Hurun: Number of Unicorns Globally Up 24% to 1,312 in H1

The Hurun Research Institute released its Global Unicorn Index 2022 Half-Year Report on August 30, offering a ranking of the world’s startups founded since 2000 and worth at least $1 billion, although not yet listed on a public exchange. According to the list, Beijing-based Douyin is the world’s most valuable unicorn for the second year running, albeit down 43% to 1.3 trillion yuan ($188 billion).

The number of unicorns worldwide increased by 254 – or 24% – to 1,312 in the six months through June 2022. The US remains ahead, adding 138 to reach 625, accounting for nearly half of all unicorns globally. China ranked second with 312, an increase of 11. India held third place with 68, an increase of 14.

On average, these companies were founded eight years ago, in 2014. 80% of them sell software and services, and only 20% sell physical products. 52% of them are B2B enterprises, and 48% are directly oriented to consumers. The industries most affected by unicorns are financial services, business management, medical and health care and retail. The total value of unicorns in the world is 27.9 trillion yuan, exceeding the GDP of Germany in one year.

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Beijing, Douyin remains the world’s most valuable unicorn, although its valuation has dropped due to the influence of anti-monopoly policies and other local industry regulations.

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California-based SpaceX’s valuation rose 25% to 840 billion yuan, surpassing Ant Group’s valuation, which fell 20% to 800 billion yuan. SHEIN, a fast fashion cross-border e-commerce company, ranks fifth with a valuation of 400 billion yuan.

Shenzhen-based WeBank and Beijing-based JD Tech rank among the top 10 unicorns in the world, with valuations of 220 billion yuan and 200 billion yuan respectively. Didi and Luckin Coffee returned to the unicorn list this year after temporary absences. Although they have faced some troubles for different reasons recently, the Hurun Research Institute believes that they still subvert their own industries and create a lot of benefits for early investors.

By city, San Francisco retained the title of ‘World Unicorn Capital’ with 176 unicorns, up 25. New York overtook Beijing to take second spot with 120 unicorns, up 35. Beijing, with 90 unicorns, dropped to third, followed by Shanghai with 69.

Under the global low-carbon trend, the new energy industry is booming, with 27 unicorns on the list. The four Chinese companies on the list are Envision Energy valued at 67 billion yuan, CALB valued at 64 billion yuan and SVOLT valued at 46 billion yuan, and Envision AESC Group valued at 43 billion yuan.

Alibaba hatched five unicorns, ranking the highest, followed by Geely and‘s four apiece, and GAC Motor and Baidu‘s three apiece. Among them, GAC Motor is a state-owned enterprise, and the three unicorns it has hatched are GAC AION, a new energy vehicle brand, Greater Bay Technology, a new energy company, and ONTIME, a mobile travel brand.

Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said: “Compared with unicorns in China and the United States, the top three industries with the most unicorns in China are health technology, artificial intelligence, e-commerce and semiconductors, and the top three industries with the most unicorns in the United States are software services, financial technology and health technology.”