The Chinese tech ecosystem has become a mirror world to the West tech world, innovating in divergent and parallel ways to their counterparts. English information on the state of Chinese tech is limited and refracted through narratives that do not deliver reality. This newsletter wants better for its readers.

Why you should become a subscriber

  • You get deeper (and more accurate) insights into what’s happening in one of the most (if not the most) exciting tech scene in the world

  • You get my unique perspective as:

    • A westerner who has a Chinese lens or a Chinese that has a western lens

    • A VC and growth investor with 5+ years of SaaS and consumer tech investment experience

    • A management consultant who spent time making slides, I mean, extracting, structuring and presenting insights

  • This will make you more informed and a better investor / product manager / tech aficionado

What you get as a subscriber

Why become a paying member

  • Monthly ~20 pages deep-dives with qualitative and quantitative research on a company or theme (So far Kuaishou, Youzan and Bilibili). I aim to provide strategic insights into chosen topics and do not give price guidance or buy or sell recommendations.

  • On the ground insider info and interactive interviews with leading tech companies (e.g. Pinduoduo)

  • Video bank of product walkthroughs with commentary and context - you get to see and understand the Chinese Metaverse (e.g. Bilibili, Pinduoduo, Meituan and counting). (Available to annual members instantly and to tenured monthly members after a month)

  • English translations of insightful Chinese articles on tech culture and practices (So far culture of Alibaba and Bytedance)

  • Select community of public and private investors, product managers and curious folks on the Chinese Characteristics Circle platform. This community will be capped at 300 folks

    How do I get in?

About me

I was born in China but left for the UK when I was 8. I returned to China in August 2020 to explore this world. As a sea turtle (slang for a Chinese overseas returnee) with a background in venture capital (Salesforce Ventures, Eight Roads Ventures) and management consulting across the US and Europe. I explore the design philosophies, business strategies and product idiosyncrasies of the Chinese tech ecosystem from a western tech and venture lens. I have a MSc in International Development from LSE with a focus on Chinese governance, and a BA in Economics from the University of Cambridge.

I’ve been featured in FT, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Le Monde, Axios, BBC Radio 4, Sifted, Protocol and Pandaily recently. If you want to hear what I sound like, here’s me on Sinica and Acquired. I’m on Twitter @lillianmli and can be reached at lillianli(at)substack.com.

I am grateful to receive high volumes of Zoom coffee requests from readers, your support and interest mean the world to me. Ideally, I would like to take every one of them, but I can not. If you would like to set up a call, please specify clearly what you’re hoping to achieve and why a conversation with me would be interesting.

Thanks for understanding!