Wendy Tang and Stella Yu
From Justin Timberlake, to Ashton Kutcher, to Magic Johnson, many celebrities have become venture capitalists. But Hollywood isn’t the only place you can find famous people making risky investments. Many actors and singers in China also have venture investments on the side. AllChinaTech profiles four wealthy celebrities who have turned venture capitalist.
Investment Project: Ymatou
Investment Amount: Unknown
Investing Since: January
As a model, Angelababy made her debut on the silver screen in 2009 with the movie Love in Space. In 2015, she moved up the ladder and acted in the Hollywood film, Independence Day: Resurgence, which is scheduled for a U.S. release in June 2016. She got hitched with Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming in May and they had a mega wedding in Shanghai in October.
Angelababy set up the venture AB Capital in January. She invested RMB 100 million in Ymatou, an overseas Chinese shopping platform, in a series B funding raising. Ymatou set a new revenue record for cross-border e-commerce sites on its first day, with mid-year sales revenue reaching RMB 180 million, the Phoenix News website reports. Angelababy has announced she will also invest in China’s juice brand HeyJuice.
Investment Projects: multiple angel investments and series A rounds, including startups such as Tomoon, a smartwatch market.
Investing Since: November 2014
Hu came from the famous soft pop duet Yu Quan. He founded EQ Records in 2006 and has remained there as chairman. In 2010, he co-founded Giant Jump, an artist agency and entertainment marketing firm, with his duet partner Chen Yufan. He has more than a dozen enterprises in his investment portfolio, some investments with over RMB one million. He told cyzone magazine that he began to invest because he wanted to manage his wealth while he started new businesses. “At the same time, I understand the different needs among different startup industries,” Hu said. His logic behind investing is to manage capital and integrated resources, in order to change culture.
Investment Project: Ali Pictures
Investment Amount: RMB 2.5 billion (USD 390 million)
Time of investment: December 2014
Zhao Wei is best known as the actress in many of Chiung Yao’s TV costume drama series including My Fair Princess, Romance in the Rain and Moment in Peking. She became a director in 2013 directing the romantic drama So Young. She was awarded “best director” at one of China’s top film festivals. She also won “best actress” for the drama film Dearest in 2015.
Besides acting, Zhao became an entrepreneur after marrying Chinese tycoon Huang Youlong. Zhao became the second largest shareholder in Jack Ma’s Ali Pictures after investing RMB 2.5 Billion. Earlier in April, Alibaba stocks shot up after the tech giant introduced Yu Le Bao, a crowdfunding site for movies, and Taobao Dianying, a movie ticket and merchandise website, with Zhao benefitting from the stock price surge making HKD 2 Billion in one single day.
Investment Project: StarVC
Venture Capital firm established: July 2014
Business Partners: Huang Bo, Zhang Ziyi, Li Bingbing and Huang Xiaoming
Ren Quan became famous for playing a key character in the dated Chinese series Young Justice Bao from 2000. He also established his reputation in the Chinese action movie Assembly and Chinese period drama Confucius. Besides acting, Ren has always had a business mindset. He has been investing in restaurants since graduating from college in 1999. He decided to establish his own venture capital firm StarVC with his good friends, the TV stars Li Bingbing and Huang Xiaoming. StarVC invests in innovative companies, with the firm having received more than 3000 candidates for investment within its first month of operation, according to Southern Daily.
StarVC’s latest investment portfolio includes Rong360, an online financial products platform. Ren Quan told the Tech channel of the Phoenix news website that StarVC is interested in investing in health related fields, in addition to fashion, celebrities, ecommerce and fast-moving-consumer goods. “Many startups are producing fantastic products, but they need a channel to let the public know about their products and company,” Ren said.
(Stella Yu is a guest writer at AllChinatech)
Photos from Baidu Image.