Sequoia Capital’s China unit is said to be drawing up plans to expand into Singapore, Financial Times reported on Sunday.

HongShan, the Chinese arm of the US venture capital giant, has set up an office in the city-state and is working on plans to use it as a base for investing in Southeast Asia, multiple people with knowledge of the situation said, according to FT.

HongShan is “meeting lots of private capital investors and talking about doing deals and other opportunities here”, a director at a rival venture capital fund in Singapore told the FT. “[They] have asked to keep [it] quiet for now . . . There are sensitivities involved with Peak XV.”

HongShan currently manages $56 billion in assets. Peak XV Partners, Sequoia’s India and Southeast Asia business, already has an office in Singapore. The China unit, which is managed by renowned investor Neil Shen, who led early investments in Alibaba and TikTok owner ByteDance, has told people in Singapore meetings that it would initially look to support its existing Chinese founders who had international businesses in Singapore, the report added. However, it also expressed interest in investing in start-ups.

According to the report, one person who had spoken to HongShan executives in Singapore said it could tap into growing demand from Chinese founders to set up operations there and rebrand themselves as Singapore-based, a move that has been dubbed “Singapore-washing”. The city-state’s neutrality is appealing as the US steps up its scrutiny of outbound capital to China, the reported added.

HongShan told the FT it had a “strong foundation of trust” with PeakXV and there would be opportunities for both teams to collaborate. “HongShan’s focus continues to be partnering with Chinese founders and supporting them on their globalisation journeys,” it said.

Peak XV, on the other hand, said: “The opportunities for collaboration [with HongShan] are far greater than the scope for competition.”

Sequoia said last month it plans to split off its Chinese and Indian/Southeast Asian businesses into two independent firms, as it tries to better navigate economic and geopolitical challenges, Reuters reported.

The split, which will see the two new firms adopt their own brands, will occur by March 31, 2024, Sequoia said then, in a statement signed by managing partner Roelof Botha, China head Neil Shen, and India and Southeast Asia head Shailendra Singh.

Peak XV manages over $9.2 billion across 13 funds. It said in a statement last month that over the last 17 years, it has invested in over 400 startups, with 50+ companies valued at $1 billion and above. The portfolio has seen 19 initial public offerings (IPOs) and multiple successful merger and acquisitions (M&As) resulting in $4.5 billion of realized exits so far.

The investment team is led by 11 Managing Directors with an average tenure of over 12 years at the firm.

Peak XV said then it will continue to invest across stages (seed, venture, growth) and sectors like software as a service (SaaS), artificial intelligence (AI), developer tools, cyber security, cloud infrastructure, climate tech, fintech, healthtech and consumer.

Sequoia India & Southeast Asia rebrands as Peak XV Partners