Member access

4-Traders Homepage  >  News  >  Business Leaders  >  All news

Business Leaders

Latest NewsCompaniesMarketsEconomy & ForexCommoditiesHot NewsMost Read NewsRecomm.Business LeadersVideosCalendar 
HomeAll newsMost read newsBusiness Leaders Biography 
Mark Zuckerberg
Country of residence : USA
Birthday : 05/14/1984
Linked companies : Hewlett-Packard Company - Apple Credit Corp Ltd - Facebook Inc

Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Sees Opportunities in Asian Tech Growth

02/21/2013 | 02:25am US/Eastern
Recommend:
0

--Eduardo Saverin sees Asia as center of consumer-base growth and investment opportunities

--Saverin favors China for market size; Japan and South Korea for robust markets

--Saverin denies renouncing U.S. citizenship for tax-avoidance reasons

(Updates throughout with details and background.)

By Chun Han Wong and Juro Osawa

SINGAPORE--Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook Inc., doesn't expect to repeat the scale of success he had with the popular social network, but says Asia's rapidly expanding consumer market offers fertile ground for fresh innovation and investment.

"Asia, when you look at the Internet growth and mobile growth, is the center in terms of where the consumer base will be in the future," Mr. Saverin said at The Wall Street Journal's Unleashing Innovation conference in Singapore. "The exponential growth in mobile technology" in the region is creating investment opportunities, he said.

China is attractive for its sheer size, while Japan and South Korea offer "more developed, robust and monetizable" markets, said the Brazilian-born billionaire, who is assessing opportunities on a five to ten year investment horizon, particularly in start-ups focused on improving interactive consumer experience.

Mr. Saverin, who co-founded Facebook with chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and other Harvard students in 2004, also cited Asia's investment appeal as a major factor behind his relocation to Singapore and renouncing of his U.S. citizenship.

"Today, I'm an angel investor, [an] early-stage investor," he told the conference in Singapore. "My life is not about creating another Facebook; it's about making sure what I do is fulfilling."

Mr. Saverin, who hails from a wealthy Brazilian family, was squeezed out of Facebook about two years after its launch. After a series of dilution and sales of some of his shares, his stake fell to about 2% last year from about 34% originally, according to a person familiar with the matter.

After moving to Singapore in 2009, Mr. Saverin has become a celebrity in the city-state, followed closely by local fans and reporters. The Internet entrepreneur has put money into a number of start-ups, mainly back in the U.S., including Shopsavvy, a price-comparison mobile application; Qwiki, a multimedia video website; and Jumio, a mobile-payments start-up.

Mr. Saverin denied his move out of the U.S. was for tax avoidance reasons, saying it was a "personal decision that started...before even there was a distinct prospect of a Facebook IPO." He said money was not the issue. "I don't look at money as something I need," he said.

Singapore has tried to become an Internet-technology hub, with limited success. The entrepreneur himself hasn't spent much on local start-ups.

Nonetheless, Mr. Saverin praised Singapore for its strong schools and government backing for start-ups.

Mr. Saverin said he has no connections to Facebook beyond his investment, except, "My current startups all use Facebook."

He praised the company and his fellow co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

"Mark has done an incredible job and continues to," Mr. Saverin said. "Now its nine years old, I can't believe that nine years ago, no Facebook."

He looked back to the founding of Facebook, saying that the first time they knew they had a hit was when 85% of their Harvard class joined in the first month and colleges were on waiting lists to sign up.

At The Wall Street Journal's conference in Singapore, there was significant discussion about innovation in Asia compared to the United States. Mr. Saverin said there needs to be an appetite for risk-taking in Asia for the region to match what has been created in Silicon Valley.

Another factor is innovation itself. "You need to see success stories," he said. "Having that around you really helps to propel an ecosystem."

Mr. Saverin spends time mentoring entrepreneurs, saying he looks for people who are willing to "crawl glass" for their idea.

Write to Chun Han Wong at chunhan.wong@dowjones.com and Juro Osawa at juro.osawa@dowjones.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

Recommend :
0
React to this article
Latest news about Mark Zuckerberg 
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg
09/06 - Facebook Inc is prepared to spend billions of dollars to reach its goal of bringing the Internet to everyone on the planet, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday. "What we rea
Zuckerberg
09/05 - MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Facebook Inc is prepared to spend billions of dollars to reach its goal of bringing the Internet to everyone on the planet, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday.
CEOs Under 40 Are (Usually) Killing It
08/05 - Who says that old people are wiser? Just because you've lived longer than someone else doesn't mean you know more than they do. This isn't to say that younger people hold an equal amount of prestigious jobs compared to their older coun...
Talk to the Bot
07/27 - By Christopher Mims This month, with little fanfare, the most popular chat app among teens in the U.S. launched a feature that could be the future of advertising. Or, at the least, it marks the dawn of a new age in how brands engage. ...
Advertisement
Popular Business Leaders 
Paul Allen Mukesh Ambani Bernard Arnault Luc Besson Vincent Bolloré Martin Bouygues Richard Branson Warren Buffett Steve Case Benjamin De Rothschild Barry Diller Bill Gates Philip Green Carl Icahn Steve Jobs Li Ka-shing Peter Lynch Maurice Lévy Lakshmi Mittal Rupert Murdoch Jean-charles Naouri Xavier Niel Nelson Peltz Zong Qinghou Jim Rogers Johann Rupert Naguib Sawiris Carlos Slim George Soros Donald Trump
A-Z Business Leaders
Most Read News 
'Bond King' Bill Gross quits Pimco for Janus
6 days ago - NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bill Gross, the bond market's most renowned investor, quit Pimco for distant rival Janus Capital Grou...
EBay follows Icahn's advice, plans PayPal spinoff in 2015
2 days ago - (Reuters) - EBay Inc's agreement on Tuesday to spin off PayPal next year will give the unit more flexibility to strike dea...
Pimco staff 'frantic and sad' in wake of Bill Gross sudden exit
3 days ago - NEW YORK, Reuters - Shock and disbelief lingered at Pimco's sleek Newport Beach, California, headquarters on Monday, 72 ho...
How Bill Gross became too hot for Pimco to handle
6 days ago - NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bill Gross' abrupt departure from Pimco, the giant bond firm that he co-founded more than four decade...
Albertsons-Safeway outlines new operations, leadership
6 days ago - Once the merger of Safeway into Albertsons has been completed, the new company will operate with three regions and 14 reta...
More news
Dynamic quotes  
ON
| OFF