Beijing is home to the most new software companies created outside the U.S. since 2003 and valued at more than $1 billion, Atomico, a venture capital investor, said on its website.

The Chinese capital is the base for 17 of the companies, including Internet security provider Qihoo 360 Technology Co. (QIHU), said Atomico, led by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom. Northern California’s Silicon Valley area has the largest pool of big software companies, with the region accounting for 39 percent of all large software firms worldwide.

Beijing, including the Zhongguancun district that has been called China’s Silicon Valley, is benefiting from a concentration of software developers that are helping the economy reduce its reliance on manufacturing. The city also hosts the most new software developers to start in the business since 2003, according to Atomic, a sign of the capital’s power as a magnet for the growing global industry.

“Beijing has a large talent pool,” said J.P Gan, a Shanghai-based partner at Qiming Venture Partners, which manages four funds with more than $1.1 billion in assets. “The vibe for startups is also good -- lots of gatherings, meetings, good for brainstorming and very convenient.”

Weibo Corp. (WB), China’s biggest microblog service, JD.com Inc. (JD) and Cheetah Mobile Inc. (CMCM), all of which went public in the U.S. this year, are based in Beijing.

The spread of the Internet, cloud computing and open-source software have removed many of the traditional barriers to competing with Silicon Valley, Atomico said.

Consumer Focus

Silicon Valley had 52 companies valued at $1 billion created since 2003, followed by Beijing, New York, Stockholm and Los Angeles, according to Atomico. The data includes companies providing enterprise software, e-commerce, social communications and gaming.

“Silicon Valley is of course the preeminent single location, with 52 companies. But it is far from being the only game in town,” Atomico said in the report.

Consumer-focused companies accounted for all of the 26 Chinese companies valued at more than $1 billion compared with 52 percent in the U.S. and 82 percent in Europe, Atomico said.

About half of the companies on the list have had a “significant liquidity event,” including 40 that held initial public offerings and 23 were involved in mergers and acquisitions, Atomico.

JD.com raised $1.78 billion in a May IPO, the same month that Cheetah Mobile had its $168 million offering.

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