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RIYADH: Financial advisory firm China Renaissance which operates in multiple areas like investment banking, investment management and wealth management has solid plans to expand its presence in the Middle East, as it eyes funding startups, according to its CEO.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Fan Bao, founder, CEO, and chairman of China Renaissance shared his future investment plans in the region and made it clear that the firm does not want to be a venture tourist in the Middle East, as the firm wants to affirm its physical presence before funding.
“We do not want to be a venture tourist here. I want to emphasize that this is a long term commitment. We need to have a presence. We should hire a local team. Eventually, it is the local talent that will have the best opportunity to crack the opportunity here. It takes time you train them and bring them up. But eventually, it is all about localization,” Bao told Arab News.
He added, “We are not a venture capitalist. We prefer to invest in companies with a good track record in terms of a product, engagement with customers, and a wisdom market.”
Bao, however, did not reveal the exact time at which China Renaissance will make the investments in the region.
“I cannot give a specific timeline. It is very hard to set a target as an investor. But on the other hand, I am very curious and highly interested in this region,” he said.
Bao added that China Renaissance needs to carry out thorough research before making any investments in any region.
“The first step is research. The second part is talking to relevant people who are knowledgeable. And the third is obviously building the local network. For us to source deals, we definitely need that network,” he further added.
Bao also lauded Saudi Arabia’s government policies and added that China has also gone through a similar industrial transformation in the past.
“I feel like the market has evolved. I can definitely feel the energy. There have been major changes in government policies and directions. Vision 2030 is very impressive. China has also gone through the same process, a similar type of industrialization of Chinese new economy,” he said.
During the talk, he revealed that China has a crucial role to play in the region, not just as an exporter of end products, but also in terms of “transferring of knowledge and technology.”
Talking about his plans to invest in FinTech in the region, Bao revealed that he is learning about new possibilities in the Middle East.
“FinTech seems to have a very big potential. It has the best opportunity when the legacy financial system is not efficient. I think there is a potentially genuine opportunity for this region to build a FinTech industry that leapfrogs the traditional models,” said Bao.
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