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For US venture funds, next Jack Ma is outside China

Sudden drying up of investment threatens the next generation of tech startups

(Nikkei montage/Reuters)

HONG KONG -- From the earliest flourishing of China's startup ecosystem in the late 1990s, U.S. investors have played an important, if not pivotal, role in the country's emergence as a tech superpower.

One of the most famous of several consequential investments was the $3.3 million that Goldman Sachs put into a scrappy startup called Alibaba in 1999. Not only did the money help Jack Ma and his small team get started, it also conferred a status that helped with its media profile and in later financing rounds.

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