China is a growing country set to reach 1.5Bn inhabitants by 2030 but faces considerable challenges in feeding its population with diminishing arable land, a population that is urbanized, and the effects of climate change affecting the yearly output of a country seeking to be food secure. In fact, for the past couple of weeks, China has faced extreme heatwaves and droughts potentially affecting this year’s fall harvest, spiking concerns amongst the highest spheres of the Communist Party.
Facing increasing challenges, the government has decided for a number of years now to invest heavily in new technologies in Agriculture and in indoor farms/ controlled environment agriculture. This has given rise to companies such as SANANBIO, Pinduoduo, and Bright Food among the other companies as well as investment in Western companies such as Tencent’s participation in Future Crops Funding round, or DCM Ventures’ participation in Plenty’s® USD 200 million funding round.
Now, with the current tensions rising between China and the US added to the American program aimed at decreasing its reliance on Chinese Tech and Funding, Indoor Farming, Vertical farming, and other AgTech segments may find themselves in the midst of a Geopolitical war…
Chinese Investment in Agritech
The Hong Kong-based Vertical Farming company received investment from various investors including the Chinese government’s Hengqin Financial Investment or from the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund.
The Dutch- Israeli company, Future Crops has announced a successful funding round led by Chinese Tech Giant Tencent.
WI Harper Group is a venture capital firm that focuses on early and expansion investments in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Silicon Valley. In 2018, the company led a Series A Funding round in YesHealth Group as reported by Crunchbase.
What if The Most Important Threat to Western Indoor Farms Wasn’t Soaring Energy Prices Nor Transparency Issues But Geopolitical Tensions With China?
The question can be asked as China represents an important segment in the Indoor, Vertical and Urban farming sectors. The examples cited above represent a thin margin of all the companies working with Chinese Technology or having received Chinese-backed Venture Capital funds but they do represent the importance China is taking in the Indoor Farming sector and more globally in the Agtech sector.
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