Google Capital makes first Chinese investment

Google Capital has made its first investment in China, backing a $38 million Series C investment in Chinese cloud computing optical transceiver company InnoLight Technology Corporation.

Google Capital, in partnership with Lightspeed China Partners, has backed a $38 million Series C funding round for Chinese high-speed optical transceiver supplier InnoLight Technology Corporation.

The backing marks the first investment foray into China for Google's venture capital business, and its second in the greater Asian market.

The Suzhou-based company began life as a startup in 2008, according to its website, and has since built up a distribution partner network that extends as far afield as Japan, North America, Europe, Korea, and Russia, with company offices in the United States and Taiwan.

InnoLight chief executive officer Dr Sheng Liu said that the company would use the new capital to ramp up its production capacity in order to tap into the burgeoning cloud storage industry and become a world-class optical component company.

"InnoLight has experienced dramatic growth during the last three years, nearly doubling revenue every year," said Liu. "We are now a leader in 40Gbps optical transceivers and a first mover in 100Gbps solutions.

"With the Series C investment, we will continue to strengthen our technology leadership and expand productive capacity to support the rapid growth of the cloud computing industry," he said.

Google Capital general partner Gene Frantz said the company had its eye on the potential that InnoLight's technology could have in the datacentre infrastructure industry — in which the internet giant is investing heavily as it builds its global cloud services offering.

"InnoLight's technology is uniquely suited for next-generation datacentre environments, and its vision and execution have been excellent," said Frantz. "As Google Capital's second investment in Asia and first in China, InnoLight illustrates the kind of company and management team we seek to support."

Google Capital has already put together a "disruptive" investment portfolio since its creation in 2013, including Survey Monkey, MapR, and Freshdesk, according to its website.

James Mi, managing director of Lightspeed China Partners, the Chinese arm of the California-headquartered venture capital firm, said that InnoLight has "industry-leading technologies and products to address new-generation datacentre needs, driven by the fast growth of cloud computing".

The deal follows moves by the Chinese government to limit its citizens' access to Google through internet restrictions, with Beijing making Google's services largely inaccessible, according to The New York Times, in the lead up to the 25th anniversary of the Chinese Army's crackdown of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Just this week, reports emerged that Instagram had been blocked across mainland China following clashes between riot police and pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong over the weekend.

In 2009, China also blocked Facebook and Twitter, only easing back its domestic restrictions to the social networking sites in late 2013.