Venture Capitalist Invested in Mainland But Now Prefers Taiwan’s “Freedom”

(p. B10) TAIPEI—Tim Draper, a venture capitalist known for his early bets in Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, is feeling good about his decision to stop investing in China.

In an interview in Taiwan, where he is pursuing new investments, Mr. Draper slammed China’s Xi Jinping, whom he called a “weak leader,” saying the country is going backward after more than four decades of former leader Deng Xiaoping’s “reform and opening up” policy.

“It’s not a place where you invest money to get a return,” he said. “I see China as a place where the government is trying to control everybody.”

An early investor in Baidu Inc.—China’s BIDU equivalent of Google—Mr. Draper said he pulled out completely and froze investment in the country around 2014 after a startup he had invested in was fined by regulators. It was a sign, he said, of the government’s increasing interference in the market.

. . .

Mr. Draper’s fund made its first investments in Taiwan last year, when it bought stakes in Taipei-based digital news company TNL Media Group and other startups. He said he would continue to invest in the island, which he believes will attract frustrated entrepreneurs from China with its openness.

“I’m coming to Taiwan. I’m not going to China,” he said, praising the democracy’s “freedom and trust.”

For the full story, see:

Joyu Wang. “Venture Capitalist Touts His Turning from China.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, September 19, 2022): B10.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date September 18, 2022, and has the title “Tim Draper Touts Decision to Pull Out of China.”)

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