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3 April, 2019 - 11:08 By Tony Quested

Cambridge-China engagement hits fever pitch

Chris Claxton

Fifteen technology companies pitched to Chinese investors at a special event in Cambridge held in March.

Cambridge China Centre’s co-founder Jinzhao Li conceived the showcase to build on growing engagement between the two communities.

The increased maturity of Cambridge tech businesses looking to trade with or gain investment from China was a radical change from past experience, according to Dr Simon Haworth, founder of The Sino-UK Fund.

He said: “Just one or two years ago a pitching event like the one held at The Bradfield Centre last week would have been populated by startups wondering about taking their first, tiny steps towards the China market. 

“Not now: many of the companies presenting at this event have already established significant partnerships in China, equity investment, research projects and even revenue from China now. UK|China links are generating an incredibly important wave of progress, lifting all those who are committed to UK|China engagement on a rising tide of new revenue and investment.”

Jinzhao Li added: “Having had increased interest from Chinese investors in being introduced to UK technology companies, hosting this event will help investors and pitching companies create better, more impactful business relationships across different cultures.” 

The pitching companies represented cutting edge technology in BioTech, MedTech, IoT and AgriTech and other segments. They were: Iceni Diagnostics; Cambond; Therapy Audit; FlexEnable; Coalesce Product Development; CyanConnode; Thyngs Ltd; Owlstone Medical; Smartbell; 42T Censors; Cambridge Touch Technologies; Duvas Technology; Herdsy Ltd; CN Bio Innovations and Invest Essex.

Investors included Dr Wei Meng of TusParkUK, Kejia Li of Puhua Capital, Dr Jian Cao of The UK China Enterprise Fund, Dr Simon Haworth of The Sino-UK fund and Dr Furong Lin of Hangzhou Oxbridge Asset Management. They joined Jinzhao Li  and Ting Zhang (Crayfish.io) to hear the pitches and give technology companies feedback and advice.

Dr Wei Meng, TusPark UK said: “Chinese investors and market are more ready than ever before to work with UK businesses. Innovative approaches of collaboration are invented more frequently. With a few sparks, UK|China collaboration will be on fire. Cambridge China Centre is one of those sparks.”

Following on from this successful event, Cambridge China Centre is planning another as part of the Cambridge China Forum on October 15 & 16.

Investor profiles

TusPark UK is the UK branch of TusPark, the largest innovation ecosystem worldwide (owning over 200 incubators/science parks/science cities), and one of the most successful science and technology investors in China. TusPark UK has presences at Cambridge Science Park and Newcastle, offering office/wet lab space and leading accelerator programmes that include a range of funding and financial services, incubation, as well as expertise with positioning UK start-ups for entry into the China market. 

Puhua Capital is one of the most successful VC investment firms in China and focuses on the early and growing healthcare, technology and pan-culture companies across China, Europe and the US. Puhua Capital is headquartered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, London and Berlin. During the past 15 years, Puhua Capital has invested in over 400 start-ups, with over 17 billion RMB assets under management worldwide. 
        
The UK China Enterprise Fund is a Chinese-capital-backed VC fund managed by ET Capital, the Cambridge based VC. Focusing on spin-outs from top-tier universities or startups in the UK and exploiting Chinese capital, markets and manufacturing capacities, the fund focuses on new materials, CleanTech, AI, semiconductors, automotive and aviation industries.  

The Sino-UK Fund is a new equity investment fund set up to finance market entry and development for UK companies seeking to access the China market. It focuses on MedTech, Biotech, CleanTech and AgriTech.  

Hangzhou Oxbridge Asset Management provides advisory and discretionary investment management services within China and the UK.

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