Silicon Valley, the tension between the two economic powers has lasted for many months, to the point that many Chinese investors simply do not carry out any more deals. One of the most notable departures was from Sinovation Ventures, a company launched by former Chinese President Kai-Fu Lee. Sinovation Ventures began investing in the US in 2013.
The head office in the Silicon Valley of Sinovation Chris Evdemon, left in recent months and inform several investment firms that companies pause pouring capital into the United States during the restructuring of the funding.
As part of a trade conflict with China, the US Treasury, through the US Foreign Investment Commission (CIFUS), takes a closer look at investments from China. Last year, the Trump administration expanded its powers to CIFUS to look at both uncontrolled and investment shares, in addition to assessing acquisitions.
The impact of this change is felt in the technology world. AppLovin advertising technology firm is waiting to be acquired for $ 1.4 billion by a Chinese private equity firm in 2017 until CIFUS intervenes. In April this year, health technology firm PatientsLikeMe was forced to find buyers after the US government ordered its majority stock owner, a Chinese enterprise, to divest.
Chinese investment in US startups has also declined since peaking in 2016. Foreign direct investment from China dropped from $ 27 billion in 2017 to $ 4.8 billion last year, according to Rhodium. Group Perhaps the biggest problem for Chinese firms is that they can hardly access the hottest “startups” because these companies have access to abundant capital, no need to accept capital with potential troubles from the country. East Asia.
Sinovation especially focuses on artificial intelligence (AI), one of the areas that CIFUS is most concerned about because of its potential application to the military. On the business website, Mr. Evdemon is still listed as “CEO of Sinovation North America”, but many sources believe that he left for personal reasons.
Evdemon’s LinkedIn page said he is currently a joint venture partner at Basis Set Ventures founded by former Dropbox CEO Lan Xuezhao. The site also reported that he was the CEO of Sinovation North America for nine years.
Evdemon joined Sinovation in Beijing in 2009, being one of six partners named in the latest fund worth $ 500 million with capital raised in April 2014. Other partners include Angela Bao, who is another major US investor of Sinovation. Bao left the firm from mid-2018.
Since 2009, when Mr. Lee left Google to start a business, Sinovation poured capital mainly in China , where the company had offices in four cities. The company manages about $ 2 billion and has Foxconn as one of the top limited partners.
Mr. Lee previously led Microsoft Research and has written the book The AI powers: China, Silicon Valley and ordering the world new . He argued in the book that Chinese tech entrepreneurs have surpassed US tech entrepreneurs, especially in the AI segment.
“I have been with the Silicon Valley for decades and the Chinese technology environment, working at Apple, Microsoft and Google before cultivating and investing in dozens of Chinese startups. I can tell you that Silicon Valley looks very slow with competitors across the Pacific, ”Mr. Lee wrote in the book.
In an interview with Bloomberg in November, Mr. Lee said he considered reducing investment in the US if relations between the US and China continued to deteriorate. In the past, 95% of Sinovation’s money was poured into China and in the future, this number could be “easily 98% or 100%”. US policy forced Sinovation to “seek smart Chinese people, good at technology in the US and bring them to China.”