Technopreneurship and theEarly Stage Ecosystem in China Chris Evdemon (易可睿) General Manager – Incubation Programs, Innovation Works Principal, Innovation Works Development Fund (IWDF) Director, Business Angels Network South-East Asia (BANSEA) Founding Member, China Business Angels Network (CBAN) April 2011 1
What does a start-up entrepreneur need? An early stage Ecosystem Market … A big enough market with major growth opportunities. Entrepreneurship … Talent, drive, skills and ideas – all widely available. Incubation … Real ‘turnkey’ services for start-ups. Early Stage Investors… A community of angel investors and early stage VCs. Innovation … A culture of innovation. Ecosystem
Constant inflow of ideas, know-how, best practices, talent, investment professionals, etc.
Chinese Economy: a unique and amazing story From any current perspective, China has an awe-inspiring future ahead of it. In the next 2 decades it will surpass the U.S., attaining an economic dimension unparalleled in history. Growth will be based on its massive new and richer generation of Chinese, emerging from the country’s ever-growing urban areas. Unlike Japan, China is likely to fulfill its enormous expectations. Macro
A strong middle class has been emerging … Macro
Retail sales (i.e. consumerism) are booming … … in the midst of the financial crisis! Macro
Market research and other statistical information is usually unreliable …
… “there are lies, damned lies and Chinese statistics!”* But there is a unique set of challenges … Macro * Quote from a foreigner-facing tech blog. *
China’s New Digital Generation – a social phenomenon “One Child Policy” (80后 and 90后 generations), today in the age range of 12 - 31 years, are ‘obsessed’ with the internet, extremely curious but still somewhat suspicious of most online content. Beneficiaries of the “Reform” and opening up policies, today in the age range of 32-41 years of age, easily grasp the opportunities provided by the internet and enjoy its diversity. The age range of 41+ years old typically do not adapt to digital services easily and usually just use simple mobile voice services, SMS and some news services. In China, there are not many alternatives for affordable entertainment. The media / music / cinema industries are still in their infancy and tightly controlled. Internet is thus filling a gap. A distinct Chinese Internet pop culture has been on the rise and is very influential. Macro
Sina $5.63B Sohu $3.18B NetEase $5.87B Tencent $50.08B Baidu $42.60B Shanda $1.98B Giant $1.71B Perfect World $1.12B Mobile + E-Commerce:Catalysts for the third wave of the Chinese Internet Web portals in late 1990’s created the first boom. Technology companies Baidu, Tencent, Shanda rose from the ashes of dot-com bust. 2nd Wave We anticipate an explosive third wave propelled by Mobile Internet, E-commerce, Online Gaming and Cloud Computing. 1st Wave 3rd Wave Valuation of Listed Companies (as of March 16th, 2011) Mature Market Major Opportunities MOBILE INTERNET E-COMMERCE ONLINE GAMING (casual, mobile, social) CLOUD COMPUTING Internet
Amazing stories of Chinese Internet madness … Tencentvs. Qihoo 360 vs. Kaixin.com Kaixin001.com Internet
Differences in User Demographics Average age: U.S. 42 Average age: China 25 % new users each year: China 25%, U.S. 3% Internet
Usage Differences between China & U.S. Different Usage of Internet between China & U.S. in 2003 Different Usage of Internet between China & U.S. in 2010 Internet Data Source: CNNIC, iResearch and www.pewinternet.org
How is the Chinese Internet different? Entertainment centric and content-heavy Music is nearly all unlicensed Video is heavily (but not richly) monetized P2P is extremely popular SNS transition from copycat to localized Blogging rate is much higher than U.S. Mobile will be the explosive growth-catalyst E-commerce is ready to shift from C2C to B2C Gaming MMORPG flat, casual / social growing Cloud computing will create a software industry Chinese Users American Users 10 sec. spent on result page 30-60 sec. spent on result page Internet
Internet Cafés are like “gaming arcades” … Internet
Internet Cafés of all sorts … “decadence café” “rural classroom” “favorite date” Internet
Limited traditional media =reliance on the Internet VS Internet
News Blog Portals blend blog & news to increase coverage … Internet
The Chinese Internet phenomena … Curious users hungry to explore (less goal-oriented). Entertainment-centric & information-overloaded. Users eager to have a voice for self-expression. Internet is creating best sellers, cultural icons, and brands. No up-front payments; pay-per-use and ad-supported-piracy. “Do-it-all” Tencentand lack of anti-trust anger competitors. MMORPG: virtual fame and glory can be bought. 90后: a lonely generation with less social development. Internet amplifies “angry young” and their nationalism. Sichuan earthquake awakened sense of social responsibility. Self-righteous citizens providing check and balance. Weibo: exposing corruption, enabling civilian ‘paparazzi’. Internet
“Internet is like a mirror” … “The internet is like a mirror, reflecting our society. If we do not like what we see in that mirror the problem is not to fix the mirror, we have to fix society.” Vint Cerf Internet
E-Commerce obstacles overcome by Chinese ingenuity! Solutions Problems Escrow Payment Very Few Credit Cards Bicycle Delivery Lack of Trust Cash on Delivery E-Commerce
E-Commerce Emergence in China In 2009, China E-Commerce Market was US$36 billion (grew 107% from 2008). It doubled again in the 1st semester of 2010! E-Commerce development
User Pre-purchase search Decision influence Shopping Payment Logistics & Service 1 2 3 4 5 Platform 6 China E-Commerce Analysis & Opportunities Billion-dollar companies will emerge from in 3, 4, 5; however, low-margin & transaction-oriented. Bank, carrier, escrow Customer Service Microblog& communities Productsearch, yelp B2B/B2C/C2C 1, 2, 6 best shows strength of Internet above and most suitable for technology e-commerce companies. B2C companies need tools & platforms to build site & acquire customers (enabling traditional players). Higher-margin opportunities may emerge in social/entertainment shopping & new Internet brands. Value proposition needs to be clear: Amazon: 1-6 360buy: 3, 4, 5 Dianping: 1, 2 Taobao: 3, 4, 6 SNS and crowd-sourcing sites that are not copiable but monetizable, as advertising value increases. O2O (online to offline) model is a good fit for China, though just copying from US won’t work. SaaS, cloud E-Commerce
Mobile Internet Opportunities 3G deployed 300 million users & growing Monopoly 3 carriers 300M
Yet users are younger (75% of Mobile Internet users are 27 or under) and not rich;
Apps should focus on entertainment (killing time) not productivity (saving time).
Mobile Internetrevealing evolving digital divide … Aspiring young white collar, students Hi-endwhite collar 3-Low Users：blue collar, military, migrant workers Rely 100% on Phone No Internet Knowledge Phone = Cheap Entertainment Victim to Fraud Phone + PC Internet Savvy Entertainment/Social Cost Sensitive Phone augments PC Top app is Email Productivity-focused Cost is no issue Mobile
Mobile Internet User Segmentation 83% of the users are younger than 30 Observations 2000 RMB is important price barrier High-end users are a small minority. Must focus on aspiring young users before 3-low users. Aspiring young users are existing Internet users. Young users require lower prices. Mobile
But what do early-adopter young users want? Top 10 Desired Apps Top 5 Android Apps Smart Dialer Web Search Localized SMS Email IM (QQ, MSN) Browser Music Player Maps Games Youtube E-book Reader Camera & Photo News & Micro-blogging Video SNS (Renren, Kaixin) Mobile
Strategic Projections for Mobile Internet Chinese Mobile Internet will evolve the same way as the Chinese Internet Mobile ecosystem will follow the PC’s horizontal integration pattern. Basic Tools Browser, security, photos, etc. Entertainment IM, SNS, Music, Games, Video. Advanced Apps E-Commerce, advertising, LBS, search,email. ￥5000 Minimal carrier subsidies; but Android devices will drop under 1000 RMB in 2011. High 3G prices will lead to be “rich-device + minimal bandwidth”. For next few years, entertainment applications will dominate Chinese mobile Internet. AppStore/Marketplace model will become primarily freemium; no up-front payment. ￥1000 Mobile developer community will have many opportunities (AppStore, ads, export, etc.). Mobile
Today Chinese entrepreneurship is in transition. Few home-grown role models although gradually a new class of serial entrepreneurs is emerging. Entrepreneurship is still a new concept for local graduates – there is peer and family pressure towards ‘secure’ corporate jobs. Older generation is risk averse but grass-roots entrepreneurship from young people in their late 20s and early 30s is rapidly improving, especially in the TMT sector. A number of Chinese entrepreneurs dubbed “returnees” (from Australia, Europe and especially the U.S.) with prior overseas entrepreneurial experiences are coming back to start their own companies. Entrepreneurship in China Entrepreneurship
Founding a Chinese Tech Start-up: the problems Angel VC Nascent angel network
Angel investors are few and immature: minimal knowledge and unreasonable expectations.
No technical/market understanding to evaluate early-stage.
Giving an opportunity to the new generation … Entrepreneurship
Setting up a legal entity for a start-up If you want to receive offshore (i.e. USD) funds, there are 3 forms of business types available: Joint venture with a Chinese partner (JVC) Equity Joint Venture Contractual Cooperative Joint Venture Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE) Representative Office (RO) Entrepreneurship
Setting up a legal entity for a start-up Before incorporating, any entrepreneur should remember: Changing the type of business organization is long and costly Once the venture is declared to make business in a specific industry sector, very difficult to change There are always grey areas, and the regulations are being updated on a weekly basis. Law enforcement in China is weak in many areas, including contract law, IP law, etc. Foreign investment in certain sectors is subject to industry-specific regulations. Telecommunications: the stake of the foreign investors in the telecom enterprise can not be more than 49%. Insurance: property and personal insurance are possible but companies need permit to engage in large commercial risk insurance, all-inclusive policy insurance, etc. However China is compelled by WTO to change its legislation in protected sectors. After being issued a Corporate Legal Person Business License, a foreign-invested enterprise (FIE) must apply for registration of foreign exchange with the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) at the place of its business registration. Chinese entrepreneurs also need to go through SAFE registration for their shares in offshore vehicles (e.g. Cayman Islands or BVI). Entrepreneurship
Investment CAYMAN / BVI HONG KONG OFFSHORE IN CHINA Contract Licenses LOCAL COMPANY WFOE Transfer Pricing Legal complexity – the “SINA” structure Entrepreneurship
Zhong Guan Cun(in Beijing’s northwest corner) is still China’s best approach to a Silicon Valley ecosystem. Clear priority to nurture hi-tech innovation start-ups and create an early stage investment environment. Tax incentives’ scheme. Surrounded by about 50 universities incl. Tsinghua, Beida and Beihang, over 1,000 research institutes, a software park, 150 incubators and >10,000 hi-tech start-ups. “Real-estate minded” incubation, few added value services, no service oriented mentality and lack of expertise / skills required. Many “incubators” but no real incubation … Incubation
IW’s ecosystem … Incubator + Fund IWINCUBATION IWDFFUND Jump-Start Acceleration Angel Series A EIR Incubation
In 1.5 years … 100,000 CVs 400 project team members 40 professionals Exceptional Mentors & Investors 26 projects 14 Incubation 8 Angel Round 4 Series A Incubation
IW’s Mobile Internet Strategy Cloud Services Phone UIFramework iTunes-likeClient Mobile Product Portfolio Market Place Partner with ”Chiwan” companies to grow ecosystem & drive down cost Develop localized UI and applications targeting young users Games Platform Use proven Internet business models, but fit in with carriers Bet on Android, but not Google experience Develop ultra-easy-to-use cloud + client apps that conserve bandwidth Incubation
What IW incubated in 2010 … Talked to over 1,000 start-ups Incubated 23companies Gaming (8) Mobile (8) Wandoujia / Tongbu-(iTunes) Yingyonghui- (Getjar) Tapas Umeng - (Flurry + AdMob) PhotoWonder- (Instagram) Feihong-(Kik) Guoguo* - (Qik) Xingyun- (Zynga) Leiyoo Doodle - (Ngmoco) X6 / X7 (project codenames) Black Bubble* Fengkuangbuluo* Pada* Buding- (Foursquare + Evite) Looa Meishidaren*- (Foodspotting) Nada*- (Plancast) Diandian – (Tumblr) Zhihu – (Quora) Junren* SNS (3) E-Commerce (4) (In brackets are products recognizable in other parts of the world, used solely for the purpose of easy reference ) Incubation * Jump-Start Program
The current global financial crisis has temporarily slowed down but has not greatly hurt the VC market in China. The fundamentals of the Chinese economy are still strong - investment opportunities are still here.
There is a major shift from offshore USD funds to domestic RMB funds, from a 70% - 30% split in 2008 to 30% - 70% in 2009. The trend is even more acute in 2010.
The new name of the game is … RMB funds! One of major trends in China's RMB fund market during 2010 was the stepped-up efforts by foreign VC/PE institutions to launch RMB funds. The Blackstone Group completed its fundraising for a RMB5 billion, IDG Capital launched a RMB 3.5 billion fund, and the Carlyle Group completed its first closing for a RMB 2.4 billion fund. In addition, many institutions, including KPCB China, Sequoia Capital China, and QimingVenture Partners have also completed their fundraisings for their RMB funds in 2010. CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, in teamwork with Shanghai Guosheng Group, initiated the RMB 10 billion Guosheng CLSA Industry Investment Fund, TPG launched two RMB funds respectively in Shanghai and Chongqing, aiming to raise RMB 5 billion each, and UBS, in collaboration with the Municipal Government of Beijing, is also preparing to establish a RMB fund. Early Stage
Why RMB funds? The ChiNext(launched in 2009) created an effective exit option for RMB funds. For as long as investors are being subject to FX capital account controls, RMB funds will be a preferred way for most institutions operating in the Chinese capital markets. Strong support from the Chinese government is a contributing factor. For example, Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, among others, have rolled out their preferential policies in taxation and FX to foreign RMB funds. And the pilot program for establishment of foreign invested equity investment firms recently initiated in Shanghai also carved out more fundraising channels for foreign RMB funds. BUT: Legal issues – a lot of regulations (new, neither mature nor tested). Existing funds – predominantly USD and still preferring NYSE / NASDAQ exit. Local governments increasingly act as a direct investor and/or a LP – what are the implications? Early Stage
In China, there is very little attention to early stage, furthermore …
Traditional industries still account for more than 50% of the VC money invested in China.
Beijing (especially for TMT) is the place to be.
… but where is truly Early Stage?! Early Stage
Early Stage VCs in China The VC in industry in China is at its infancy. Vast majority of VCs go for the ‘low hanging fruit’, i.e. later stage, lower risk, higher transparency, pre-IPO type of investments. Good and experienced VC investment managers are a scarce resource in China. Good and experienced EARLY STAGEVC investment managers are a VERY scarce resource in China. Good and experienced EARLY STAGE VC investment managers that: have previous own start-up / operational experience (i.e. ex-founders / entrepreneurs), and truly work ‘hands-on’ with the team(s) to add value, at least on a weekly basis are a VERY VERY scarce resource in China. On a more positive note, in the past couple of years there is rapid accumulation of top talent in the Chinese VC industry; also overcrowding at the growth stage is bound to bring some people back to early stage. Early Stage
Lack ofdomestic IPO exit was one of the most critical obstacles in RMB investment up until the last couple of years.
However, the stock markets in Shanghai and in Shenzhen continue to rapidly improveespecially in terms of shortening post-IPO lock up, transparency, etc.
Government also launched ChiNext (创业板), termed as “China’s NASDAQ”, but profitability requirements do not make it very suitable for TMT companies.
Shenzhen’s SME board has already proved to be an exit option for VC investment in China for potentially more than 10x returns in a period of 3-4 years.
But in NYSE / NASDAQ not everything is ‘rosy’ (RenRen, Qihoo 360, Dangdang, Youku, etc.).
Rapidly improving local IPO market … Early Stage
… but where is my trade sale exit?! Negligible domestic and cross-border M&A activity takes away one of the most important exit routes for early stage technology investors. Early Stage
What is innovation? Product (R&D), or Process, or Business Model? Is the market mature enough for innovation? Have the basic Chinese consumer needs been already fulfilled? More than a government policy or budget. Innovation is about culture and education. In China innovation is still predominantly university and government driven. Step-by-step process. It took generations for other countries; China will do it faster but it will still take time. C2C (Copy-to-China) Micro-innovations Innovation. Is China innovating? Innovation
“Shanzhai” phenomenon started with mobile phones…. Innovation