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Featured Article
Shanghai 2017
Followers of Silicon Dragon may not be all too surprised to hear that China venture fund raising has climbed to U.S. levels -- at least if you include RMB funds. Or that China has its fair share of unicorn financings. Or that Alibaba is competing with Amazon for the future of commerce while Baidu is racing against Google and Amazon for the leadership of artificial intelligence. 
Read Forbes, China Nails It Again.  

Fresh from pulling in $500 million from Softbank and Hony Capital just a month ago to expand into China, office sharing outfit WeWork has snared $4.4 billion in new investment from SoftBank Group and its investment-hungry SoftBank Vision Fund to grow in Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. The huge deal underscores the rapid growth of tech startups in the region and their need for flexible office space, but it's a very crowded area already. Read Forbes:  Hot WeWork

Sequoia Capital China
has led a $200 million financing of VIPKid, a China-based online education company that matches Chinese students with North American teachers. The deal values VIPKid in the unicorn sphere, at more than $1.5 billion. Joining the Series D round were Tencent , Yunfeng Capital, Matrix Partners China and  Zhen Fund.

  DCM Ventures has led a $31.8 million, Series B investment in a business-to-business oil trading platform, based in Shanghai.  Joining the round were SIG , GGV Capital, Yunqi Partners, the Uber-like truck logistics start-up Huochebang , Sky9 Capital and Chuangban Investment.

Warburg Pincus has led a $19 million, second round in GaiaWorks, a Suzhou-based workforce management solutions provider, and was joined by Matrix Partners China  and  Genesis Capital.

Maihaoche, an automotive e-commerce platform located in Hangzhou, has raised $29 million in Series B funding led by  Welight Venture Capital and its founder, Wu Xiaoguang, a former Tencent EVP. Participating were Northern Light Venture Capital  and the South Korean venture capital firm  LB Investment.

In the emerging sector of insurance tech, Baozhunniu, a customized insurance products provider, has bagged $14 million in Series B funding led by venture firm  Marathon Venture Partners. Other investors in the Chinese startup include  Matrix Partners China , Xinyi Capital, Zhongguancun Dahe Capital, and GGV venture partner Denise Peng, a former COO of Qunar.

Sequoia Capital China reached out to fund a fast-growing AI-powered data analytics startup in Sydney named Hyper Anna. The $16 million investment was joined by seed investors Reinventure and AirTree Ventures.

The China team of Singapore's Vertex Ventures has led a Series B round in Julive, a three-year-old, China-based online-to-offline real estate agency. Earlier backer  Source Code Capital was also in on the deal.

Hong Kong's tech startup ecosystem is moving up another notch, thanks to deals such as the $9 million investment in the city's own bike-sharing service GoBee and the backing of six startups from a Sequoia Capital China-aligned fund with Hong Kong X Technology Fund.
The six new Hong Kong investments by the newly formed fund indirectly taps Sequoia, which has funded dozens of mainland China startups and emerging companies. 
Read Forbes, Hong Kong X

Data protection startup Druva , which originated in India and is now in Silicon Valley, has drawn $80 million in funding from Riverwood Capital with Sequoia Capital India and Nexus Venture , taking its total pool past $200 million as it steps up R&D.

Baidu's deal to sell its meal ordering and delivery service  Xiaodu for $800 million to Alibaba-backed further consolidates the online Chinese catering market.

In an indication of China's booming startup scene, 15 Chinese unicorns were anointed since the start of 2017, topped only by the U.S. with 17. Of 215 unicorns globally, China has 56 while the U.S. counts 107. For perspective, consider that China only had 8 unicorns in 2014. Now this year, VipKid, MoBike, Ofo, UrWork, Zhihu and more have joined the billion-dollar ranks.

Jack Ma $$$
More than one-third of tech's 100 richest live in Asia. Alibaba's Jack Ma leads the list for Asia's richest tech tycoon for the third year in a row. Forbes Billionaire Tech list

Ford is revving up its electric vehicle joint venture in China, poaching Jason Luo, the former CEO of auto parts maker Key Safety Systems, to lead the charge in the world's largest auto market.

American powerhouse brand Airbnb is aiming to quadruple its China tech team to more than 100 in Beijing in the next 12 months to target millennials.

Alipay is partnering with Yelp to tap outbound Chinese tourists and their restaurant bookings in four key U.S. markets with plans to add more.

Alibaba Group and U.S.-China incubator InnoSpring have teamed up to launch an Alibaba Innovation Center in Jiading, a district nearby Shanghai focused on auto making.  This joint venture brings in resources from the Alibaba ecosystem, primarily its cloud computing service, and additional support from the Jiading government and TEEC (Tsinghua Entrepreneur & Executive Club). The goal is to attract startups to develop Jiading as a center of innovation for smart cars, intelligent manufacturing and robotics, and biomedical sciences. 

China IP
Western companies often come under pressure to make concessions in technology transfer or services in exchange for access to China's market only to be blocked by investment restrictions, procurement mandates, or other barriers to trade. Read how to fix it by stepping up innovation: Viewpoint, by Jim Lewis Center for Strategic and International Studies.


October 2, 2017