6 out of 10 unicorns in Shanghai are robotic companies, ranking shows

By geography, Pudong New Area ranks as the most unicorn-rich district in all of Shanghai, being home to 28 unicorns, or 42.4% of the total according to the Hurun list this year.

Almost one in 10 unicorns minted in Shanghai is a robotic startup, according to an influential ranking of unicorns across the globe.

Hurun Research Institute, which publishes the highly regarded Hurun Rich List, recently released a list of global unicorns with a valuation of US$1 billion and more.

Altogether 66 Shanghai companies made the list, achieving the coveted status as unicorns and making Shanghai the fourth city in the world with the most unicorns — after San Francisco, New York and Beijing.

Amone these listmakers, six are robotic companies or involved partly in robotics. They include DeepBlue Technology (深兰科技), Gausium (高仙机器人), CloudMinds (达闼机器人), Flexiv (非夕机器人), Keenon Robotics (擎朗智能) and Quicktron (快仓智能).

DeepBlue is a leader in AI solutions, especially in autonomous driving tailored to driverless buses and robotic scrubbers for street cleaning.

Gausium is the largest commercial cleaning robot developer in China, while CloudMinds produces humanoid robots controlled through a cloud-based platform.

Flexiv is a robotic manufacturer of what it calls self-adaptive cobot, mainly to be deployed in automobile, 3C and Internet industries.

Keenon specializes in delivery and butler robots for application in restaurant, hotel and other scenarios. Quicktron provides AMRs and related technologies to help clients automate part of their manufacturing and logistics operation.

Among them, DeepBlue Technology, Gausium (alias Gaussian Robotics), CloudMinds and Flexiv are first-time listmakers.

DeepBlue Technology and Gausium both came at the top of the pile with a valuation of 14 billion yuan (US$2 billion), followed by CloudMinds at 10.5 billion yuan and Flexiv at 6.9 billion yuan.

Meanwhile, Keenon and Quicktron, both of them previous entrants to the unicorn list, were valued at 6.9 billion yuan each, almost the same as when they announced their last funding round.

By geography, Pudong New Area ranks as the most unicorn-rich district in all of Shanghai, being home to 28 unicorns, or 42.4% of the total according to the Hurun list this year.

Of them, 15 unicorns were headquartered in Zhangjiang High-Tech Park while another eight were based in Lingang, where Tesla’s gigafactory is located.

Shanghai’s number of unicorns slightly fell from 71 in 2021. According to Hurun Research Institute, 32 unicorns have exited from the ranking due to IPO, M&A or a lower valuation. Another 27 were newly recognized as unicorns.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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