SILICON DRAGON NEWS                                       Dec. 4, 2017         

Gary Rieschel

  Silicon Dragon
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From Bike Sharing to Blockchain: 
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Think Finnish Innovation If You Want To Go 
Against The Norm

Slush plane Finnish
The Slush conference in Helsinki certainly lived up to its slushy, wintry reputation but proved a good place for networking. Finland is becoming the coolest tech hub in Europe, well on its way to recovering from the Nokia crash that is so remembered. 
Cold, snowy
 It took a chartered plane from the Valley to Helsinki to get venture capitalists from the Valley to make the 14-hour trip to check out Nordic tech at Slush. Pitches started before the plane took off, a sure sign of a bubbly tech economy not unlike the 1990s dotcom frenzy.
Once there, Finnish saunas were the "in" thing to do!
 Turning to venture, out of total $3.8 billion projected Europe-wide in 2017, Finnish startup investments weigh in at only 111 million Euros but  the Nordic region has accounted for half of the billion-dollar tech exits in Europe in recent years. There's a notable Asian influence here -- the Nordic region is ranked second in Europe for technology deals with buyers from Asia, totaling 20 deals amounting to $14 billion from 2010 to April 2017.  
Chinese tech titans doing deals here are a major factor: Baidu in Indoor Altas in 2014, Alibaba in MarjaDB in 2017, and Tencent in Supercell in 2016.  
You can bet that Finnish companies are looking to China for its large and fast-growing markets. At the conference, Chinese business accelerator COMB + and the Beijing Institute of Collaborative Innovation debuted an artificial intelligence fund sized at Euros 65 million and focused on international technology startups entering the Chinese market. 
Read more at Forbes: Slush

China Broadband Capital is making an investment in cross-border payments company Payoneer , based in New York, to accelerate its Asian business and boost its local China operations. The Series E-1 funding by Edward Tian 's private equity firm follows last year's $220+MM Series E investment round, which included Technology Crossover Ventures  and  W Capital.  Among early investors are  Greylock Partners, NYCA Partners, PingAn Ventures, Susquehanna Growth Equity, TCV, Viola Ventures , and Wellington Management

Poshmark, a large social marketplace for fashion, lured in $87.5 million in Series D funding led by Temasek. GGV Capital, which participated in the round, led Poshmark's Series C1 financing in 2016. Managing partner Hans Tung, a board member of Poshmark, commented that the company has the power to shake up the global e-commerce market, and noted that the California-based Poshmark reminds him of the firm's portfolios in China.
 China Online Lenders Meet Curbs & Fears 
China's central bank notice asking provincial governments to stop licensing any new online micro-lenders sent shares in New York-listed Chinese lenders downward amid fears that Beijing will further tighten up online lending, a small but fast-growing segment of China's financial system.  
The regulatory crackdown is coming as foreign investors have started to pour money into the sector. Four Chinese fintech companies have raised more than $2 billion from initial public offerings in the past month, the WSJ reports. They are now all underwater, with consumer lender PPDai, online loan supermarket Jianpu and payday lender Qudian all about 20% below their IPO prices.

How Baidu Stacks Up To Alibaba, Tencent
Baidu's key rivals,  Alibab a and
Tencent, have both failed when venturing outside their core businesses. Alibaba failed in social media. Tencent died in e-commerce. Alibaba and Tencent both fell short in search engines. 
  But Baidu has the most comprehensive failure list, going beyond social media and e-commerce, to include delivery, healthcare and games. These businesses went nowhere, were shut down or sold off as Baidu's overall strategy shifted, often resulting in major financial loses, reports China Money Network
Now, Baidu is engaged in a major strategic transition to focus on artificial intelligence (AI). In pursuit of its new mantra "All in AI", Baidu has sold or shut down several businesses and  released a series of AI-powered products in their place. 

3D printed car
China's NIO Capital, founded by electric vehicle maker,  is eyeing a $500 million investment fund for auto investments. The future of China could be green. 

Tech chat with Silicon Dragon Founder of the Year: 
Dr. Li Xu, SenseTime Group, Hong Kong