Sinovation, Sky9 New Funds Reach For VC Ceiling, Others In Works

Kai-Fu Lee

Kai-Fu Lee

More China funds are popping up as venture capital tilts away from the Silicon Valley epicenter and toward emerging Chinese tech startups.

Sinovation Ventures debuted a $500 million fourth fund while Sky9 Capital launched a $200 million third fund. Sinovation Ventures, led by AI guru and former Google China executive Kai-Fu Lee, is investing in artificial intelligence, robotics and education startups. Sky9 Capital, headed up former Lightspeed China founder Ron Cao, focuses on backing early-stage Chinese companies in the Internet, enterprise and deep tech sectors.
In the wings is a new venture fund from China Creation Ventures, a spin-out by the former team of Kleiner Perkins China and led by founding managing partner Wei Zhou. Additionally, Sequoia Capital China is raising a $550 million China venture fund, its seventh, and a $150 million seed fund for China, its first.
Wonder if it’s too much capital chasing China startups?
Read Forbes: China venture ceiling
NEW FUNDINGS 
Full Truck Alliance Group, China’s biggest app for Uber-like truck services, reportedly raised $1.9 billion in funding to fuel its expansion at a valuation of $6.5 billion with backers including SoftBank Vision FundChina Reform FundGSR Ventures and Alphabet Inc.’s CapitalG. Existing investors Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Sequoia Capital also were involved in the round. Keep on truckin.
Chinese biotech startup NuProbe has bagged $11 million in a Series A round co-led by Sequoia Capital China and hedge fund Serica Partners, plus corporate strategic investor WuXi AppTec.
Silicon chipmaker Innovium raised $77 million in a Series D funding from veteran chip investor Walden International.
Want to know how competitive the cryptocurrency market is for venture capital funding? Consider that Sequoia China sued the founder of crypto trading exchange Binance for failing to honor an exclusivity agreement during negotiations, and sought an injunction against the founder, well-known as CZ, from negotiating with other investors. Sequoia had offered Binance a term sheet for a $9.5 million, Series A investment for a 12% stake in Binance. A Hong Kong court recently struck down the injunction.
IPOs
 Chinese ride-hailing leader Didi Chuxing is preparing for an IPO as early as this year at a valuation of $70 billion to $80 billion, up from its most recent venture funding valuation of $57.6 billion. Didi could beat Uberto the public markets.
NOTEWORTHY
Image recognition has caught on in China in a big way. Beijing airport security checks scan your passport and face at the same time before sliding your luggage through. And parking garages are scanning license plates on cars to whisk drivers through the toll gate. No more reaching for paper tickets out the car window.
 Anyone that believes that Apple will discontinue the iPhone X or that iPhone sales are down has not been to China. If anything Apple will make an X+ and make it bigger and more expensive. iPhone shipments to China were up 32% in Q1 2018, and Apple’s share of the Chinese smartphone market rose to 14.3% from 10% a year ago. Cult of Mac.
 
DATA POINTS
China cross-border e-commerce grew by 81% to reach $13.4 billion in merchandise sales – the third year in a row that growth has surpasssed 50%: China’s Ministry of Commerce.
Private equity and venture capital investments in India and Southeast Asia tripled to $18 billion in 2017 from a year earlier: Kroll and Mergermarket.