A “unicorn” refers to those companies less than 10 years old and valued at $1 billion or more. There were 34 Chinese new unicorn companies in 2017 that match these conditions, according to a new report released by Chinese startup database IT Juzi (IT桔子).

In the first half of 2017, rental economy startups gained prominence with bike rentals, power bank rentals, and got pretty silly with umbrellas, basketballs, and even blowup dolls. In the second half of the year, new retail projects such as unmanned convenience stores and unmanned shelves began to emerge. AI, on the other hand, has become a consistent investment-attracting sector throughout 2017 with Chinese startups’ overall valuation 2-4 times higher than that of the United States.

It’s interesting to note that more than 60% of the companies have direct or indirect equity shares ownership from BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent). Tencent’s investment activity in the early-stage investment rounds (angel round and series A) reached 42%, exceeding that of most early-stage investment institutions.

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Eva Yoo

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com