China’s Art Scene Beaches in Miami, Trump Rattles China Tech, Softbank Vows to Keep Doing India Deals
Just as China is having an impact in the tech innovation world and in Hollywood film-making and virtual reality, the same holds true in the artistic realm. This past week, Miami hosted Art Basel, the world’s largest art fair, and Chinese galleries and artists were on full display among the thousands of international participants and gawkers gathered here for this annual festival along the beach.
Among the young Chinese breakthrough artists was Michael Huang, the model-like presence from the leading edge art museum M Woods he’s co-founded in Beijing’s 798 artistic district to showcase international collections alongside the contemporary work coming from China today. He was posing dressed all in black in a suit stitched together with ribbons, and for effect, in front of a sign, “very sexy.”
Then there was a controversial exhibit from Leo Xu Projects, a young gallery in Shanghai showing new works from China. One eye-catching exhibit showed a computer-generated long tape of words strung together. And not just any words. These were words that the censors had blocked from entering China’s Internet. Read more at Forbes.
China is chasing Silicon Valley talent who are worried about a Trump presidency. Sounding off at China’s recent World Internet Conference, Baidu CEO Robin Li said many entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley have expressed worries about the U.S. staying ahead in innovation and he hopes excellent talents from the U.S. and elsewhere will come to China and help it play a more important role in global innovation. In campaigning, Trump took aim at the H-1B visa program, which lets 85,000 foreign workers and graduate students annually work in the U.S., many of them in tech jobs. Read more, NBC News.
Silicon Valley-based angel investor Cyriac Roeding recently spent three weeks getting immersed in China’s vibrant startup ecosystem, traveling to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. He came away with 6 conclusions: Beijing will be the true rival to the Valley within a decade, Chinese startups move faster than U.S. counterparts, Chinese entrepreneurs are no longer just cloning Western ideas and are developing their own innovations, Silicon Valley still has the edge in hardcore tech but China has an authentic, raw entrepreneurialism that makes Valley founders look complacent.
In the new era ushered in by Trump’s victory, the Chinese have the most to gain – or to lose, writes Eric Li, founder of Chengwei Capital from Shanghai in Foreign Affairs. And, he writes, as the world’s second-largest economy and its largest trading nation, China’s response could mean the difference between prosperity and stagnation, and even war and peace, around the world.
Trump has taken to blaming China for many of the U.S. ills. This seems wholly unfair, he contends. Rather than balking, China should see this as a teachable moment, as a study in how to engage the U.S. in a new era. Chinese leaders should see unprecedented opportunities to pursue common interests with Trump’s America.
Visitors to China that expect to use their Uber app to hail rides better think again. Now that Didi Chuxing has bought its former rival, Uber China users will need to create a new account with a local phone number and a Chinese online payment system such as Alipay, Unionpay or Baidu Wallet. Analyzing this development, China consultant David Wolf pointed out that the story of foreign tech firms operating in China in the future will be beating Chinese companies with global ambitions, investing in innovation and operating within the market to “agitate, distract or weaken” Chinese in their home market so that they are less formidable abroad.
China cleantech-focused VC firm Tsing Capital and US-based SVC Angel Fund have formed a partnership with an IngDan, an IoT platform that has just opened an office in Silicon Valley. IngDan also recently teamed up with Haier to jointly build a smart home ecosystem in China.
China genomic services provider Novogene, which is working on next-gen sequencing, raises $75 million from a group of Chinese investors, among them China Merchants Bank.
HTC’s Vive champion Alvin Wang Graylin offers his views on the long term impact of VR, tips for VR founders/investors and why China will be key. https://t.co/17fXvvNZPT
In related updates, HTC Vive is launching its VR accelerator fund Vive X with a fresh batch of VR startups. And, top Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming has a new VR TV series coming out soon, with a boost from HTC’s Vive.
Rui Ma is leaving 500 Startups, which she joined almost four years ago when Dave McClure’s startup investment firm was only beginning. Now, she’s planning to launch a cross-border fund-of-funds that will still leverage her early-stage tech investment knowledge.
A fascinating list of 26 most innovative venture capitalists has been put together by Stefano Bernardi, co-founder and managing partner of MissionMarketVC. With the rise of super angels, seed funds and AngelList, the list is well-timed and useful for startups seeking cash from fresh sources aside from the standard Sand Hill Road firms. A lot of new names stand out on this tally, and familiar ones include SOSV, 500 Startups, Esprit and Andreessen Horowitz.
View the list.
Softbank is still bullish on India, vowing to continue investing $10 billion in India’s e-commerce, telecom and aviation industries over the next 10 years. This comes after Softbank had to write down its investments in ride-hailing app Ola and e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal, and its main overseer of the Indian market Nikesh Arora left Softbank in India.
Eight Road Ventures has led a $12 million, series B investment in Indian biotech startup Core Diagnostics.
American Express Ventures, the corporate VC arm of the credit card company, has led a $4 million round for IndiaLends.
The startup scene in Singapore is ramping up with as many as 28 VCs operating in the market, triple the number three years ago. Singapore’s gateway location to Southeast Asia and its growing startup ecosystem are a lure. Jeffrey Chi, vice chairman of Singapore-anchored Vickers Venture, noted that his firm’s focus has been shifting from China to Southeast Asia, with about one-third of its portfolio companies from Singapore. Deals overall reached 318 last year, up from 191 deals in 2013, according to Preqin Private Equity Online. Government reforms are on the way to strengthen the venture and startup landscape.
DatastreamX, a Singapore-based online marketplace for real-time data, has landed a pre-series A funding, raising $456,000 from venture capital firm Wavemaker Partners, an incubator partner of Singapore’s National Research Foundation.
Jungle Ventures has raised a $100 million fund – its second – for Southeast Asia and beyond. New investors include Temasek Holdings and Singapore’s National Research Foundation.