This billion-dollar app cracks into locked Wi-Fi hotspots


In a country where Internet usage is growing much faster than Internet availability, being able to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots without needing a password is a valuable tool for Chinese smartphone users. That’s why an app known as Skeleton Key, which does exactly that, has raised $52 million in funding and reached 270 million active users, all for being able to crack into secured Wi-Fi hotspots. 

Wifi Skeleton Key, an app for quickly connecting to wifi hotspots without a password or sign-in, has raised US$52 million in series A funding, according to QQ Tech. The investment came from Haitong Securities, Northern Light Venture Capital, and others. QQ Tech’s sources say the company gave up 5.2 percent equity in return, which, if true, puts the company’s valuation at around US$1 billion. Wifi Skeleton Key (named WiFi万能钥匙 in Chinese) allows users to establish a connection to millions of hotspots across China without the need for credentials. It works very similar to Wifi Companion, a likeminded app that raised US$9.75 million in series A funding in December. All ChinaNet hotspots, of which there are 8 million littered throughout the country, are available to Wifi Skeleton Key users. Those hotspots are run by China Mobile, the world’s largest telecoms operator.

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