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The World of Unicorns

The recent news on trade war between United States and China, Trump’s administration claims that China is engaged in unfair trade practices and steals intellectual property rights. Recent news states that the United States seeks to recoup its trade deficits through a proposed plan to impose 25% tariff on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods. Many of the tariffs focuses on chemicals, consumer goods, food products and mechanical parts. For the tech-centric sectors such as aerospace, communications and robotics, the tariff includes technological components such as pumps, valves, engines, metal parts, ball bearings, microscopes and other mechanical or computing components and parts.

While the news on the trade war has been under the spotlight in the investing world, the two hemisphere North America and Asia are seemingly on a different race in the Unicorn world. The race between North America and Asia is getting closer with new tech hubs such as Beijing and Shanghai continue to grow more Unicorns, China is also leading the pack in the Asia region which includes other countries like India, South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Japan and Singapore. Leveraging the increased connectivity between Asian countries, increased socio economic status of its young adopters and backed by vibrant capital markets, Asia is increasingly building new Unicorns which are not just rich in valuation but also delivering drastic technological and social impact which are driving the economic growth in the region. Not denying the fact that Asia’s eco-system is still in its infancy, many barriers that were inherited from the previous industrial economic structure are still in place and/or currently being improved.

As United States continue to build and innovate on its technological infrastructure, legal frameworks, capital markets and economic structure, the startup eco-system in Silicon Valley is progressing and evolving. Silicon Valley produces some of the world’s most innovative leaders, talents and thinkers and continues to drive technological advancements, ideas and thoughts throughout the world. Silicon Valley is still the global leader in startup creation and destination for Unicorns to grow. The financial markets of the United States still remains as the prime destination for Unicorn listings and IPO.

The global valuation of all the selected Unicorns by CB Insights is $823 billion. North America and Asia represents 49% and 42% from the total valuation of all Unicorns respectively. While the Rest of the World which includes United Kingdom, Germany, France, and other countries represents 9% of the total valuation of all Unicorns globally. China as at latest date had added 16 new Unicorns, bringing a total number of 76 Unicorns since 2009. Silicon Valley is home to most of the Unicorns with 17 new unicorns added into the list this year and currently still home to 119 unicorns since 2009.


(1) CB Insights and company data as at 29 July 2018.

(2) The selection methodology for the Global Unicorn Club of CB Insights were derived based on venture backed startups of above USD1 billion which are

still privately held.

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