ZTE, Hermès excel in China

18 March 2011

BEIJING: Huawei, ZTE and Hermès are among the most innovative brand owners currently active in China, a report has argued.

Business title Fast Company compiled a list of the organisations exerting a demonstrably disruptive impact, typically displaying a "nondogmatic" approach and challenging category conventions.

Leading the charts was Dawning Information Industry, the supercomputer manufacturer, which has created the third-fastest such machine in the world, the Nebulae, and is developing a high-speed chip, called Loongson.

Data released in 2010 by the China Semiconductor Industry Association revealed that Dawning held a 34% share of the Chinese supercomputer segment, surpassing IBM's 28% and HP's 19%.

"Our domestic market has gradually accepted our homemade brands of high performance computers," Nie Hua, vice president of Dawning, said.

"Also, our high performance computers now have a competitive edge over the internationally renowned brands."

Huawei took second in Fast Company's poll, credited for working with 45 of the globe's top telecoms firms, and taking 19% of mobile infrastructure revenue in 2010, behind only Ericsson's 35% and Nokia Siemens' 23%, per SG Securities.

In an effort to enhance its position, Huawei is targeting corporate clients, an arena featuring Cisco, HP and Avaya.

"Our extensive product portfolio, strong research and development capabilities and engineering resources give us a competitive edge to meet the needs of enterprise customers," said William Xu, president of Huawei's new enterprise division.

Changchun Dacheng Industrial Group, a corn refiner now seeking to deliver constituents for cosmetics, plastics and household cleaning goods, claimed third.

ZTE followed in fourth, lauded for a "whiz-bang" mobile portfolio, incorporating handsets, advanced wireless modems an innovative 3G "skin" to be used on Apple's iPad.

Going forward, ZTE intends to sell more branded phones in China, America and Europe.

"We have a relatively open policy. We can use other brands or go dual-branded between ZTE and an operator. Overseas we hope to build ZTE's brand," said Wei Zaisheng, its chief financial officer.

"In the US, we already have cooperation with the four big carriers on independently ZTE-branded terminals, mobile phones."

CSR, bidding for a Californian rail project alongside General Electric, occupied fifth, ahead of digital giant Tencent, present in areas like gaming and microblogging, and which has recently formed a tie-up with Groupon.

Tencent has also established a Collaboration Fund, backed by 5bn yuan, to support pioneering start-ups.

"As internet applications continue to diversify, we believe open platform and collaboration will be the keys to our long-term success," said Ma Huateng, chairman/ceo of Tencent.

"We will make significant investments in a number of new strategic platforms including microblog[s], e-commerce, search, and online security."

"Through our open platform strategy and our investments in platforms, we aim to help build a healthier ecosystem for the industry, offering higher values to our users and our partners."

WuXi PharmaTech, the healthcare specialist, took seventh place, beating BYD, which manufactures mobile phone batteries and solar panels, with plans to launch a hybrid car in the US and Europe.

MAD Architects, run by Ma Yangsong, was praised for winning international acclaim, while French luxury group Hermès closed out the top ten, having introduced a bespoke range, Shang Xia, in China.

"China is now one of the three biggest luxury markets in the world," said Leo Lui, president of Hermès China.

"Four years ago, I could have predicted this, but I certainly couldn't have seven-to-ten years ago."

Data sourced from Fast Company, China Daily, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, China International Business; additional content by Warc staff