Kai-fu Lee’s Sinovation Ventures announces Greater Bay Area HQ
Published: Jun 05, 2019 08:00 PM

Sinovation Ventures announced Wednesday its Greater Bay Area headquarters in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province. Photo: Li Qiaoyi/GT

Beijing-based venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures announced Wednesday its Greater Bay Area headquarters in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province. 

The artificial intelligence (AI) investment firm, founded by former Google China president Kai-fu Lee, also unveiled a new AI research institute for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, injecting fresh impetus into the national push to build the Greater Bay Area into a global technology innovation hub.

With the announcement of the new headquarters, which will focus on investment in technology-driven companies, the digital transformation of traditional industries, and AI talent nurturing, the venture capital firm is set to ride the "Bay economy" wave.

The development of the Greater Bay Area, where the local manufacturing prowess is on track for upgrading, will give rise to an array of opportunities for new start-ups, said Tao Ning, president of Sinovation Ventures, at an event in Guangzhou.

The private-sector economy remains under downward pressure amid complex domestic and external conditions, stated Han Guoxu, deputy inspector of the Guangzhou Municipal Industry and Information Technology Bureau.

He noted that the local government has taken many steps to bolster the private sector, which has gained momentum amid the drive to develop the Greater Bay Area. The Wednesday announcement of the new headquarters, according to Han, will support efforts to create an AI ecosystem that powers quality growth of the local economy. 

The investment firm disclosed Wednesday that it had closed the third yuan-denominated fund of 2.5 billion yuan ($361.78 million). The fund pertaining to Guangzhou will primarily invest in AI, big data, education, consumption upgrading, and business-to-business services, according to Sinovation Ventures, which manages about 15 billion yuan in US dollar and yuan funds. 

It's worth noting that the investment firm's research and development (R&D) capabilities, and global partnerships in academic terms, are a critical part of its ambition to become an important contributor to the bay economy, industry watchers said.

Sinovation Ventures has been pushing for academic exchanges and continuing various exchanges with international science and technology R&D platforms, Wang Yonggang, executive director of Sinovation Ventures AI Institute, told the Global Times Wednesday. 

The investment firm has played an active role in setting global AI technology standards, according to Wang, who revealed that its Greater Bay Area research institute will be more open to scientific exchanges via Hong Kong.

Huawei is among a group of global and domestic technology companies that Sinovation Ventures is cooperating with to nurture AI talent.