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China Created a New Tech Unicorn Every 3.8 Days Last Year

  • The pace of billion-dollar startup births slid last quarter
  • Tech investment may be decelerating as the economy weighs
Technicians inspect bitcoin mining machines at a mining facility operated by Bitmain Technologies Ltd. in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China.

Technicians inspect bitcoin mining machines at a mining facility operated by Bitmain Technologies Ltd. in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

The pace of billion-dollar startup creation slowed markedly in China in 2018’s final quarter as the country’s largest tech startups shored up their dominance and the economy decelerated.

China spawned 97 unicorns last year with a combined valuation of 1.2 trillion yuan ($178 billion) across sectors from consumer internet to online shopping and electric vehicles, according to a report published by consultancy Hurun. That’s about one unicorn born every 3.8 days. But of those, 11 were created in the December quarter, down from more than 30 in the previous three months.