Morningside Ventures, one of China’s earliest and most prominent tech investment funds, has just set up its first over RMB-denominated fund, reports China Money Network. It’s worth a nice, round RMB 1 billion – that’s US$145 million.
It comes as Chinese startups are increasingly seeking out funding in their local currency, prompting even the largest of VCs to open RMB funds alongside their US dollar coffers. The trend is driven by massive government-backed funds – like the US$30 billion one established last summer – that are dubbed a “fund of funds.” Those state-stimulated funds are usually dispersed in conjunction with VCs.
Indeed, Morningside Ventures counts some state fund of funds among the backers of its RMB war chest, as well as big-name contributors such as Tencent – maker of WeChat – and Xiaomi.
Morningside Ventures has backed Chinese unicorns such as Didi and Ctrip as well as some rising names like fitness app Keep – which got a visit earlier this month from Tim Cook during the Apple boss’ latest China jaunt.
Established in 1992 and with about US$1.7 billion in its pockets, Morningside also has four US dollar funds.
China’s tech companies attracted a record high US$56.1 billion in disclosed investments in 2016, up from US$45.1 billion the year prior, according to the Tech in Asia Database.
Converted from Chinese yuan. Rate: US$1 = RMB 6.89.