Ex-Baidu senior VP closes debut angel fund at $29m

A employee uses his mobile phone as he walks past the company logo of Baidu at its headquarters in Beijing, August 5, 2010. REUTERS/Barry Huang/File Photo

Longzhong Xinyi Fund, a venture capital firm created by former Baidu senior vice president Xiang Hailong, has raised 200 million yuan ($29 million) for the debut RMB-denominated fund, roughly seven months after his departure from the Chinese internet search giant last May.

The fund will focus on investment opportunities in angel-stage startups that aim to provide products and services to corporate clients, which are also referred to companies under the so-called “to business (ToB)” model, said Xiang cited by Chinese online publication 36Kr.

Limited partners of the fund remained undisclosed, but Xiang said that he did not chip in the fund himself. Xiang revealed that the second investment vehicle of Longzhong Xinyi Fund will kick off the fundraising work in the second half of 2020.

Xiang could not be immediately reached for comments.

Previously a senior vice president and one of the closest lieutenants of Baidu founder and CEO Robin Li Yanhong, Xiang joined the firm in February 2005 and resigned in May 2019 due to “personal reasons,” according to a company announcement.

His departure follows a string of technology veterans who have jumped ship from Baidu to other places over the past few years.

Among the most prominent takeoffs, Lu Qi, a Chinese American who joined Baidu from Microsoft in January 2017 to bolster the new AI initiatives, stepped down as the company president and chief operating officer of Baidu in May 2018. Lu, the current head of startup incubator MiraclePlus, reportedly garnered about $100 million in the first closing of MiraclePlus’ debut fund in November 2019.

More recently, Wang Lu, former Baidu vice president in charge of public and government relations functions, left the company in late September 2019. Before them, Baidu president Zhang Ya-Qin retired in November 2019, while Andrew Ng, a Stanford and Google alumnus who worked as the chief scientist at Baidu responsible for researches related to big data and AI, left in 2017 after three years with the company.

Total revenues of Baidu reached 28.1 billion yuan ($4.08 billion) in the third quarter of 2019, up 3 per cent year over year and up 7 per cent quarter over quarter, according to its latest financial report released in November 2019.

Its online marketing stood at 20.4 billion yuan ($2.96 billion), decreasing 9 per cent year over year, while other revenues were 7.6 billion yuan ($1.10 billion), increasing 34 per cent year over year driven mainly by the strong growth in iQIYI membership, cloud services and smart devices.

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.