The Top 25: #3 Haiyang Yu, Tencent Investment

Since 2011, Haiyang “Chris” Yu has been an executive director at Tencent Investment, China-headquartered internet group Tencent’s corporate venturing department with a $10bn fund. Perhaps influenced by his interest in reading books, playing video games and pursuing sports, he oversees investments in social media, education, real estate, tourism, video games and pan-entertainment fields.

Jeffrey Li, co-managing partner at Tencent Investment, praised Yu’s “extraordinary work in the digital content space, specifically game-streaming platforms, social media and education”.

Yu gave two examples to illustrate his success. He said: “One is China-based short video-streaming social media app Kuaishou. When I first became involved with the investment in March 2017, we led a $275m funding round after which it was valued at $2.75bn. Subsequent to the most recent $1bn funding round [led by Tencent in January 2018], Kuaishou was valued at $18bn and there are now more than a 100 million daily users who share and view videos on this platform. On average, each daily active user spends more than 60 minutes on the app.

“Another example is game-streaming platform Douyu. When I first led the investment in March 2016, we invested $61.5m, after which the company was valued at $288m. The most recent round in March 2018 was approximately $632m and the company was valued at $1.5bn. Currently, there are a few thousand users who broadcast their gaming experience on the platform. With more than 10 million viewers, each daily active user views more than 90 minutes a day on average.”

In July last year, Douyu planned to raise between $600m and $700m in a US-based initial public offering.

Yu wants to focus on investing in the long-term value creation and helping parent company Tencent grow. “A startup is like a living organism,” he said. “When the environment changes or matures, new species will appear. How to maintain a keen sense of environmental change, find good startups and use capital to boost their growth requires constant practice.

“I believe that on a platform like Tencent, I can do deals with enough influence, allow industries to develop, improve people’s lives and make a better world.

“If we can understand better how corporate investments can help the company grow, the investment team will position itself better in the company’s long-term development. It can also establish a more effective organisational structure, decision-making and the incentive mechanism that will help attract more talent to join the strategic investment team, and the road will become wider and the future will become better.”

Before joining Tencent, Yu had four years of early-stage investment and analysis experience at venture capital firms China Growth Capital and WI Harper. He has a civil engineering degree from Tsinghua University.