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Chinese startup hubs are catching up to Silicon Valley

A JD.com tea shop helps incubate startups and showcase their products. Photo: Emmanuel Wong/Getty Images

Silicon Valley is still king when it comes to startups, but Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai are quickly catching up — with Beijing reaching more than half of Silicon Valley's funding in 2018, according to new data from CB Insights.

Why it matters: China is a huge market, so it's not surprise its local startups are fast growing and raising buckets of capital. But the country's increasing ambitions to become a tech superpower is sure to boost this trend.

More from China:

  • Beijing startups raised more than half as much funding as Silicon Valley and twice as much as New York companies between January 2012 and May 2018.
  • Beijing is also home to 29 startups valued at more than $1 billion ("unicorns") behind the leader, which is Silicon Valley with 57. Shanghai has 11, behind New York City's 13.
  • Since 2012, Beijing has seen more than 30 exits valued at more than $100 million, including JD.com's IPO. Shanghai has had almost 20.
  • Since 2014, Beijing startups have raised 128 rounds of more than $100 million, and Shanghai companies have raised 58.
  • In 2012, Beijing startups raised about 30 first-time funding rounds, a number that grew to more than 250 in 2017.

Tel Aviv also emerged as a notable startup hub:

  • Tel Aviv has fewer exits valued at more than $100 million than other regions like Silicon Valley, NYC and Los Angeles, but a larger percentage (14%) of its total exits were of this magnitude between 2012 and 2017.
  • The city's startups also attract a lot of foreign capital: 71% of rounds included foreign money between 2012 and 2017, though this shouldn't be a surprise given its proximity to European investors.
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