Ten largest unicorns in the world hit over $560bn value

When the term unicorn emerged back in 2013, there were only 40 private companies with a valuation of $1bn in the world. Since then, the number of these financial giants jumped 12.5 times, reaching around 500 in September.

According to data presented by AksjeBloggen.com, the ten largest unicorn companies in the world hit a valuation of $563.3bn as of September. With a valuation of around $150bn, the Chinese fintech company, Ant Financial, still tops the list of the world’s largest billion-dollar companies.

More than 70 new unicorns in 2020

In the last five years, Ant Financial has become one of the world’s leading financial institutions. The key to its incredible growth lies in a platform business model based on Alipay. As a platform for processing payments between two users, Alipay has more than 900 million annual active clients. Ant Financial offers them other financial services in a cross-selling move, from lending and payments to investing and insurance.

The company recorded $10.50bn in revenue in the first half of the year, a 38% jump year-on-year, while its net profit rose almost 11 times to $3.26bn over the same period. After strong revenue growth in 2020, the Ant Group filed for its long-awaited IPO in August, including a dual list on Shanghai's STAR Market and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

ByteDance ranked as the second largest unicorn globally. The Beijing-based company behind short-form video app sensation TikTok reached a $140bn valuation as of September 2020, an 86% increase since the beginning of the year.

With a $62bn market value, Didi Chuxing ranked as the third largest unicorn globally. The Chinese app-based transportation service provider has more than 550 million users and tens of millions of drivers. The company’s services include taxi-hailing, private car-hailing, social ride-sharing and bike-sharing and automobile services, including sales, leasing, financing, maintenance, fleet operation, electric vehicle charging, and co-development vehicles with automakers.

The New York-based enterprise software provider, Infor, and Space X conclude the list of the five largest unicorns globally, with a valuation of $60bn and $46bn, respectively. The CBInsights data revealed that 73 companies joined the unicorn club in 2020, while the combined value of all unicorns in the world hit over $1.5tn in September.

85% of unicorns are from China and the US

Analysed by geography, the US is the leading unicorn market, with 236 companies valued at $1bn or more. China ranked second with 182 unicorns as of September. Over 400 of the world’s unicorns, nearly 85% of all such firms, are based in China and the US.

The UK represents the largest unicorn market in Europe and third largest globally, with 25 of these financial giants. India and Germany follow, with 21 and 13 unicorns, respectively.

Statistics show that most of the world’s unicorns, or over one-third of them, are active in the fintech and software and services segment. Another 60 privately owned startups with a valuation of over $1bn are focused on e-commerce.

Artificial intelligence is the fourth largest unicorn market with 46 companies as of September. The health industry and mobile and telecommunications follow, with 41 and 36 unicorns operating in this field, respectively.