By city, Beijing is the world’s unicorn capital with 82, ahead of San Francisco with 55. Shanghai is third most popular city for unicorn businesses, New York fourth and Hangzhou, China, fifth.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on October 21, 2019

The 10 top unicorns, businesses created in the 2000s, are worth US$542 billion, according to Hurun Research.

Hurun Research Institute has released the inaugural Hurun Global Unicorn List for 2019. All the top unicorns are not on a stock exchange and valuations are a snapshot on 30 June.

“We have found just under 500 unicorns in the world. The Hurun Global Unicorn List 2019 is designed to inspire entrepreneurship among wannabe entrepreneurs and encourage investors. These young companies, only seven years old on average, are the world’s most exciting start-ups, leading a new generation in disruptive technology,” said Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf, also known by his Chinese name Hú Rùn.

Hurun Research Institute found 494 unicorns in the world, based in 25 countries and 118 cities. They were created seven years ago on average, are worth US$3.4 billion on average and US$1.7 trillion in total.

How Canva became one of the most successful unicorns

Ant Financial CEO Eric Jing

Anas Rahman Junaid, the Chief Researcher of the Hurun Global Rich List, told Hindu BusinessLine that China and the US dominate with over 80% of the world’s known unicorns, despite representing only half of the world’s GDP and a quarter of the world’s population.

“India can quickly catch up with the ‘Big 2’, only if the regulatory and business environment are poised to capture the demographic dividend,” Junaid added.

The world’s top unicorns are based in only 25 countries, spread around 118 cities. China is home to 206 unicorns, the US 203, with India third with 21, and the UK fourth with 13. China and the US account for more than 80% of the world’s unicorns. Europe has 35 unicorns.

Hurun Research found the unicorns based in 25 countries and 118 cities. Set up seven years ago on average, they are worth $3.4 billion on average and $1.7 trillion in total.

The top 10 unicorns according to Hurun Research are:

  1. Ant Financial, online payments systems, valuation US$150 billion, headquarters Hangzhou, China;
  2. ByteDance, content discovery platform, US$75 billion, Beijing, China;
  3. Zhang Yiming, CEO, ByteDance

  4. Didi Chuxing, taxi hailing platform, US$55 billion, Beijing;
  5. Infor, software cloud products, US$50 billion, New York City, US;
  6. JUUL Labs, electronic cigarette company, US$48 billion, San Francisco, US;
  7. Airbnb, online accomodation finder, US$38 billion, San Francisco;
  8. Lufax, online financial marketplace, US$38 billion, Shanghai, China;
  9. SpaceX, aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company, US$35 million, Los Angeles, US;
  10. WeWork, commercial real estate company that provides shared workspaces, US$30 million, New York City;
  11. Stripe, online payments platform, US$23 billion, San Francisco;

Didi Chuxing CEO Cheng Wei

By city, Beijing is the world’s unicorn capital with 82, ahead of San Francisco with 55. Shanghai is third most popular city for unicorn businesses, New York fourth and Hangzhou fifth. As a region, Silicon Valley leads the world with 102 or 21% of the world’s unicorns.

E-commerce and fintech make up 31% of the world’s top unicorns, followed by Cloud and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The world’s unicorns span 25 industries, with the ‘Big 5 Industries’ making up half of the total.

Hoogewerf said these are the industries disrupting the world economy, initiating the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and widely considered to hold the key to the future. He added it is perhaps not surprising then, that much of the world’s top young talent wants to work in these sectors.

E-Commerce Sector

South Korea’s largest online retailer Coupang, US online marketplace Wish and CARS from China lead the unicorns with a valuation of US$9 billion, followed by China’s Meicai and Indonesia’s Tokopedia (US$7 billion). The total value of all the e-commerce unicorns in the world is US$147.5 billion, or 9% of the total value of the club.

Financial technology

The most valued FinTech unicorn is Ant Financial (US$150 billion), followed by Lufax (US$38 billion) and Stripe (US$23 billion). FinTech dominates with US$376 billion or 22% of total value of all unicorns.

Cloud computing

The Cloud industry comes third with 7% of the unicorns. The top cloud computing companies are US-based enterprise software company Infor (US$50 billion) and IoT solutions provider Samsara Networks (US$4 billion), followed by Australia-based Canva (US$3 billion); Confluent (US$3 billion); and Rubrik (US$3 billion). The total value of all Cloud unicorns is US$116 billion.

Infor CEO Kevin Samuelson

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

There are 40 unicorns, or 8% of the global list, using AI. Top AI companies are US-based self-driving automation developer Argo AI (US$7 billion) and robotics company UiPath (US$7 billion), China-based SenseTime (US$6 billion) and Megvii (US$4 billion). The total value of all the AI unicorns is US$81 billion.

Logistics

China-based Cainiao (US$19 billion) and San Francisco-based DoorDash (US$13 billion) lead the logistics unicorns, followed by JD Logistics (US$12 billion) and Go-Jek (US$10 billion). These unicorns make up 6% of the global list with a combined valuation of US$108 billion.

Health technology

Health technology ranks sixth with 27 or 5.4% of the unicorns. Shanghai-based PingAn Healthcare Technology is the most valuable at US$9 billion. Next on the list are Hangzhou-based WeDoctor, an online healthcare outfit at US$6 billion, and United Imaging (US$4 billion).

Media and Entertainment

Media and entertainment accounts for 24 unicorns. The most valued in the sector is ByteDance ($US75 billion), followed by China-based Kuaishou (US$18 billion). The total value of all the unicorns in media and entertainment is US$149 billion.