Another top Silicon Valley investor is splitting off its China business as pressure mounts

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By Michelle Toh | CNN

Hong Kong  — GGV Capital, a prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm, has become the latest big investor to break up its US and China operations into separate companies as tensions between the two countries over tech and geopolitics continue to rise.

The firm announced Thursday that it would divide its business into two “completely independent” firms with separate new brands, which have not been revealed.

According to the company, one side will concentrate on North America, Latin America, Europe, Israel and cross-border US-India deals, led by teams in California and New York by managing partners Glenn Solomon, Hans Tung, Jeff Richards and Oren Yunger.

The other side will focus on China, Southeast Asia and South Asia, run from its headquarters in Singapore, by managing partners Jenny Lee and Jixun Foo.

GGV’s existing Chinese yuan-denominated funds “will continue to be managed independently” under its Chinese brand, Jiyuan Capital, it said.

In a statement, the firm attributed the decision to the fact that “over the last decade, the investment landscape has shifted significantly, and the operating environment has become highly complex.”

“Against these new realities, GGV is also evolving,” it added, without elaborating further.

The transition is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of next year.

GGV Capital has approximately $9.2 billion in assets under management. The firm is known for backing tech companies around the world, such as Alibaba (BABA), Airbnb (ABNB), Slack, TikTok owner ByteDance and Chinese ride-hailing provider Didi.

The move comes as US-China tensions continue to affect how businesses operate across the world’s top two economies.

Last month, the Biden administration announced it would restrict investments by US venture capital and private equity firms, as well as joint ventures, in Chinese artificial intelligence, quantum computing and semiconductors.

The executive order will exacerbate a slump in deals between the United States and China, and deliver a “major blow” to Chinese startups, analysts and investors previously told CNN.

Asked whether the US order or wider geopolitical tensions had factored into its decision, GGV Capital declined to comment.

The firm has recently come under greater scrutiny from US lawmakers.

In July, a US House committee said it had sent letters to four investment firms, including GGV, “expressing serious concern and demanding information about the firms’ investments” in artificial intelligence, chips and quantum computing companies in China.

One investment named was a GGV deal with Megvii, an AI developer. The company is best known for its facial recognition software, and has long been accused of human rights violations against Uyghurs and other members of Muslim minority groups in China’s Xinjiang region.

Megvii was added to a US trade blacklist in 2019 over the issue and previously told CNN that there were “no grounds” for that decision.

The ongoing pressure has already led other firms to separate their US and Chinese businesses this year.

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