BUSINESS IS BOOMING: Mobile tech 'unicorns' have doubled in value in a year

Mobile tech is booming: New figures from Digi-Capital show the number of “unicorns” — companies with $US1 billion-plus valuations — has almost doubled in the last 12 months, and there’s now more than ever before.

In 2013, there were 38 unicorns in the mobile sphere; in 2014, there was 68. And the collective value of these companies has doubled too, from around $US130 billion to $US261 billion.

Here’s a breakdown of the analysis by size:

Right at the top sits taxi service Uber, one of the most valuable startups in the world. It’s worth an estimated $US40 billion.

The only larger startup is Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi, but Digi-Capital’s analysis excludes hardware companies. (As a now-predominantly mobile company, Facebook should arguably also be included in the analysis, but Digi-Capital says it has left it out as it would “swamp everything else” due to its huge size.)

The success of transportation services is a recurrent theme in the data. In a breakdown by sector in Q4 2014, Travel/Transport is comfortably the largest category. It illustrates how disproportionately valuable the sector is: In 2014, Games was comfortably the largest category by install on both Android’s Google Play Store (41.2%) and Apple’s App Store (40.6%). But the value of unicorns in the sector is less than half that of Travel/Transport.

So where are these Unicorns coming from? The majority of the value — $US144 billion out of $US268 billion — comes from the United States. The US also has 6 out of the top 10 most valuable. But over half of the unicorns now hail from Asia. There’s 38 of them — as many unicorns as there were globally in 2013.

It’s a clear illustration of the rising fortunes of the Asian tech sector, and how homegrown companies are benefiting massively as the next billion people come online in emerging economies.

Finally, here’s the full data set:

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