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Chinese Government’s Path into Silicon Valley

Westlake CEO Yi Zhao. Photo by Westlake.

This article is part of a series about the new cross-border investors wielding influence in Silicon Valley and China.

On the surface, Westlake Ventures looks like any other Silicon Valley venture capital fund. It’s housed inside a typically bland suburban office park in Redwood City, California, shared with a startup accelerator. Chirpy slogans about empowerment and innovation dot its website.

Few outsiders would know that Westlake is a Chinese government-affiliated venture capital fund, whose funding includes an undisclosed amount of funding from the government of Hangzhou. The fund—$66 million in total—was established two years ago by Yi Zhao, a 44-year-old Chinese venture capitalist who relocated to the Bay Area from Hangzhou. Mr. Zhao told The Information that Westlake’s goal is to find 30 U.S. startups to eventually register and open operations in Hangzhou, home to the Alibaba Group, in the next three years.

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