Gobi Gets Ok To Manage Alibaba New Fund For Taiwan And Hong Kong Startups
Alibaba has named Gobi Partners to manage a $130 million fund, the first of its two funds to support entrepreneurs in Hong Kong and Taiwan, jointly called the Alibaba Young Entrepreneurs Foundation. Cindy Chow, most recently Alibaba’s senior director of international finance, has been named as executive director of this new fund.
The fund is structured as a nonprofit, meaning that any returns will be put back into the pool of cash. It will also be stage agnostic so investment managers can finance companies across startup, growth, and expansion stages. In addition to investing in startups and small businesses, the foundation’s mission is to support them with Alibaba services and technical assistance. In this way, Alibaba seeks to accomplish its dual mission of supporting emerging companies, as well as investing in areas that offer synergies with its core businesses — in particular, supporting startups that want to sell products to consumers in Mainland China.
The launch of Alibaba’s fund is the second biggest piece of news for Hong Kong’s startup scene this month, following MIT’s announcement of plans to create an innovation hub focused on founders in the hardware space. The launch comes at a time when Jack Ma is in talks with Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post to buy a stake in the publisher.
Gobi Partners managers six funds with offices across Asia. Over the past ten years, Gobi has invested in some 100 companies in the IT, TMT, and digital space in China and Southeast Asia.