On December 20, the Hurun Research Institute released its Global Unicorn Index 2021, a list of unlisted companies founded after 2000 that are now worth more than $1 billion. Ranked on the list was FOR-U Smart Freight, the only road freight platform from mainland China to make the list, the fourth time that FOR-U Smart Freight has been selected on unicorn-related lists this year.
Publicly available information shows that Hurun Research Institute has been tracking Chinese unicorns since 2017 and global unicorns since 2019, and that this is the third time that the institute has released a global unicorn index.
According to the index, there are 1,058 unicorns in 42 countries and 221 cities worldwide. In China, there are 301 unicorns, 74 more than last year. The total value of unicorns listed on the index is RMB 23.7 trillion, or equivalent to the GDP of Germany. Bytedance, Ant Group, and SpaceX were named the top three unicorns in the world.
According to the index, the top five industries most disrupted by unicorns are corporate management, financial services, retail, healthcare, and logistics. Unicorns in the logistics industry account for 4.4% of global unicorns in 2021, an increase in ranking from last year.
Over the past few years, the logistics industry has attracted a large number of innovators with technology and capital, but very few companies have achieved real market success. Those that have are starting to see a payback period. According to research from Accenture into Chinese unicorns this year, in terms of average valuation, unicorns in the logistics and transportation sector are leading the way.
Industries most disrupted by unicorns, source: Hurun Research Institute
Among the top 10 new global unicorns on the list, companies from the logistics and express delivery sector occupy four places, making it the most noteworthy sector for new unicorns.
Top 10 new faces, source: Hurun Research Institute
There are 31 companies from the logistics industry on the index, 14 of which are from China—including FOR-U Smart Freight, Didi Freight, and Shunfeng Express—as well as six other domestic logistics companies. FOR-U Smart Freight is the only road freight platform from mainland China in the Global Unicorn Index 2021.
Rupert Hoogewerf, the Chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report, has stated that, “The Global Unicorn Index aims to find the world's most successful startups. These companies are leading the next generation of disruptive technologies and attracting the world's best young talent.”
FOR-U Smart Freight has built a smart logistics system with big data and AI technology at its core, realizing the standardized and intelligent operation of each transaction link, from inquiry to settlement, and has built high-quality service standards in the fragmented and non-standardized road freight market.
At present, FOR-U Smart Freight is the first platform to apply AI technology to the truck-load transport trading market, and the only platform in the industry that has achieved second-level pricing for long-distance truck-load freight.
In 2021, FOR-U Smart Freight was selected as a unicorn on four lists by virtue of its innovative value in technology-enabled road freight, as well as the sustainability of its potential growth from new business models and the outstanding contributions it has made in new technologies and forms of service.
In April this year, FOR-U Smart Freight was selected in the China Unicorn Enterprise Research Report 2021, released by Great Wall Strategic Consulting; in June, the 2021 Nanjing Unicorn and Gazelle Enterprise Development White Paper was released, with FOR-U Smart Freight selected as a unicorn; in December, 36 krypton Research Institute released its 2021 China Unicorn Enterprise Development Research Report, listing FOR-U Smart Freight again; while in the same month, FOR-U Smart Freight was included in the Global Unicorn Index 2021, released by the Hurun Research Institute.
In addition to releasing this Index, the Hurun Research Institute also released its 2021 Global Top 100 Unicorn Investment Institutions, as well as its 2021 China Top 30 Unicorn Investment Institutions. Among them, FOR-U Smart Freight’s institutional shareholders— including Matrix Partners China, Legend Capital, and Eastern Bell Capital—were all selected on the 2021 China Top 30 Unicorn Investment Institutions report.