Briefing: China lags behind US in high-tech unicorns

By Chris Udemans
1 min read

China no match for US unicorns in AI, big data and robotics as it continues to play catch-up in R&D, says Credit Suisse – South China Morning Post

What happened: Despite China producing nearly one-third of the world’s startups valued at more than $1 billion, the country’s share of high-tech unicorns is far smaller than that of the US, according to a report by Credit Suisse. The report said that China accounts for just 14% of unicorns in sectors that require advanced research abilities, including artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and robotics, compared to the US with 40%.

Why it’s important: Artificial intelligence and robotics form an important part of China’s technological development plan. The country aims to move up the industrial value chain through its Made in China 2025 initiative and become a leader in AI by 2030. However, according to Credit Suisse, the country is a relative newcomer to the “games of R&D and innovation.” Its report said that nearly half of all Chinese unicorns are internet and e-commerce companies, and the main focus is business model innovation, not new technological products.