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30 winning companies

Many Chinese companies, often unknown giants, make a major impact in all industries. We feature some of the best.

The e-commerce giant

In 2014, Alibaba’s debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) broke all records, valuing the Chinese e-commerce giant at nearly $170 billion. Five years later, the group is expanding internationally, with an announcement in November 2018 that it is building a major logistics hub in Liège, Belgium, in order to expand its presence in Europe. Most analysts recommend purchasing shares.


The car seller

With its two sites che168. com and autohome.com. cn, Autohome is an online car sales platform that is very popular in China. Used by both private sellers and dealers alike, Autohome has an impressive collection of more than 22,000 vehicles and around 10 different applications for Android and iPhone.


The other search engine

Nicknamed the “Chinese Google”, internet giant Baidu, which is listed in New York, exceeded the symbolic threshold of 100 billion yuan in revenue in 2018 (€12.67 billion) – a record performance. But analysts are split – some recommend purchasing shares, while others are more prudent and say to hold off. Baidu, which holds a quasi-monopoly in China, is up against the authorities, which ordered the giant to suspend some of its services in January 2019 because of content deemed “vulgar”. Furthermore, Google could eventually return to the Chinese market with its Dragonfly project. This would be a threat to Baidu’s future growth.


The e-commerce intermediary

In Western countries, Baozun isn’t a household name. But in the next few years, the company could have the same status as a giant like Alibaba. Listed on the Nasdaq, Baozun provides e-commerce solutions. Many international companies such as Nike, Microsoft and Zara use this intermediary in order to avoid pitfalls specific to the Chinese market. Analysts recommend purchasing shares in Baozun, as the price has dropped by half since August 2018 and can only go up, they say.


The jewel of Beijing

Listed on the Shenzhen exchange, Beijing Kingee Culture Development specialises in designing, producing and distributing objects made of precious metals, primarily pure gold and silver. Its flagship products are jewellery, gold bars for investments and white jade goods. Beijing Kingee is expected to benefit from the expansion of the middle class in China.


Comprehensive insurance

According to a Swiss Re study from November 2018, China and emerging Asian countries will be the primary source of insurance demand in the coming years. With its counterpart Ping An, China Life Insurance, which is listed in New York and Shanghai, is expected to benefit from this boom. But the company, which posted $95 billion in revenue in 2017, has to compete with Western groups such as Axa and Allianz, which are growing their presence in China.


The telephone operator

With 922 million customers reported in November 2018, China Mobile is the largest mobile telephone operator in the world in terms of number of subscribers. In 2017, the group generated $117 billion in revenue, up by 4.5% in a year. And China Mobile, listed in New York and Hong Kong, isn’t stopping there: with Huawei, it’s actively preparing for the arrival of 5G in China.


Glencore’s rival

This company, publicly listed on the Hong Kong exchange, is battling Glencore for dominance of cobalt in the Congo. It is the second-biggest global producer of the metal, but also one of the main producers of tungsten, niobium, copper and, true to its name, molybdenum. Most analysts recommend purchasing shares.


The rare earth expert

Listed in Shanghai, the discreet consortium China Northern Rare Earth is the top rare earth miner in the world, producing 60,000 tonnes per year – over one-third of the world’s estimated annual production of 160,000 tonnes. Consumption of these metals, which are used in electric vehicles and electronics, among other sectors, is expected to continue growing in the coming years.


Racing ahead

This auto manufacturer strikes fear into the hearts of Western brands. Founded in 1986 in Taizhou, the company used to make refrigerators. It wasn’t until 1998 that it began producing cars. But the real shift was in 2010. In the midst of a full-blown crisis, the Chinese group, listed in Hong Kong, acquired Swedish brand Volvo. Then in 2017, it acquired iconic English race car company Lotus, followed by US start-up Terrafugia, which designs flying cars. February 2018 saw a big new development: Geely acquired a 9.6% stake in German auto giant Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, becoming its primary shareholder. The goal of these acquisitions was to acquire technologies in order to break into Western markets. In 2017, Geely sold more than 800,000 vehicles in its domestic market.


The milk producer

Public company Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group is the largest dairy company in China. Listed in Shanghai, it also produces ice cream, frozen foods and noodles.


The Chinese Netflix

It was one of the most highly anticipated IPOs of 2018. In March, video platform iQiyi, a subsidiary of Baidu, went public on the Nasdaq, raising nearly $2.3 billion in the process. The site offers a mix of free content, funded by advertisements, and original series for subscribers, making it a combination of You- Tube and Netflix. iQiyi, which has 65 million subscribers – half as many as Netflix – has two sizeable rivals in China: Tencent’s video service and Youku Tudou, Alibaba’s platform.


The solar energy expert

JinkoSolar is one of the world leaders in the photovoltaic solar energy industry. The company has offices around the world, including in Zug (Switzerland) and San Francisco (United States). Listed in New York, the company generated $4 billion in revenue in 2017. It faces fierce competition from other Chinese public companies, such as Sungrow Power, GCL-Poly and Xinyi Solar, in an industry where a wave of concentration seems inevitable.


The other Alibaba

It’s almost Alibaba’s unknown little brother. But with more than 300 million active users and $55 billion in revenue in 2017, JD.com is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world. Chinese giant Tencent holds a 20% stake in the company, which specialises in high-tech products, electronics and drone delivery using one of the largest drone fleets in the world. Share prices are currently at a historic low, so many analysts believe it’s a good time to purchase shares.


The Chinese Blizzard

Ever since it was founded in 1997, NetEase has specialised in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), such as Fantasy Westward Journey. With mail.163.com, 126.com and yeah. net, NetEase is also the largest email provider in China. Like other Chinese web companies, NetEase had a difficult 2018: listed on the Nasdaq, its share price lost approximately 25% of its value over one year. But most analysts recommend purchasing shares; Barclays is targeting a price of $300 compared to approximately $250 as of late January this year.


The teacher

Founded in 1993 by an English teacher to prepare students for the TOEFL and GRE exams, New Oriental Education quickly diversified to become the biggest private education company in China. Its services encompass the entire education sector, including textbook printing, online courses and pre- and post-school training. Most analysts recommend purchasing shares of this company listed in New York, believing it to be currently listed below its real value.


The insurance giant

With revenue of 975 billion yuan ($145 billion) in 2017, Ping An is the largest insurer in the world. Listed in Hong Kong and Shanghai, the company is also active in banking and finance.

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The fallen oil king

Who remembers when, in 2007, more than 10 years before Apple and Amazon, PetroChina was the first company in the world to exceed the mythical threshold of $1,000 billion in market capitalisation? Since then, the oil giant has fallen into a market abyss, losing more than $800 billion. Listed on exchanges in New York, Shanghai and Hong Kong, the group nevertheless had a promising 2018. In the first nine months of the year, revenue increased 17.3% compared to 2017, reaching 482 billion yuan ($71 billion).


The information portal

Founded in 1998 and listed on the Nasdaq since 2000, Sina.com is the largest Chineselanguage information and entertainment portal. It is also the parent company (and primary shareholder with Alibaba) of microblogging site Sina Weibo, considered the “Chinese Twitter”. In 2017, Sina.com generated $1.6 billion in revenue.


The unknown refiner

As the leading oil refiner in the world, Sinopec (also known under the name China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation) generated more than 2,360 billion yuan ($348 billion) in revenue in 2017, which is more than giants like ExxonMobil ($237 billion) and Shell ($305 billion). While refining and chemicals are Sinopec’s main activities, the group’s revenue has been bolstered by solid Chinese demand in these sectors. Listed in Hong Kong, London, New York and Shanghai, this unknown giant is also benefiting from the accelerated transition from carbon to natural gas implemented by Beijing to reduce pollution.


Big pharma

With revenue exceeding $40 billion in 2017, SinoPharm is the largest pharmaceutical company in China. Listed on the Hong Kong exchange since 2009, the firm has its own research and development labs, as well as a distribution network that extends across the country.


The Chinese Twitter

In China, people don’t use Twitter. They use Weibo. This microblogging social network has more than 440 million active users per month, mostly from China, compared to 330 million users for its US-based rival. In its market, Weibo competes with Tencent (Tencent Weibo) and NetEase (Wangyi Weibo), which also have their own microblogging sites. Like other Chinese brands, Weibo – which is listed on the Nasdaq – is now eyeing international markets and is planning to launch services in various languages. But this ambition could be halted by Western concerns about surveillance and Beijing-mandated censorship for social networks. Most analysts recommend purchasing shares nonetheless.


The new video games king

Valued at more than $400 billion, Tencent is a major internet services player. Listed in Hong Kong, the company offers online payment solutions, instant messaging and social media. But Tencent owes part of its dominance to its video games division. Gaming brought in $18 billion in revenue in 2017 – an increase of 50% over one year. Above all, this figure is significantly higher than the results posted by Sony PlayStation ($10.5 billion) and Nintendo ($3.7 billion). Even the mobile games revenue raised by Apple ($8 billion) and Google ($5.3 billion) pale in comparison to the Chinese giant.


The surveillance pro

Listed on the Shenzhen exchange, Wuhan Guide Infrared develops, produces and sells infrared cameras and thermal imaging systems. Its products are mainly used by the army, particularly for infrared guidance, in surveillance equipment and by the medical industry.


The smartphone manufacturer

Announced as one of the biggest events of 2018, Xiaomi’s IPO on the Hong Kong exchange was a disappointment. The Chinese smartphone manufacturer only raised the equivalent of $4.7 billion, valuing the group at $50 billion, far below the ambitious target of $100 billion set before the IPO. Since then, the share price has gradually decreased, despite increased sales. In 2017, Xiaomi sold more than 90 million smartphones around the world, making it the fourth-largest global manufacturer behind Samsung, Huawei and Apple.


Simplifying access to loans

Bringing investors and borrowers together in China is the challenge that Yirendai has taken on. Listed in New York, the company’s platform allows people seeking funds to make an online request that could attract a lender. The platform then completes and secures the transaction. According to the company, Yirendai has facilitated approximately 100 billion yuan – approximately $15 billion – in loans since it began operating in 2012.


The major player

In April, television series Game of Thrones will come to a close with the eighth and final season broadcast by HBO. Simultaneously, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game called Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming will also be released. Behind this latest blockbuster is Chinese video game producer Youzu Interactive, already known for games such as League of Angels and Legacy of Discord-FuriousWings. Analysts consulted by Swissquote Magazine recommend purchasing shares in Youzu, which is listed on the Shenzhen exchange.


Successful fast food

Listed in New York, Yum China operates KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in China. In 2017, it generated $7.1 billion in revenue, up 8% over the year. It attracted investment fund Hillhouse Capital Group, which in 2018 became the head of a consortium to acquire the company. The offer of $46 per share – valuing Yum China at more than $17 billion – was rejected in late August. This is one to keep an eye on.


The art of express delivery

In May 2018, Chinese online commerce giant Alibaba acquired 10% of the capital of logistics company ZTO Express – and the reason is that to deliver its packages across China and around the world, Alibaba needs a strong partner. The investment, valued at $1.38 billion, will allow ZTO to improve its warehouse management and cross-border logistics thanks to innovative solutions based on new technologies. Most analysts recommend purchasing shares on the New York exchange.


Classified adverts and more

This platform is unknown in the West, and for good reason: the entire site is in Chinese. But 58.com is one of the largest classified ad sites for individuals and companies in China, covering hundreds of cities and every possible product imaginable. Buoyed by very good Q2 results that exceeded expectations, 58.com shares reached $87 in July 2018 but dropped to $50 at the end of the year.


And also...


Specialising in speech recognition and voice synthesis software, iFlyTek is working with juggernauts such as Alibaba and Huawei to develop Siri’s (Apple) doppelgangers.




Car manufacturer dedicated to developing electric vehicles.




Company specialised in the development and sale of industrial automation control products.




Active in the cloud computing industry, Sugon builds supercalculators.




The firm produces generic drugs and wellness products.


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