The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Charles Pan, Foxconn
Charles Pan, special assistant to the chairman of Taiwan-based manufacturer Foxconn, is also its chief investment director, covering all areas outside health, which is led by Francis Chen.
It is a privileged position Pan has held at Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai) since 2012, but one to which he brings advanced skills as effective head of its global investment and mergers and acquisitions team.
His previous role was starting and running France Telecom’s Greater China corporate development team for four years as managing director of Orange Capital and so managing dollar and RMB venture funds. Earlier, he spent a year as chief financial officer at eDynamics after seven years as a venture investor for ID SoftCapital and Crimson Investment.
His LinkedIn profile identifies more than $2bn of financings executed, three investment franchises established and more than $400m of VC and private equity funds raised.
At Foxconn he has led investments in Migme, where he is also an executive board member, and Company A, and formed an incubator in Beijing for wearable devices. Others included Best Logistics, a warehousing and delivery services provider for the e-commerce sector in its earlier days.
But Foxconn has been expanding into strategic investing rapidly. In February, Foxconn said it would pay $600m for a 54.5% stake in investment fund SoftBank Asia Capital, currently wholly-owned by Japan-based telecoms firm SoftBank. The transaction will turn SoftBank Asia Capital into a joint venture, with Foxconn taking over management of the fund.
The two corporates previously partnered when Foxconn committed cash to the $100bn SoftBank Vision Fund in January.
Working with smart peers has been a sensible strategy for Foxconn. In Europe and Israel, Foxconn has tended to invest through Ginko Ventures, and last year China-based venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures raised about RMB4.5bn ($675m) for two funds with Foxconn among the investors.
Foxconn was the anchor investor in a $300m dollar-denominated fund, which Sinovation closed alongside a $375m renminbi-denominated fund. It plans to target artificial intelligence, enterprise software and entertainment production companies with both funds.
Sinovation is the VC firm formerly known as Innovation Works. Kai-Fu Lee, its co-founder, said: “We have always worked closely with Foxconn.”
Foxconn has being investing more directly too. Last month, Katerra, a US-based design and construction software developer backed by contract manufacturer Foxconn, emerged from stealth having raised $130m at a valuation of more than $1bn.
The same month, France-based internet-of-things technology provider Actility secured $75m in a series D round that featured a range of corporate investors including Foxconn and Orange through its Orange Digital Ventures unit.
Foxconn has also invested $120m in China-based ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing at a $33.7bn valuation.
Foxconn’s other large deals include Mobike, whose backers also include internet company Tencent, in a $300m round this year, CloudMinds, a China-based cloud-based artificial intelligence technology developer also backed by telecoms group SoftBank, in a $100m series A round, and Face Plus Plus, a China-based facial recognition technology producer, which secured $100m in series C funding from investors including a reported $20m from Foxconn.
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