The China Project

An independent news & data provider that helps the world understand China better

Last Funded November 2023


raised from 52 investors


Doubled revenue from 2020 to 2021
Average subscription revenue growth of 55% the past 4 years
We have raised nearly $10M to date from leading venture capitalists and China-focused investors
China is more important to more companies, governments, and other decision makers than ever before

Our Team

Why does The China Project exist?

Our mission is to help the world understand China better.

More specifically, our goal is to help decision makers make sober and informed decisions regarding China. We want them to act based on deep expertise, contextual analysis, and rigorous fact-checking – free from the emotional baggage and limited knowledge that most of the mainstream media brings to a country that can be equally fascinating, enticing, and terrifying.

Through our database tools and news subscription products, we bring deep expertise and actionable insight to large organizations and individual readers around the world.

Who are our customers and audience members?

The China Project is read in embassies and board rooms around the world, and our conferences are attended by high-level decisions makers in many different industries.

Our corporate readers, subscribers, clients, and/or sponsors include:

  • Various departments and groups within the state department, foreign affairs ministries, and defense departments of all of the Five Eyes countries (U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, New Zealand)
  • Six of the largest investment banks in the world (JP Morgan, HSBC, UBS, Citi, Macquarie, Goldman Sachs)
  • All seven of the largest consulting firms in the world (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PWC)
  • All Ivy League universities (Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University)

Hear what some of them have to say:

What is our business model?

The China Project operates three diversified revenue streams. Currently, we derive about one third of our revenue from each of the below categories, but for reasons we'll discuss in a moment, subscription revenue is the focus for growth in the future.

  • Subscription products (news subscriptions, database licenses)
  • Conferences and events (corporate sponsors and ticket sales)
  • Business services (consulting marketplace / expert network, bespoke research and reports, advertising)

Subscription revenue is by far our most important strategic area of growth, although business services is also growing very quickly.

The reasons we focus more on subscription revenue are:

  • It is recurring — whereas conferences and service sales require a sales and delivery process for each invoice, subscriptions are automatically recurring
  • It is durable — our renewal rate for individuals is about 85% and our renewal rate for organizations (companies, universities, governments) is great than 95.
  • It is scalablewhereas events and services are "one in, one out," subscription products (news/media, databases) are almost perfectly scalable. Incremental revenue incurs almost no incremental cost.
  • It generates new leads for the other business lines. Once we have acquired new paying subscribers, especially large organizations, we establish our credibility and can begin to provide them with more valuable solutions.

Our Traction

The above business performance is based on solid operational performance across our digital distribution and audience channels:

  • 2M+ monthly audience across all channels
  • 235K monthly podcast listeners
  • 450K monthly newsletter sends
  • >60% open rate for email newsletters
  • 5K annual attendees at live + digital events

All of that being said, current or past growth isn't indicative of future growth.

What specific products or services does The China Project provide?

Subscription Products

Our subscription products fall into three categories:

  • ChinaAccess ($120 per year per person) is our standard news and media subscription. It includes all our archives, premium newsletters, and subscriber-only events.
  • ChinaEdge ($1,000 per year per person) is our proprietary research database package. It includes the ChinaEdge business intelligence database that tracks the ownership, executives, regulatory and sanctions statuses, recent news events, and other data points on nearly 2,000 Chinese companies. It also includes China Newsbase, our proprietary research tool encompassing more than 80,000 news articles, reports, social media posts, regulatory filings, and other digital records on all topics and themes related to China.
  • ChinaPro ($5,000-75,000 per year per company) includes all the product benefits of ChinaEdge and ChinaAccess but also provides tickets to both our flagship conferences, direct access to our analyst and consultant network, and bespoke research reports on demand.

All of the above products are sold to individuals and organizations, but ChinaEdge and ChinaPro are primarily sold to organizations and not individuals.

Conferences & Events

Every year, we host two flagship conferences:

  • NEXTChina is a two-day conference dedicated to understanding the future of key issues and trends in China and the impact they may have for people everywhere. (See this year's NEXTChina conference page.)
  • The China Women's Conference is a two-day event dedicated to acknowledging, promoting, and celebrating women leaders in U.S.-China business, finance, and philanthropy. (See this year's upcoming Women's Conference page. Or, see last year's Women's Conference page.)

We also host upwards of 20 smaller events in cities around the world, online webinars, and other one-off events, many of which are for paying subscribers only.

Click here to see our past events.

Why now? What is our market size, and what's the competitive landscape like?

China is more important to global decision makers than ever before, and its importance grows further by the day.

Our growth in sales to large organizations has been increasing rapidly but has been held back by our constrained resources in the areas of product development and in sales and marketing.

We believe that with the additional resources afforded by a successful Reg CF fundraise, we will be able to accelerate our sales growth and more quickly achieve profitability.

Furthermore, while we are among the most well-established China-focused news and information services companies in the space, new competitors are joining the space each year.

A competitor in our space just raised $14M from Sequoia Capital. Rather than viewing this as a threat, we view this as a strong validation signal that our end market is large enough to justify the backing of one of the most successful venture capital firms in the world, and that the time is now.

Aside from China-focused news and data companies, the entire digital media and data landscape is undergoing a transformation whereby niche platforms are building extremely profitable businesses centered around dedicated audiences. Most of these businesses are entirely focused on subscription revenue for dedicated professional audiences.

Examples of successful companies in this niche digital subscription space include:

  • The Information
  • Techcrunch
  • Crunchbase
  • Stat News
  • The Business of Fashion
  • Adweek
  • of course don't forget Substack, which is a platform based around thousands of niche paid subscriptions

Ultimately, it is difficult to accurately size our market — there are few direct competitors for what we offer, so it's not as simple as confirming how many tires are sold in the U.S. every year or something like that. We are creating a new category of news and information products — are we taking revenue away from existing news and information providers, or are we creating new revenue where there previously was none?

In any case, we feel strongly that the time is now, and the market is amply large:

  • China will never be less important than it is today — we are on a one-way road to China being more important every single day in the future.
  • Renowned VCs like Sequoia are pouring into the space.
  • Our own revenue growth is strong and interest in our products is growing.

Why us? Who works for The China Project?

We have assembled a multicultural, multidisciplinary team of China experts, media industry enthusiasts, and product management and engineering specialists.

The China Project team consists of dedicated China-focused experts whose only topic, day in and day out, is China. Where mainstream media platforms' attention for China comes and goes with the 24 hour news cycle, our attention never wanders.

Our editorial leadership comes from:

  • Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor in Chief who has built numerous China-focused media businesses and sold his last venture to London-based Financial Times
  • Kaiser Kuo, Editor at Large who founded the #1 China podcast, Sinica; founded China's first and most successful heavy metal band, Tang Dynasty; and was former Global Communications Lead for Baidu (the Google of China)

Our business leadership comes from:

  • Anla Cheng, our founder, former CEO, and current chairperson, who has a many-decades-long track record of success at investing in China and global markets.
  • Bob Guterma, our CEO (and former COO), who spent nearly 10 years living and working in China, helping multinational companies enter China and Chinese companies go global. He helped grow one of his past startup ventures, Capvision Partners (a Chinese investment research platform), from 30 employees to 300 employees in less than four years during his time in a C-level role there.

Our investors and ownership

Throughout our seven-year history as a company, we have raised nearly $10M of private investment. Building a media business and establishing trust with a global audience takes time...a lot of time!

Much of our funding in our earlier days came directly from our founder and executive chairperson, Anla Cheng, without whose vision and drive the company never would have even been born let alone reached the growth stage we are currently at.

But in more recent years, we have also received significant funding from well-known venture capitalists and other private investors who prefer to remain anonymous for fear that their investment in us could negatively affect their other business dealings in China due to the work we produce that is sometimes critical of the Chinese government.

We also raised $1.6M through a prior Reg CF round that launched in late 2021.

We have never received any government money from the U.S., China, or any other country — except for subscription fees that are paid by various government offices on the same terms as our other paying subscribers.

We report on China without fear or favor. Our mission is to help the world understand China better — not to like it more nor to like it less.

In our entire history, we have never once amended our coverage at the request of any investor, subscriber, sponsor, client, or other stakeholder — and we never will.

We feel these things are important to say clearly and out loud given the internet-wide troubles with censorship, fake news, news credibility, and so on

Join us — China news and data are critical to our future

We'll say it again: China will never be less important than it is today.

And therefore, China-focused news, information, and data services will only be more and more valuable to decision makers going forward.

We believe that we are in the lead position within our space and that the opportunity is ours for the taking.

With the support of you, the hundreds of others who have already invested in us, our thousands of paying subscribers, and our dozens of corporate clients — we believe that the future is brighter than ever!