Alibaba to establish $318m Taiwan startup fund

​Alibaba Group plans to launch a NT$10 billion ($318 million) not-for-profit venture capital fund aimed at supporting startups and young entrepreneurs in Taiwan.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

Alibaba Group is planning to launch its second venture capital fund for startups -- this one for entrepreneurs in Taiwan -- in the second half of the year.

The Chinese e-commerce juggernaut announced on March 2 that it intends to set up the NT$10 billion ($318 million) not-for-profit fund to provide capital for young entrepreneurs from the island state in order to help them build their businesses.

Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma said that he hopes the proposed fund would not only help Taiwan-based entrepreneurs build their businesses, but also inspire others to do the same.

"I have been impressed by the young people in Taiwan, because they are well educated, innovative, and hard working," said Ma in a statement. "By encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit among Taiwan's young people, we hope to spur similar efforts by others to enable the younger generation to unleash their potential and realize their dreams."

The proposed fund comes just a month after the company announced its plans to pump HK$1 billion ($129 million) into a not-for-profit foundation aimed at boosting entrepreneurship among Hong Kong's younger population.

As with the company's Hong Kong entrepreneurs' foundation, the plan behind the Taiwan fund will also see young entrepreneurs leverage resources within Alibaba Group's e-commerce ecosystem, including Taobao Marketplace's Taiwan and Hong Kong shopping website.

Also like the Hong Kong foundation program, professional investment teams will select and fund promising businesses started by young entrepreneurs in the region, while profits generated from the Taiwan fund's investments will be reinvested in new businesses.

Alibaba said it has been partnering with small and medium-sized enterprises from Taiwan since 2008, with the company taking on recruits from Taiwan universities from last year.

While the program is expected to be launched in the second half of this year, Alibaba said its establishment remains subject to regulatory requirements and the local authorities' approval.

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