Investors at China Creation Ventures (CCV), a leading venture capital fund in China, are optimistic about the future of the metaverse.
“The metaverse will be a space where anyone can create their own games, shows, and artwork and build their own social networking ties and virtual lives,” said Zhou Wei, managing partner of CCV and former China head of Kleiner Perkins, speaking at a recent joint lecture event with Penn Wharton China Center. Zhou is an alumnus of Wharton Business School.
“The fundamental concept of the metaverse should be ‘creation.’ It should allow everyone easily, conveniently, and quickly to participate in creating virtual worlds,” said Zhou. The Penn Wharton China Center and CCV co-hosted the metaverse-themed event.
CCV started its investment in the metaverse and digital twin technologies in 2017. It invested in MetaApp, a Chinese company focused on building an immersive virtual world. It also invested in Zixel, a leading digital twin collaboration platform for businesses, and SuperHexa, the manufacturer behind Xiaomi’s smart glasses, Mijia glass. CCV is also an A-round investor of Cishi Culture, China’s largest virtual idol platform and the company behind China’s first AI virtual influencer Ling.
Zhou emphasized that the world is fun and exciting because it’s diversified, and everyone has a unique spirit. Therefore, if there were one “metaverse,” it should also be diversified and allow everyone to create their own “sub-universes.”
“From a historical point of view, people created text during the blog era, and later audio on podcast platforms and pictures on Instagram. Now people make short videos on TikTok and longer videos on other platforms. It is very similar to the physics I love; it is like the process from a one-dimensional to a multi-dimensional world, all the way to 11-dimensional.”
Zhou said that his investments followed this trajectory. Zhou invested in the first platform for Chinese reading, Chinese Online (300364), during the “text creation” era. Later he supported Pinterest, a picture-sharing platform, followed by Ximalaya, a podcast platform, during its A-round, and Miaopai, a short-video and live streaming platform.
John Zhang, Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School and Director of Penn Wharton China Center, and Hu Sen, founder, and CEO of MetaApp, Gong Minyan, founder and CEO of Zixel, also addressed the event.
Professor Zhang said that China and the West share similarities in the direction and effect of technology development, raising a question to speakers about what kind of differences China and the West will have as Metaverse technologies develop.
Zhou said pragmatism is a critical characteristic of Chinese enterprises and entrepreneurs in the tech sector. As the Managing Partner of KPCB China for 10 years, he compared the use of technology by entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and China and found a noticeable difference.
“Entrepreneurs in China solve problems through what we call the “hybrid” way when the technology is still not perfect. For example, in the application of AI, we use people and AI “hybrids” to make use of AI technology that is not yet mature. But scientists and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley tend not to put immature technologies into commercial use.”
“China’s pragmatism, I think, allows China to go faster in commercialization and the practical application of the technological development of the metaverse. However, I think we still lag behind in basic science research, ” Zhou said.
CCV is a one of the leading venture capital firms of early-stage deals China. Founded by former KPCB China managing partner Zhou Wei and the original technology investment team at KPCB, it manages 750 million USD and 2.5 billion RMB.
With the mission of “creating new world, side by side”, CCV focuses on discovering early-stage investment opportunities in zero-labor technology, digitalization and the globalization of Chinese entrepreneurs.
CCV team has maintained a 35% unicorn hit rate and kept a record of seizing at least one unicorn project per year and many of its portfolio companies have become the first IPO stock in their focused areas. CCV is the leading investor in the A-round in 80% of the investment deals.
CCV’s portfolio companies include JD.com (Nasdaq: JD), the first stock in B2C e-commerce, Venus Tech (002439), the first cybersecurity to go IPO in China, CreditEase (NYSE: YRD), the first Chinese fintech company to go IPO overseas.
Rong 360 (NYSE: JT), Tantan (acquired byNasdaq: MOMO), JD Digital, Ximalaya FM, Shukun Technology, Perfect Corp, Transsnet Financial, MetaApp, UPower, Cowa Robot, Naxions are also on the list of CCV’s portfolio companies.
Its founder, Wei Zhou, is one of China’s most successful venture capitalists in technology and a former managing partner at KPCB China. He has been honored as Fobes’ Most Influential Venture Capitalist and a Leading Chinese Venture Capitalist by the Financial Times.