Two Sessions 2021 (Lianghui)
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Neil Shen is the founding and managing partner of Sequoia Capital China and a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Photo: Handout

China’s ‘two sessions’: billionaire tech investor Neil Shen sees drive to ‘Buy China’ at home and abroad

  • Shen tells state TV Chinese investment and policies make it easier for young people to start businesses
  • But work still had to be done on intellectual property and market access, he said
Neil Shen, a billionaire venture capital investor in China’s tech sector who plays a key role bridging Silicon Valley funds and China’s tech start-ups, said he saw a “strong consensus” in the global investment community for “buying China” because the world’s second largest economy could offer stellar returns.
Shen, the founding and managing partner of Sequoia Capital China and a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, told Chinese state television on Sunday he had talked to investors from both inside and outside China and sensed a shared conclusion they would keep investing in the country because of its prospects.
“In China, there is a comprehensive system for starting a business. There is also a huge market, alongside hardworking people. This has left a lasting impression on global investors,” said Shen, who ranked among the world’s best venture capital investors in 2020 in the Forbes Midas List, in Beijing on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and CPPCC.
Shen, 54, who has a master’s degree from Yale University, is a Chinese venture capitalist who has benefited from the money and technology flow between China and the United States. As the head of Sequoia Capital China, Shen has channelled money into China’s most valued tech firms, including Alibaba Group,, ByteDance and Kuaishou. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

Shen’s firm also backed Meituan Dianping, Shenzhen-based drone maker DJI and ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing.

China’s restrictions on overseas academic exchanges ‘could harm policy’

Shen’s comments were made at a time when the marriage of US capital and Chinese tech remain strong despite growing strategic hostilities between Beijing and Washington.

“Local [Chinese] governments are launching incubating and guiding funds, along with supportive policies to encourage hi-tech start-ups, and all these have made it easier for young people to start businesses,” said Shen, whose personal net worth is estimated at US$3.6 billion.

“We will keep our long commitment to this promising land to support innovation and entrepreneurship.”

He applauded the launch of the Star Market in Shanghai, a bourse started in 2019 with ambitions to become China’s Nasdaq.
But Shen also called for “better policies” on protection of intellectual property and market access.

“We believe that more start-ups will grow from young plants into big trees in the new development stage of China, and we will grow with them as the entrepreneur behind entrepreneurs,” Shen said.