China beats out US with highest number of 'unicorn' startups

China now has more privately-held start-ups
valued by investors at over 1 billion dollars than the US, a report said Monday.

There were 206 Chinese firms out of a global total of 494 ultra-valuable
start-ups — known as “unicorns” — in June 2019, according to the research
firm Hurun Report.

This makes China the country with the largest number of unicorns in the
world, with the US coming in second with 203 such companies.

“China and the USA dominate with over 80 percent of the world’s known
unicorns, despite representing only half of the world’s GDP and a quarter of
the world’s population,” Hurun Report chairman Rupert Hoogewerf said.

“The rest of the world needs to wake up to creating an environment that
allows unicorns to flourish in.”

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According to Hurun, China is home to the world’s three most valuable
unicorns — Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, app maker ByteDance and
ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, which have a combined value of 280 billion dollars.

Major US names like Airbnb and coworking space operator WeWork also made
the list, which included lesser-known startups like California-based automated
pizza delivery company Zume and Indian fantasy sports platform Dream11.

Hurun, which released its inaugural Global Unicorn List Monday, told AFP
this was the first time China’s number of unicorns was confirmed by
researchers to have surpassed the US.

A report released in June by another research firm, Visual Capitalist,
found only 94 unicorns from China compared to 156 from the US, based on data
from May 2019.

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The companies identified by Hurun were founded only seven years ago on
average, and more than half come from five industries “disrupting the world
economy,” Hoogewerf said.

E-commerce and fintech accounted for the most unicorns globally, followed
by cloud computing, artificial intelligence and logistics, according to Hurun.

Additionally, a number of companies on the list were formerly units of
larger companies that had been split off.

“Chinese companies are far and away the most successful at spinning off
unicorns, with 18 of the world’s 20 ‘spun-off’ unicorns,” Hoogewerf said.

“Alibaba, for example, started Alipay, before spinning its fintech business
into Ant Financial in 2014.”(AFP)



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