Chinese firms Alibaba, Xiaomi lauded as budding innovation powerhouses

Mainland e-commerce leader and smartphone maker among the world's most creative firms

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 September, 2013, 3:20am

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group and smartphone supplier Xiaomi Technology have been named among this year's most promising innovative enterprises in a global survey, burnishing the credentials of their founders as rising captains of industry on the mainland.

In its latest report on the world's most innovative companies, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) included the two privately held Chinese firms in the new category of "up-and-coming companies".

Many of these up-and-comers are innovating around the latest technologies

The US-based management consultancy said "many of these up-and-comers are innovating around the latest technologies - social media, mobile applications, and cloud-based services, with almost all leveraging mobile platforms".

Alibaba, which was founded by English-teacher-turned-entrepreneur Jack Ma Yun in 1999, embarked on a sweeping restructuring that created a family of 25 internet businesses. The Hangzhou-based firm, which is eyeing an initial public offering, runs the world's leading e-commerce platform for small businesses, and the mainland's biggest online-shopping platforms, and Taobao Marketplace.

"It's always an honour to be recognised, but our true satisfaction comes from taking care of our customers around the world and playing a role in helping them be more successful," Alibaba spokesman John Spelich said yesterday.

Based in Beijing, Xiaomi was founded in 2010 by internet entrepreneur Lei Jun, who serves as its CEO. The firm aims to expand internationally and recently launched a new line of internet-linked "smart" televisions.

Two Hong Kong-listed enterprises made it to this year's ranking of the top-50 most innovative companies. Lenovo, the world's biggest supplier of personal computers, jumped five places from last year to land at No22, and Tencent, the mainland's largest internet company, entered the list for the first time at No35.

Kim Wagner, a BCG senior partner and co-author of the report, said: "Tech and telecoms still rule a big part of the innovation roost."

Apple, the maker of the iPhone and iPad, retained its No1 ranking as the world's most innovative company for the ninth consecutive year. The annual survey was started in 2005.