China’s ability to produce new start-ups has plummeted

China’s ability to produce valuable new start-ups, or “unicorns”, has plummeted compared with last year, according to research, as a deepening economic slowdown hits the country’s tech heartland and venture capital fundraising dries up. In the first six months of 2019, only 36 new start-ups with a valuation of at least $1 billion were fostered in China, according to Shanghai-based research company Hurun Report, a 30 per cent fall on the same period in 2018… China has been home to some of the world’s biggest unicorns over the past several years, including ByteDance, Didi Chuxing and Alibaba’s Ant Financial. But the start-up frenzy that gripped the world’s second-biggest economy has since begun to cool, coinciding with a fundraising “capital winter” that has seen the number of venture capital deals falling by roughly half in the third quarter to 702, the lowest quarterly count since 2014… The Hurun Report noted that even though the pace of creation of unicorns had slowed, China still led the world, with 206 unicorns to the US’s 203. But the Chinese economy is now growing at its slowest pace in three decades, a worrying trend that is twinned with a rocky stock market and concerns about the sky-high valuations for start-ups. 

Mercedes Ruehl