Y Combinator taps former Baidu exec Qi Lu to launch its China program

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Riding shotgun in Baidu's driverless car

A high Silicon Valley fund that helped launch main startups like Airbnb and Dropbox is setting its sights on China.

Startup accelerator Y Combinator has tapped Qi Lu, a former Baidu (BIDU) and Microsoft (MSFT) government, to arrange and run its new China program.

“China has been an vital lacking piece of our puzzle — the entrepreneurial power and expertise there may be a tremendous pressure,” Y Combinator President Sam Altman wrote in a weblog submit.

Shifting into China can be Y Combinator’s first worldwide growth. The accelerator — which generally injects $120,000 into startups throughout their early levels for a 7% stake — has till now solely invested in US companies. It says the businesses it has backed now have a complete valuation of greater than $100 billion.

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The timing of its China launch stays unclear.

A spokeswoman mentioned Lu can be becoming a member of Y Combinator’s subsequent startup boot camp “whereas he makes plans for one of the best ways to construction YC China.” Y Combinator will start deciding on startups in October to attend its three-month boot camp beginning in January.

Altman known as Lu “some of the spectacular technologists I do know,” including that he has been attempting to recruit him for years. Lu can be CEO of Y Combinator China, and also will take over as head of the California incubator’s nonprofit analysis lab.

qi lu baidu
Y Combinator has tapped former Baidu government Qi Lu to launch its China program.

Lu was a Microsoft veteran earlier than Baidu employed him as president and chief working officer in early 2017. He was tasked with driving Baidu’s massive synthetic intelligence initiatives, together with autonomous vehicles and digital assistants.

Lower than two years in, nevertheless, Lu all of a sudden left Baidu, saying in an announcement that he might now not work full-time in China “on account of private and household causes.”

China’s tech rise

As soon as branded as a tech copy cat, China has in recent times improved its popularity for innovation, fostering main corporations in areas reminiscent of digital funds and dockless bike sharing.

“We expect important share of the biggest know-how corporations which can be based within the subsequent decade — corporations on the scale of Google (GOOG), Microsoft, Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), and Fb (FB) — can be primarily based within the US and China,” Altman mentioned.

Associated: Chinese language ride-hailing agency Didi launches in Australia

Y Combinator’s plans to increase into China come at a delicate time. Beijing’s efforts to spice up the nation’s high-tech industries, together with robotics and laptop chips, are a key component of the commerce conflict with america.

4 of the world’s high 10 personal tech corporations — together with experience hailing agency Didi Chuxing and on-line companies supplier Meituan Dianping — are Chinese language, in accordance with CB Insights. The remainder are American.

Earlier this yr, China’s Ministry of Science and Expertise launched a report tallying the nation’s so-called unicorns — startups value at the least $1 billion. China had 164 unicorns in 2017 value a mixed $628 billion, in accordance with the report.

That far outstripped america, which had about 100 unicorns in 2017 value roughly $360 billion, in accordance with CB Insights.

CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First revealed August 15, 2018: four:26 AM ET

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