China firms rise on global stage on innovation, acquisition

More Chinese companies are stepping on to the global stage as they focus on innovation and overseas acquisitions to boost competitiveness, experts said.As China transforms, more companies are moving up the value chain to build their brands rather than emulating other business models or products, according to Zhang Yansheng, secretary general of the Academic Committee of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).”Gone are the days when speed and size matter more,” said Zhang.A report released by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) this week lists 100 companies that are believed to be “global challengers.” Of the total, 28 come from China.”Chinese companies are the largest block on this list, so by the sheer size of the position, they will have more impact than anyone else,” according to Dinesh Khanna, coauthor and leader of BCG Global AdvantageAmong the listed Chinese companies are Alibaba, Tencent, Dalian Wanda, Xiaomi, Geely, Haier, Trina Solar and Zoomlion.”Ten years ago, the global challenger list was dominated by industrial goods and resources companies competing on cost. Today’s many challengers are appealing to middle-class consumers in emerging markets and elsewhere,” said Michael Meyer, a coauthor and partner based in Singapore.Facing dwindling external demand, many Chinese companies are tapping into the growing domestic purchasing power.Liu Changwen, a manager with Haier, said the home appliance maker has set up a platform to explore customer demands with a view to develop customized products.These companies have also embarked on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to expand scale, explore new markets or enhance technical prowess, the report noted.In the first quarter, companies on the Chinese mainland struck 115 overseas M&A deals, with a combined value of $82.6 billion, according to international accounting firm PwC. The quarterly value exceeded earlier yearly records, it added.Li Ming, a partner with PwC, said that Chinese companies see overseas acquisitions as a way to boost global competitiveness and expand overseas.At the beginning of 2016, Haier announced it would buy the household appliances department of General Electric for $5.4 billion.In December last year, Zoomlion, the leading construction machinery producer, agreed to buy a 57 percent stake in Italy’s waste-disposal company Ladurner.Sun Changjun, vice president of Zoomlion, said the company has expanded its business to major countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road.”We have recruited more local staff to help us better understand local culture and market,” said Sun.