Chinese government launches $14.6bn internet fund

The China Internet Investment Fund has already raised a third of its target from state-owned banks and enterprises, according to Xinhua news report.

China’s Ministry of Finance in partnership with the Cyberspace Administration of China have launched a 100 billion yuan ($14.6 billion; €13.5 billion) internet investment fund in Beijing.

The China Internet Investment Fund, which will provide financing for Chinese internet companies, will be administered by the Cyberspace Administration of China – the state agency that regulates and implements rules on internet usage – and the Ministry of Finance, according to a report by Xinhua, China’s official press agency.

The state fund has already raised a third of its target from state-owned banks and enterprises including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Unicom and China Mobile. ICBC, which is one of the largest investors in the fund, invested 10 billion yuan as per the news report. Additionally, 150 billion yuan of credit lines were offered by the Agricultural Bank of China, China Development Bank and the ICBC, Xinhua reported.

Through the fund, the Chinese government hopes to capitalise on China’s growing e-commerce market as well as 'internet plus' strategy, which refers to the application of internet and information technology innovations in conventional businesses such as manufacturing, energy and agriculture.

China’s internet population reached 731 million in 2016 with 95 percent of users or 695 million accessing the internet through mobile devices, the China Internet Network Information Center reported.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology also said earlier this month they would invest 1.2 trillion yuan in the next three years to develop information infrastructure. By 2018, China aims to develop a total of 90,000 km of high speed fibre optic networks to all urban areas and 90 percent of the countryside, add 2 million 4G base station to 75 percent of its population, and support research for 5G technology.