(Yicai Global) Feb. 11 -- China's startups attracted the most venture capital investment among new firms in Asia during 2018, with the USD14 billion Ant Financial Services Group raised in the second quarter a significant contributor, a new report shows.
China's VC investment reached a record high of USD70.5 billion, up 53 percent from 2017, according to Securities Daily, which cited a quarterly report on VC trends by global audit and consultancy firm KPMG. The total number of deals remained stable last year at 813.
"There's no end in sight for massive deals in Asia," Egidio Zarrella, a partner and head of clients and innovation at KPMG China, said in the Venture Pulse Q4 2018 report, adding that this is because of significant market scale. "While these deals are big compared to those done elsewhere, they are increasingly typical of companies looking to dominate the regional market."
Still, firms in other Asian countries stepped up their game at the end of the year. In the fourth quarter, three out of the four billion-dollar deals were done outside China. They included Singaporean ride-hailing platform Grab (USD2.8 billion), Indonesia's e-commerce firm Tokopedia (USD1.1 billion) and India's food delivery platform Swiggy (USD1 billion). Zomato, and Indian restaurant search and delivery firm, raised USD360 million, while South Korean food deliverer Woowa Brothers landed USD320 million.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning, including subcategories such as facial recognition, motion detection and natural language processing, were among the red-hot areas of investor interest, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights.
In 2017, global investment in VC funds exceeded USD164 billion, up nearly 50 percent from a year earlier, the PwC/CB Insights report added. Such investment in Asia more than doubled. From 2010 to 2016, China ranked second among regions with the fastest annual growth rate regarding the amount of funding. VCs chipped in USD30 million on average, which was more than anywhere else.
Editor: Emmi Laine