VR And AI Startups Disrupt China Tech, Amazon-FlipKart Battle Not Over Yet

Shanghai-based social music and video startup Musical.ly made news in the New York Times for reaching more than 100 million users, most of them teen-agers, in just two years since its start in 2014. The app lets users create short videos so they can lip-sync, dance or goof around to popular songs, movie scenes and audio, and then post the videos to Instagram. The Times piece took issue with how such startups monitor content reaching kids, and notes that Musical.ly is testing the limits. Read NYT, Who’s too young for an app?
Funded by GGV Capital, Musical.ly is making waves by going after a U.S. audience first before tapping fully into the Chinese market.  Co-founder Alex Zhu is speaking September 22 at
Silicon Dragon Shanghai 2016.

Just as it has in the U.S., a rush of Chinese investment in Europe’s technology sector is cause for alert. The concern with the series of Chinese purchases in Europe in recent years is that national champion will be absorbed into the supply chain in China while China gain technological capabilities from overseas. Read NYT: China Takeover Fears in Europe

cropped R, Kai-Fu, NapaKai-Fu Lee raised $674 million to fund more US and China startups. This larger, deeper fund showcases bigger dreams for the recently renamed Beijing incubator and fund, Sinovation Ventures. Read Forbes, Sinovation Ventures.

Is China winning the tech race? Silicon Dragon Talk host Rebecca Fannin posed this question to leading venture capitalists Hans Tung of GGV Capital and Chris Evdemon of Sinovation Ventures. They contend it is not a race but more like a relay, where both sides can win.
See Silicon Dragon Talk.

Sequoia Capital and ZhenFund, in addition to Huasheng Capital, the fund put together by China Renaissance Partners, jointly invested in Hero Entertainment, a Chinese mobile online game company. The startup has attracted star power on its board of directors and supervisors with Sequoia Capital global managing partner Neil Shen, China Renaissance Partners founder Bao Fan and ZhenFund founder Xu Xiaoping. It helps to have connections. CFO Huang Shengli, formerly managing director of China Renaissance Partners, has helped leading companies including Didi Chuxing, JD.com, momo and Kunlun, raise over US$800 million. CIO Wu Dan, formerly vice president of ZhenFund, is a successful game investor.

Tencent is buying a majority stake in China Music Corp., increasing its stake from 16 percent to 60 percent. The deal creates an Internet streaming media giant and makes Tencent the leading music streaming service. Read WSJ: Tencent streaming.

How will mass adoption of virtual reality disrupt media and advertising?  Alvin Wang Graylin, HTC China Regional President of Vive, explains how mass adoption of VR will make all other media obsolete. That adoption is probably going to start in China.
Graylin is speaking at Silicon Dragon Shanghai 2016.

During what’s been an otherwise bumpy year for China’s theatrical film exhibition business, one segment has been red hot: animation. While overall box office growth in 2016 has been lackluster by Chinese standards, with year-over-year revenue rising just 11% in the January through August period, receipts for animated features have leaped by 63% over the same period in 2015. Year-to-date animated feature revenues now stand at $858 million, well above the previous full-year record of $698 million set last year. Read Forbes, China animation.

Online payment service provider PayU has acquired its rival Citrus Pay in a $130 million. Sequoia Capital was an early backer of Citrus Pay.

Amazon is winning the e-commerce market share battle in India but not without costs. The US brand is burning $10 million a month in India as it seeks to further expand after a strong entry.
Amazon has already overtaken domestic brand leader FlipKart. But Ash Lilani, a venture capitalist with Saama Capital, says the battle is not over yet. He sees the market consolidating into fewer players with FlipKart and Snapdeal as two of the survivors as they cut burn rates and trim distribution. Lilani spoke on a panel at Pioneer Summit in Silicon Valley this past week.