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On the face of it, China is all the rage among Silicon Valley VCs. Silicon Valley Bank, for instance, took 20 VCs on a trip there in June.
But amid the hype, thereï¿½s still a lot of caution ï¿½ and confusion. At least one VC blog we read recently suggests Silicon Valleyï¿½s heavy-hitting venture firm Sequoia Capital is beginning to consider investing in China. Now that would be noteworthy, given Sequoiaï¿½s history of investing largely within a 30 mile radius of its Menlo Park headquarters. But its not true, as Sequoiaï¿½s gruff leader, Don Valentine, made clear Tuesday evening at a panel discussion in Palo Alto sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank…..(More — click below)
True, Valentine did go on the SV Bank trip to China, but the experience only confirmed his view that Sequoia should stay away from direct investments there, he said. Indeed, Valentine ragged on China all evening long. Summing up his views about the rush by others to invest China, he quoted the title of a song from 1950ï¿½s jazz singer, Billy Eckstine: ï¿½Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.ï¿½
He continued: ï¿½China has no laws, no accounting system, bankruptcy banks, and according to Fortune, a stock market that is made up of a den of thieves ï¿½ different from the ones on Wall Street.ï¿½
Valentine said Sequoia hasnï¿½t invested abroad in its 30-plus year history, and itï¿½s unlikely to begin doing so. Even investing in a Boston company is a big deal for Sequoia, he said, and most ï¿½of our investments are not only west of the Mississippi, theyï¿½re west of the California border,ï¿½
he said. Concluding with a bang, Valentine prophesied about China: ï¿½Youï¿½re about to see a bubble burst in the next five years, or sooner, that will make our bubble look meaningless.”