Innovation expert William Bao Bean, managing Director of SOSV’s Chinaccelerator, discusses entering the China market is tough, if not impossible for foreign players in many industries. In the Hutong podcast, William looks at the way he trains Chinese startups for a global play, and foreign startups for the China market.
William: “China is the #2 economy in the world and thus on everyone’s list but penetrating it is elusive for global Internet leaders – Uber did the best spending usd2bn to get a usd7bn stake in Didi Chuxing 滴滴出行 after which their service was basically shuttered.” (Key points of the podcast below).
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Key points at the podcast:
0:00 William’s background and introduction to Chinaccelerator.
4:52: How has the investment thesis differed amongst Softbank China, Singtel and SOSV?
11:00 What are the differences between Chinese consumers and SE Asia consumers?
14:10 How to do social commerce in China?
16:50 Why does SOSV only invest in startups going through its accelerators?
17:40 Chinaccelerator invests in convertible notes. What are differences in convertible note terms between China and the West?
20:10 Have there been any issues working with local Chinese investors and how to resolve them?
25:40 What is a portfolio company that has succeeded and why?
30:24 What are examples of companies or sectors where things did not go well?
32:23 Chinese B2C startups prioritise market share. Is burning cash for market share a necessary first step? How has that changed recently?
36:46: As China market matures, how has SOSV’s investment thesis changed?
45:05: What is the one most absurd investment term William has come across?