Leveraged buyouts, growth capital, angel investments, and seed funding—these private transactions take place, largely out of the public’s eye, not only in Connecticut or Silicon Valley, but also in Beijing, Shenzhen, and Shanghai.
In 2016, China’s private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) firms raised over $70 billion, more than 20% of total such funding globally. At the same time, these firms also deployed capital to the tune of $223 billion, accounting for more than 70% of global PE/VC investments.
As late comers, these Chinese firms have rapidly grown into formidable financiers. Most Chinese PE firms are particularly interested in products and services that can be commercialized and scaled up quickly in China. They tend to invest in areas that align with China’s shift to a more consumer-driven economy. Meanwhile, Chinese VCs have been active players globally, particularly in Silicon Valley. They have focused on areas such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and electric vehicles.
Tencent is one of three Chinese Internet giants known collectively as the “BAT” (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) companies. Tencent has diverse business lines ranging from social media, e-commerce, gaming, and Internet finance. It has made multiple investments in the United States in recent years, including in Tesla, as part of its business expansion strategy and to acquire the latest technologies.
Huateng Ma; David Wallerstein
Shenzhen: (755) 8601.3388
In June 2013, Tencent provided $150 million in Series D funding to e-commerce firm Fab.com. Headquartered in New York, Fab.com sells everyday designer products in the United States, Canada, and Australia. In April 2014, Tencent, along with Sequoia Capital, provided $35 million in Series C funding to Weebly. Based in San Francisco, Weebly is a web-hosting service that features a drag-and-drop website builder.
In May 2014, Tencent, along with Shasta Ventures, provided $36 million in Series C funding to Whisper. Based in Venice, CA, Whisper is an app that allows users to post and share content anonymously.