Patrick McGovern recalls when people told him he was crazy to invest in China. That was back in 1993, when International Data Group set up IDG Venture Investment Fund. But he knew something they didn't grasp at first--through its technology, media and research business, IDG had an up-close look at which promising startups might turn into tomorrow's winners.
Since then there's been a gold rush to China, no doubt spurred by the handsome gains that IDG made from early calls. Besides a score on Tencent, IDG sold its holdings in search engine Baidu for $100 a share after buying them for $2.
IDG Ventures has since expanded to Vietnam (2004, with $100 million), India (2006, $150 million) and Korea (2007, $100 million). Says Henry Nguyen (see photo with Silicon Dragon author), IDG's Vietnam chief: "We are trying to replicate what we did in China and do what countries like Korea and Japan have in tech, media and telecom. We are obviously very bullish on Vietnam. It's a matter of using our collective experience across our funds."
Worldwide, IDG manages $3.6 billion in funds--$1 billion of that the firm's money and the remainder from outside investors--and has invested in 240 companies. The Asian deals have generated returns twice as high as those from its U.S. portfolio.
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