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CPPIB is particularly big on Chinese e-commerce and despite the dominance of giants such as Alibaba and Tencent, Machin said he believes the sector remains exciting.

Below those large behemoths is an ecosystem of start-ups, Machin explained: “The ecosystem around these large companies is part of the secret source of innovation in this country…China’s been very thoughtful about creating the ingredients of innovation, which is creating more opportunities for all types of companies, whether it’s e-commerce or others, to bloom.”

As a long-term investor in a fast-changing market, it’s key for CPPIB to speedily identify early-stage trends, he continued.

“It now takes very little money to develop a company given the amount of cloud computing capacity…you can get a company some market for very little money, very very quickly and have a very disruptive impact.”

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