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China tops world in unicorns as Ant Financial, ByteDance, Didi Chuxing lead US$1.7 trillion market

China is now home to the world’s largest number of start-ups valued at more than US$1 billion, edging out the United States and raising the stakes in the two countries’ trade war.

Of the 494 tech unicorns founded in the 2000s that have not yet gone public as of June 30, China had 206 such firms to move ahead of the US with 203, according to the inaugural Hurun Global Unicorn List 2019 released on Monday.

“China and the US dominate with over 80 per cent of the world’s known unicorns, despite representing only half of the world’s GDP and a quarter of the world’s population,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of Shanghai-based publishing group Hurun Report, in a statement. “The rest of the world needs to wake up to creating an environment that allows unicorns to flourish.”’

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