China firm raising Bitcoin “PE” fund

China’s Bitcoin fever seems to have sparked a fundraising.

A Chinese firm has made a call for investors in what it says is an RMB private equity fund targeting investment in Bitcoin, the e-currency, according to an advertisement on a mainland Bitcoin trading website.

The virtual currency has been catching fire in China after a recent CCTV news report said Canada has set up the first Bitcoin ATM machine (which actually did open in Vancouver last month).

The firm, Online Network, describes the fund as a limited partnership that is targeting 100,000 RMB (€12,000; $16,400).

The expected annual rate of return is “-30 percent to 300 percent” and a telephone number is provided for potential LPs. 

The ad may not be up long. Regulations in China prohibit internet solicitation for investors in a private equity fund and previously such ads have been removed by the web hosting firm.

It is not known if Online Network is an officially registered private equity fund. In the past, the “private equity” label has been freely applied in China because it is perceived as providing legitimacy to any investor pitch.

The term “private equity” gained cache a few years ago when the RMB fundraising climate was strong, said James Wang, partner at Han Kun Law in Beijing, in a previous interview. Back then, China’s local governments were encouraging funds to be registered in their jurisdiction, and that suggested to unsophisticated investors that private equity funds were endorsed by the local government.