with Kai-Fu Lee
Sept. 28, 5-8pm
St. Francis Yacht Club
VC, Author &
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AI Superpowers |
How AI Can Save
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Jack Ma is stepping down as chairman of the board at Alibaba to focus on philanthropy. He's sure to have a major impact there too!
News of Alibaba co-founder and executive chairman
laying out a succession plan run the e-commerce conglomerate causes me to reflect on the near two decades that China's first-generation Internet companies have been at the forefront of an era I first documented in
Alibaba, the A of China's BAT or
Baidu, Alibaba and
Tencent is nothing like the business it was even just 12 years ago, when I interviewed Ma in Hangzhou at Alibaba's headquarters, then a drab office building and now a sprawling corporate campus.
The business has morphed from e-commerce to entertainment to local services. And it's gone from its home base in China to edge into Southeast Asia and the U.S. with strategic investments and acquisitions.
When Jack Ma does step down from running Alibaba next year, what will his successor and current CEO
Daniel Zhang face?
Lots of competition from domestic Chinese rivals
Baidu - the B and T of the BAT - in far-flung fields that
Alibaba has entered in a land grab of fast-emerging sectors.
Another challenge Alibaba faces is
Pinduoduo, the social commerce upstart that went from 0 to $23 billion in revenues in three years and scored a $1.5 billion initial public offering in New York in late July.
The speed at which
has ramped up shows the forces at work in China's next-generation of emerging companies. It took
16 years to reach $23 billion in revenues.
, the "free and unfettered spirit" who will succeed Jack Ma in 12 months.
AI and robotics startup
has snagged $30 million from
Bertlesmann Asia Investment
Tencent has made yet another far-reaching investment in China with its co-investment of $450 million with Goldman Sachs in MissFresh, a Chinese fresh food
Chinese payments service provider Lianlian in Hangzhou has bagged $146 million from Sequoia Capital and Boyu Capital.
Sequoia Capital India has joined a $20 million, Series B financing of Malaysian-based O2O platform Fave that connects retailers with customers using discount codes.
has led a $55 million financing of Chinese online education startup
has led a $70 million, Series E funding of
a Chinese startup focused on cosmetic surgery.
Matrix Partners, the Russian-China Investment Fund
China's large online pharmacy
. is planning to raise $140 million on Nasdaq, Sept. 12. The
VC funds behind the deal are Verlinvest Asia, ClearVue Partners and Zall Capital, though the two founders didn't need much funding since they made a fair amount of money from the sale of their first company, Yihaodian (YHD.com), the online grocery business that was acquired by Walmart and subsequently JD.com.
The B2C pharmacy clocked revenues of $110.5 million in the first half of 2018, up 68% year over year.
Investment bank China Renaissance led by rainmaker Fan Bao is moving toward a $400 million IPO at a valuation of $2.5 billion to $2.8 billion in Hong Kong. Some proceeds will go toward making tech investments.
Bao is raising $600 million for a new VC fund under its Huaxing Growth Capital arm.
China continues to be a strong source of unicorn financings of startups, accounting for 29 percent of unicorns in 2018. In rankings of cities with unicorns, Beijing comes in second while Shanghai places fourth.
Silicon Valley remains in the lead with 22 percent of all unicorns. CBI Insights points out that Silicon Valley is no longer the one and only.
Even street musicians in China have switched to digital payments with Wechat or Alipay these days.
Steve Stine, Senior Regional Leadership Advisor and INSIDE ASIA radio talk show host, interviewed
Silicon Dragon's Rebecca Fannin for a view on China's tech history and prospects.
Jack Ma's new business card after announcing he will retire from chairmanship in one year and become a