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China’s Innovation Watch attracts major investors

Innovation Works, a Chinese high-tech investment firm has secured major funding from a number of high profile tech companies for a startup incubation fund. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, the firm has successfully raised US$180-million, for its Innovation Works Development Fund (IWDF).

The IWDF is the first US dollar based fund raised by the firm to focus specifically on the Chinese internet. The investment is seen by the firm as a reflection of rising global confidence in Chinese internet companies looking to capitalise on the country’s 485-million internet users.

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According the IWDF website, the investors come from both the West and China and include the Foxconn Technology Group led by Mr. Terry Gou, Legend Holdings led by Mr. Liu Chuanzhi, New Oriental Education & Technology Group led by Mr. Yu Minhong, and Mr. Steve Chen who is a co-founder of YouTube.

Other big names to have attached themselves to the project include renowned Silicon Valley investor Roy Conway and Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner. Milner has previously invested in Facebook, Twitter and Spotfiy.

Referring to Investment Works founder and former president of Google Greater China Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, Milner expressed confidence in the fund saying, “Kai-Fu’s Innovation Works is the top very-early-stage fund in China. We are proud to be an investor, and hope that IW will help to produce in China companies on the scale of Facebook, Zynga, or Groupon”.

Conway was similarly evangelical about the Investment Works programme, seeing in it reflections of his own investment experiences in Silicon Valley:

Over the years, I have helped numerous companies in the United States from their founding. When I saw that Kai-Fu’s Innovation Works has built up a great team planning to do the same in China, I became very excited. I personally invested in Innovation Works, and recommended many of Silicon Valley’s top investors to invest. Innovation Works has already shown excellent early results, and we look forward to their continued success.

Investment Works, which was started in 2009, is staffed by professionals from well-known multinational and Chinese companies and Chinese serial entrepreneurs as well as returnee experts from Silicon Valley.

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