Author:China Daily

Asia Weekly: Crowdfunding: How it works

Platforms help creators raise funds while giving small investors a wide range of opportunities Crowdfunding uses the power of large groups to generate capital for specific projects. The range of projects is limited only to the imagination of those who create them and the policies of...

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The global crowd-funding industry

    Crowd-funding started 15 years ago, when fans of the British rock band Marillion donated$60,000 on the Internet to finance the group's concert tour of the United States. Kickstarter, founded in 2009 in the US, is a leading crowd-funding platform. Kickstarter haslaunched 45,000 projects, involving 4.5 million investors and raised more than $700 million. Inthe past year, crowd-funding platforms such as Indiegogo, Crowdfunder, and Pozible havemushroomed in the US, the United Kingdom and Australia. Not all crowd-funding projects are successful. That's the risk for small investors. The Universityof Pennsylvania analyzed 48,000 crowd-funding projects. Only 25 percent were completedwithin the specified timeframe. Approximately 600 crowd-funding platforms worldwide, are expected to raise $5.1 billion in2013, representing an increase of 81 percent over the $2.7 billion raised last year, accordingto the Los Angeles-based crowd-funding research firm Massolution. In 2009, crowd-fundingraised just $530 million. Of the $2.7 billion raised in 2012 from crowd-funding sites, more than half, $1.6 billion, camefrom sites based in North America and another $950 million, from Europe, the Massolutionreport says. Crowd-funding platforms in Asia contributed only $33 million, accounting for littlemore than 1 percent of the total raised, according to the study. In Asia, crowd-funding experiences relatively less popularity due to the specific business culturein the region. The reliance on guanxi business culture in Asia makes corporations less willing toraise funds just through online platforms. The lack of a well-defined regulatory regime in the Asian crowd-funding industry also explainsthe retarded development of the industry in the region. Crowd regulations Colony 88's Co-founder Jono Lilley believes financial regulatory authorities in the Asian nations"should develop clear, secure and effective industry-wide regulation sooner rather than later toregulate the equity crowd-funding industry. Currently there is no specific legislation in Asia thatexplicitly regulates the parameters of equity crowd-funding." Compared to Asia, the US Congress passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act in Aprillast year, allowing crowd-funding platforms to obtain licenses from the US Securities andExchange Commission. Small firms can conduct equity crowd-funding and sell the companystake to raise funds, through the licensed crowd-funding platforms. The Act also strengthenscontrol over crowd-funding to protect amateur investors....

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