Expert Insights Finding the Next Unicorn

Finding the Next Unicorn
China’s hardware sector is booming fast and will lead the change in the global hardware sector, being second only to the US in terms of venture capital investment and the number of unicorn companies in the sector.

Major hardware trends globally and what they mean for China

Benjamin Joffe, general partner of hardware incubator and venture capital company HAX, introduced to investors and guests the key trends that are evident in the global hardware sector and China’s role and prospects in this area. Mr. Joffe believes that the hardware sector is reshaping the whole industrial industry. A growing trend in this sector is deep integration with big data and machine learning expected to provide consumers with personalized products. He described data is the new blood as well as the new oil.

Mr. Joffe pointed out in his speech that the key to the successful development of the hardware sector now lies in reducing the commercialization time from what would have been decades to 18 months, and accelerating the transformation of innovative concepts into marketable products.

With HAX’s headquarters in Shenzhen, Mr. Joffe holds a very positive view of China’s future. He believes that China plays an important role in the innovation of the global hardware sector, and Shenzhen is the country’s answer to Silicon Valley for hardware. Thanks to its innovative flair, industry capacity and industrial capability, China is well-placed to launch any industrial operation very quickly. China is second only to the US in venture capital investment and the number of unicorn companies in the hardware sector. Among the 214 unicorn companies worldwide, China accounts for 59 compared with 127 in the US. Chinese companies are focused more on B2C, while US companies are more focused on B2B.

Mr. Joffe concluded his speech by sharing his experience of HAX’s investments in China. He said: "In the past few years, HAX has invested in a number of Chinese start-ups, but we are keener on those start-ups with a deep tech focus."