International Finance Corporation, the private lending arm of the World Bank, may come in as an investor by injecting $15 million in China-focussed fund, Sinovation Fund III LP, headed by noted technology sector veteran Dr Kai Fu Lee.
Sinovation Fund III L.P, a venture capital fund targeting early stage TMT companies in China, has a target size of $250 million. IFC will be investing in Sinovation III along with other established institutional investors, the development finance body said, in its disclosure.
The fund comes at a time when China is transitioning from an economy focussed on manufacturing to one led by innovation and technology. The fund will support the convergence of internet with traditional industries such as retail, fintech, logistics/transportation, healthcare, and education.
The company is also into creation of an ecosystem of professional services, co-working space, and mentorship for entrepreneurs.
The company is setting up incubators outside the money centres in China to develop much needed ecosystem for entrepreneurship in those areas, the filing said.
IFC is upping its exposure in the Chinese entrepreneurial space. Only last month it revealed a proposed investment of $25 million in a new fund, SBCVC Fund V, L.P., focussed on fast-growing mid-market technology companies in China.
SBCVC, or SB China Capital, is a venture capital and private equity firm set up in 2000. SBCVC Fund V has a target fund size of $400 million with a hard cap of $475 million and the fund will support 40 investments. SBCVC has invested in over 100 companies across China since 2000, most of which became regional and global brands.
Dr Lee was the founding President of Google China from 2005 to 2009 and established Google in the Chinese market and oversaw its growth. Lee has worked at Apple Computer (1990–1996), Silicon Graphics (1996–1998), Microsoft (1998–2005) in both U.S. and China. At Microsoft, he established the Microsoft Research division in Beijing. He is an alumni of Columbia University (BS. Computer Science) and Carnegie Mellon University (Ph.D. Computer Science).