The Next Big Thing

Didi Kuaidi, DJI among 10 Chinese start-ups named 'global growth leaders' ahead of WEF Dalian summit

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2015, 12:23pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2015, 6:07pm

Ten Chinese companies, mostly new internet and technology industry leaders, have been crowned "Global Growth Companies" by the World Economic Forum (WEF) despite increasing international concerns about China's economic slowdown and its impact on other emerging markets.

The WEF announced a total of 132 such companies ahead of an annual summit in Dalian, China on Tuesday. The award is widely recognised globally as a vote of confidence in the further development of those businesses.

The growing community of “Global Growth Companies brings together influential and fast-growing companies as innovators and market shapers, and supports their potential for impact in their region, their sector and around the globe,” the organiser said in a statement.

READ MORE: Didi Kuaidi raises US$3 billion as rival Uber China brings in US$1.2 billion

Most of the Chinese companies are fast-growing internet and technology business including Shenzhen-based DJI, the world's largest commercial drone maker, and Didi Kuaidi, the Beijing-based car-and-taxi-hailing app developer and main rival of US start-up Uber in mainland China.

Both Didi and Uber have faced regulatory pressure in China amid concerns of the effects the start-ups and so-called "sharing economy" have had on traditional business.

Other Chinese firms included iQiyi, a video content portal part-owned by search giant Baidu. iQiyi's business is often compared to US firm Netflix, the producer of many successful TV shows including "House of Cards", which is also very popular in China.

LeTV, an internet firm and smartphone maker, and "China's Yelp" Dianping, were also named "Global Growth Companies".

Most of the ten companies have relatively short histories, only being in business for around a decade.

Such rapid growth in China, the world's leading internet market, has been dubbed the "new normal" by industry players and partly contributed to a stock market boom, particularly in the tech sector, until a crash in late June amid concerns including a valuation bubble and foreign capital outflow.

The WEF will host the ninth "Annual Meeting of the New Champions" in Dalian this week. The event has been dubbed the "Summer Davos" after the global summit of business and political leaders held every winter in Switzerland.

Chinese premier Li Keqiang is scheduled to give a keynote speech on the country's economy with a focus on technology and innovation, a timely opportunity for China's leaders to calm growing global concern over a potential hard landing for the Chinese economy.

The recognition of 10 Chinese companies comes at a time of heated debate whether the country's tech firms can move beyond copying successful Western businesses and innovate themselves.

One of Li's stated goals for the year is to develop his "Internet Plus" strategy, designed to help transform the country's economic structure to be more innovation focused and responsive to technological developments.

The WEF's "Global Growth Companies" community currently consists of 400 businesses around the world, including the banking, energy and aviation sectors.