Big investor
Feb 8, 2019 (WiC 440)
“For Sequoia what matters is to be first and to be the most important investor. We never want to miss a trend”

Neil Shen, the boss of Sequoia China, discusses with the Financial Times how he has increased his firepower in the Chinese market through a new $8 billion global fund. Described by the FT as ‘China’s most successful venture capitalist’ Shen added: “Today you need bigger amounts to stay in the game. We worry that we have been too conservative.” Shen’s VC fund invested in 49 start-ups in 2018, ranking ahead of Tencent (30) and Alibaba (17) in Hurun’s league for start-up backers.

Turning east
Feb 1, 2019 (WiC 439)
“There are now more auto designers in Shanghai than in any other city in the world, including Detroit and LA”

David Hilton, head of design at GAC Motor in Guangzhou, tells the Wall Street Journal that Shanghai has become a magnet for design talent from overseas. Hilton, whose grandfather founded Oldsmobile in the nineteenth century, joined GAC from UK-based Bentley. The WSJ names seven other top international car designers who quit multinationals to work for Chinese auto brands, with Hilton saying the best foreign designers can make in China double what they earn in the US.

Wang reassures Davos
Jan 25, 2019 (WiC 438)
“There will be a lot of uncertainties in 2019 but one certainty is that China’s growth will continue and be sustainable”

Wang Qishan, China’s vice-president, dismisses Chinese slowdown alarms in a speech this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He said last year’s 6.6% growth was still a “pretty significant number, not low at all”.

Keeping things private
Jan 18, 2019 (WiC 437)
“We’re not a public company. We don’t care so much about beautiful balance sheets”

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei hosted an impromptu press event in Shenzhen on Monday in which he reiterated that his company had never spied for the Chinese government. He added that he “missed” his daughter (Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou) who has been detained in Canada for possible extradition to the US but was optimistic that justice would prevail. The privately-held firm, he pointed out, has no outside stockholders (but 97,000 staff are shareholders) and will make revenues of $108.5 billion in 2018, up 21%. Huawei has already signed 30 5G commercial contracts and shipped 25,000 5G base stations, reports the Wall Street Journal.