By Alan Murray and David Meyer
November 29, 2018

Good morning from Guangzhou.

The Fortune Global Tech Forum got underway this morning, and first on stage was Sequoia China’s Neil Shen—who, depending on which list you believe, is either one of the top, or the top venture capital investor of 2018, by virtue of investments in companies like Alibaba,, and Didi Chuxing. Shen has seen more than a dozen of his companies successfully launch IPOs this year.

But Shen says he doesn’t see the IPO as an exit—he claims that “in 13 years I haven’t sold a single share.” Instead, he stays in, because he believes the Chinese tech economy still has a long way to go before meeting its full potential.

What about the risk of a trade war? Shen says that doesn’t threaten the future of Chinese tech. For one thing, he says, the Chinese economy is in the midst of a long-term transition from an export-led to a consumer-led economy, and that is going to continue to drive economic growth. And second, the disruptive companies he is investing in are taking share from traditional companies, so they can grow faster than the overall economy. With less growth in the U.S., companies there have less potential for growth.

His bottom line, which was shared by other experts here today: the trade war may hurt China more than the U.S. in the short term, but it will hurt the U.S. more in the long term.

“What we have now is Chinese entrepreneurs going global with Chinese business models,” Ben Harburg of MSA Capital told the group. As a result, China is defining the future of globalization, and the U.S., because of its protectionist push, is in danger of being left behind.

You can follow the event in Guangzhou on More news below.

Alan Murray


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