Wednesday, November 16, 2016

China's Tech Unicorns Look Increasingly Cursed - Bloomberg

Another example of Chinese businesses compressing the cycle time on a U.S. innovation

"One of the greatest beneficiaries – or perhaps victims – of hyperbolic expectations about all things China internet is Xiaomi, the Beijing-based smartphone maker. Founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Lei, the startup shot to fame selling high-performance, low-cost smartphones through "flash sales" on its web site. For several months in late 2014 and early 2015, Xiaomi was China's top smartphone seller. Three months after Alibaba’s IPO, Xiaomi capitalized on the fervor with a funding round that valued the company at a breathless $46 billion, making it briefly the world's shiniest unicorn (it's now second only to Uber).

Yet its dominance proved fleeting. Over the past year and a half, Xiaomi's position in China's handset market tumbled from first to fourth. The company is certainly still a unicorn, but its current value may be $4 billion to $10 billion if it tried to raise more money now, estimated Clay Shirky, an associate professor at NYU Shanghai and author of the 2015 book, Little Rice: Smartphones, Xiaomi, and the Chinese Dream. "Over the past 18 months, they’ve lost 90 percent of their value, or thereabouts," he said."
China's Tech Unicorns Look Increasingly Cursed - Bloomberg
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