Sequoia’s $3.4B Fund Raise: US-China Politics Take a Back Seat to Opportunity

December 4, 2019 | News, Venture Capital
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Sequoia Capital  has raised about $1 billion for late-stage U.S. investments and approximately $2.4 billion for venture and growth deals in China.

Sequoia Capital has usually taken the path less travelled when it comes to China. And been handsomely rewarded in the process.

Sequoia entered China in 2005, along with many Silicon Valley venture capitalists. However, it was tough going and most of Sequoia’s peers gradually withdrew from China. The reasons included executive attrition or spats with local partners.

Not so Sequoia, which instead dug in its heels for the long haul. The venture capital firm set base with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Along with Sequoia Capital China founder Neil Shen, the firm then proceeded to invest in a portfolio that holds some of the most storied names in Chinese equities.

The lists reads like a venture capitalist’s wet dream: Alibaba, Ant Financial, JD.com, ByteDance, the owner of America’s latest social media sensation, TikTok, and Yitu, of machine learning applications fame. Initial successes included Meituan-Dianping, Ele.me, DJI, VIP.com and Didi.

Sequoia Capital in China: A political quagmire or the promise of opportunity?

Unfortunately, there’s some baggage along with Sequoia Capital’s Chinese multi-baggers. Political controversy has dogged Yitu for its alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang where about a million religious and ethnic minorities are currently incarcerated.

US authorities have hauled ByteDance owned TikTok over the coals for allegedly censoring politically sensitive content. They have also questioned its use of private data.

Sequoia Capital is undeterred, however. Politics or not, the VC firm appears to be determined in its pursuit of opportunity in China. Note that according to some reports, ByteDance is worth about $78 billion.

Sequoia has therefore reeled in $1.8 billion for its Sequoia Capital China Growth Fund V and about $550 million for Sequoia Capital China Venture Fund VII, according to SEC filings.

It appears unconcerned that according to recent data venture capital investment has trended lower in China in over five years.

[Related Story: The Chinese Venture Capital market hits a roadblock ]

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