Cryptocurrency exchange MaiCoin Ltd (現代財富科技) led the list of Taiwan’s top 10 emerging technology-focused start-ups based on its value and growth potential, a joint study released by HSBC Bank Taiwan Ltd (匯豐台灣商銀) and KPMG yesterday showed.
MaiCoin is followed by gaming platform 4Gamers Entertainment Inc (就肆電競), blockchain service provider OwlTing Group (奧丁丁), online booking platform FunNow (曙客) and artificial intelligence company FaceHeart Corp (鉅怡智慧), the bank said.
Ranking from sixth to 10th are digital paper provider Linfiny Corp (元力電紙平台), PChomePay Electronic Payment Co (支付連), digital media company iKala Interactive Media Inc (愛卡拉), virtual fitting solution provider Style.me Co (唯衣時尚) and augmented reality company Oomii Inc (荷魯視科技), it said.
Photo courtesy of MaiCoin Ltd
Emerging companies are defined as those whose estimated valuation is lower than US$500 million, HSBC Taiwan said.
The ranking is based on the companies’ valuation, the funds they have raised, their importance in the local market and growth potential in the international market, it said.
“Taiwan is a champion market for cryptocurrency, but at present it’s not a cryptohaven like Singapore. MaiCoin has approximately a 70 percent market share of cryptobrokerages and exchanges in Taiwan,” MaiCoin chef executive officer Alex Liu (劉世偉) said.
Asked what drives cryptocurrency adoption, Liu said: “Crypto will have a lot of volatility, but it will appreciate over the long term. Generation Z and younger people are less interested in stocks and drinking wine, but they are really into crypto.”
So far, Taiwan had produced three unicorns, and the highest profile is artificial intelligence firm Appier Group Inc (沛星), which raised US$130 million in March last year when it listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, HSBC Taiwan said.
While official support for start-ups is strong, corporate funding plays a bigger role for start-ups in Taiwan than in most locations, accounting for nearly half of venture capital investment, compared with a global average of about one-quarter, the bank said.
However, with other sources increasing, early-stage start-ups can now secure funds far more easily than in the past, and the average amount of funding for start-ups has grown to the same scale as that in other countries, it said.
“In the past, low valuations have been a pain point. However, now more funds are flowing into early-stage start-ups, so innovative firms can get funds far more easily,” HSBC Taiwan said.
However, emerging Taiwanese companies still hold a smaller share that their peers in other countries — only 0.4 percent start-ups originated from Taiwan, compared with 32.8 percent in China, 30.1 percent in India and 12.7 percent in Japan, it said.
The combined value of the top 10 emerging companies in Taiwan totaled about US$65 million, compared with Chinese companies with US$5 billion, Indian firms with US$4.6 billion and Japanese peers with US$3.5 billion, it said.
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