In January 2018 Magma Partners teamed up with Chinese coworking business, Kr Space, to launch the first China-Latin American accelerator to connect Chinese and Latin American entrepreneurs and investors.
With the recent news that Tencent invested $180M into Brazilian neobank Nubank at a $4B valuation, we’e seeing Chinese interest and investment in Latin America move beyond the common infrastructure projects backed by the Chinese government. The Chinese private sector is taking note of Latin America’s growing tech ecosystems and is capitalizing on opportunities to help the region follow a similar development path to China’s.
As the US pulls further away from Latin America, China is becoming an increasingly important partner for startups and companies across the region looking for investment and direction. As President Trump’s trade war intensifies, Chinese FDI into the US has dropped by 92% to $1.8B, while Chinese FDI to Latin America has surged to $15.3B in the first half of 2018.
This move by China is a strategic one. Latin America is ripe for investment and China and Chinese companies could be interesting partners for the region.
For one, Latin America is now a mobile-first market with over 200 million smartphone users. It is the second-fastest growing market for mobile in the world, and Latin American consumers are becoming quick adopters of new technologies and global apps.
Note: a version of this article was originally published in Venture Beat with the title Chinese Investors Target Latin American Startups as US Investors Shy Away. This version has more background and information about Magma Partners.
China, a country with deep roots as an industrial powerhouse, is now determined to center its economy around technological development and innovation. With government support and outward investments on the rise, China is positioning itself to have a much greater role in the global technology market.
According to Yilong Du, Managing Partner at Latham & Watkins, there are many factors stimulating the growth of the technology sector in China. Firstly, economic growth is driving the Internet market and an explosion of Internet-based companies. In China, 731 million people have access to the Internet and 95.1% of these people access the Internet via mobile devices, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. A budding, Internet-savvy middle class, coupled with a strong supply of talent, is driving China’s technology sector and increasing the demand for innovative products and services.
Shenzhen Capital Group Co Ltd, a State-owned venture capital firm, is just one example of a firm increasing its investments abroad to bring new technology to China. Through investments in innovative companies overseas, the firm hopes to strengthen China’s technology and industrial structure, said Ni Zewang, chairman of the SCGC. Zewang also stated that by connecting more Chinese startups with overseas resources, they can help local companies mature faster. While SCGC’s investments overseas account for only 6% of its current total, it plans to increase the figure to 15% by 2020. (more…)