SHANGHAI, China, September 29, 2007. – WiFi infrastructure and web-based video are among the areas flush with business opportunity for those seeking to capitalise on China’s booming economy. This was among the bits of advice that Jamaican-born venture capitalist Lloyd A Carney, who blazed a trail in the IT industry for years and then formed Carney Global Ventures, gave members and friends of the Caribbean Association in China (CAC) tonight during a presentation on “Career Development and Start-Up Business”.
Carney, and his Haitian-born wife Carole, hosted a dinner for the group at Casa 13 Mediterranean Restaurant near the upscale French Concession area.
Carney Global Ventures, LLC is an early-round global venture fund. Before he founded the US-based company, Lloyd Carney was Chairman and CEO of Micromuse, an IT and telecom infrastructure management tools provider, before IBM bought it for US$800 million in 2006.
With an educational background in electrical engineering, he has been doing business in China for the last 20 years. He is convinced that Shanghai, a bustling metropolis of about 20 million, is the perfect location from which to take advantage of the opportunities that spring up as China steadily increases its wealth and global reach.
“There has been more wealth created in China in the last five years than at any other place anywhere in history. Shanghai is ground zero,” Carney told the group. Within the audience were people with roots in Jamaica, Grenada, South Africa, Uganda, Bahamas, St Lucia, Suriname, UK, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, USA, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Peru.
Carney, who was laughed at during a college class when he said his plan was to be the director of an engineering company within five years, reached his goal with one year to spare. He used this example to drive home one of his main points to the group: Have a long-term plan, and know that it will change every now and then.
“To be successful without sacrifice is like playing the lottery. The chances are slim to none,” he said. “You don’t want to live your life like you’re playing the lottery. You have to have a plan.”
His two other main points were:
- The Zen phrase ‘learn to be contented’, which provides the foundation to pursue wealth for the right reasons.
- The Andrew Carnegie mantra ‘to die rich is a disgrace’, which has spurred him to support orphanages in South Africa; efforts to rebuild an operating theatre at the Black River Hospital in St Elizabeth, Jamaica; and the Boys and Girls Club in the U.S. among other needy causes.
The key to being able to take advantage of China’s booming economy, he said, is to figure out how to help China meet its goals.
“If you can help China ‘win’, you can make a lot of money just by getting a little piece of a contract,” he said. “What are you exposed to that will help you take advantage of China’s rising tide? It lifts all ships; you just have to be there.”
With foreign exchange reserves of US$1.9 trillion and double-digit GDP growth in the first half of this year, China’s economy is booming. There are fears, however, that the economy is overheating and that excess liquidity has created bubbles in the asset markets. Rising food prices pushed the consumer price index to 6.5 percent year-on-year in August – the highest monthly rate in 10 years. In response, the government has been vigorously taking steps to cool the economy and rein in inflation.
Despite concerns about the runaway economy and how long it will last, Carney believes China offers tremendous opportunities in areas such as virtualization, which provides easy storage of large documents on PCs and lessens the load on the IT infrastructure.He cautioned, however, that a venture capitalist has to be prepared to invest substantial time and money in a project, have a solid business plan, and find the right team. Even with all these elements, he said, one must be prepared for the possibility of failure because only one in 10 projects succeed. Those that make it only realise a profit after five to six years. The good news, however, is that profit is usually about 23 percent, Carney said.
About Lloyd Carney:
Lloyd Carney is the former Chairman and CEO of Micromuse, a Nasdaq publicly traded company. Micromuse was an IT and telecom infrastructure management tools provider before acquisition by IBM in February 2006 for $800M. He was General Manager of the Netcool division for IBM during the Micromuse/IBM transition. Mr. Carney currently serves as Chairman and CEO of Carney Global Ventures, LLC which is an early round global venture fund.
Prior to Micromuse, Mr. Carney was COO at Juniper Networks, where he oversaw the sales, marketing, engineering, manufacturing, and customer service organizations. He also served as Executive Vice President at Juniper, overseeing all Engineering, Product Management and Manufacturing functions. During his time at Nortel Networks, he was the President of three divisions: the Core IP Division, the Wireless Internet Division, and the Enterprise Data Division. Mr. Carney has a Masters Degree in Applied Business Management from Lesley College, Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering Technology, and an Associates Degree in Electrical Engineering from Wentworth Institute.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors at Cypress Semiconductor Corp., BigBand Networks, and the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula.
About the Caribbean Association in China (CAC):
The CAC was started on April 1, 2007 by a group of eleven regional nationals living in China who felt the time had come to establish a Caribbean network and to build an awareness of the Caribbean region in China. The Association works closely with, but independently of, Caribbean countries’ Embassies in Beijing to promote and foster the Sino-Caribbean relationship, provide a support network for our nationals here, as well as engage in charitable work aimed at benefiting the needy in China and the Caribbean.