Alibaba, Airbnb investor tells Indian startups to forget China, go after South East Asia
05/22/2019|10:42:16 AM|Business Insider

When Hans Tung, Managing Partner, GGV Capital, was in India last month, it was not surprising to see the Chinese investor mobbed by Indian entrepreneurs waiting to have a few words with him. Tung, who was an early investor of Alibaba, was here looking for his next big investment. 

“In India, we are looking at opportunities in consumer internet space. Having been a small personal investor in Snapdeal and Flipkart, I have some experience in tracking the rising consumer internet companies. With Unified Payments Interface (UPI), there’s so much growth possible in the consumer internet space here,” Tung told Business Insider. 

GGV Capital, the fund which started in 2002 manages about $6.2 billion today, with investments in US and China. The fund has now turned to South East Asia, Latin America and of course, India. Tung manages 14 unicorns in his portfolio at GGV Capital including Airbnb, Slack, Bytedance, Xiaomi amongst others. In India, he was an early personal investor in Flipkart and Snapdeal.

China bound? Hold on

Today, many Indian startups are heading to China. They want to accomplish bigger things in the faster and more developed market. OYO Hotels & Homes, India’s hospitality unicorn, went to China in 2017. And today, the country is its biggest market, bigger than India which is their home turf.

Tung has a word of caution for these adventurers – speed. “If you want to go to China, you have to learn to be as fast as a Chinese company is,” said Tung.

Tung advises Indian startups to forget China and go after South East Asia instead. “In the SaaS network and service side, I’m not bullish about Indian companies entering China. I encourage these Indian companies to enter South East Asia –it’s an easier market with a lot more advantages,” he said. 

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