I was in Beijing 12 – 15 November to attend the launch of the Chinese version of Angels Without Borders, a recently published angel investment book in USA for which I had authored the chapter on Turkey. The book covers insights from 25 countries where angel investment is highly developed.
The event was held at the same time as the global angel investment forum at the Shangri-La Beijing Hotel, where I participated as a panel speaker for a special session entitled ‘How do the cycles and objectives of angel investing work in different countries?’
It was a lovely three days where I found an opportunity to visit one of the seven wonders of the World: The Great Wall – 5000 kilometres long, which means if you take a flight from the beginning of the Wall, you have to fly 4 hours to reach the other end. As you may know, two wonders of the world are in Turkey, so anyone born in Turkey has a natural to-do list that includes completing the whole series and visiting the world’s other 5 wonders. This Beijing visit contributed to my accomplishing one of the objectives on my bucket list before I die.
This Beijing event was superbly hosted by Prof. Manhong Mannie Liu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences of China.
As of 2014, China had the world’s second-largest economy in terms of nominal GDP, totalling approximately US$10.380 trillion, according to the International Monetary Fund. If purchasing power parity (PPP) is taken into account, China’s economy is the largest in the world, with a 2014 PPP GDP of US$17.617 trillion. In 2013, its PPP GDP per capita was US$12,880, while its nominal GDP per capita was US$7,589. Both cases put China behind around eighty countries (out of 183 countries on the IMF list) in global GDP per capita rankings.
China is a member of the WTO and is the world’s largest trading power, with a total international trade value of US$3.87 trillion in 2012. Its foreign exchange reserves reached US$2.85 trillion by the end of 2010, an increase of 18.7% over the previous year, making its reserves by far the world’s largest. In 2012, China was the world’s largest recipient of inward foreign direct investment (FDI), attracting $253 billion. China also invests abroad, with a total outward FDI of $62.4 billion in 2012, and a number of major takeovers of foreign firms by Chinese companies. In 2009, China owned an estimated $1.6 trillion of US securities, and was also the largest foreign holder of US public debt, owning over $1.16 trillion in US Treasury bonds. China’s undervalued exchange rate has caused friction with other major economies, and it has also been widely criticized for manufacturing large quantities of counterfeit goods. According to the McKinsey consulting firm, the total outstanding debt in China increased from $7.4 trillion in 2007 to $28.2 trillion in 2014, which reflects 228% of China’s GDP, a percentage higher than that of some G20 nations.
China ranked 29th in the Global Competitiveness Index in 2009, although it is ranked only 136th among the 179 countries measured in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom. In 2014, Fortune’s Global 500 list of the world’s largest corporations included 95 Chinese companies, with combined revenues of US$5.8 trillion. The same year, Forbes reported that five of the world’s ten largest public companies were Chinese, including the world’s largest bank by total assets, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world. Its total population in 2013 was 21,150,000.The city-proper is the world’s 3rd most populous. Beijing is the second largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai and is the nation’s political, cultural and educational centre. It is home to the headquarters of most of China’s largest state-owned companies and is a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks. The Beijing Capital International Airport is the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic.
Beijing’s economy ranks among the most developed and prosperous in China. In 2013, the municipality’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) was CN￥1.95 trillion (US$314 billion), about 3.43% of the country’s total output, and ranked 13th among province-level administrative units. Per capita GDP, at CN￥93,213 (US$15,051) in nominal terms and Int $21,948 at purchasing power parity, was 2.2 times the national average and ranked second among province-level administrative units. The economy tripled in size from 2004 to 2012 and grew at an annual rate of 7.7% in 2013.
Due to the concentration of state-owned enterprises in the national capital, Beijing in 2013 had more Fortune Global 500 Company headquarters than any other city in the world. Beijing ranks as the world’s 9th in the International Financial Centres Development Index, published by the Xinhua News Agency, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Dow Jones & Company, and is 29th in the world in the Global Financial Centres Index published by Z/Yen and the Qatar Financial Centre Authority. The city also ranked no. 4 in the number of billionaire residents after Moscow, New York and Hong Kong. In 2012, PricewaterhouseCoopers rated Beijing’s overall economic influence as no. 1 in China.
From the publisher: “Angel investors” provide small amounts of capital ($100k–$3m) to early stage, high-risk ventures. In recent years, they have not only grown in numbers and sophistication, they have garnered the attention of larger investors and governments throughout the world who are interested in the phenomenal power of start-ups to bring innovative products to consumers, create jobs and economic value, and sustain macroeconomic growth.
This comes as no surprise. Some of the world’s most valuable and influential companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Uber were able to survive and thrive in their make-or-break early years only through the backing of angels.
Angels Without Borders: Trends and Policies Shaping Angel Investment Worldwide, drawing on chapter contributors from more than two dozen nations, will be the only book on the market to examine this trend from a global perspective. It is a very useful reference for anyone who is interested in learning about the angel investment movement.
Chapter 1: Overview of Angel Investing Worldwide
Angel Investing: Trends and Issues:
Overview of Angel Investing Worldwide (The Editors)
Sources of Capital for Start-ups (Bill Payne)
Women Angel Investors (Peggy Wallace and Rebecca Conti)
Angel Impact Investing (Wayne Silby and Jenna Nicholas)
Crowdfunding and Angel Investing (Charles Sidman)
- Israel (D Todd Dollinger and Steve Rhodes)
- France (Philippe Gluntz)
- South Africa (Craig Mullett)
- Hong Kong (Allen Yeung)
- United States (Marianne Hudson)
- Germany (Dr Ute Gunther)
- Scotland (Nelson Gray)
- China (Wang Jiani and Chen Su)
- Turkey (Baybars Altuntas)
- Italy (Eng Paolo Anselmo and Luigi Amati)
- Australia (Jordan Green)
- Belgium (Reginald Vossen and Claire Munck)
- Spain (Juan Roure and Amparo De San Jose)
- United Arab Emirates (Heather Henyon)
- United Kingdom (Jenny Tooth)
- India (Ashish Dave and Mohit Agarwal)
- Netherlands (René A G Reijtenbagh)
- Singapore (Poh-Kam Wong)
- Canada (Ross Finlay and Blake Witkin)
- Portugal (João Trigo Da Roza and Francisco Banha)
- New Zealand (Franceska Banga and David Lewis)
- Russia (Ivan Protopopov and Konstantin Fokin)
- Colombia (Juan Pablo Rodriguez Neira)
- Austria (Bernard Litzka)
- Finland (Jan D Oker-Blom)
- Switzerland (Brigitte Baumann)
Over the Horizon (The Editors)
Readership: Government officials, economists and economic development officials interested in design and efficacy of the wide range of policies and programs being enacted around the world; academics who are interested in studying the angel investing and its implications; active or potential angel investors within more than two dozen countries; angel investors who may be considering cross-border investment; and impact investors who are interested in deploying small amounts of risk capital toward potentially transformative solutions to social and environmental problems.
In order to give you an idea about my physical situation as I headed to Beijing, I’d like to share my previous 20-day schedule with you:
- 16 – 17 – 18 October:
Filming at the studio for The Weakest Link – which means 6 hours a day on my feet
- 19 – 20 – 21 – 22 – 23 October:
Giving speeches at the World Entrepreneurship Forum in Hangzhou, China
- 24 – 25 October:
Filming at the studio for The Weakest Link – which means 6 hours a day on my feet
- 26 – 27 October: At home! Birthday party!
- 28 – 29 – 30 October: Cyprus with family
- 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 November:
Giving a speech at the JCI World Congress in Kanazawa, Japan
- 7 – 8 November:
Filming at the studio for The Weakest Link – which means 6 hours a day on my feet
And then flying once again to China!
I took the Turkish Airlines 00:50 direct flight to Beijing, so I was at the Istanbul airport around 11pm on 11 November. Thanks to the sleeping infrastructure of the Turkish Airlines business class of, I managed to sleep a few hoursJ even though I don’t normally sleep well (if at all) on a plane. Sleeping a few hours was therefore a record for me.
Day 1 – 12 November 2015, Thursday
I arrived at the Beijing Airport at exactly 4:05pm and I completed the passport control in 10 minutes, which was great. On my previous trip to Beijing, I had had to wait more than 40 minutes in the passport queue.
In Beijing Airport, immediately after the passport control, there is only one way to go: walking straight ahead, you find yourself in front of a train which takes you to the airport’s arrival gate in just a few minutes.
At the arrival gate, Jenny (Jiani Wang) was waiting to accompany to me on my transfer to the White Courtyard restaurant (Qing Dynasty Style). I was so tired that I slept in the car until we arrived at the restaurant, where all the authors would be given a nice welcome dinner. I was the first to arrive at the restaurant, at 6pm. I had to wait for others to come.
The White Courtyard (Bai Jia Da Yuan Restaurant) is definitely a place where you should dine when in Beijing if you want to have a taste of authentic Chinese Qing cuisine in a traditional setting with imperial-style Chinese decor. The waitresses are dressed in traditional costumes and the dishes are quite good — lobster and deer with dried chilli, for instance, and they serve excellent Peking duck. They offer a good Changyu red wine.
Around 7pm, friends from all over the world were in the restaurant. I was at the same table as Konstantin from Russia, Rene from the Netherlands, and many other friends. We enjoyed the food and traditional entertainment very much. I strongly advise you to try this spectacular restaurant to feel that you are indeed in China.
You will also notice many things in China that are different from what we are accustomed to. For example, water is always served hot.
After enjoying the dinner, we were all transferred to our accommodation, a very nice five-star hotel in downtown Beijing, the Empark Grand Hotel. I was in my room by 11pm. I found it interesting that, because of the air pollution in the city, face masks are provided in the rooms in case you need them to go outside the building. I didn’t use them but I saw many people wearing them in the city. There was also a small machine in the room to give fresh air – this was the first time I had ever seen this sort of thing a hotel room. I think you are probably aware that there is serious air pollution in Beijing because of the city’s geographical layout.
I was in the breakfast room around 7am and after a nice breakfast with friends, we were taken by bus to the Shangri-La Hotel, the venue for the global angel investment forum meetings and the launch of the book.
We all were at the hotel around 8am and the programme started exactly at 9.
After the official addresses, we listened to speeches on the following topics:
- Entrepreneurship and innovation
- Industry upgrades and angel investment incubation
- China’s status and opportunity in the world angel investing
- The development of US angel investing and its reference to China
After the new book’s launch ceremony, we enjoyed a nice lunch, after which there was a panel on which I made a speech about how the Turkish angel investment ecosystem works. The panel members included the following:
- Baybars Altuntas: President, TBAA – Business Angels Association of Turkey
- Franceska Banga: Chief Executive, New Zealand Venture Investment Fund
- Ashish Dave: Investment Associate, Kalaari Capital
- Luo Zhuo: Partner, Qidi Angel Investments; Director, Z Angels
- Li Hansheng: Founder, Huachuang Shengjing, Director, Z Angels
- Li Zhujie: Founding partner, EZ Capital
- Nan Lixin: Founder and CEO, CY Zone
- Li Xiaoning: Founder, vc.cn
After the panel discussion, I immediately took a taxi back to the hotel to sleep. I was so exhausted that I couldn’t attend any more sessions. I also missed the forum dinner because I remained in a deep sleep until the next morning.
Here you can find the entire programme at the Shangri-La Beijing.
After breakfast with friends, I was collected from the Empark Grand Hotel at 7:30am for a half-day excursion to the Mutianyu Great Wall, the most beautiful section of the 5 sections of the Great Wall in Beijing. The hike took 2-3 hours. It has an extremely beautiful natural landscape — green and densely wooded — once you are up on the Wall, you see. This section of the Great Wall is comparatively smoother than most of other sections.
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian steppe. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BCE; later joined together and made bigger and stronger, these are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall. Especially famous is the wall built between 220 and 206 BCE by Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. Little of that wall remains. Since then, the Great Wall has been rebuilt off and on, maintained, and enhanced; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty.
Other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watchtowers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signalling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.
The Great Wall stretches from Dandong in the east to Lop Lake in the west along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, concluded that the Ming walls measure 8,850 km (5,500 mi). This is made up of 6,259 km (3,889 mi) sections of actual wall, 359 km (223 mi) of trenches and 2,232 km (1,387 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measures 21,196 km (13,171 mi).
Our drive to the Great Wall was very pleasant. I took the opportunity to chat with friends during the two-hour ride. I will never forget my friend from Portugal, Francisco, paying $15 for a cup of coffee at one of the coffee shops near the wall’s entrance.
There are two ways to go up the Wall: by teleferic or by walking. Some of our group preferred walking, and some chose the teleferic option as I did.
After visiting the Wall, we went to a traditional restaurant, where we had our Chinese-style lunch before going to the Forbidden City.
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty—the years between 1420 and 1912. It is located in the centre of Beijing and now houses the Palace Museum. It served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political centre of the Chinese government for almost 500 years.
Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 ha (180 acres). The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artefacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Part of the museum’s former collection is now located in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Both museums descend from the same institution but were split after the Chinese Civil War. The Forbidden City has over 14 million visitors annually.
We then headed back to downtown Beijing to visit Tiananmen Square, the largest public square of its kind in the world. Located in the heart of Beijing City, it is the site of massive parades and rallies. This was the site when, in 1949, from a rostrum on Tiananmen (the Gate of Heavenly Peace), Chairman Mao proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Unfortunately, on the day we were there, the roads around the square were closed because of the terrorist attacks that had taken place in France earlier in the day.
Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the centre of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) located to its North, separating it from the Forbidden City. The square contains monuments to the heroes of the revolution, the great hall of the people, the National Museum of China, and the Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, which houses Mao’s embalmed body. It was on Oct. 1, 1949 that Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic in the square, and its anniversary is still observed there. Tiananmen Square is in the top five largest city squares in the world (440,500 m2 – 880×500 m or 109 acres – 960×550 yd). It has great cultural significance, as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history.
Outside China, the square is best known in recent memory as the focal point of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, a pro-democracy movement which ended on 4 June 1989 with the declaration of martial law in Beijing by the government and the shooting of several hundred, or possibly thousands, of civilians by soldiers.
Arriving at the hotel around 6pm, I said good-bye to all my friends and immediately went up to the room to prepare my bags. Around 9pm, I was ready in the lobby and met with Jenny, who was going to accompany me on my transfer to the airport. It was a lovely trip from the hotel, and I enjoyed chatting with Jenny about our business project for the near futureJ
I was at the airport around 10:30pm and after the check-in procedures, I spent some time at the CIP Lounge of Air China, which they share with Turkish Airlines. In this lounge there is a mini restaurant serving traditional Chinese food.
I was soon in my seat on the plane heading to Copenhagen via Istanbul to chair the EBAN Institute’s Winter University programme in Denmark.
Thank you very much dear Susan (Su Chen) for all your efforts to make the tours in Beijing city a great memory for us. Many thanks, dear Jenny (Jiani Wang), for accompanying me on the transfers and for your entrepreneurial mindset. A big thanks goes to dear Prof. Mannie (Manhong Liu) for his excellent organisation and to John May for initiating, in cooperation with Mannie, a great book for the global angel investment ecosystem.