TikTok-owner ByteDance has just emerged as the world’s most valuable unicorn company, ousting Chinese fintech giant Ant Group from the top spot.
The latest Hurun Global Unicorn Index has given Beijing-based ByteDance a valuation of USD$350 billion, for a surge of nearly 30% compared to its valuation of $270 billion last year.
This leap in ByteDance’s valuation enabled it to surpass Alibaba-affiliate Ant Group as the world’s most valuable unicorn.
Hurun estimates Ant Group’s value to be around $150 billion, for a steep plunge compared to near-term valuations of between $350 billion and $450 billion in November 2020, at the time of its proposed IPO.
Ant Group’s fortunes have been adversely affected by heightened scrutiny from Chinese regulators for more than a year now. In November 2020 authorities scuppered its mammoth $39.5 billion listing on the Shanghai and Hong Kong bourses, before reprimanding the company over anti-trust issues and demanding that it convert into a financial holding company.
ByteDance has also faced adverse attention from regulators, both at home in China and in offshore markets such as India and the US. India barred TikTok from its shores completely in June 2020, while the Trump administration pursued similar measures to restrict use of the app in the US the same year.
TikTok managed to weather these challenges to become the world’s most popular site in 2021, according to the latest data from web security company Cloudflare.
Hurun data indicates that China is currently host to 301 of the world’s 1058 unicorn start-ups, while the US is home to 487.