Alibaba Group and Ant Financial lead US$600m fund focusing on “One Belt, One Road” countries
eWTP Ecosystem Fund (“the eWTP Fund”), established to enable enterprises that promote innovation and quality consumption, was unveiled in Hong Kong today. The eWTP Fund counts Alibaba Group and Ant Financial among its anchor investors, and Yu Yongfu, a member of Alibaba Partnership, has been appointed founding partner and chairman of the eWTP Fund.
As the initial fund of the eWTP Fund family, a US$600m eWTP Technology & Innovation Fund (‘the fund”) was launched today. The fund’s mission is to drive strategic investments that helps companies accelerate their international expansion and support ideas that drive life-changing technological innovations around the world, including initiatives closely related to the “One Belt, One Road” push.
“The eWTP concept started with Alibaba, but it does not stop with or belong only to Alibaba. We believe that every country, every organization, every enterprise and every individual can become builders and advocates of eWTP. Based on this, Alibaba and Ant Financial, as anchor investors to the eWTP Fund, will support eWTP and the new fund in the areas of logistics, payments and e-commerce. We welcome more partners to join the ecosystem and become part of this dream,” said Jack Ma, founder and chairman of Alibaba Group.
The eWTP Fund will facilitate the continued development of eWTP by providing diversified and targeted support for expansion-minded, entrepreneurial companies in areas such as capital raising, innovation, strategy and management.
Jack Ma added: “China is leading a new round of globalization and, with the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, more private enterprises are needed to promote and implement eWTP. It is our hope that eWTP becomes a private sector-led initiative that will help advance the ‘One Belt One Road’ vision. As this work is of vital importance to Alibaba, we have appointed Yu Yongfu to the position of founding partner and chairman of the eWTP Fund. I believe that, with Yongfu’s vision and execution, our mission can become a reality.”
While the eWTP Fund will initially focus on making strategic investments in Belt-and-Road beneficiary countries through its eWTP Technology & Innovation Fund, it will gradually broaden its focus and expand the reach of eWTP into new areas.
“The vision of our eWTP Fund is to ‘Redefine Glocal’ by eliminating the barriers to global expansion for local entrepreneurs, and the eWTP Technology & Innovation Fund will be an important tool in driving that outcome. The fund will act as an entrepreneurial guide behind these budding entrepreneurs, attracting innovative companies and talent to be a part of the eWTP ecosystem by offering not only funds but also our prior experience, knowledge and direction in navigating the same path,” said Yu, who is also a member of the Alibaba Partnership.
In working towards this objective, the management team has been delicately prepared in three dimensions. The first dimension touches on investment professionalization, where it will establish an independent investment team to guide decisions from the perspective of the eWTP ecosystem. The team will form an incentive model to ensure strong results and sustainable development of the eWTP Fund.
Secondly, the management team will act as a conduit for open and constructive sharing of experiences from a team of leading minds across entrepreneurship, investment, Chinese market operations and internationalization. This will include Alibaba Group business leaders and founders of several successful startup companies, with future partners coming from diverse backgrounds and working together with like-minded stakeholders to support small and medium-sized enterprises in going global.
The final dimension will be developing resources to support innovative enterprises and increase access to talent and learning among companies. This will facilitate open sharing and knowledge transfer via business networks and partnerships, to help growing businesses to succeed in the globalization-driven economy, including matching them with appropriate partners and investors.