These days, the most frequently-asked question I get asked when a foreign friend calls is "Has China returned to normal post COVID-19? What's different?". On May 7th, two weeks ago, I had a conversation on that topic with Andrew Gaule, the CEO of Aimava, an advisory firm on open innovation and corporate venturing.
While people are still wearing masks, life is pretty much back-to-normal in the venture capital world. In fact, there is great sense of urgency to catch up on lost time, and to fill gaps in the global technology product supply chain disrupted by the pandemic. While some multinational companies and some State-owned-enterprises are not fully back to work, the start-ups were among the first to get back to work when the country reopened after COVID19, so were the venture capitalists that support them.
Besides the theme of New Infrastructure Construction (NIC, 新基建) that I wrote on an earlier post, the two other notable themes post COVID that I talked about are
Self-sufficiency and controllable（自主可控): as US-China relationship further rise in tension, each country is rushing to develop technologies that fill a gap in their country or in a particular industry. This is true both in China as well as in the US;
Era of B2B: while China's most notable companies to-date are successes in the B2C segments, the post COVID-19 investment landscape is more diversified and B2B businesses are gaining traction.
While we pay attention to investment opportunities in NIC, CM Venture Capital will look for industry leaders like we always do and we continue our tradition of investing in B2B businesses that comprise 100% of our portfolio.
You can watch the full interview below.
Topics and timing on the video
1.20. Min Zhou introduction
2.00. Leading Corporate investors
5.30. China an important Open Innovation location
6.29. Great time and easier to invest in China
7.50 What is the new normal in China?
8.30 Ventures and CM restarted February 10
10.50. WeChat and Alipay app for payment and pandemic
11.25. Large co. need to use app tracking
12.00 Travel and quarantine procedures
12.45 Limited bad debt in start ups
13.50. Timing in Q1 was fortunate for cash flow
15.10. Great sense of urgency in China
16.00 Question on state aid?
16.30. Investment opportunities in USA
17.10. Question on wider Asia market v West
21.15. New Infrastructure Construction (NIC)
23.30. Autonomy and Controllable
26.30. ToB - To Business models
28.00. Focus NIC-Critical & First- Capital Efficient
30.10. Question on Clean Tech and Sustainability
31.40. Bang out of the buck for sustainably investment
32.40. Question on International collaboration