Each of the world’s biggest startups are not only unicorns, but decacorns – the name given to startups worth more than US$10 billion.
Expect this list to be completely different in a year – many of these companies are seeking IPOs, so it’s worth keeping an eye on them.
Ant Financial: US$150 billion
Ant Financial is an offshoot of Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, and the world’s first and only hectocorn (a startup worth more than US$100 billion). Its valuation makes it worth considerably more than Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
The reason for its success is its dominance in the Chinese market – Alipay, the company’s online payment platform, holds 54% of the mobile market.
ByteDance: $US75 billion
Founded by serial entrepreneur Yiming Zhang, ByteDance operates several content platforms (such as Toutiao, one of China’s most popular content aggregators), and several short-form video apps.
As most of its products make use of machine learning, the company has moved towards AI. Xiaomingbot, for example, was a bot that wrote and published 450 articles for the Beijing Olympics, but ByteDance has plans to go much further with AI.
Uber: US$62 billion
The number one startup in the US, Uber’s success is down to its status as a pioneer in the “access economy”.
That said, it faces competition from international ride-sharing services, and Lyft in the US – though Lyft doesn’t make this list, it’s not far off.
Didi Chuxing: US$56 billion
Hot on the heels of Uber is China’s own ride-sharing company (though it dabbles in AI as well), whose regional dominance forced Uber to abandon its operations there.
In fact, the terse competition between the two may see Uber locked out of everywhere but Europe, the US and Australia. At last report, Didi Chuxing was seeking a US$80 billion valuation ahead of an IPO.
Alibaba Cloud: US$39 billion
The second Alibaba-affiliated startup on the list, Alibaba Cloud (formerly known as Aliyun) provides cloud computing services for online businesses.
Alibaba Cloud recently partnered with KPMG, hoping to take its services worldwide.
Airbnb: US$38 billion
Airbnb shares a reputation with Uber as being one of the foremost examples of the access economy (in the Western world, at any rate).
It’s one of the few profitable startups, and continues to introduce innovative features, such as Experiences. Airbnb’s end goal is to be a one-stop service, a comprehensive, end-to-end travel platform.
Meituan-Dianping: US$30 billion
Meituan.com is a shopping portal that connects offline vendors with online shoppers. In the last few years, the startup has diversified, buying China’s largest bike-sharing service, and considering ride-sharing.
Like others on the list, Meituan-Dianping was seeking an IPO, targeting a price of up to US$55 billion. However, competition from Alibaba and Meituan-Dianping’s net losses have raised eyebrows over the ambitious valuation.
Tencent Music: US$30 billion
This Chinese startup owns three music streaming services, and has partnered with Spotify in a stock swap.
This, and Spotify’s recent successful IPO, may be why the company is planning to go public on the New York Stock Exchange, rather than in Hong Kong (where parent company Tencent is listed).
SpaceX: US$27 billion
Despite the litany of travails endured by CEO Elon Musk in recent months, SpaceX remains one of the most valuable startups around.
Musk only just announced a round-the-moon trip in the Big Falcon Rocket, scheduled for 2023, with Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa linked up to be the first guest.
Flipkart: US$20.8 billion
The only top 10 startup not from the US or China, Flipkart is an Indian ecommerce company, controlling well over a third of the domestic market.
It was acquired by Walmart in August, and as a result, Walmart may be forced to publicly list the retailer within four years.