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The Most Powerful American at Tencent Targets Silicon Valley

Behind the doors of a converted church in Palo Alto lies the unlikely lair of one of the most influential Chinese tech investors in America. David Wallerstein, an avid rock guitarist in his spare time, leads the overseas investment team for Tencent, Asia’s most valuable company, in its quest for emerging technology.

His job is to bridge the cultural and language gap between the massive Chinese internet developer and Silicon Valley startups. The role reverses what he did two decades ago bringing foreign investment into China. Most famously, he played a key part in South African media firm Naspers’ 2001 investment in then-obscure Tencent. That $34 million stake is today worth $88 billion.

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A year after that first meeting with Mr. Ma, Mr. Wallerstein became the sixth member of Tencent’s executive team. He was the first person from outside the founding group of five tightknit high school and college friends to land on the board.

Mike Dudas commented on this article.
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