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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Business_Markets -> 
Venture capitalists chase star startups
    2018-07-27  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

CHINA’S venture capital scene has been on fire this year and a record-breaking run to unicorn status by a Chinese coffee startup suggests it is not cooling yet.

Luckin Coffee took just six months to reach a US$1 billion “unicorn” valuation, a performance that is helping boost investor appetite for Chinese startups, even as they estimate that valuations are far outstripping U.S. ones.

This month at Hong Kong’s RISE technology conference, a key stop on the Asian venture capital circuit, investors said that startups in China were 30 to 40 percent more expensive than their U.S. counterparts and in some cases, were even valued at twice the price.

“If I put my U.S. lenses on, this is insane,” said Edith Yeung, partner at 500 Startups, a California-based venture capital firm. But, she said, the calculus for investors was the sheer size of the Chinese market, noting that the WeChat social media platform had three times more daily users than the population of the United States.

“Everything is sort of relative,” Yeung said.

Luckin Coffee typifies the optimism evident in China’s startup scene. The Beijing-based coffee delivery firm only began operating in January and has plans to expand its 660-strong network to challenge Starbucks, with 3,400 stores.

Detractors point out that Luckin’s fast growth has relied heavily on cut-price promotions and warn it also faces heavy competition from other chains such as Canada’s Tim Horton’s.

Its backers still see value, however.

“Luckin’s valuation is not cheap or lofty — it’s reasonable,” said David Li, head of Centurium Capital. The former head of Warburg Pincus Asia Pacific led Luckin’s recent US$200 million financing round and maintains it is not a conventional startup, pointing to a management of experienced, serial entrepreneurs.

At the other end of the scale from Luckin sits Ant Financial, the Chinese payments giant.

In search of the next Ant Financial, Sequoia Capital China, the local arm of the Silicon Valley-based venture capital giant, is close to raising 15 billion yuan (US$2.3 billion) in its fifth yuan-denominated China-focused fund, the largest of its kind.

“Lots of China’s rising sizable tech companies are promising and still fast-growing, and rely on fundraising for further growth. We are increasing our fund size to capture those opportunities,” said Zhou Kui, a partner at Sequoia China. (SD-Agencies)

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