Author: vivian

Number of Chinese unicorns surged to 202 in Q1 2019

Hurun Research Institute, the firm which creates China’s wealthiest individual lists has released its country-wide unicorn index for the first quarter of 2019 on May 7.

The new report titled “Hurun Greater China Unicorn Index 2019 Q1” mentions that China added 21 new unicorns in the first quarter, that is twice as many unicorns as in Q4 2018.

Among these 21 new unicorns, fashion clothing ecommerce Shein, apartment management platform Danke Apartment, IoT solutions provider Tuya Smart, autonomous driving startup, and media company XinChao are leading with over US$10 billion valuations.

The report also notes that the unicorns mostly derived from both AI and logistics fields, such as autonomous driving startup and B2B logistics startup Lalamove.

Hurun, the Chairman and Chief Investigator of the institution noted that “the number of unicorns in China has surprising exceeded 200, which is almost ten times that of India. At this time, China should be the first place in the world in terms of the number of unicorns.”


Rupert Hoogewerf, a.k.a Hurun – Chairman and Chief Investigator of Hurun Report

Of course, this wouldn’t have been so successful without capital funding from investors. In terms of unicorns breeders, Sequoia Capital has been the most successful with 53 unicorns in its portfolio. This is followed by Tencent and IDG, with each having invested in 31 and 25 unicorns respectively.

In terms of exits, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Nasdaq board have also witnessed the most listings of China’s unicorns in the first quarter of this year.

A total of five unicorns listed successfully on the list, including Maoyan Entertainment, Futu Securities, CStone Pharmaceuticals, Tiger Broker, and Weimob.

China now has 202 unicorns

Hurun Greater China Unicorn Index

Hurun Greater China Unicorn Quarterly Index from 2018

The biggest news after all, is that China now has a total of 202 unicorns. Among the startups, the total valuation of internet services companies topped the list with over 1.6 trillion yuan (about US$232 billion).

From the 202 Chinese unicorns, 42 are involved in the internet services sector, including ecommerce giant Alibaba’s Ant Financial with a US$1+ trillion valuation, Bytendance with a US$500+ billion valuation, and Didi with US$300+ billion valuation.

But aside from the Unicorn Index, the startup has also published its first Hurun China Future Unicorns 2019 Q1 listing another 70 high-growth enterprises from emerging industries.

These seventy potential unicorns are most likely to be valued at US$1 billion in the next three years, with 66 percent of the startups coming from Beijing and Shanghai.

In 2018, Hurun reported that a new unicorn was minted approximately every 3.8 days in China, making for a total of 97 new startups worth US$1 billion.

Though everything is looking to be on a good start with the results from the Q1 2019 report, Hurun said not to be overly optimistic as he estimates that 20% of current unicorns could eventually fail.

Also, Hurun’s methods of calculating unicorns aren’t exactly undisputed. By contrast, China Money Network’s calculations noted the number of new unicorns in 2018 at just 25.

A March Credit Suisse report also warned that despite the prominence of tech unicorns in China, the percent of firms in advanced fields including AI, big data, and robotics still well lagged behind US figures.

India welcomes two new unicorns before mid-2019

The venture ecosystem in India is off to a great start in 2019.

It’s not even mid-way into the year, and the country has already seen the addition of two internet startups achieving the much-coveted unicorn status, with another reportedly close to the billion dollar valuation milestone.

Just this Monday, BigBasket has secured a US$150 million Series F financing round led by Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund, CDC Group, and Alibaba.

Chinese giant Alibaba is an existing backer, which had also led the Series E round in BigBasket last year. It remains the largest investor in the company, owning up to 30 percent stake.

Meanwhile, April also saw India’s first gaming unicorn Dream11. The startup reached a valuation exceeding US$1 billion, after a secondary investment by London and Hong Kong-based asset manager Steadview Capital.

“These developments proof that investment activity and the pace of growth has picked up in the Indian startup space,” said the vice president of consultancy Everest Group Yugal Joshi to Quartz India.

India’s Startups are Coming of Age

The rise of BigBasket and Dream11 are the continuous reflection of evolution in Indian internet business, following the footsteps of existing Indian unicorns like Flipkart and Ola.

“The companies that we are talking about, be it BigBasket or Dream 11, are not overnight stars,” said Sanchit Vir Gogia, the founder and CEO of Greyhound research.

2019 Unicorns in India

These startups have been working their way up quietly for some time. Eight-year-old BigBasket, for example, has been investing in the supply chain, logistics and technology for long to reach where it is now.

The online grocer sells more than 20,000 products ranging from groceries and pet foods, operating in 25 Indian cities.

“BigBasket offers a transformational and convenient experience to its consumers, which makes it a preferred grocery platform,” said Ashish Dave, the head of India Investments for Mirae Asset Global Investments.

Meanwhile, Dream11 which was co-founded by University of Pennsylvania alumni Harsh Jain and his friend Bhavit Sheth in 2008 has also been experimenting with the product-market fit before it found success.

The startup adopts a data-driven culture and strategy to reach its current 50 million registered users, which it claims is the tip of the iceberg in a market with more than 850 million cricket viewers on television.

Their success with cracking their segments was what boost global investors confidence, enough to give birth to both success stories… and the trend is likely to continue.

Eyes on India Maturing E-commerce Market

Investors see India, now at a US$2000 gross domestic product per thousand people, set for consumer-spending led acceleration in the online economy.

The country offers large opportunities for startups and ventures that bridge offline needs with online access-based supply chains.


Startups like BigBasket is answering exactly this, as it is reengineering the supply chain to allow for faster delivery to resellers and to reduce the time from farm to customers.

With its new funding, the company is ready to contend with competitors on multiple fronts, from the micro-delivery ventures like dairy-focused Milkbasket to food delivery venture Swiggy.

It will also be looking to expand its operations and scaling up its supply chain capabilities, against bigger competitors like Amazon and Walmart which is expanding in India.

“We have a unique opportunity to build one of the largest grocery businesses in the country in the country and we expect the capital raised in this round to continue to enable us to do just that,” VS Sudhakar, co-founder of BigBasket said.

According to analytics firm Tracxn, India’s retail market is valued at more than US$900 billion and is increasingly attracting the attention of VC funds and more than 882 operational players since 2014.

More Unicorns to Come

2018 was an eventful year for the India startups ecosystem. India added eight unicorns in 2018 alone, as compared with the nine unicorns in a span of 6 years from 2011 to 2017.

It is most likely 2019 will follow suit, as we begin seeing the host of promising startups crossing the US$1 billion valuation mark. Besides Dream11 and BigMarket, some of the investors’ top pick according to Fortune India include:

  • Online ticketing site BookMyShow
  • Health and fitness startup curefit
  • Ecommerce-focused delivery provider Delhivery
  • Eyewear retailer Lenskart
  • Digital payments company MobiKwik
  • Surface transport firm Rivigo
  • Online discount brokerage firm Zerodha

However, most likely it’s not going to be a joyride for these startups. Because with the gigantic successes in India, internet ventures today may be pressed for profits more than earlier years.

CoinOyez Aims To Help BlockChain Projects Publish Their Press Releases on More Than 450+ Media Websites.

New York, United States – CoinOyez, a leading press release distribution platform is currently offering its cost-effective online marketing services to help blockchain companies expand their visibility.

“The blockchain industry has been all the rage,“ said Kayla C., a spokesperson of CoinOyez. “But this means it is also noisy and crowded, and blockchain startups can easily fail when nobody has ever heard about them due to the company ignoring sales and marketing.”

That’s why it’s important for cryptocurrency startups to constantly adapt their publicity and marketing strategy in order to really stand out, get maximum reach and efficiency.

Understanding this, Coinoyez is created by a group of crypto experts to cater these needs. It provides a crypto press release distribution service whereby blockchain, cryptocurrency, and ICO companies can distribute their own news and company updates.

Submitting a crypto press release via CoinOyez will help them reach the right channels and global audience through placement on authoritative news organizations like Reuters, Yahoo News, ABC, CBS, New York Times, and 450+ sites.

“Many in the fast-moving cryptocurrency industry come from technical or academic backgrounds with little or no experience of running a business or doing online marketing. That’s why we aim to provide a solution to help build up blockchain startups via press releases.”

Not only does press releases build authority and trust, it can also boost search engine results and rankings for the startup which is very important, seeing how information on blockchain and cryptocurrency news are currently sought out.

With more than six years of experience in the media industry, CoinOyez has helped both new and existing companies in the blockchain industry to spread their remarkable innovation to the world. The company currently counts QashBack, ixAsia, and Bitsdaq as their customers.

CO is also looking to partner with Cryptocurrency Media and PR agencies to offer them wide-scale distribution options to increase their press release reach and search visibility.

For more information, please visit

About CoinOyez

Coinoyez is a press release distribution platform that helps Crypto PR agencies wire their releases to media endpoints for publication including Reuters, Yahoo News, ABC, NBC, CBS and more. The press release distribution site has sent more than 900 press releases, and it counts QashBack, ixAsia, and Bitsdaq as their customers.

Contact info:
Name: Kayla C.
Organization: CoinOyez

A Closer Look at the Fintech Scene in Southeast Asia

Fintech is on the rise in Southeast Asia, find out how fintech startups are changing the regional financial landscape.

All eyes have been on Southeast Asia nations for fintech growth in 2019 as Southeast Asian nations have been reported among the hottest spots for fintech opportunities.

But before we continue, let’s clear up the definition of what is fintech.

Short for financial technology, fintech refers to the converge of technological innovation in the delivery of financial services, such as digital payments, investments, financing, insurance, advisory services, among some.

Note that these services are not new, and are often offered by large banks and other traditional financial players including insurance companies and brokerage firms.

What fintech startups are doing is revolutionizing the financing process in Southeast Asia by enhancing inefficient products and service channels, as well as opening up opportunities to once-excluded customers.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the region has 266 million financially excluded people, inclusive of those that derive of access to bank accounts and other basic financial services like credit cards and insurance.

Businesses in Southeast Asia, on the other hand, counts up to 30 million SMEs underserved by the financial system, which collectively face a credit shortfall of US$175 billion.

Combining this gap in financial access with growing economic activities and internet access in the region, many founders and startups have turned to the digitization of these financial services.

A report by CB insights has also shown an optimistic outlook for companies in the space of fintech stating that fintech in Southeast Asia is reaching new records for deals and funding.

CB Insights notes that in 2018, funding to fintech startups across Southeast Asia grew 143% year over year, hitting a record of US$485 million across 68 deals.

CB Insights - Fintech funding

Source: CB Insights

Compared to 2017, the dual growth in deal count and funding comes as major investors such as China’s Ant Financial and Japan’s SoftBank have been making bigger deals in the area.

1000+ Fintech Startups in Southeast Asia

At the same time, over one thousand fintech startups have been built in the last few years, among which over 490 are found in Singapore.

This is unsurprising as Singapore sees strong support from the government in building the city-state as Southeast Asia’s fintech hotspot, leading particularly in the development of smart cities and hyper-connectivity.

It is home to some of the most well-funded fintech companies, including cryptocurrency trading startup Quoine (total funding: US$123 million) and M-Daq which provides Over The Top (OTT) forex applications. The startup secured a total of US$98.7 million in funding, including a massive USD$87 million series C round in 2015.

Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia is also generating fintech startups at a great pace. The country has a population that is very open to alternative payment methods and a total of 262 fintech companies. About 78 fintech companies are operating in the payment segment, while 20 and 30 companies are in the lending, savings, and investments segments each.

According to government statements, Vietnam plans to become a cashless society by 2020. The country aims to reduce the number of cash transactions to less than 10% of total payments in consumer-ends such as supermarkets, shopping malls and distributors.

The plan includes proposals to develop and increase new payment methods in rural and remote areas of the country to boost financial inclusion as to at least 70% of Vietnamese over the age of 15 owning a bank account by the end of 2020.

In the blockchain sphere, the Thailand market is becoming increasingly crypto friendly. The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) plans to apply for a digital license which will enable it to operate a cryptocurrency exchange.

Not Just Fintech Startups

Of course, fintech is not only about bank, insurers and new fintech startups – many online digital platforms can also add a financial dimension to them.

In Southeast Asia, ride-hailing startups like Grab and Go-Jek are looking to build the super app and has also expanded into digital payment platform through GrabPay and Go-Pay.

Peng Tsin Ong, a Managing Partner at Monk’s Hill Ventures said, “this is not only because every service ends with a transaction, but because it broadens the amount of information that can be collected by these companies.”

Venturing into fintech positions these companies to expand their understanding of customers and improve both their financial and non-financial products.


For example, Grab can not only track its user’s movements, schedules but also their financial habits, which opens doors for new products and services. Grab’s CEO Anthony Tan has spoke of Grab’s plans to use the information to create alternative credit ratings that could then be tied to banking products.

Meanwhile, with such a disruptive force into the financial industry in Southeast Asia, banks have also begun relying on open innovation to stay competitive.

Singapore’s largest bank DBS has spent US$3.7 billion on technology over the five years up to 2016, launching digibank, the first mobile-only bank with 82% of requests automated using artificial intelligence in India.

Fintech In Southeast Asia is Still on Growth Spurt

“Southeast Asian companies have raised some capital and are now putting efforts into scaling across the region. It’s time to bring products to market and produce numbers for the next fundraising round,” said Markus Gnirck, the co-founder of tryb Group.

Bolstered by increased funding, large foreign investors, and continuous innovation, fintech startups in Southeast Asia are still growing as they expand and extend this habit of expenditure among the people in Southeast Asia.

Is a cashless society in sight for Southeast Asia?
Or is a digital platform going to win in fintech?

For now, it’s still too early to say but one thing for sure is that the innovation in fintech is disrupting the lives of unbanked society for the better.

Airbnb vs Tujia: Who is Winning the Home Sharing Competition in China

Since home-sharing options have been available, hotels are no longer the only accommodation game when we go traveling across the world.

And when it comes to the home-sharing option, I’m sure for most, the first that comes to mind is definitely Airbnb.

But well, the story is a little different in China.

The home-sharing market in China is played by three major players including Tujia, XiaoZhu, and Aibiying (the Chinese branding of Airbnb).

Among these three, it is Tujia that controls nearly half of China’s home-sharing market followed by Alibaba-backed rival Xiaozhu.

Airbnb which had entered the Chinese market since 2016, is still struggling with a 7% market share.

Despite that, the home-sharing giant is still optimistic with China, noting that it expects China to be its largest market by 2020.

It expects revenue from its Chinese division to increase and represent 4% to 5% of the company’s overall revenue.

Market share and number of listings

For these home sharing giants, so far their market share has correlated with the number of listings.

Chinese home sharing

The top is Tujia who claims to have more than 1.4 million global listings. Xiaozhu, on the other hand, claimed over 500,000 active listings across 710 cities in January.

While for Airbnb as of August 2018, over 8.6 million Chinese tourists had used the platform, which had about 150,000 listings in China.

Yet, this is just one of the contributing factor to this distribution of market share. Another reason is that Aibiying failed its localization strategy.

Aibiying: Airbnb’s new name in China


People hated Airbnb’s Chinese name when it was adopted.

Although the three characters 爱, 彼 and 迎 each carry positive meanings of love, each other, and welcome.

When combined, it sounds awkward and translates to “love to fulfill requests” (爱必应) and some even associated it to a brand that sells adult toys.

However, it’s not just naming, Tujia is leveraging on local knowledge and tailor-made services.

In China, the people renting out places to live are not accustomed to Do-It-Yourself traveling. Hence Tujia’s approach of curating, managing, and providing only high-quality services are much valued by Chinese tourists.

For example, when it comes to properties, Tujia only picks properties such as villas that fulfill the expectations of Chinese travelers, who usually travel with their family members and prefer their rentals to include kitchens.

Tujia also targets business people who need high-class furnishings for meetings, parties and holidays. This differs from Airbnb which has a broader range of clientele.

Big-Name Investors and Backers

China’s To Buy Skyscanner In US$1.74 Billion Deal

Another reason why Tujia controls the majority of the Chinese home-sharing market share is that it is backed by Ctrip, China’s largest online travel operator,

The Chinese home-sharing platform raised US$300 million in October 2017 by Ctrip, at the time it claimed to have 650,000 listings on its platform.

Tujia also acquired, a smaller rival compared to Xiaozhu in 2016, and the homestay businesses of both Ctrip and Qunar in 2017. The company also has forayed into the overseas market like Japan. This series of movements are huge investments.

As a Chinese company, Tujia says it’s more adept at knowing when to push and when to hold back. It says it has closer connections with government officials and people working with police departments, local and federal governments.

Meanwhile, Xiao Zhu in October 2018, also raised US$300 million in its Series F round led by Advantech Capital and from Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital. The startup is also working on AI devices with Alibaba.

Its latest big data report shows a sinking trend for many Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities are listed in the most popular fifty cities including Leshan, Liangshan, Zhangjiajie, which are well-known sightseeing locations in China

On the other hand, the advantage of China’s Airbnb lies overseas – it has 6 million listings worldwide, which is an overwhelming number that beats all the contender.

In 2017, China’s home-sharing market was worth RMB 14.5 billion (USD 2.1 billion), up nearly 71% year-on-year, according to China’s State Information Center, which projects revenues to reach RMB 50 million in 2020.

The competition for the market share in Chinese home sharing would most likely continue. but before that Tujia and Airbnb will be prepping for an upcoming IPO.

Tujia is aiming for profitability in 2019 as it prepares for IPO. Similarly, Airbnb, the pioneer of home-sharing is about to go public in 2019 and it was profitable for a second consecutive year on an adjusted basis.

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