As China’s hi-tech industry is growing and prospering, venture capital firms are embracing their own spring of prosperity. Today, there are more than 8000 VC firms in China actively boosting the tech sector. According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, investors poured USD 6.6 billion into Chinese internet companies in the first half of 2015. AllChinaTech.com now presents to you the following list of the most influential VC investors in China.
Current Position: Founding and Managing Partner, Sequoia Capital China
Main investment fields: E-commerce, Internet services, Internet Finance
Successful Investment Cases: Meituan，Momo, Qihoo 360, VIPshop
Shen is the founding and managing partner of Sequoia Capital China, has topped China’s top venture capital investor lists over the past few years. Founded in 2005, Sequoia Capital China is one of the most active and influential VC firms in China. Sequoia focuses on providing funding for startups that have already gone through an A Series. Last year, the firm ranked second place for the most number of investments at RMB 10 million (74 cases). Its USD 300 million investment in Meituan and USD 187 million investment in MOMO attracted the most attention last year.
Before Sequoia, Shen cofounded and served as President and CFO of Ctrip.com International, China’s largest travel booker. Shen is also a VC investor for many listed companies include Vipshop Holdings (IPO 2012), Qihoo 360 (IPO 2011), AutoNavi Holdings (IPO 2010) and JD, he is better known as one the most successful VC investors in China.
Over the years, Xu built up a reputation as co-founder of New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., the largest provider of private educational services in China. Now he has a new identity: as a renowned angel investor in China. Xu stepped down from New Oriental in 2006 to found ZhenFund with his former partner Wang Qiang and Sequoia Capital.
ZhenFund aims to provide angel investment and A-Series financing for startups in E-commerce, online gaming, education and mobile internet. Over the past eight years, Xu has seen impressive returns from his investments in over 130 companies. Jiayuan.com, Lightinthebox and jumei.com all have been listed on the Nasdaq and NYSE and Jumei brought in returns of 640 times principal. Last year, Xu made his biggest investment (RMB 50 million) yet in Mei’ao Ju, a startup providing information and services to Chinese customers seeking to purchase real estate outside of China. ZhenFund typically prefers to invest in startups launched by returning overseas students.
Cai is a typical grassroots kind of investor and entrepreneur—he has never finished high school and used to be a street vendor. Cai earned his first bucket of gold from domain name investments back in 2000. After that, Cai found great success establishing 265.com, the most widely used directory website in China.
Cai started his investment journey in 2005. Portfolio companies Cai has invested in that have successfully gone public include feiyu.com, 58city.com, baofeng.com and Forgame Holdings. Cai believes user scale matters the most and prefers to invest in grassroots entrepreneurs like himself. Cai’s road to success has inspired thousands of grassroots dreamers in China. He is also the CEO and investor of Meitu Technology Co., Ltd. Meitu is an image editing software application with a userbase of 20 million.
Kai-fu Lee is probably the most well-known figure in both the tech and VC industry in China with extended reputation in Silicon Valley. Lee has a solid IT background thanks to his experience working for Microsoft and Google. He joined Microsoft in 1998, contributing to the founding of Microsoft’s China Research Institute. Lee left Google as the president of Greater China to establish Innovation Works in 2009. Innovation Works serves as both an angel investment fund and incubator for tech startups. It provides early-stage incubation services including legal consulting, training, marketing, and seed money for entrepreneurs in the tech industry.
Lee loves to share his ideas and give business advice to startups over Sina Weibo, where he has accumulated 50 million followers. He is often seen as a mentor for young entrepreneurs. Innovation Works favours startups with strong technical backgrounds. Wandoujia or SnapPea, a desktop phone manager for Android, was Lee’s biggest investment in the past year with Lee having invested USD 120 million into the venture.