Silicon Valley Challenger China Gaining On U.S. Lead With Mega VC Deals

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China is edging up on the U.S. as the largest backer of startups. A new report by VentureSource of global investment trends pegs China at nearly one-third of total startup financing in 2017 compared with the U.S. at 45 percent. Moreover, the report notes that China-based investors now lead about one-quarter of total investments contrasted with 44 percent for the U.S. It's reports like this one that show the steady climb of China as a super force in tech innovation and venture capital. Last week's Forbes Midas list put Chinese venture investor Neil Shen of Sequoia Capital China at the top of the 100 ranks .
Other significant indicators of this shift from Silicon Valley to China include R&D spending, patent applications, engineering graduates and scientific research.
China's R&D coffers weighed in at $409 billion in 2015, nearing $497 billion for the U.S., and gaining at a far faster rate of 18 percent annually versus 4 percent for the U.S. China accounts for 22 percent of bachelor degrees in science and engineering compared to 10 percent for the U.S. China claims 34,000 doctoral degrees in this field, not far behind the U.S. at 40,000.
China overtook the U.S. in scientific articles published with 18.6 percent of the total compared with 17.8 percent for the U.S.
China bumped Japan from second place globally for patent applications in 2017, gaining 13.4 percent to 48,882 applicants or 20 percent of the world's total. Long-time leader U.S. claims a 29 percent share at 56,624.
China tech giants led by Tencent and Alibaba are investing in frontier technologies, acquiring cutting-edge tech companies internationally, building hard-to-beat technology ecosystems. The next step is take their brands truly global.
This is a light years away from a decade ago when Silicon Dragon first chronicled a Silicon Valley in China. In other news of week, several M&A deals in China were done as Chinese conglomerates build tech eocystems in fields ranging from co-working spaces to e-commerce.
Fierce competition in China's booming co-working market intensified as U.S. leader WeWork has acquired China rival NakedHub for a cool $400 million. This brings WeWork's locations to 36 in China, 20 of them swooped up with the NakedHub deal.
Mega contender UCommune (formerly URWork) with 120 locations recently opened a space on Wall Street through a joint venture with Serendipity Labs, and is angling to open its doors in Los Angeles after buying up three competitors in China. See UCommune team at Wall Street location. The rivalry pits UCommune backers ZhenFund, Sequoia Capital China, Sinovation Venturesaganst WeWork investor Softbank and its Vision Fund that poured a $4.4 billion investment in the company. NakedHub is funded by real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital at $33 million and its parent Naked Retreats.
Dominic Penaloza, (pictured above) chief innovation officer of NakedHub, noted the deal was "all good--a rocket ship joining a rocket ship." No word yet on whether a name change is coming! A unit of China conglomerate HNA Group is buying Chinese e-commerce platform Dangdang for $1.2 billion as the debt-ridden company seeks to offload real estate investments in Hong Kong and the U.S.
The story of Dangdang's start was chronicled in Silicon Dragon two years before co-founder Peggy YuYu and investor DCM Ventures took the online bookseller public on Nasdaq in 2010. Dangdang went private in 2016. FUNDING Warburg Pincus has led a $44 million, Series C financing of Chinese big data company Sensors Data in Beijing. The emerging company is focused on enterprise clients, which could have contributed to its series of successful financings. Sensors Data pulled in $11 million in an earlier round in March 2017 led by DCM Ventures. Tencent has led a $3 billion funding of Chinese e-commerce company Pinduoduo, which has been ramping up by focusing on selling to smaller cities and lower-income people in China. Its innovative business model Pinduoduo lets users make group buys into consumer categories with friends through apps such as Tencent's WeChat.
Billionaire venture capitalist and cryptocurrency investor Tim Draper staged a blockchain party at his San Mateo technology hub Hero City, where he predicted that bitcoin will hit $250,000 by 2022. Draper was right in his prior prediction that bitcoin would reach $10,000 by last year. The celebration took over a block of downtown, complete with a rock band, balloons, food trucks and crowds....