In stark contrast to the previous generation of Chinese companies that focused on domestic growth until the market became saturated, emerging startups are better at coming up with their own ideas and better aware of the opportunities abroad. By the end of last year, the country had nearly 26 million registered private and State-owned businesses, a rise of 18.8 percent from the previous year. 71 internet companies are unicorns”, that is, private businesses valued at more than $1 billion each. Four of them-Didi Chuxing, Xiaomi, Lu and Meituan-Dianping-are on the list of the world’s 10 most valuable unicorns. China’s artificial intelligence sector may already be equal to those in leading global powers in terms of voice, image and semantics recognition technologies. Online shopping is now the norm for hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers. In the past five years, China’s online retail market has surged from 1.3 trillion yuan ($196.5 billion) to 5.2 trillion yuan, raising living standards in both big cities and villages. According to eMarketer, by 2020, half of China’s digital shoppers – about 350 million people-will be buying foreign products online and total sales will top $157 billion. This is supported by IT and space industries – the Chinese Beidou Navigation Satellite System, covering China since 2015, is set to cover the world with more satellites by 2020.”

CAS news release, October 20, 2017