical applicability means an invention or utility model can be manufactured or used and may produce positive results. Patents in China are filed with the State Intellectual Property Office, or SIPO. Where, pursuant to the receipt of an application for a patent of an invention, the patent administrative department under the State Council, upon preliminary examination, finds the application conforms to the requirements of the Law, it shall publish the application promptly within 18 full months from the filing date. Upon the request of the applicant, the patent administrative department under the State Council may publish the application earlier.

Article 20 of the PRC Patent Law provides that, for an invention or utility model completed in China, any applicant (not just Chinese companies and individuals), before filing a patent application outside of China, must first submit it to the SIPO for a confidential examination. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in the denial of any Chinese patent for the relevant invention. This added requirement of confidential examination by the SIPO has raised concerns by foreign companies who conduct research and development activities in China or outsource research and development activities to service providers in China.

Patent enforcement

Unauthorized use of patents without consent from owners of patents, forgery of the patents belonging to other persons or engagement in other patent infringement acts will subject the infringers to infringement liability. Serious offences such as forgery of patents may be subject to criminal penalties.

When a dispute arises out of infringement of the patent owner’s patent right, Chinese law requires that the parties first attempt to settle the dispute through mutual consultation. However, if the dispute cannot be settled through mutual consultation, the patent owner, or an interested party who believes the patent is being infringed, may either file a civil legal suit or file an administrative complaint with the relevant patent administration authority. In the event the patent administrative department, when handling the matter, believes there is an infringement, it may order the infringing party to cease the infringement with immediate effect. If the infringing party is not satisfied with the ruling, it may, within 15 days from the date of receiving the notification of the order, initiate legal proceedings in the people’s court in accordance with the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Proceedings. If the infringing party neither takes legal action at the expiration of the time limit nor ceases the infringement, the patent administrative department may request the people’s court for a compulsory execution of the aforementioned order. A Chinese court may issue a preliminary injunction upon the patent owner’s or an interested party’s request before instituting any legal proceedings or during the proceedings. Damages for infringement are calculated as the loss suffered by the patent holder arising from the infringement, and if the loss suffered by the patent holder arising from the infringement cannot be determined, the damages for infringement shall be calculated as the benefit gained by the infringer from the infringement. If it is difficult to ascertain damages in this manner, damages may be determined by using a reasonable multiple of the license fee under a contractual license. Statutory damages may be awarded in the circumstances where the damages cannot be determined by the above-mentioned calculation standards. The damage calculation methods shall be applied in the aforementioned order. Generally, the patent owner has the burden of proving that the patent is being infringed. However, if the owner of an invention patent for manufacturing process of a new product alleges infringement of its patent, the alleged infringer has the burden of proof.

As of December 31, 2018, we had over 940 patents granted and over 430 patents applications pending in China, over 40 patents granted and over 70 patents pending outside China.

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Trademark law

The PRC Trademark Law and its implementation rules protect registered trademarks. The PRC Trademark Office of State Administration of Industry and Commerce is responsible for the registration and administration of trademarks throughout the PRC. The Trademark Law has adopted a “first-to-file” principle with respect to trademark registration.

In addition, pursuant to the PRC Trademark Law, counterfeit or unauthorized production of the label of another person’s registered trademark, or sale of any label that is counterfeited or produced without authorization will be deemed as an infringement to the exclusive right to use a registered trademark. The infringing party will be ordered to stop the infringement immediately, a fine may be imposed and the counterfeit goods will be confiscated. The infringing party may also be held liable for the right holder’s damages, which will be equal to the gains obtained by the infringing party or the losses suffered by the right holder as a result of the infringement, including reasonable expenses incurred by the right holder for stopping the infringement. If the gains or losses are difficult to determine, the court may render a judgment awarding damages of no more than RMB3 million.

As of December 31, 2018, we had registered over 200 trademarks in China.

Software copyright law

The Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China (Revised in 2010), or the Copyright Law, provides that Chinese citizens, legal persons, or other organizations shall, whether published or not, enjoy copyright in their works, which include, among others, works of literature, art, natural science, social science, engineering technology and computer software. The purpose of the Copyright Law aims to encourage the creation and dissemination of works that are beneficial for the construction of socialist spiritual civilization and material civilization and promote the development and prosperity of Chinese culture.

In order to further implement the Computer Software Protection Regulations promulgated by the State Council in 2001, and amended subsequently, the State Copyright Bureau issued the Computer Software Copyright Registration Procedures in 2002, which apply to software copyright registration, license contract registration and transfer contract registration.

As of December 31, 2018, we had registered over 20 pieces of software copyright in China.

Regulation on domain name

Internet domain name registration and related matters are primarily regulated by CNNIC Implementing Rules of Domain Name issued by China Internet Network Information Center (“CNNIC”), the domain name registrar of mainland China, which became effective on May 29, 2012, the Administrative Measures for Internet Domain Names, issued by MIIT in August 2017 and effective as of November 1, 2017, and the Measures on Domain Name Disputes Resolution issued by CNNIC, which became effective on September 1, 2014. Domain name registrations are handled through domain name service agencies established under the relevant regulations, and the applicants become domain name holders upon successful registration.

As of December 31, 2018, we had registered over 10 domain names.

Regulation on manufacture and sale of home appliances

Pursuant to the Administrative Regulations for Compulsory Product Certification, promulgated by the General Administration of Qualification Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, or the AQSIQ, in 2009, products specified by the applicable government authorities shall not be delivered, sold, imported or used in other business activities until they are certified (or referred to as the Compulsory Product Certification) and labeled with China Compulsory Certification mark. For products that are subject to Compulsory Product Certification, the state implements unified product catalogue, or the 3C Catalogue, unified compulsory requirements, standards and compliance assessment procedures in technical specification, unified certification marks and unified charging standards. Pursuant to the First Batch Compulsory Product Certification Product Catalogue or the First Batch 3C Product Catalogue, by the AQSIQ and the Certification and Accreditation Administration, or the CNCA on December 3, 2001, household and similar electrical appliances, including the refrigerator, water heater, range hood, washing machine and water purifier, are required to obtain the Compulsory Product Certification in order to be delivered, sold, imported or used.

In addition, according to the Surveillance and Administrative Measures of Drinking Water Hygiene jointly promulgated by the Ministry of Health (currently, the National Health and Family Planning Commission, or NHFPC) of the PRC, and the Ministry of Construction of the PRC in 1997, and most recently amended by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the National Health and Family Planning Commission in April 2016, any entities or individuals engaging in the production of the products relating to hygiene and safety of drinking water shall apply to health administration authorities for hygiene licenses.

According to the Classification Catalogue for Products Related to Drinking Water, promulgated by the Ministry of Health (currently, the National Health and Family Planning Commission, or NHFPC) and effective on September 20, 2007, and most recently amended on September 22, 2011, entities or individuals are required to obtain hygiene license from NHFPC before producing or importing any products relating to drinking water.

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In July 2011, the Ministry of Health (currently, the National Health and Family Planning Commission, or NHFPC) promulgated the Notice on Adjustment of Hygiene Administrative License for Domestic Reverse Osmosis Water Purifier and Domestic Nano Filter Water Purifier, which delegates health administrative departments at the provincial level the authority to regulate domestic reverse osmosis water purifiers and domestic nano filter water purifiers. Hereafter, MOH and National Health and Family Planning Commission of the PRC promulgated Regulations on Administrative License for Hygienic Safety Products involving Drinking Water at the Provincial Level, delegating the authority of examination and approval of products related to hygiene and safety of drinking water, except for those made of new materials, technology and chemicals, to the health and family planning department at the provincial level.

Energy Label Management Rules, jointly promulgated by the NDRC and AQSIQ in 2004 and most recently amended in February 2016, provide that the products listed in the Catalogue of the People’s Republic of China on the Products Affixed with Energy Efficiency Labels shall be marked with the energy-efficient labels. Manufacturers and importers of energy-using products included in such catalogue shall file a record of energy efficient labels and the relevant information with the AQSIQ and the China National Institute of Standardization authorized by the NDRC.

According to the PRC Administration Rules of Industrial Product Production Licenses Regulations, promulgated in 2005 by the State Council and effective on September 1, 2005, no entity may produce any products in the Catalogue for Industrial Products Implementing Products Licensing System without obtaining an industrial product production license, and no entity or individual may produce, sell or use products in the such catalogue for which the relevant industrial product production license has not been obtained.

To comply with these laws and regulations, we have obtained the certificates, licenses and labels necessary for our current products. Further, we have verified the qualifications of our manufacturing contractors for the production of the relevant products before their engagement by requiring them to provide effective licenses, such as the industrial product production license.

Regulation on mobile internet

Pursuant to the Provisions on the Administration of Mobile Internet Applications Information Services, or the provisions on Administration of Application, promulgated by the Cyberspace Administration of China in June 2016 and effective on August 1, 2016, application information service providers shall obtain the relevant qualifications prescribed by laws and regulations, strictly implement their information security management responsibilities and carry out the duties including to establish and complete user information security protection mechanism, to establish and complete information content inspection and management mechanisms, to protect users’ right to know and right to choose in the process of usage, and to record users’ daily information and preserve it for 60 days. Application store services providers shall, within 30 days of the business going online and starting operations, conduct filing procedures with the local cybersecurity and information department. Furthermore, internet application store service providers and internet application information service providers shall sign service agreements to determinate both sides’ rights and obligations.

As the operator of Viomi Store mobile app, we are subject to the above laws and regulations as an application information services provider and believe that we are currently in compliance with these regulations in all material aspects.

Regulation on information security

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the Cyber Security Law of the PRC, or the Cyber Security Law, which became effective on June 1, 2017, to protect cyberspace security and order. Pursuant to the Cyber Security Law, any individual or organization using the network must comply with the constitution and the applicable laws, follow the public order and respect social moralities, and must not endanger cyber security, or engage in activities by making use of the network that endanger the national security, honor and interests; incite subversion of state power; overthrow the socialist system; incite secession, undermining national unity, terrorism and extremism promotion, ethnic hatred and discrimination; spread violence and disseminate pornographic information, fabricating and spreading false information that disturbs economic and social order; or infringe on the fame, privacy, intellectual property and other legitimate rights and interests of others. The Cyber Security Law sets forth various security protection obligations for network operators, which are defined as “owners and administrators of networks and network service providers,” including, among others, complying with a series of requirements of tiered cyber protection systems; verifying users’ real identity; localizing the personal information and important data gathered and produced by key information infrastructure operators during operations within the PRC; and providing assistance and support to government authorities where necessary for protecting national security and investigating crimes.

To comply with these laws and regulations, we have adopted security policies and measures to protect our cyber system and user information.

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Regulation on internet privacy

Pursuant to the Administrative Provisions on Mobile Internet Applications Information Services, effective on August 1, 2016, owners or operators of mobile applications that provide information services are required to be responsible for information security management; establish and improve the protective mechanism for user information; observe the principles of legality, rightfulness and necessity; and expressly state the purpose, method and scope of, and obtain user consent to, the collection and use of users’ personal information. In addition, the Cyber Security Law also requires network operators to strictly keep confidential users’ personal information that they have collected and to establish and improve user information protective mechanism. On May 8, 2017, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate released the Interpretations of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in the Handling of Criminal Cases Involving Infringement of Citizens’ Personal Information, which clarifies several concepts regarding the crime of “infringement of citizens’ personal information” stipulated by Article 253A of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, including “citizen’s personal information,” “provision” and “unlawful acquisition.” Also, it specifies the standards for determining “serious circumstances” and “particularly serious circumstances” of this crime.

To comply with these laws and regulations, we have required our users to consent to our collecting and using their personal information, and established information security systems to protect users’ privacy.

Regulation on employment

The Labor Law of the PRC, effective in 1995 and most recently amended on August 27, 2009, the PRC Employment Contract Law, effective on January 1, 2008, and most recently amended on December 28, 2012, and the Implementing Regulations of the Employment Contract Law, effective on September 18, 2008, provide requirements concerning employment contracts between an employer and its employees, namely, employers must execute written labor contracts with full-time employees and regulate employee/employer rights and obligations. If an employer fails to enter into a written employment contract with an employee within one year from the date on which the employment relationship is established, the employer must rectify the situation by entering into a written employment contract with the employee and pay the employee twice the employee’s salary for the period from the day following the lapse of one month from the date of establishment of the employment relationship to the day prior to the execution of the written employment contract. The Labor Contract Law and its implementation rules also require compensation to be paid upon certain terminations, which significantly affects the cost of reducing workforce for employers. In addition, if an employer intends to enforce a non-compete provision in an employment contract or non-competition agreement with an employee, it has to compensate the employee on a monthly basis during the term of the restriction period after the termination or expiry of the labor contract. Employers in most cases are also required to provide severance payment to their employees after their employment relationships are terminated.

Enterprises in China are required by PRC laws and regulations to participate in certain employee benefit plans, including social insurance funds, namely, a pension plan, a medical insurance plan, an unemployment insurance plan, a work-related injury insurance plan and a maternity insurance plan, and a housing provident fund, and contribute to the plans or funds in amounts equal to certain percentages of salaries, including bonuses and allowances, of the employees as specified by the local government from time to time at locations where they operate their businesses or where they are located. According to the Social Insurance Law, effective on July 1, 2011, an employer that fails to make social insurance contributions may be ordered to pay the required contributions within a stipulated deadline and be subject to a late fee. If the employer still fails to rectify the failure to make social insurance contributions within the stipulated deadline, it may be subject to a fine ranging from one to three times the amount overdue. In addition, social insurance contributions payable by an employee shall be paid on his or her behalf by the employer through transfer from wage deduction, and the employer shall notify each employee of details of social insurance contributions to his or her account on a monthly basis. According to the Regulations on Management of Housing Fund, effective on April 3, 1999, and most recently amended on March 24, 2002, when employing new staff or workers, the units shall undertake housing fund payment and deposit registration at the housing fund management center within 30 days from the date of the employment, and the housing fund to be paid and deposited by an individual staff member or worker shall be withheld from his salary by the unit for which he serves. An enterprise that fails to make housing fund contributions may be ordered to rectify the noncompliance and pay the required contributions within a stipulated deadline; otherwise, an application may be made to a local court for compulsory enforcement.

Regulation on tax

PRC enterprise income tax

Pursuant to the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, or the EIT, which was promulgated in 2007 and took effect on January 1, 2008, and most recently amended on Febr