Eric X. Li

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Eric Xun Li
Li Shimo (李世默; Lǐ Shìmò)

CitizenshipPeople's Republic of China[1]
Alma mater
OccupationVenture capitalist, political scientist
Known forFounder of Chengwei Capital

Eric Xun Li (Chinese: 李世默; pinyin: Lǐ Shìmò)[1] is a Chinese venture capitalist and political scientist. He is the founder of the popular news site [zh] (Chinese: 观察者网),[2][3] and is also a board of directors member at the China Europe International Business School,[4] and a trustee of the China Institute at Fudan University.[5][6] Li has published opinion pieces in several Western media outlets praising what he calls the "Chinese meritocratic system" and the Chinese leadership.


Li was born and raised in Shanghai. He went to the United States for higher education in late 1980s. He received his BA in economics from University of California, Berkeley, and MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He also has a PhD in political science from Fudan University. In 2000, He returned to China and founded Chengwei Capital, with an investment portfolio of over $2 billion. Its top investments include Youku, an internet-based television service, and Huazhu Hotels Group, a chain of Chinese budget hotels.[7]

In 2011, Li founded [zh] (Chinese: 观察者网), one of China's largest news and opinions medias.[8][9]

Li also serves on the board of directors of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), the board of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and the Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI). He is a trustee of Fudan University's China Institute, a trustee of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive of the University of California, Berkeley, a trustee of the San Francisco Symphony, a trustee of Asia Society Hong Kong, a member of the international board of the New York Philharmonic, a member of the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which organizes the annual Shangri-La Dialogue.[10][8][11][12][13]


In an op-ed he wrote for The New York Times in 2012, he put forth the idea that China needed a different development framework, around a different idea of modernity. The Chinese system, he says, is meritocratic, highly adaptable despite the one-party rule, long term-oriented, pragmatic and non-individualistic.[14]

In a 2012 op-ed and a 2013 TED talk, Li argued against the idea that human societies develop in a "linear progression" toward a single political end, and asserted that neither communism nor electoral democracy should be singularly spread throughout the world, as there exists more than one way to run a successful modern nation; as an example, he cited China as a nation which has prospered under a "meritocratic system" and alleviated poverty without elections.[15][16] In the TED talk he listed corruption, pollution and demographics as main challenges for China.

In a 2020 op-ed he wrote for Foreign Policy, Li said that Chinese leader Xi Jinping is a "good emperor".[17]


  1. ^ a b c "OneSmart International Education Group Limited". Securities and Exchange Commission. 2019-12-31. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  2. ^ Christian Shepherd (October 4, 2020). "China rolls out experimental Covid vaccine as it eyes global market". Financial Times. Archived from the original on September 2021.
  3. ^ "China can do what it says to be strong, Lula tells Guancha". The Sentinel (KSU). June 28, 2021.
  4. ^ "Eric X. Li | Speaker | TED". TED (conference). Retrieved 2021-09-13.
  5. ^ "Eric X. Li". The Huffington Post. 2014-02-04. Retrieved 2016-12-22.
  6. ^ "China Institute Board of Trustees (in Chinese)". Fudan University. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  7. ^ "Eric Li: 'How do you block a country of 1.4bn people?'". Financial Times.
  8. ^ a b "Eric Li". Aspen Institute.
  9. ^ Nathan Gardels (July 13, 2016). "This Chinese Video Explains Why Beijing Rejects The South China Sea Ruling". HuffPost, The WorldPost.
  10. ^ "Eric X. Li". 2016-11-15. Retrieved 2016-12-22.
  11. ^ "Sorry, Eric X. Li, Democracy Is Not the Problem". Foreign Policy. 2014-10-15. Retrieved 2016-12-22.
  12. ^ Benjamin Carlson (2013-08-11). "When a TED talk is a propaganda tool". Retrieved 2016-12-22.
  13. ^ Baker, David R. (2016-01-13). "Eric X. Li talks about VC, innovation in China - San Francisco Chronicle". Retrieved 2016-12-22.
  14. ^ "Why China's Political Model Is Superior". The New York Times.
  15. ^ "In defence of how China picks its leaders". Financial Times.
  16. ^ "A tale of two political systems".
  17. ^ Li, Eric. "Xi Jinping Is a 'Good Emperor'". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 23 July 2021.

Further reading[edit]

External link[edit]

Media related to Eric Xun Li at Wikimedia Commons