Thailand issues its first licenses to 4 crypto exchanges

Thailand has joined Japan in regulating crypto exchanges after it issued its first licenses to four applicants.

The four that were approved as licensed brokers and dealers of cryptocurrencies in the country are Bx, Bitkub, Coins and Satang Pro. One other exchange — Coin Asset — is under extended review after replacing its management team in a bid to win a license.

But two that failed to win a license — Cash2Coins and Southeast Asia Digital Exchange — will shut down this month. They have until January 14 to notify their customers and move any assets outside of their exchanges. The companies were rejected on account of insufficient know your customer (KYC) processes and inadequate IT infrastructure, according to a report from the Bangkok Post.

The deal has been hailed as a major step forward for the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies in Thailand.

“We can partner with traditional financial institutions, brokers, e-wallets etc to offer more financial products to customers,” Jirayut Srupsrisopa, the founder of Bitkub, told TechCrunch. “The bottleneck was the regulation.”

The move could help Thailand establish itself as a hub for the blockchain industry in Asia. The country announced regulation for ICOs — initial coin offerings — last year and it is said to considering moves to loosen those rules. That, combined with licensed exchanges, could appeal to those who seek ‘regulatory havens’ in light of China’s ban on crypto and increased activity from the SEC in the U.S.

But Thailand is up against stiff competition to attract blockchain projects and talent.

Singapore has established itself as a global hub for ICOs while it has a wider pool of developers than most of Southeast Asia. Japan was the first to regulate crypto exchanges — there are currently over a dozen licensed and the exchange industry has been granted self-regulatory status — while Vietnam had made its name as blockchain talent hub with China’s Huboi and Quoine, the parent company of the Liquid exchange, among the companies operating local offices.

Hong Kong has also said in the last year that it may license exchanges, now it has another model to look at for ideas.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.

Vietnam threatens to penalize Facebook for breaking its draconian cybersecurity law

Well, that didn’t take long. We’re less than ten days into 2019 and already Vietnam is aiming threats at Facebook after it violating its draconian cybersecurity law which came into force on January 1.

The U.S. social network stands accused of allowing users in Vietnam to post “slanderous content, anti-government sentiment and libel and defamation of individuals, organisations and state agencies,” according to a report from state-controlled media Vietnam News.

The content is said to have been flagged to Facebook which, reports say, has “delayed removing” it.

That violates the law which — passed last June — broadly forbids internet users from organizing with, or training, others for anti-state purposes, spreading false information, and undermining the nation state’s achievements or solidarity, according to reports at the time. It also requires foreign internet companies to operate a local office and store user information on Vietnamese soil. That’s something neither Google nor Facebook has complied with, despite the Vietnamese government’s recent claim that the former is investigating a local office launch.

In addition, the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information (ABEI) claimed Facebook had violated online advertising rules by allowing accounts to promote fraudulent products and scams, while it is considering penalties for failure to pay tax. The Vietnamese report claimed some $235 million was spent on Facebook ads in 2018, with $152.1 million going to Google.

Facebook responded by clarifying its existing channels for reporting illegal content.

“We have a clear process for governments to report illegal content to us, and we review all these requests against our terms of service and local law. We are transparent about the content restrictions we make in accordance with local law in our Transparency Report,” a Facebook representative told TechCrunch in a statement.

TechCrunch understands that the company is in contact with the Vietnamese government and it intends to review content flagged as illegal before making a decision.

Vietnamese media reports claim that Facebook has already told the government that the content in question doesn’t violate its community standards.

It looks likely that the new law will see contact from Vietnamese government censors spike, but Facebook has acted on content before. The company latest transparency report covers the first half of 2018 and it shows that received 12 requests for data in Vietnam, granting just two. Facebook confirmed it has previously taken action on content that has included the alleged illegal sale of regulated products, trade of wildlife, and efforts to impersonate an individual.

Facebook did not respond to the tax liability claim.

The company previously indicated its concern at the cybersecurity law via Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) — a group that represents the social media giant as well as Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Line and others — which cautioned that the regulations would negatively impact Vietnam.

“The provisions for data localization, controls on content that affect free speech, and local office requirements will undoubtedly hinder the nation’s fourth Industrial Revolution ambitions to achieve GDP and job growth,” AIC wrote in a statement in June.

“Unfortunately, these provisions will result in severe limitations on Vietnam’s digital economy, dampening the foreign investment climate and hurting opportunities for local businesses and SMEs to flourish inside and beyond Vietnam,” it added.

Vietnam is increasingly gaining a reputation as a growing market for startups, but the cybersecurity act threatens to impact that. One key issue is that the broad terms appear to give the government signficant scope to remove content that it deems offensive.

“This decision has potentially devastating consequences for freedom of expression in Vietnam. In the country’s deeply repressive climate, the online space was a relative refuge where people could go to share ideas and opinions with less fear of censure by the authorities,” said Amnesty International.

Vietnam News reports that the authorities are continuing to collect evidence against Facebook.

“If Facebook did not take positive steps, Vietnamese regulators would apply necessary economic and technical measures to ensure a clean and healthy network environment,” the ABEI is reported to have said.

Go-Jek’s Southeast Asia expansion runs into a roadblock in the Philippines

Southeast Asian ride-hailing challenger Go-Jek has expanded into three new markets as it bids to expand beyond its native Indonesia, but it is having major issues getting into a fourth.

The company — which rivals Grab, is valued at over $6 billion and is backed by the likes of Google and Tencent — this week suffered a blow in the Philippines where the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) denied its application to operate in the country, as Rappler reports.

The issue is pretty simple: Go-Jek’s Philippines-based business — an entity called Velox Technology Philippines — is majority owned by an overseas business. (Go-Jek’s own Singapore-based Velox South-East Asia Holdings.) That violates local law which stipulates that at least 60 percent of a company should be owned by Philippines individuals or entities.

That’s a pretty major roadblock which, for now, Go-Jek doesn’t appear to have much chance adhering to without major structural change. It remains unclear how the company failed to foresee this issue, but that’s another matter altogether.

“We continue to engage positively with the LTFRB and other government agencies, as we seek to provide a much needed transport solution for the people of the Philippines,” was all Go-Jek would say when asked for comment from TechCrunch .

Meanwhile, Grab, which bought out Uber’s local business last year, claims it is compliant. A Grab spokesperson said the company’s business in the Philippines is “majority local owned.”

The company declined to provide more details, including the identity of Grab’s Philippines-based owner.

Previously, Philippines law allowed ride-hailing services to operate as ‘telecommunications services’ but that changed last year.

This week’s ruling is a blow for Go-Jek, which has moved into Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore over the last six months following a protracted $1.5 billion funding round secured last year. Go-Jek is edging close to finalizing a new investment of $2 billion which TechCrunch understands will be used to offer additional services and expand its presence in those three expansion markets.

Grab, meanwhile, has raised over $2 billion from its ongoing Series H round which the company intends to extend to $5 billion, as TechCrunch reported last month. That’s primarily motivated by an impending investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund but TechCrunch understands that Grab is keen to raise a significant war chest as part of its battle with Go-Jek.

Matrix India announces new $300M fund

Matrix India, one of India’s highest-profile tech VCs, is loading up for new deals after it announced a new $300 million fund for early stage investments.

This is the third fund for the Indian firm, which is associated with U.S-based Matrix Partners. Matrix India has backed over 60 startups to date, including Uber rival Ola, ambitious medical platform Practo, popular news aggregator DailyHunt and classifieds company Quikr. The plan is to continue on that road with the new fund, which was announced today but officially closed its commitments in December, according to an SEC filing in the U.S.

Matrix India has been fairly consistent with its capital. Its debut fund was an initial $150 million that was later increased $300 million, while the follow-up in 2011 came in at $300 million before being increased by $100 million following the departure of co-founding partner Rishi Navani.

No extensions are planned for round three, Avnish Bajaj — the firm’s founder and MD in India — told TechCrunch in an interview.

Bajaj said he doesn’t have concrete plans for how the capital will be spent, but he envisages 12-14 deals per year “with more bias given to seed” over Series A and B deals.

“We will continue to do early stage,” Tarun Davda, the second of Matrix India’s three MDs — explained. “We are traditional venture capital with more focus on consumer brands.”

But that’s a very founder-led approach for Matrix, which is entirely dependent on finding startups teams it can gel with and believe in.

“We get smart enough about a trend to found out whose smarter than us and pursuing it,” Bajaj explained. But “if we find a market we like but not excited by founding team, we’ll pass.”

If on board, however, Matrix helps out on a range of areas, including hiring — it has a four-person recruitment team in house — as well as in marketing and finance, if required. Bajaj said it tries to connect portfolio founders were it sees benefits, but he freely admits that many in India’s startup ecosystem are already connected and know each other so often don’t require assistance.

Matrix India managing directors [left to right] Vikram Vaidyanathan, Avnish Bajaj (also founder) and Tarun Davda

Opportunity in India

Looking at the market now, the firm’s three managing partners see cause for optimism following 2018, a year in which Indian startup founding rebounded and the country saw a range of exits, chiefly Walmart’s massive takeover of Flipkart.

Davda said that, in particular, the growth of 4G in India — which has been driven by the developer of ‘challenger telco’ Reliance Jio — has been a “game changer” for a number of the firm’s portfolio who have seen the total addressable market for their services widen massively, while average user engagements have increased, too.

Matrix India sees the growth in internet access (and quality of access) coupled with India’s growing middle class as key development drivers for internet companies and startups in the country generally.

“The scale of companies likely to be significantly larger,” Davda said, adding that the pace of growth is increasing, too.

All of these could mean that IPO exits may be on the horizon for India startups, potentially within the next 2-3 years, Bajaj said, but already exit opportunities are appearing and they don’t all need to involve a Walmart buying a Flipkart — the $16 billion, while generating huge returns, isn’t particularly repeatable for a market.

Bajaj points to acquisitive Indian category leaders — including the likes of Ola, Paytm and others — who have reached sufficient size and have looked to other India startups to build up their businesses or expand into verticals via deals.

“That’s the real story, you are starting to see liquidity into the exits markets [as domestic] companies are reaching a certain scale,” he said. “Three years from now, we’ll see 2018 as a point of time when things changed.”

A large part of that may also be the type of founders and the nature of startups in Indian in 2019.

“Today, we are seeing guys who have been part of startup ecosystem for a while, who worked at big unicorns and got excited about problems they are seeing there, start new companies,” said Mumbai-based Vikram Vaidyanathan, the firm’s third MD. “They can hit the ground running at a much faster pace.”

Alibaba acquires German big data startup Data Artisans for $103M

Alibaba has paid €90 million ($103 million) to acquire Data Artisans, a Berlin-based startup that provides distributed systems and large-scale data streaming services for enterprises.

The deal was first announced by European media, including EU-Startups, before being confirmed by both Alibaba and Data Artisans through blog posts.

Data Artisans was founded in 2014 by the team leading the development of Apache Flink, an open source large-scale data processing technology. The startup offers its own dA Platform, with open source Apache Flink and Application Manager, to enterprise customers that include Netflix, ING, Uber and Alibaba itself.

The Chinese e-commerce giant has been working with Data Artisans since 2016, through support and open source work to help the architecture and performance of the software, both companies said in statements. Data Artisans is on record as raising $6.5 million over two rounds, most recently a Series A in 2016 led by Intel Capital, but there was a seemingly unannounced Series B which closed last year and it looks like Alibaba was involved, according to a blog post from Data Artisans co-founders Kostas Tzoumas and Stephan Ewen.

Now Alibaba’s ownership — and you’d also presume, resources — can help the business reach “new horizons” with its open source technology, including moves to “expand to new areas that we have not explored in the past and make sure that Flink becomes a more valuable data processing framework for the modern data-driven, real-time enterprise,” the duo wrote.

“Moving forward together, data Artisans and Alibaba will not only continue, but accelerate contributions to Apache Flink and open source Big Data,” Tzoumas and Ewen added, explaining that Alibaba is one of Flink’s biggest users and contributors to the community.

To mark the new era, Alibaba has committed to providing its own in-house developments to Flink — which it calls Blink — to the community.

“By leveraging the technology expertise of both teams and shared passion to develop the open-source community, we are confident that this strategic tie-in will further strengthen the growth of the Flink community, accelerate the data-processing technologies and help bolster an open, collaborative and constructive environment for global developers who are passionate about stream processing and enabling real-time applications for modern enterprises,” said Jingren Zhou, vice president of Alibaba Group, in a statement.

This deal is reminiscent of Alibaba’s 2017 investment in MariaDB, an open source startup known for offering the most popular alternative to MySQL, a database management system. While not a full acquisition, the partnership has seen the two companies work together on new products for the community, and that’s also the goal here.

“Especially at times when many open source technologies and companies decide on a less collaborative and more “closed” approach, it is with great pleasure to see Alibaba committed to open source and our mission, eager to take Flink’s technological advancement to the next level,” Tzoumas and Ewen wrote in the announcement blog post.

Moving into open source and infrastructure tech makes sense for Alibaba, which is best known for e-commerce but also operates a cloud business, streaming services and more. With a net profit of $2.66 billion on revenue of $12.4 billion in its last quarter of business, the Chinese company certainly has plenty of money to pursue the strategy.

We’ve contacted Alibaba and Data Artisans with follow-up questions, and we hope to have more information on the deal soon. Please refresh for updates.

Coinbase freezes Ethereum Classic trading following attack

Coinbase is preparing to list a lot of new coins this year, but its first major piece of action in 2019 is to temporarily pause one of its existing portfolio. The exchange said it has stopped all trading on Ethereum Classica cryptocurrency it added back in August — after it detected an attack on the cryptocurrency’s network.

Coinbase identified “a deep chain reorganization” of the Ethereum Classic blockchain which essentially means that someone controlling miners on the network had rewritten transaction history. Such tampering can allow what’s called ‘double spending,’ which essentially invalidates past transactions to alter the route of cryptocurrency transfers — a lot like stealing. Coinbase said it found a further eight reorganizations which, coupled with the larger one, saw around 88,500 RTC ($460,000) in double spends.

It is being suggested that the incident is a 51 percent attack — essentially, anyone who controls over half of the mining power has the ability to rewrite transaction history — but, as Coindesk notes, that is just one potential explanation. Others could be that Coinbase’s ETC nodes were ‘surrounded’ — an explanation put forward by Ethereum Classic advisor Cody Burns — while the official Ethereum Classic Twitter account suggested that powerful new miners could be to blame. It namechecked Linzhi, but the firm’s issued a strong denial to Coindesk.

For now, the Ethereum Classic community is investigating while Coinbase said it will monitor the situation. For now, any customers who keep ETC in their account with the exchange are frozen until further word. That’s not the only response. Other exchanges have moved to increase the number of confirmations required to process a transaction, which is one way to avoid falling foul of minority attacks.

Ethereum Classic was created in June 2016 following a major hack on The DAO, a fundraising vehicle for the project. The Ethereum Foundation created a new version of Ethereum — known today as Ethereum — that rescued the lost funds, but those who opposed continued on with the original chain which was known as Ethereum Classic.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.

HTC had a truly terrible 2018

If you think times are bad at Apple, spare a thought for HTC, the once king-of-the-hill phone maker that continues to struggle very badly.

The Taiwanese smartphone company, which offloaded a portion of its business to Google for $1.1 billion and is pivoting to VR, laid off yet more staff in 2018 and had its worst year of sales ever.

According to its own figures — and as noted by Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan — the company brought in just 23.74 billion TWD ($770 million) in revenue over the entire year. That’s the first time it has grossed less than $1 billion during a year as a public company.

That figure represents a massive 62 percent drop on HTC’s paltry revenue for 2017 — 62.12 billion TWD, around $2 billion — which was its poorest year since 2005. We don’t yet know the total loss for 2018, but its three previous quarterly reports combined amount to a total operating loss of 11.13 billion TWD, $361 million, with one more quarter to add.HTC’s 2018 total was so bad that it actually made more money during just one single month a few years ago. Its total revenue during May 2013, back when phones like the One M7, One Mini and One Max made it one of the best smartphone companies on the planet, came in at 29 billion TWD.

Those days of booming sales are, of course, long gone as these charts painfully illustrate.

The decision to sell a large chunk of the smartphone business to Google one year ago was the icing on the cake served at HTC’s smartphone wake. Yes, the company did announce the U12+ — with a squeezable side — in May and it is working on a blockchain phone that we kind of got a look at during our Shenzhen event last year, but these are peripheral plays that are tucked well away from where the mainstream players are dueling, a place where HTC used to be.Even VR, trumpeted as HTC’s great area of hope, is a long-term play.

The company doesn’t break down revenue — that’ll come later when it releases its next earnings report in February — so we don’t know how its Vive and other virtual reality plays are working out in terms of numbers. But the immediate future isn’t great.

Lucas Matney — TechCrunch’s resident virtual reality cyberpunk — noted just this week that 2019 is shaping up to be a very testing year for the entire VR and AR industry, HTC/Vive very much included.

“There are plenty of reasons to be long-term bullish on AR, but the time horizons some have espoused seems to be bogus and pitch decks organized around a near-term spike in phone-based or glasses-based users are going to have a tougher time being taken seriously in 2019,” Matney wrote.

If that proves true, HTC’s sickly sales may well contract further still.

In many ways, it’s hard to not feel sorry for the company. Pivots this brutal are usually carried out by private startups who can keep the contents of their books to themselves, rather than 22-year-old public companies that must file financial statements. Unfortunately for HTC, information like monthly sales, losses and other revealing data will continue to be public information, ensuring that this painful transition continues to play out with full public scrutiny.

Despite an incredible downturn in success, co-founder, president and CEO Cher Wang continues to run the business with no calls for a change in leadership. Wang keeps a low profile and has said little of her plans to turn things around. Maybe 2019 is a good year for being more forthcoming, especially if the losses continue to mount, as seems inevitable.

Huawei reportedly punishes staff for New Year’s Eve tweet sent from an iPhone

As predicted, Twitter’s subtle new feature showing which clients tweets are sent from is already embarrassing brands.

Following on from a Korean boyband sponsored by LG and Apple’s own Music staff, Huawei is the latest to be embarrassed after it sent a New Year’s Eve message using an iPhone.

A since-deleted message included the embarrassing tell-tale detail: “Twitter for iPhone” indicating that the Huawei account had tweeted from an iPhone. The tweet was replaced by another sent from Twitter Media Studio client, which is developed for brands and advertisers and isn’t a fierce rival’s smartphone, but the damage was done.

The internet being the internet, the gaffe was noticed and preserved by many keen people who were to point out the contradiction. The mistake also gained lots of attention on Chinese social network Weibo.

Embarrassed by the episode, the Chinese smartphone firm has slapped those responsible with a fine.

That’s according to Reuters, which got its hands on an internal memo which reveals that two employees responsible have had their salaries reduced by 5,000 yuan, that’s around $730. In addition, one of the pair — reportedly Huawei’s digital marketing director — will have their income “frozen” for a year. While we don’t know their full salary packages and a $730 drop may be less than the cost of an iPhone, it is still bound to sting.

Worst of all, perhaps, it seems that they were not directly at fault for the mistake, which Huawei senior VP Chen Lifang said had “caused damage to the Huawei brand.”

The incident, Reuters reports, was due an error by an agency hired by Huawei:

The mistake occurred when outsourced social media handler Sapient experienced “VPN problems” with a desktop computer so used an iPhone with a roaming SIM card in order to send the message on time at midnight, Huawei said in the memo.

The irony here is that Apple’s near-blanket ban on VPN apps means it would probably have been easier to get access to Twitter using an Android phone. Instead, the agency apparently went to the trouble of acquiring a Hong Kong-based SIM card in order to hop over the Great Firewall and send this ultimately ill-fated missive.

It’s fun to joke about consumer companies relying on their archrivals, but the incident comes at a particularly challenging time for Huawei.

The company’s CFO is currently on bail in Canada where she awaits extradition to the U.S. on charges of fraud that could see her jailed for up to 30 years. But its core business is also under pressure.

Huawei may be best-known for its smartphone business, which ranked second in Q3 2018 with 14.6 market share according to IDC, but its telecom equipment unit has always been its biggest seller and now its future is uncertain. Intelligence leaders from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S — the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ — are reported to have agreed to a ban on all equipment from Huawei and fellow Chinese firm ZTE, and that’s something that allies such as Japan appear to be joining in on.

Auto marketplace CarDekho grabs $110M to double down on insurance and financial services

CarDekho, an online marketplace for car sales in India, has pulled in a new $110 million Series C funding round from a clutch of existing investors to push deeper into financial services and insurance.

Sequoia India, Hillhouse and Alphabet’s CapitalG led the round which also saw participation from Axis Bank, one of CarDekho’s financing partners. No valuation was disclosed, but a report from Economic Times one month ago suggested that the round would value the company in the $400-$500 million range. That’s up slightly on a $360 million valuation from CarDekho’s previous fundraising in 2016.

The deal takes the company to $185 million to date from investors, which also include Times Internet, Ratan Tata — Tata Group’s Chairman Emeritus — HDFC Bank and Dentsu.

Founded in 2005 as GirnarSoft, CarDekho operates a range of online portals that sell new and second-hand cars and motorbikes in India. The company has also branched out into Southeast Asia where it operates portals in Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia and, on the content side, it operates a YouTube channel and an auto blog and reviews site. CarDekho claims 39 million monthly unique visitors to its websites, and six million downloads of its apps, but it is not sharing revenue details.

CarDekho claims to work “actively” with 5,000 dealerships in India while it has direct retail partnerships with eight car and motorbike makers. It claims to influence 42 percent of sales for those dealerships and 15-30 percent of annual sales for those auto- and bike makers, although the company didn’t provide specific details on how it calculates those figures.

Beyond helping facilitate sales, it also offers car financing in partnership with over 10 financial entities who offer terms to its customers. It has provided insurance options too since 2017 and, with this new funding in the bag, it said that it intends to double down and build out more “transaction services” that go hand-in-hand with auto sales.

“Our contribution to a person buying a new car has grown manifold and this will continue to be a bulwark for us. Our used cars engine has scaled up tremendously and has also enabled us to incubate allied businesses like insurance and finance business as they are one of the largest opportunities ahead of us. The opportunity lies in extending formal credit and insurance coverage to the new-to-formal economy population and will continue to be a focus area for us” said CEO and co-founder Amit Jain in a statement.

CarDheko is rivaled by the likes of CarTrade, which is backed Temasek and Warburg Pincus and previous gobbled up rival CarWale, Truebil and Cars24, a service that buys cars from consumers and resells them to dealers. Notably, Sequoia India is also an investor in Cars24.

Lightspeed announces new $560 million fund for China

Global investor Lightspeed is starting 2019 with its largest-ever fund for China, where it has backed a number of new internet challengers. The firm announced this week that its fourth China fund has closed with a total capital commitment of $560 million.

The firm had a massive 2018, with no fewer than five of its portfolio holding IPOs including two of China’s up-and-coming startups that are challenging the country’s internet establishment — they are Meituan, the super app firm that specializes in deliveries, and Pinduoduo, a group e-commerce company that is threatening Alibaba’s dominance.

Based on those successes, it is perhaps not a surprise that Lightspeed has pulled in a record new fund. TechCrunch previously reported that the new fund was aimed at $360 million based on filings, but it added more capital to give more options.

Lightspeed said it has $360 million for early-stage deals aimed at Series A and Series B stages, with an additional $200 million set aside for “growth investments.” The new fund dwarfs Lightspeed’s previous vehicles in China — the firm’s previous two China funds each closed at $260 million while it raised $168 million for its debut fund in the country in 2013.

Lightspeed Venture Partners is a well-known investor that is anchored in Silicon Valley with global funds in India, Israeli and — of course — China. Together, those funds manage around $6 billion in capital, according to the firm.

Led by partners Chris Schaepe, Herry Han and James Mi, the China operation has backed a range of unicorns, including the aforementioned Meituan, which raised over $4 billion via a Hong Kong IPO last year, and Pinduoduo, which raised $1.6 billion via a U.S. listing in 2018. Other Lightspeed China IPOs from last year were PPDai, Rong360 and InnoLight while the firm also counts $9 billion-valued Full Truck Alliance, real estate platform Fangdd and Airbnb-like Tujia, both of which are valued in the billions, among the more mature bets in its portfolio.

“We believe there are plenty of new opportunities in China consumer Internet given the depth of China’s mobile payment and social networks. Innovation and entrepreneurship in the next decade will bring more China-based startups to the world stage. This will be China’s first decade of truly global innovation. Chinese entrepreneurs are now developing business plans with global expansion in mind from day one,” said Han, one of the firm’s founding partners, in a statement.

Last year, Lightspeed Venture Partners — the U.S. entity — filed to raise a record $1.8 billion in new capital commitments. In December, it added five new partners to its consumer and enterprise investment teams, including Slack’s former head of growth and Twitter’s former vice president of global business development.