China, UK managers follow SoftBank’s lead to form $15b tech fund

Shanghai night sky. Photo: Yiran Ding/unsplash

A China-backed venture plans to raise $15 billion to invest in technology companies globally, borrowing several pages from the playbook of Japan’s SoftBank, whose $100 billion Vision Fund transformed the race to identify and build the next tech giants.

China Merchants Group and peer SPF Group will join forces with London-based investment firm Centricus to launch the 100 billion Chinese yuan ($15 billion) China New Era Technology Fund, to invest or acquire firms across China and around the world.

Technology investment markets are being reshaped by private equity and sovereign wealth funds that have started bidding aggressively for assets alongside the world’s biggest venture capital firms, stoking concerns of a new private market bubble.

Dalinc Ariburnu, co-founder of Centricus, which advised SoftBank on its fund, said scale was increasingly important in the race to attract the best investments.

“The technology revolution is taking place much faster than expected and this is creating a big race for investments in this space. We are at a stage where the size of available funds and ability to access big markets will be the game changer,” he said.

Under the deal, China Merchants Capital Investment Management Co, the investment arm of conglomerate China Merchants Group, and other China-based investors will contribute up to 40 percent to the fund, the companies said in a statement.

Centricus and China-based asset management company SPF Group would form a joint venture, Centricus SPF, which will assemble international investors, they added.

CM Capital and Centricus SPF will incorporate a fund management company and invite universities and other investors, including leading technology firms, to participate in the fund.

The creation of a broader investor group follows several high-profile snubs by governments concerned about Chinese involvement in sensitive technology projects.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) killed the planned sale of Aixtron to China’s Fujian Grand Chip in December 2016. The plasma firm Biotest’s sale to China only went through after U.S. divestitures.

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Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.