March 21st, 2009

Wofo Temple – 卧佛寺

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RMB 10 each from Wofo Temple…hand-made from leaves.



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March 22nd, 2008

Notes from Beijing Day 5

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1. A lots of Chinese made money from property. More specifically, made money from the property boom (around 2002).

2. A early success of foreign investments, more money continue to flow into China. While 10M fund is huge in 2000, 100M is considered very small by 2006.

3. (1) & (2) lead to lots of money chasing deals. And when there are good deals, they don’t even need to go out of China to find the money, and they get very good deal from investors.

If you are an investor outside China, chances you don’t get to see much good deals coming out of China since 2007.

4. Rumors say that the Chinese government will further restrict foreign investments via the usual SPV structure by the end of the year. Setup a RMB fund as soon as possible.

5. Preferred market to IPO for Chinese companies are Shanghai A-list, NASDAQ and Hong Kong. After that, they will consider AIMS before Singapore, if ever.

Singapore has a bad reputation of giving low valuation (compared to other markets), low liquidity, take too long and cost too much.

6. Just US$100k will get you priority banking in China, which also applicable worldwide.

7. RMB 30 (US$4) for a Starbuck coffee is normal. But taken into the context where Chinese pays RMB 2000-3000 on average, a RMB 30 Starbuck coffee is like drinking a SG$30 coffee for me.

Surprisingly, every Starbuck I being in the last few days are always pack, mostly Chinese.

8. Starbuck’s Wifi is excellent. It is free and it works!

March 21st, 2008

Notes from Beijing Day 4

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1. The CCTV, particular CCTV 9 (English channel), is broadcasting non-stop on the Tibet’s riot, showing videos of how the monks are part-taking in riots, the attacks on civilians and interviews of causalities.

2. There is freaking a lot of regulations on investments in China, with many ways to structure the deal. If not done properly, the exits possibilities may be limited.

Gosh, I did deals here without knowing how challenging those are before! The companies has often claims those are being taken care of. Got to learn more about those.

3. There are four kind of RMB funds, two of which applies for overseas money. Although structure is there, no one use it because the tax implications is unknown. Even tax lawyers do not understand the implications. No one wants to be the guinea pig.

4. Avoid representative office structure. Shutting it down later is a hassle.

March 20th, 2008

Notes from Beijing Day 3

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1. Plan your meetings so you don’t zip-zap across the city. If I have just swap one meeting, I would save so much time.

2. Hipihi is preparing for their launch. Good luck!

3. 官联 pervasive and important in Beijing.

4. The restructuring of China telecommunication market is well-underway. By the end of the year, we will see remaining 3 operators: China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. China Mobile may become the largest fixed-mobile operate.

5. Related to (4) is the 3 new 3G licenses. But it seem unlikely it will happen in 2008. They longer they wait, the better it is for TD-SCDMA – more time to get ready for them.

6. There is no doubt TD-SCDMA will be mandated; The only question left is whether WCDMA and CDMA2000 is allowed.

7. To verify the following history of Xinwei:
– Xinwei SCDMA v3 => 大灵通
– A group from Xinwei doing SCDMA v3 split off to Datang to form the group that did TD-SCDMA.
– SCDMA v4 aka MC-CDMA => Navini
– SCDMA v5 aka CS-OFDMA => claim to be able to do 4.8bits/Hz

8. CS-OFDMA is not to be confused with OFDMA. It is not compatible. CS-OFDMA claims it is able to do 4.8bits/Hz! The technology seem sound tho based on what Dr Xu explained to me.

9. Interesting story to Regulation 56.

Due to a scandal involved some popular personality in China, that leads to the news blackout on traditional media, that leads to the news being carried over Internet, that leads to Regulation 59 being issued in haste along the line “All Internet/Mobile TV must be owned or controlled by Government or shutdown”.

That leads to a panic among the youtube-clones and p2p TV in China that leads to a quiet “clarification” to Regulation 56 a month later that say “All existing operation may control. It will only be applied to the newcomer”.

So from a death sentence, the youtube-clones nows find themselves in a nice little bubble and not need to worry about any further competitions.

10. Speaking of youtube-clones, the market leaders have emerged: tudou 土豆网 and youku 优酷网.

March 19th, 2008

Notes from Beijing Day 2

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1. “What is allowed does not mean it can be done. What is not allowed does not mean it cannot be done.”

2. Foreigners aren’t allowed to trade A-shares, but you can if you really want. See (1).

3. Doing a local fund is really really tough. Even one of the most establish fund in China IDG-VC don’t have a local fund. This means they incur taxes for all their successful exits but not able to offset it against the loses.

4. The Chinese government is really rich right now. Their companies don’t need your investment (most of the time).

5. Tried out the 5 story entertainment. Level 1 – bath, Level 2 – Food, Level 3 – Entertainment, Level 4 – Massage, Level 5 – Private Rooms. Don’t ask about Level 5.

6. 45-60min gap between meetings is important.

7. Alternate meetings between the east and west side of Beijing is a very bad idea. The time I spent on the cab today is enough to bring me to Tianjin and back.

8. Need to plan out a trip to Tianjin.

March 18th, 2008

Notes from Beijing Day 1

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Was thinking of spending Day 1 just to walk around the city and to mingle with the locals. But a coffee session with George Guo in the afternoon leads to series of very interesting meetings. (Thanks George!)

I am going to scribble some notes for my own record.

1. Spend more time with CEO and Song of Chum Investment. Get a local # before doing so. The latter is very important.

2. Keep an eye on Tianjin. Do something in Tianjin.

3. Setting up a PE fund is difficult in China. No, it is freaking difficult. At least for the next 2 years.

4. 908 is unlikely to be removed (unlike what most outsider thinks). The government wont care if there is 3,000 qualified companies in the queue for Shanghai listing or 1,000 on the new board. (2007, there are about 200+ IPOs in China. It is a 10 year queue…)

5. It is easier for Chinese to invest overseas. It is bloody difficult for overseas to invest in China now.

6. (3) to (5) are closely related to how government is doing foreign money control, which is related to the undervalued Chinese Yuan. They really trying to curb the money flow inwards.

7. Send as much money to China as possible. Keep it in RMB. Currency appreciation + 5.9% FD interest. No safer investment ever against the USD.

8. Related to (7), taking the money of China later might be a problem. But I am not trying to take it out anyway.

9. It is still possible to do China IPO oversea with what they call “spac”. Handful of people knows how to do that. Not sure it is worth it right now tho with the market sentiment.

March 17th, 2008

In Beijing

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Have been very busy setting up Thymos Capital last couple of months so wasn’t able to travel much so feeling a bit out of touch. So after postponing this trip a couple of months, I am finally arrived in Beijing last night.

This is mostly a study trip for me, to catch up with old friends and hopefully meeting new ones. I also hope to get a feel of China, which isn’t much as a touch-and-go, but I intend to speak to as many people as possible.