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KrASIA Weekly Roundup: Is China Underestimated in Terms of Incubating Unicorn Startups?

Written by Zhao Xiaochun Published on   3 mins read

According to a newly released report, China has 164 Chinese unicorns worth in total $ 628.4 billion.

Good Sunday Morning.

As a Chinese tech writer, my feeling is complex when reading articles by overseas tech media that classifies Meituan-Dianping as the “lesser-known Chinese tech giant”, given the frequency I use its food delivery apps.

But then I came to realize the difference between the way I, or other Chinese tech industry practitioners, and those outside of China, see, think and understand about Meituan-Dianping.

According to data by CB Insights, there are currently (March 25) 235 unicorns across the world, among which, 65 are born in China. Well, Beijing has its own calculation when it comes to local unicorns.

Recently, a unit of the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology and Chinese consulting firm Greatwall Strategy Consultants in Beijing, jointly published a report, counting164 Chinese unicorns worth in total $ 628.4 billion.

Part of the newly released Chinese unicorn list.

In that list, there are famous companies that have established their presence in other parts of the world, such as Ant Financial, Didi Chuxing and Xiaomi, which are the top 3 Chinese unicorns by market value. At the same time, there are also many companies comparably lesser-known beyond their home country, including China’s largest automotive battery maker CATL, Alibaba’s logistics affiliate Cainiao, online lending platform Jiedaibao, all are top 10 “super unicorns” worth north of $ 10 billion  according to the newly released report, and none were listed on CB Insights’ unicorn list.

But I think Chinese unicorns as a whole may soon give overseas markets a chance to notice them, as 2018 is expected to be a rosy year for IPOs, including some of the much anticipated Chinese offerings. Baidu’s video streaming unit iQiyi, also the 21st largest unicorn in China by market value on the newly released list, is poised to list in the states next week. There are also market rumors on Xiaomi and Meituan-Dianping’s potential HK floating.

Also, for Chinese well-known tech giant, Alibaba, its huge impact in terms of shaping the Chinese startup world, may be underrated as a large chunk of its plan in emerging business entities are left out. Alibaba, outperforming many investment firms including IDG Capital and Matrix Partners China, invested and incubated 29 unicorns whose valuations stand at $302.84 billion, accounting for almost half of the total value of the 164 startups, according to an analysis by Chinese financial media CS.com.

Ok, enough with Chinese unicorns.

Here are some stories and ideas that you shouldn’t miss. See you next week.


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