Kleiner adds another member. A China play?

Updated

Ellen Pao.jpgKleiner Perkins, the well-known Silicon Valley venture capital firm (backer of Google, Netscape, Amazon, etc) has quietly added another member to its team.

Ellen Pao, former exec at BEA, has shown up at the firm’s Web site, something VentureWire noted today (subscription required). Our hunch is that the significance here is her Asian experience, particularly in Greater China. Remember, rival firm Sequoia and several others have made big bets on China lately, and Kleiner until recently hasn’t made any significant moves there.

The firm usually makes a formal announcement, via…

a press release on its site, when it adds a new “partner,” suggesting Pao is an associate or principal, or other position not quite on par with partnership status (Update: see below)

Given her experience in a diversity of tech fields, including her law degree, she may be the perfect person for Kleiner to help scope out a China strategy. She’s done some work in other Asian countries too, including India. Here is a link to her profile, which tells of her stints at Tellme Networks and Microsoft’s WebTV division, consulting for MyCFO and Danger Research, and legal work for Cravath, Swaine & Moore in both its New York City and Hong Kong offices. She’s definitely an all-rounder.

Kleiner apparently declined comment to VentureWire. We are checking too, and will report back if we find out anything…

Update: As Matt correctly points out in a comment below, Pao lists on her LinkedIn profile that she has been “partner” at Kleiner since June. Question: Is she using loose, or strict, definition of partner?