Chinese venture capital dollars nosedive in 2019

Venture capital funding in China has declined in the last quarter of 2019, contributing to a lackluster year.

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Between Oct. 1 and Nov. 19, Chinese businesses inked 183 deals for $4.1 billion in venture capital funds, according to a report from Crunchbase News. During the same period a year ago, startups in China secured 388 rounds for a total of $10.9 billion, the publication reported.

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From January to mid-November, Chinese companies raised $35.6 billion over 2,047 rounds, significantly less than in 2018, when Chinese companies pulled in $93.4 billion over the course of 2,795 funding rounds, Crunchbase said.

The venture capital funding seen in 2018 is hard to beat since the period marked a five-year high for the country.

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Despite the current slump, some Chinese companies have still secured large capital infusions.

Beijing-based car trading startup Chehaoduo raked in the biggest deal of the year so far, raising $1.5 billion in its fourth round of funding in February, according to Crunchbase.

There have only been two other funding rounds above $1 billion so far this year, according to Crunchbase. In 2018, there were 10 rounds that were upward of $1 billion.

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“The slowing economy in China is here to stay, even without a trade war, as urbanization slows,” Alan Levenson, a chief U.S. economist at T. Rowe Price said in an interview with Asian financial magazine The Asset.

Although experts have noted that the Chinese economy has begun to lull, the report asserted that the country is still a hotspot for tech companies.

“China has a large, tech-savvy domestic market, and that makes it an ideal place to experiment with innovations,” Tay Choon Chong, a managing partner at Vertex Ventures China, told The Asset. “At both the national and the local level, there are government policies in place to foster high-tech development, with a huge talent pool that start-ups can draw on.”

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The dip in 2019 venture capital funds is partly the result of an industry reshuffle that aims to recoup investments, according to the report.

Worldwide, Chinese investors have been doubling-down on ventures with African startups. At the end of November, TechCrunch reported that 15 venture capitalists from China have invested in two fintech startups, OPay and PalmPay, and one logistics company, Lori Systems.

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The businesses have received a total of $240 million from Chinese investors.