Women lead more than 50pc of internet start-ups in China

21 Sep 2016

China rising: The venture capital industry in China is more of a meritocracy than the boy's club in Silicon Valley. Image: GaudiLab/Shutterstock

Female founders are responsible for 55pc of new internet start-ups in China, more than double the 22pc of Silicon Valley start-ups that have women on their founding teams.

In China, women also make up 17pc of venture capital investment partners, compared with just 6pc in Silicon Valley.

Last year, we reported on China’s richest woman Zhou Qunfei, whose company Lens Technology manufactures the glass for the Apple Watch.

Future Human

But Qunfei appears to be part of the rule rather than the exception.

According to a book by Vivek Wadhwa and Farai Chideya entitled Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology, which cites Chinese government figures, women founders in China outpace male founders as well as their counterparts in the lauded Silicon Valley.

Bloomberg reported this week that women founders in China are building on a tradition that predates Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution, where women worked and fought alongside the men through the many upheavals in Chinese history.

A real meritocracy rises in China

Despite the fact that men in China still hold most positions of power in politics and business, and a deep sexism that remains in the tech industry there, China is becoming one of the best places in the world for women venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.

Bloomberg cited Chen Xiaohong, a former librarian, who has built the largest venture capital fund ever raised by a woman with $500m under management at H Capital in Beijing.

It cited Kathy Xu, founder of Shanghai’s Capital Today Group, which has $1.2bn under management.

The publication also mentioned Sally Shan, managing director of the $37bn HarbourVest Partners firm and Rui Ma, partner for Silicon Valley-headquartered 500 Startups.

Unlike the US, where the venture capital industry is often derided as a private men’s club, there is far more meritocracy for women in China.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years