17.07.2015

Investment (and acceleration) of startups in China

Imagen | Joesph

Even though Silicon Valley is seen as the mecca for startups, and it has been a challenge for Europe to compete with the Californian business ecosystem, the entrepreneurial universe needs to keep its eye on another rising star: China. The Asian giant continues to gain ground, and is increasingly making financing available to startups in the rest of the world.

Not too surprisingly, the most valuable startup in the world is Chinese. The success of Xiaomi, which manufactures mobile devices, is just the tip of the iceberg of an entrepreneurial boom in this distant country. The financial data speaks for itself: during the first quarter of 2015 Chinese startups received more than $6. 5 billion in investment (about six billion euros). This hefty sum  represents 40% of the total funding invested during the last year.

Chinese investors are now financing startups both at home and abroad. On the one hand, many companies and capital funds have money earmarked for projects that began in the Asian country. However some of the technology giants have decided to diversify their investments, looking for promising startups that lie beyond their borders.

Alibaba is a perfect example. A Chinese startup that has made a number of strategic investments in the United States ranging from mobile messaging (the e-commerce giant has funded the Tango application with more than $200 million dollars, or 180 million euros) to carpool applications (with $250 million, or over 200 million euros going to Lyft).

They are not huge investments, however together they signify that the company is making its presence felt in different corners of a global technology market, which is growing without stop in Asia. It’s a huge industry, and it’s evolving rapidly thanks to innovation, making it necessary to erase the borders from the map and spread the capital throughout the world.

Alibaba’s globalizing trends are now being replicated by Chinese accelerators as they grow in number and size, as is the case for Chinaccelerator. One surprising benefit has been that the ties between the US and China are becoming gradually stronger thanks to these startups. In fact, it was just a few months ago that Microsoft opened the doors of its accelerator in Beijing, while China has had a program for startups in Silicon Valley for years.

So while the Chinese tech sector grows steadily and has more importance for startups, it seems that borders are becoming blurry in the eyes of investors: no matter where they are, the goal is to fund the best projects.