The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, on December 12 organized a China Innovation Forum bringing together seasoned technology investors, innovators and executives to share their insights and strategies on emerging technologies, investment opportunities and the role of venture capital in catalyzing sustainable private–sector impact in China.
Innovation is expected to play a key role in China’s transition to a service economy. China’s new economic blueprint places a premium on innovation and technology which are both critical for sustainable economic growth. IFC remains committed to helping China work with the private sector to boost innovation, and will continue to promote the business case for private companies to participate at all levels of the Chinese economy, according to IFC.
“Both labor force expansion and capital investment are receding as China’s two major sources of growth,” said Mr. Vivek Pathak, IFC Director of East Asia and Pacific. “Instead, innovation is emerging as a new driver of growth and has the potential to contribute two to three percentage points of GDP growth – an estimated value of $1 trillion to $2.2 trillion per year – by 2025.”
IFC’s Venture Capital group aims to promote innovative technologies that can have transformative impact on people’s lives—by lowering costs and expanding access to essential goods and services in emerging markets. It focuses on several key technology sectors—including health, education, financial services, energy efficiency, and consumer internet. Through this group, IFC has developed a portfolio of direct equity investments in startups in China, in addition to a growing number of investments as a limited partner in VC funds in the country.
Ventures in IFC’s VC portfolio in China include Microvast, a smart-battery company; Aihuishou, an online marketplace for recycling and the sale of second-hand electronic items; and Long Hill Capital, a new venture fund focused on investing in the next generation of Chinese healthcare companies.
IFC has been a leader in spurring innovation through technology in emerging markets. One example is TechEmerge, a recently launched first-of-its-kind matchmaking program that connects tech startups from around the world with larger corporations in emerging markets to conduct local pilot projects and build commercial partnerships.