Asia-Pacific is home to many innovative companies. The start-up scene in particular is worth a look. The synergy of technological innovation, market opportunities and a lively digital culture has produced a number of Unicorns – start-ups valued at at least $1 billion. As of October 9, 2020, there are 171 Asia unicorns listed in CB Insights’ Global Unicorn List. Compared to last year, 31 new companies from Asia-Pacific made the list. Worldwide, the number has risen to 490 start-ups.
Not surprisingly, this trend also shows in the Top 10 Asia unicorn list with 6 Chinese companies and two from India. The other two are from Singapore and Indonesia. New amongst the ten start-up companies with the highest valuation in Asia Pacific, are fashion e-commerce app SHEIN from China and Indian EdTech firm BJYU’S.
Top 10 Asia Unicorns by Valuation
The two companies leading the Asia-Pacific list, Bytedance and Didi Chuxing, are also the highest-valued start-ups worldwide.
Bytedance (Toutiao), China, value $140 billion
Bytedance is the Chinese tech giant responsible for the TikTok craze worldwide. TikTok is the highest earning non-game app globally in the third quarter of 2020 across Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Bytedance also runs Flipagram, Chinese news platform Toutiao, content aggregator Topbuzz, and its recent investment, financial debt collection AI company Lingxi. ByteDance is set to move into a bigger office in Singapore, where it plans to spend billions of dollars and recruit hundreds of workers.
Didi Chuxing, China, value $62 billion
Beijing’s mobile transportation platform Didi Chuxing is operating in Asia, Australia, and Latin America countries. It received over $21 billion worth of investments from major names, like Temasek Holdings, China Life Insurance, Toyota, and SoftBank. Didi Chuxing previously announced its goal to record more than 100 million daily trips worldwide and attract 800 million monthly active users globally by 2022. In July, Didi started a Robotaxi service in Shanghai.
Kuaishou, China, value $18 billion
Video-sharing mobile app Kuaishou has attracted 170 million daily users in the first half of 2020, from 100 million at the end of December last year. Developed by Beijing Kuaishou Technology Co., Ltd, Kuaishou has received funding worth $4.4 billion from several investors, including Morningside Venture Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Baidu. According to The Post, Kuaishou’s initial public offering in Hong Kong will happen early next year.
One97 Communications, India, value $16 billion
One97 Communications owns the popular Indian e-commerce payment system, Paytm. In the last five years, the company saw its transactions grew from 40 million per month to between 400 and 450 million monthly transactions this year. Among its investors are Alibaba Group, Intel Capital, and Sapphire Ventures.
DJI Innovations, China, value $15 billion
Shenzhen-based drone maker DJI Innovations dominates 70% of the global consumer and enterprise drone market. DJI has established its presence in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, the United States, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and the Netherlands. Accel Partners, Sequoia Capital, and Aeternam Stella Financial Holdings are among its investors.
SHEIN, China, value $15 billion
Conquering the global e-commerce landscape in style is SHEIN’s mission. The fashion shopping app, which sells clothes, household products, and electronics, has reached US$2.83 billion in revenue in 2019. It is already successfully operating in western countries and among the leading shopping apps on the iOS App Store e.g. in France, Spain and the UK.
Grab, Singapore, value $14.3 billion
Grab, the Singaporean company offering ride-hailing transport services, food delivery and payment solutions, is currently valued at $14.3 billion. After a $200 million investment from South Korean private equity firm Stic Investments Inc. Grab announced in August 2020 that it will introduce a string of consumer financial services, such as loans, micro-investments, health insurance, and a pay-later program.
Bitmain Technologies, China, value $12 billion
Beijing-based privately owned company Bitmain Technologies offers servers, chips, and cloud solutions for blockchain and artificial intelligence applications. The company has captured 75% of the global market for application-specific integrated circuit chips. Its R&D centers are in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States.
BYJU’S, India, value $11 billion
BYJU’S developed an app that provides e-learning programs for kindergarten to 12th grade students and training for entrance tests. The app has over 70 million registered students and 4.5 million annual paid subscriptions. In September 2020, it was the world’s most valued Edtech company.
Go-jek, Indonesia, value $10 billion
Founded in 2010, Go-jek took Indonesia by storm and became the country’s first ever unicorn. Go-jek evolved not only as a ride-hailing platform but also a provider for other on-demand services, such as mobile payments, logistics, and food delivery. The company has attracted investors like Google and Tencent. In June 2020, Go-jek added Facebook and Paypal to its list of investors. Their investments will focus on supporting payments and financial services in the region, the company said.