Chinese investors are pouring money into tech start-ups as markets falter.
Wealthy Chinese investors are in a bind. All the usual, typically safe investment vehicles—commodities, stocks, even stable real estate—have been anything but usual or safe over the last couple months. The Chinese economy has slowed and inflation has picked up, the yuan has been under pressure, oil has tanked, and gold markets have been rattled. Real-estate markets in previously inviolable zip codes like Manhattan, a longtime sure bet for foreign investors looking to park their money in the stability of multi-million-dollar apartments, have started to sway.
With the new reality of so much risk and little hope for returns in these markets, Chinese investors are pushing their money toward technology start-ups, according to Reuters. Investments in these companies more than doubled last year, according to CB Insights research, leaping to $32.2 billion. So far this year, venture-capital investments have already climbed to $4.7 billion. That stands in stark contrast to the Shanghai Composite Index, which is down nearly 20 percent in 2016. Established-enough Chinese start-ups like the ride-hailing Uber competitor Didi Kuaidi have benefited the most. The company saw its valuation jump 25 percent to about $20 billion—dwarfing its American competitors.
We’ve watched this movie before in the U.S. As investors got tired of waiting to wade back into the muck of traditional markets in the wake of the financial crisis, they looked for new places to strike gold. They set their sights out West, to Silicon Valley, pouring their money into small start-ups with huge funding rounds, hoping for a payday. The result was the birth of dozens of new billion-dollar companies. On a hope, a prayer, and the blood, sweat, and tears of many a millennial, these unicorns hung on and continued to raise money. But now, the chickens are coming home to roost.....MORE