Hongkonger Neil Shen hits No 7 on Forbes’ list of top 100 venture capitalists, one of 13 Chinese named

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 March, 2016, 4:40pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 March, 2016, 4:41pm

Over a dozen Chinese individuals have made the list of Forbes’ 100 top venture capitalist investors, reflecting the impact of technological innovation in the country.

Neil Shen from Hong Kong is the only Chinese to make the top 10, ranking seventh. Shen helped to bring LinkedIn and Airbnb to China, and led his firm’s investment into Shenzhen-based drone powerhouse DJI.

Forbes launched its annual Midas List on Wednesday based on deals worth at least US$200 million or funding rounds in the last five years that value a company over US$400 million.

A total of 13 on the list are Chinese. Of these, six have Chinese citizenship and seven have overseas citizenship, according to Forbes. Only on is not focused on deals in mainland China.

China’s economic growth may be slowing but there is no shortage of funds going into its start-ups, according to another report by Forbes.

In fact, 2015 was a record-breaking year in terms of the number of such deals conducted, according to London-based information provider Preqin. China saw a total of 1,737, up from 1,060 in 2014, Forbes reported.

Meanwhile, venture capitalists poured a record US$37 billion into China’s start-ups last year, more than double the previous year’s tally.

China’s venture boom has created some of the world’s most valuable start-ups, including smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing Technology, and peer-to-peer lender Lu.com. Globally, venture funding rose 45 per cent to a record US$135.8 billion.

China’s growing importance in tech circles has changed the playing field.

Last year, three Chinese partners from Sequoia Capital China played a central role in the US$15 billion combination of two portfolio companies - group-buying website Meituan, and Dianping Holdings, which also covers restaurant reviews - that also rank among China’s largest internet start-ups.

The three are Neil Shen, Kui Zhou (30th) and Steven Ji (62nd).

Xiaojun Li of IDG Capital Partners jumped to No. 32 on this year’s Midas list, up from 47 last year, thanks largely to his investment in Xiaomi, the smartphone maker with a valuation estimated at $45 billion.

The Midas list also now features Qiming Venture partner JP Gan (38th), which has invested in China Internet Plus Holdings; BiliBili, the most popular video-sharing and game site in China; and on-demand manicure and hair-styling company Helijia, which completed a US$50 million Series C round in February 2015.

Other names on the list include Allen Zhu of GSR Ventures (65th), who is one of the first institutional investors in China’s market-leading car-hailing app operator Didi Chuxing, which was valued at US$24.5 billion in its most recent round; and Bob Xu, founder and managing partner of ZhenFund, a TMT-focused seed fund formed in collaboration with Sequoia.

The rest are: Alfred Lin (45th) from Sequoia; Hans Tung (21st) and Jenny Lee (40th) from GGV Capital; Quan Zhou of IDG Accel (44th); Hurst Lin of DCM (50th); Richard Liu of Morningside Ventures (90th); and Bob Xu of Zhen Fund (94th).