Venture Capital Institutions and Venture Capitalists’ Investment Activities: An Empirical Study on China
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This thesis explores institutions under which venture capital investment operates in China and whether and how these institutions affect venture capitalists’ (VCs) investment preferences, ex-ante project screening strategies, and ex-post monitoring activities in China. Based on an analysis of about 50 unstructured and semi-structured interviews and an examination of more than 800 venture capital backed deals, this study finds that regulations on corporate governance impact VCs’ investment activities in China. Due to regulatory restrictions, most foreign venture capital firms are structured under limited partnerships, whereas all domestic venture capital firms (VCFs) are structured as limited companies in China. The difference in corporate governance of VCFs heavily affects VCs’ investment strategies in China. VCFs under limited partnerships show more risktaking capability than those structured as limited companies by investing more in younger projects with higher R&D intensity. Associated with the difference in investment preferences, VCFs under limited partnerships employ stage financing more frequently than those structured as limited companies do. At the same time, the stage financing strategies deployed by VCFs under limited partnerships are closely related to agency problems and transaction uncertainties. The more serious agency problems are the more intensive stage financing will be. However, VCFs structured as limited companies rarely employ stage financing and there is no visible pattern shown in their stage financing arrangements. Finally, similar to the practices in developed countries, VCs in China also take human capital factors as the utmost important criteria. However, they are more demanding in project screening by imposing additional criteria. Further, VCFs under limited partnerships are more demanding and more sensitive to market growth rate and financial returns, and more concerned about public policies. These results may be explained by the weak regulatory institutions in China and the incentives provided by different governance structures. VCFs structured as limited companies are organized hierarchically. Their incentive structure is designed to discourage risk taking and responsibilities. VCFs under limited partnership are more independent in governance that their incentive structures are designed to encourage risk taking and responsibilities.