The story of the Briton Ross Walker, 73, three years looking for investments in his tech company, hit the media as he got capital from Chinese investors. Tech guru William Bao Bean from Shanghai explains in the Sixth Tone why age is not a barrier in China, unlike in the UK.
The Sixth Tone:
According to a report released by HSBC Private Bank in 2015, 60 percent of Chinese entrepreneurs are over 35 years old, which is similar to the demographic leading entrepreneurial initiatives in the U.K. Yet Walker says his profile doesn’t fit the image that investors expect to see from a tech entrepreneur.
William Bao Bean, a partner at Shanghai-based venture capital fund SOSV and the managing director of Chinaccelerator, noted that Chinese investors may be less concerned with age, as their investment priorities are different from those of their Western counterparts. “Chinese investors are looking to buy technology their teams can implement themselves,” he said. “They’re shopping for tech solutions. The age of the CEO doesn’t matter.”
In the U.K. and similar markets, Bao Bean explained, venture capital firms expect the inventors to roll out the technology themselves, whereas Chinese backers expect to buy the technology and sell it without support. “The investment comes down to what the company does, generally not the age of the person behind it,” he said, adding that Walker’s success might have more to do with the fact that forged documents are a huge problem in China, so there’s high demand for the product.
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