The logo of Ant Financial Services Group is pictured at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Jan 24, 2018. (Photo: Agencies)
China in 2018 had 202 unicorns valued at a combined total of $744.6 billion, according to a Greatwall Strategy Consultants report.
A unicorn is a privately held startup valued at more than $1 billion.
Seven of the companies are considered super unicorns – companies valued at more than $10 billion, the report said.
They are Ant Financial ($150 billion), Bytedance ($75 billion), Didi Chuxing ($60 billion), Kuaishou ($20 billion), JD Digits ($20 billion), Cainiao ($20 billion) and Bitmain ($14.5 billion).
China's unicorns come from 22 industries, with e-commerce, smart logistics, new entertainment, artificial intelligence, and new energy and smart vehicles the top five sectors.
The number of unicorns in a given city is often considered a barometer of innovation and entrepreneurship.
The majority of China's unicorns are based in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Shenzhen, with a combined number of 156, 19 more than the previous year and accounting for 77.2 percent of the total.
Nanjing, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Qingdao are new gathering places for unicorns, the report said.
Driven by global capital, China's unicorns have accelerated the pace at which they go public, with unicorns now taking an average of 71 months to IPO.
From January 2017 to May 2019, 36 unicorns were listed on the global stock market, with eight in 2017 and 21 in 2018.