Cheng, the executive vice chairman of Hong Kong’s New World Development Group and self-confessed “cultural entrepreneur”, is looking to tap China’s BAT Generation – an acronym for Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, China’s three mega online companies.
According to Cheng, BATers account for 65% of Chinese online shoppers, and by the year 2020 they will represent 53% of all Chinese consumers.
“The BAT generation numbers 427 million people, that’s larger than the workforce of the United States and the European Union, combined,” said Cheng, to media.
“C Ventures isn’t simply an investment fund or a venture capital. What I am building is a cultural ecosystem that connects coteries from fashion, media and creative platforms globally, and allowing them to collide, cross-pollinate and grow.”
The fund has no set investment limit or cap on the amount of capital raised, according to the statement.
Millennials are Cheng’s diamond prize, which is smart considering Chinese millennials and Gen Zs make up more than one third of China’s population (427 million Chinese millennials and an additional 235 million from Gen-Z), according to Forbes.
C Ventures already has investments in Millennial-mad brands such as Dazed Media’s Nowness and Not Just a Label, a website that generates projects and jobs for breaking designers. And then there’s Armarium, the luxury ready-to-wear rental company; luxury jewellery rental service Flont; art auction site Paddle 8; teen platform Galore; fitness and music e-tailer Bandier and gaming business SkyBound.
Though tight lipped on C Ventures next venture, Cheng admitted five more significant investments are slated for this Autumn.
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The entrepreneur is a scion of one of Hong Kong’s wealthiest families whose empire includes Rosewood, which manages the Crillon and the Carlyle in New York, part of a chain of some 35 hotels.
In 2015, Cheng was named heir apparent of his family’s business empire, which was founded in 1929 by his grandfather Cheng Yu-tung. The portfolio includes Chow Tai Fook, the world’s largest jewellery boutique chain and New World Development, with a market capitalisation of over HK$80 billion.
The Cheng family ranked No. 3 on the 2017 Forbes Hong Kong Rich List.