Sunday, December 21, 2014

Why China's Xiaomi Is Not A Copy Of iPhone

If Chinese smart phone maker Xiaomi succeeds in its mission, it may become known as the company that dispelled notions that China technology is a copy of western knowhow.
But there is still a hurdle to jump. Say Xiaomi, and most people think copy, not original. But as Xiaomi becomes better known in the West, that impression could change.
Or at least that’s according to early Xiaomi investor Hans Tung of GGV Capital. He sat down with me recently for an interview on Silicon Dragon Talk and shared his perspective on what makes Xiaomi an original.
He pointed to three key differentiators for Xiaomi:
Keep reading post at Forbes:


Thursday, December 4, 2014

One More US Startup Takes In Capital From China - This Time Xiaomi!

Wearable device maker Misfit may be gaining a significant competitive edge with its latest $40 million capital intake that includes Chinese smart phone leader Xiaomi making its first investment foray in the U.S.
Having a strategic China investor in its camp should help the San Francisco-based startup gain traction and scale up more quickly in the large Middle Kingdom market as expansion in Asia is prioritized.  With speed to market and China as increasingly important dynamics, this trend-setting investment could prove a big boost for Misfit, which already sells its waterproof activity tracker Shine in more than 35 countries.
It also can’t hurt to have one of the more innovative Chinese companies around on its side to build out its talent pool from China, where Misfit has a small software team to round out its team of nearly 100 people, most of them in R&D.
With this first investment in the U.S., Xiaomi is following an increasingly traveled path by the Chinese tech titans Baidu Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and others of investing in U.S. tech businesses. View Silicon Dragon Talk on this trend and see prior Forbes post: Why U.S. startups are taking investment from China’s tech titans.
For the Chinese investor standpoint, this strategy helps them gain technology, talent and U.S. market experience in their long-term quest to expand outside their home market and build their base globally.  Their strategies bear little resemblance to the Japanese trophy seekers who bought American landmark  properties Pebble Beach and Rockefeller Center some two decades ago. Keep reading Forbes post:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

All It Takes Is 1 Hong Kong Startup To Break Through

Amidst the buzz and energy surrounding Hong Kong’s push to become a hub for tech innovations, startups here are beginning to make waves, pulling in some big financings from venture capitalists and corporate venture investors, scaling up and expanding internationally.
Seeing these startups take off is an encouraging sign for Hong Kong, where young businesses have faced a financing gap to boost their operations and to pursue global ambitions.  While not sizeable rounds compared to the what we’ve been seeing in Silicon Valley or India lately, these recent venture financing in Hong Kong are still quite respectable.
Take the $14 million that innovative lending service WeLab hauled in this year from Sequoia Capital and Li Ka-Shing’s Tom Group. It was the first time that Sequoia Capital, a force behind many successful ventures in mainland China and Silicon Valley, has invested in a Hong Kong startup.
See tech chat video.
Keep reading Forbes post: Hong Kong breakthrough

Hong Kong Startups Get A Reality Check on Silicon Dragon Talk show

With all the recent buzz about the potential for Hong Kong startups to make it, it can be difficult to separate the hype from the reality.
I asked three experts investing in the Asian region and in Silicon Valley — Tytus Michalski of Fresco Capital, Melissa Guzy of Arbor Ventures and Simon Squibb of Nest — to put a microscope on the key trends and let us know what is really going on. See Silicon Dragon Talk: Hong Kong Reality Check.
There wasn’t exactly a consensus on whether Hong Kong entrepreneurs are naturally entrepreneurial, if there is enough startup capital from the right sources, and how much government support is the right amount.
Keep reading Forbes post: Reality Check

Monday, November 24, 2014

Founder of Shanghai Car Rental Service I Met In 2009 Takes His Startup Public on NYSE and Raises $120 Million

It’s interesting to see another of the high-powered Chinese startups I wrote about in Startup Asia  – Shanghai-based eHi Car Rental Services — go public in New York. The leading Chinese car rental service eHi debuted on the NYSE on November 18, raising $120 million, the first IPO to tap into the China economy since Alibaba in September.
I remember meeting the founder and CEO of eHi, Ray Zhang, a classic returnee to China with Silicon Valley entrepreneurial experience and computer science smarts, at his Shanghai office in 2010.  At that time, the operation he founded in 2006 was small but was on an exceptionally fast-growth track, expanding by 200 percent annually but still unprofitable. It still is losing money, by the way, despite taking in loads of venture capital and strategic investment while chasing the growth opportunity in China.
The son of a schoolteacher and scholar on Sino-US relations at the Hoover Institute on the campus of Stanford University, business didn’t seem to be a natural path for Zhang. But then again, how many opportunities come along to be in the driver’s seat on a fast-growth, still largely undeveloped market in the world’s fastest-growing economy? Zhang, an executive MBA graduate from the highly regarded CEBIS in Shanghai, knows eHi’s success depends on precise execution, timing and plenty of financing and strategic deals.
Continue reading post at Forbes: eHi Wheels into Wall Street

Monday, October 13, 2014

What's Hot/What's Not in Tech's Future

At our recent Silicon Dragon event in the Valley, we looked at what's hot, what's not in tech's future with Gary Matuszak who heads up KPMG's global TMT practice, and venture capitalists Osuke Honda of DCM and Carmen Chang of NEA. Yours truly (Rebecca Fannin) served as the moderator.
Please check out the video clip here:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tesla Drives Into China With Big Aims to Make Its Plug-In Cars Mainstream

Tesla at Silicon Dragon in Shanghai
Tesla Motors has big plans for China, and you can bet its car sales in the Chinese market will likely top the U.S.
The innovative electric car maker from Silicon Valley will “replicate its American strategy in China,” says Shanghai-based Tesla executive Dan Hsu.  The first cars were delivered in April, and Hsu says he  hopes that Tesla sales will “be bigger” than in the U.S.  Certainly anyone who’s been to Beijing and encountered the smog shares that view.
Central to the strategy in China is keeping the price tag for the cars at about the same level as in the U.S. — at least if you don’t count import tariffs. The Tesla S sells for RMB 640,000 or $104,000 in China. That compares with about $70,000 for a Tesla S in the U.S.  Tesla strategy is to keep pricing the same globally.
To get going in China, Tesla has set up charging stations in China at shopping malls, restaurants and hotels. Tesla-owned retails outlets have the free super-charging stations too where Tesla can get fully charged in about an hour. At the Knowledge & Innovation Community in Shanghai, there are three charging stations in the parking garage.
Just as in the U.S., the main challenge in China is a shift in perception that the car is not a huge pain to recharge, says Hsu, speaking at Silicon Dragon in Shanghai.  (The car was on display and drew lots of curiosity seekers.)
Keep reading post at Forbes, Tesla in China.