Four mainland Chinese firms join elite list of top-performing, rapidly growing large companies

Alibaba Group and NetEase are new entries on the list of 2017 top ‘super-accelerators’

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 June, 2017, 9:38am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 June, 2017, 10:39pm

Two more Chinese technology firms joined the list of the world’s top-performing and fastest-growing large companies, reflecting strong growth potential for the sector, according to a new industry study.

Alibaba Group Holding and NetEase are the new entries on the list of the 2017 top “super-accelerators”, or rapidly growing, highly profitable firms, among the world’s largest 500 companies in terms of market capitalisation as of March 31, according to a study released on Wednesday by executive recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles.

Globally, 25 firms made the list this year compared with 23 in 2016. Four mainland Chinese companies joined the list this year, up from two last year.

Hangzhou-based Alibaba, owner of the South China Morning Post, is in third place, behind US technology giants Apple and Alphabet. NetEase was ranked No 21.

Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings took the fourth position, while Ping An Insurance (Group) ranked No 9. These two companies were also on last year’s list.

Property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties, ranked No 19, is the only Hong Kong company on the list.

To qualify for inclusion on the list, the companies also need to be in the top 20 per cent of the top 500 companies for revenue growth for the past seven years.

They also need to have generated no more than 20 per cent of their growth through acquisitions, in order to demonstrate their organic growth capabilities, and received no more than 20 per cent of their revenue from their home governments, to eliminate state-supported enterprises.

There are also criteria on profitability to reflect their ability to maintain certain profit margins.

“These 25 ‘super-accelerator’ companies consistently achieve top-tier revenue growth with impressive, sustained profitability,” said Colin Price, executive vice-president and global managing partner for leadership consulting at Heidrick & Struggles, which is listed on Nasdaq.

“Sustained top- and bottom-line success in an uncertain, disruptive world requires acceleration – that is, the ability to adapt and pivot faster than their competitors.”

This year’s list included 11 new entries along with 14 that also made the list in 2016, underscoring the leadership challenges associated with achieving and maintaining high levels of performance.

“The key changes in this year’s list is the growth of Asia representation, Chinese in particular, and also the fact that two of the three most important [technology] companies in China, Tencent and Alibaba, are on the list,” Steve Wyatt, partner of leadership consulting practice, Heidrick & Struggles, told the Post.

Looking ahead, the firm expects more Chinese companies to join the list, he added.

Globally, one-third of the firms on the list are from the technology sector. Other industries include the consumer, health care, financial services and professional services sectors.

The United States again dominated the list with 16 companies out of the 25.