Industry watch: More about unicorns

Colley Hwang, DIGITIMES, Taipei 0

By the end of 2021, there were as many as 958 unicorn enterprises in the world, of which 487 were American companies maintaining a significant portion of 50.8%. But the number of Chinese unicorn enterprises has dropped to 18.6% from 24% when I started calculating the number of unicorns four years ago. Owing to uncertainty in the future, coupled with the fall of many Chinese unicorns, few are talking about unicorns in China now. On the contrary, Taiwan has begun to examine why we cannot keep the unicorns that we've nurtured.

Taiwanese people are usually mesmerized by superstars or rising stars, such as potential unicorns like Appier and Gogoro. Actually mini unicorns are realistically even more suitable for Taiwan, but few care about them. Worse still, few care about the purpose of developing unicorn enterprises.

We are certainly expecting to usher in the next wave of growth momentum, and the older generation where I belong may hope to give the younger ones opportunities in the startup scene. It wouldn't be healthy that all of the smartest people would only work for TSMC or MediaTek.

Fintech, electronics, and even medical care and machinery are very important industry sectors for Taiwan. To trigger a new wave of industrial growth momentum and upgrade Taiwan's industry should be put on top of the agenda. "Money" may be the least important, since Taiwan has a slew of enterprises with market value of billions of dollars. There is no need to copy existing successful models.


Colley Hwang, president of DIGITIMES Asia, is a tech industry analyst with more than three decades of experience under his belt. He has written several books about the trends and developments of the tech industry, including Asian Edge: On the Frontline of the ICT World published in 2019, and Disconnected ICT Supply Chain: New Power Plays Unfolding published in 2020.