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Big companies backing innovators


05-17-2016 00:16 BJT

Traditional venture capitalists aren't the only ones that are supporting start-ups in China these days. More and more large Chinese companies are launching their own investment arms to fund start-ups because innovative capability is key to long-term success.

It might be the easiest way to make payments in the internet age by scanning your face.

The facial recognition technology was developed by Megvii, a start-up company established five years ago. Megvii has quickly become an industry leader and its technology is widely used for online payments and other security areas. The company's angel investment comes from tech giant Lenovo. 

Lenovo is taking its investment business to a higher level these days. It launched the Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group in May to invest in start-ups within and outside of Lenovo, especially those with core technologies. The president of the new group -- He Zhiqiang -- says the investment arm takes a long-term view of Lenovo's innovation strategy.

The government is promoting a start-up economy and mass innovations and that's got venture capital and angel investments in the country booming. Lenovo isn't the only big company to launch its own investment fund and incubators. Retail giant Suning also has set up a start-up camp, to foster innovation in products and business models. Sun Weimin of the Suning Commerce Group says that compared to VCs, Suning can integrate its resources and provide an eco system for new start-ups.

Analysts say innovation has become a key driver of China's economy, and many industries are undergoing rapid changes. Large companies can invest in future trends and sustain their competitiveness in the long-term by nurturing their own start-ups.


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