China’s largest bank ICBC floats $200m fund to invest in small Indian businesses

Photo: Reuters

China’s biggest lender has set up a $200-million fund through which its local arm will invest in India’s small- and medium-sized businesses, the Indian embassy in Beijing said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Indian subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will invest in local start-ups and other small businesses, the embassy quoted Zheng Bin, chief executive of ICBC India, as saying at an investment conference held in the Chinese capital.

Small businesses, which account for 32 percent of the Indian economy, are grappling with funding shortages, hit hard by the launch of a unified Goods and Services Tax (GST) more than a year ago that has driven thousands out of work.

Chinese venture capital funds may also invest up to $30 million in seven to eight Indian startups, the statement said.

“The event was planned to expose Chinese venture capitalists and investors to promising Indian startups,” the embassy said, adding that it will also help the startups reach the Chinese investor community.

ICBC in India could not immediately be reached for comment outside of local working hours.

Commercial ties between India and China are expanding rapidly even though the neighbours are locked in a decades-old border dispute, which led to a war in 1962.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has courted investment from China, has announced measures to support small and medium businesses, including faster loan approvals and discounts on new loans for GST-registered businesses.

Such businesses are the second-biggest providers of jobs in India after farming.

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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.