Silicon Valley Bank

Silicon Valley Bank collapse hurts Chinese startups

Aron Chen

posted on March 14, 2023 10:10 pm

The repercussions from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank has negative impact on Chinese companies, particularly those funded in U.S. dollars.

While most banks and tech companies in China have refrained from publicly commenting on the collapse, it has alarmed the nation's start-ups and venture capitalists.

It still remains unknown how many China-based startups had SVB accounts, but some Chinese companies have already revealed their exposure to SVB.

As of the end of December, according to Shanghai-based biotech business Zai Lab, 2.3% of its nearly $1.01 billion in cash and cash equivalents were kept with SVB.

MoSeeker's founder, Wang Xiangdao, said the business had some assets in SVB, but not enough to "impact operations."

Less than 1% of another biotech company's cash was in SVB, according to Everest Pharmaceuticals, which also stated that it anticipates recovering most of its bank accounts through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation of the United States.

Several businesses disclosed that SVB had already reopened access to their accounts. In a filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Andon Health stated that its deposits in SVB were entirely available on Tuesday.

No Chinese tech or venture capital business has so far openly acknowledged losing money as a result of SVB's bankruptcy.

Selfie app Meitu said it hasn't had a bank account at SVB since 2020.

“We issued this statement to avoid any possible public misunderstanding," Meitu said in a statement.

Also denying any deposits or commercial contacts with SVB were Ascletis Pharma, MicroPort NeuroTech, Antengene Corp, and Suzhou Basecare Medical Company.

There were also rumor circulated online that Chinese on-demand local services giant Meituan held roughly US$60 million deposit at SVB, but the company shortly denied the report by saying “We currently has no deposits at SVB.

In the meantime, the joint venture between Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and SVB said in a statement it has an independent balance sheet.

SVB offered a networking chances in the US for startups, making it a good option for some start-ups, venture capitalists, and private equity firms to access the American capital market.

“The SVB collapse is "an extinction level event" for new businesses and will "put start-ups and innovation back by 10 years or more, said Garry Tan, the CEO of Y Combinator, in a twitter post on Saturday.

Chinese start-ups and fund managers said that as soon as they can, they will remove their money from SVB. A few Chinese lenders, like China Merchants Bank and the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, are scrambling to fill the funding gap left by SVB .

SVB was shut down by US regulators on Friday, making it the second-largest banking collapse in the history of the country. Supporting tech companies, including those from China, was the foundation on which Silicon Valley Bank developed its business

According to a press release, SVB had around $209 billion in total assets and $175 billion in total deposits as of the end of December.