U.S. Innovation, Chinese Start-Up Money and Death by China Mix at UC Irvine

UC Irvine Economics Professor Peter Navarro famously authored with Greg Autry the book Death by China, which argues the People's Republic's “ruthless and corrupt” Communist government threatens global economic stability. (Navarro also appears prominently in the recent documentary based on and with the same title as his book that R. Scott Moxley previewed when it screened nearby.)

So, it's interesting to learn that not too far from Navarro's Paul Merage School of Business office will be a campus event this weekend aimed at merrying American innovation with Chinese money.

Saturday's SoCal Innovation Forum in UCI's Calit2 building at Los Trancos Drive and East Peltason. Organizers say it will bring together the creators of Southern California start-ups, entrepreneurs from the Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach (the three-mile tech region between Santa Monica and Venice) and Chinese capitalists.

Scheduled speakers include: Galen Buckwalter, the eHarmony founder whose new start-up TidePool is “gamifying” personality analyses; Anthony Chang, the medical director with Children's Hospital of Orange County's Children's Heart Institute; Ray Chan, co-founder of start-up entrepreneurial firm K5Launch; Alfred Chu, a partner in IPV Capital, which helps fund start-up tech companies in China; and Roy Kong, founding partner with TEEC Angel Fund, which Tsinghua University of Beijing grads started “to back the world's star companies of today and tomorrow” as well as founder and secretary general of the U.S.-China Association
of High-level Professionals.

The forum takes place from 9:30 a.m. through 4 p.m., with different speakers, panels and a lunch held during those hours. (Online registration is $20, or $15 less than the fee at the door; visit http://socalinno.eventbrite.com/.)

For an hour beginning at 4 p.m., business plan pitches can be made to a team of judges for the “TEEC Startup Contest” semifinal. According to organizers:

TEEC Startup Contest targets entrepreneurs in U.S. and helps them to expand business in U.S. and China. By soliciting start-up projects, expert judging, mentor programs and eventual funding, the contest hopes to inspire entrepreneurial spirit, lead technology innovation, invest in promising projects and further develop the global market.

Among the judges is Xiaoping Xu of the Zhen Fund, which invests early seed money to companies that primarily start up on the Chinese mainland. Xiaoping Xu was among the Chinese business leaders who signed a joint letter in September condemning Citron Research (formerly StockLemon.com) and its creator Andrew Left, a Detroit-born editor, author and activist short seller. Left has a reputation for researching and short selling companies he believes are engaged in fraud, have been suspiciously promoted or are wildly over-valued.

The letter from the Chinese businessmen states that Left “has a long record of fraud, deceit and unlawful behavior,” and what set them off to point this out and create a website targeting Citron is an unflattering analysis the short seller did on Chinese tech company QIHU getting into the search-engine game. Re-stating previous problems Citron has with the company also known as Qihoo (“corporate reputation, management track record, and business ethics;
most of all its soiled reputation in the Chinese Internet business community”), the researchers say what the move indicates to them is dominance in the Chinese Internet is still up for grabs and a better place to invest is smaller competitor SOHU. 

Wonder what these fellows think of Professor Navarro? In a previous book, The Coming China Wars, he wrote Chinese entrepreneurs and manufacturers have “cold, black, godless hearts.”

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