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From Paytm, Flipkart to Swiggy, big Indian startups are stuffed with Chinese money

Chinese companies are one of the biggest investors in India’s startup space.

June 17, 2020 / 06:42 PM IST

At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan valley of Ladakh in the bloodiest clash in almost 50 years with Chinese troops during a disengagement exercise on June 15 to end a prolonged standoff along the Line of Actual Control.

The first India casualties in a border conflict with China since 1975 have plunged the already tense ties to a new low. The anti-China sentiment will only harden and call for the boycott of Chinese goods will grow in the coming days.

But China is embedded deep in the Indian economy. Chinese companies are big investors in the Indian startup space, which has not only created a new class of entrepreneurs but also given India the much-needed technological push, generating jobs along the way.

Here are the biggest Chinese players in India’s startup sector:

Ant Financial/Alibaba


One of the most prolific Chinese investors in India, Ant Financial, the fintech arm of the Jack Ma-owned tech conglomerate Alibaba Group, has pumped millions of dollars in Paytm and Snapdeal. It has invested close to $2.7 billion in India across seven companies. Within Paytm, it has separately funded Paytm Mall, its ecommerce offering. In November 2019, Ant Financial said it was trying to raise a billion dollar for fresh investments in startups in India and Southeast Asia.


Tencent is another aggressive investor in the Indian startup ecosystem. It has backed unicorns like Flipkart, Swiggy and Ola. In China, Tencent runs an instant messaging platform WeChat, which is their equivalent of WhatsApp, and a host of gaming apps and ecommerce businesses. It has close to $2 billion of exposure to India across around 15 startups. It has backed growth-stage players like Khatabook, MyGate, Niyo Solutions and other established players like PolicyBazaar, and Udaan. Tencent is reportedly in talks with multiple new startups looking for rounds in the range of $10 to $15 million.

Shunwei Capital

Shunwei Capital has led multiple rounds in Indian startups like food delivery giant Zomato, social commerce startup Meesho, messaging app Sharechat and lending platforms Krazybee and Loantap. It has invested $129 million across 17 companies.

Fosun Group

Founded in 2013, Fosun RZ Capital is fast emerging as an interesting Chinese investor in India. It has invested around $85 million in 12 Indian startups, with some late stage investments like in Ixigo and Delhivery and some early-stage ones like LetsTransport, Mylo and others. The Tej Kapoor-run firm is known to cut smaller cheques and does not directly compete with the likes of Tencent and Alibaba. The only fintech investment Fosun has done in India is in digital lending startup Kishht.


Popular smartphone maker Xiaomi has also been an active investor in the Indian startup ecosystem. It has led rounds in Sharechat, lending startup Krazybee and few others. Back in 2018, Manu Kumar Jain, its top India executive, said the company was looking to pump in Rs 6,000 crore across 100 Indian startups. As of now, it has around $61 million invested in eight companies.

Hillhouse Capital

Hillhouse Capital, an investor in Baidu, Tencent, Grab Airbnb and others, has put in more than $165 million in India already. It has stakes in seven companies including Swiggy, Udaan and Cred. Started in 2005, Hillhouse has been active in the mobility segment. In 2014, it invested $50 million in online automobile comparison platform CarDekho.

TR Capital

Popularly known as the secondary specialists, TR Capital is an active secondary investor in India and even set up an office in Mumbai in 2018. Flipkart, Lenskart, Urban Ladder and BigBasket are among the nine companies it has invested in. Its India investments are to the tune of $111 million.

With inputs from M Sriram

(Data: Venture Intelligence)

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