Zhang Lei, chairman and chief executive officer of Hillhouse Capital Management. (Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

China's Tech Boom Fueling `Reverse Brain Drain,' Hillhouse Says

(Bloomberg) -- The technology-led transformation sweeping through China has inspired its scientists to come back in droves, Hillhouse Capital Management Ltd. Chairman Zhang Lei said at the New Economy Forum sponsored by Bloomberg.

“Look at how many scientists are coming back to China,” said Zhang, who founded Hillhouse with money from a Yale University endowment. The fund, which backed Chinese e-commerce giants Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., raised more than $10 billion for its third and largest buyout fund in September.

China's Tech Boom Fueling `Reverse Brain Drain,' Hillhouse Says

Zhang has been on the prowl for opportunities in health care, consumer, technology and services industries. The firm is also said to be seeking to raise billions of dollars to invest in beaten-down Chinese stocks after this year’s market rout. He said that in China and Asia, innovation isn’t beholden to traditional ways of doing business and building products. On the same panel, Grab co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Tan cited the rise of “super apps” in China and Southeast Asia that can handle payments, deliveries and ride-hailing within a single smartphone application.

“Innovation is also going beyond the digital revolution,” Zhang said. “You can walk away without your wallet and I think that actually inspires a completely different set of companies born in that digital, savvy and mobile-native environment.”

The New Economy Forum is being organized by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

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