VC backing for Asia tech sector seen doubling in 2017

Updated 2017-06-03 10:25:00 China Daily

Venture capital investments in Asia's tech sector this year are expected to be double that of 2016, with China accounting for the major part, according to a report by CB Insights, a venture capital research and data firm.

China's VC tech investment in the first quarter of the year reached billion, contributing 66 percent of the total invested in Asia, and with 101 projects China has the largest number of venture capital deals in the Asian market, the report said.

Zhang Han, a partner for Redpoint Ventures, a VC firm headquartered in the United States and focusing on the industry and technology sectors, said there was more muted venture capital investments last year than previous years in the wake of the stock market rout in 2015.

"However, there were a few investment hot spots like bike sharing, internet finance, new media entertainment and webcasting," he said.

This year, a large amount of money in other industries is expected to enter the emerging internet technology sector, Zhang said.

"The total amount of funds invested in the sector will be more than last year."

The size of early-stage deals in the first quarter - including angel financing - was 0,000 in Asia, only half that in the fourth quarter of last year, which caused a lot of startups to fail, the report said.

However, the median size of late-stage deals bounced back to 0 million in the first quarter of this year, after hitting a trough in the second half of 2016.

This was mainly due to some large financing deals, including Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart raising .4 billion from Tencent Holdings Ltd, eBay Inc and Microsoft Corp.

"With fewer good investment projects, a great deal of money is rushing into several big companies, whose industry positions have already been established," Zhang said.

"Entrepreneurial opportunities in the mobile internet sector are diminishing, because with about six years of development, the sector is comparatively mature and some mega companies occupy most of the market."

Chinese companies drove four of the top five biggest VC funding projects in Asia in the first quarter.

China's video website iQiyi obtained .53 billion convertible bond financing, which was subscribed by Baidu Inc, Hillhouse Capital Group, Boyu Capital Group and others.

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's Koubei received .1 billion from four investors, including Silver Lake Capital Financial Holding Group.

Used-car trading platform Youxin and bike-sharing company ofo Inc raised 0 million and 0 million, respectively.

In addition, ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing said it completed .5 billion in financing to replenish its investment in artificial intelligence technologies. The capital injection will be used to support its development of new technologies as well as its global expansion, according to a company statement.

As of May 5, VC-backed Asian tech companies raised .3 billion in 458 deals this year, according to CB Insights. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, funding more than doubled in the first quarter and the deal count crossed 300 for the first time since the first quarter of 2016.

At the current scoring rate, the number of deals will rebound to the 2015 level after a drop last year. Total funding is projected to be more than double that of 2016 and over 50 percent higher than in 2015.

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