Beyond GAFA – 10 Tech Giants To Watch

Move over, GAFA – it’s time to champion the rest of the world’s best

There’s no shortage of giant technology companies in the Western world. But whilst the dominance of companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook cannot be underestimated, a global look at the biggest players in tech tells a different story. Here D/SRUPTION takes a look at 10 technology companies from around the world who you may be less familiar with – but whose end of year reports would make anyone sit up and take note.

1) JD.com

JD.com is China’s largest online retailer. Founded in Beijing in 2004, the company quickly grew to become the country’s biggest internet company by revenue, raking in an impressive $55.7bn in 2017. With a product offering covering everything from fresh produce to electronics, JD.com combines a diverse marketplace with an impressive delivery network throughout China – offering same or next day delivery to the consumer. Unilever recently announced a partnership with JD to take advantage of this network, which will expand the reach of its products across the country.

2) Foxconn

Taiwanese Foxconn Technology Group was founded in 1974 with the mission to increase the affordability of electronics. It is now the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer and the fourth largest global IT company by revenue. Whilst you might not be familiar with the company’s name, chances are you have bought one of its products. The Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, Playstations 3 and 4 and the Xbox One are just some of the devices to have been manufactured by Foxconn.

3) Meituan

Meituan-Dianping is a Chinese all in one consumer services platform. Through the Meituan app, users are able to secure and pay for services such as film tickets, food delivery, restaurant bookings, hotel rooms and transportation, in an offering to rival the likes of Tencent’s dominant WeChat platform. The company raised an impressive $4bn in an investment round in October 2017, taking its total valuation to $30bn. Whilst it is currently still privately owned, Meituan-Dianping is preparing for an initial public offering this year in Hong Kong, with a reported target valuation of $60bn.

4) Naver Corporation

Naver Corporation is an internet content service company. It operates South Korea’s number one internet search engine, Naver, as well as providing internet advertisements and a range of other online services. This includes the online donation portal Happybean, video messaging app Snow, and the global mobile call and messaging platform Line. Naver Corporation’s revenue reached around $1.2bn in the second quarter of 2018 alone.

5) Baidu

Baidu is a Chinese internet search provider, online marketer and ecommerce giant. Sound familiar? That’s probably because the company offers a similar suite of services as Google, leading many to draw parallels between the two firms. However, whilst Google continues its pursuit of global dominance, Baidu remains focused on the Chinese market. It has an 80 per cent share of the Chinese search engine sector, putting the company in a good position if Google decides to re enter this space. In 2017 Baidu generated total revenues of around $13bn.

6) Rakuten

Rakuten‘s ecommerce site is the largest in Japan. The company also provides global marketing solutions, as well as an on demand cinema and TV platform. In January 2018, Rakuten announced a partnership with Walmart’s Japanese subsidiary Seiyu, with the aim of launching a new online grocery delivery service in the country. In return, Walmart will become the exclusive retail partner of Rakuten Kobo in the US, selling the subsidiary brand’s ebooks, audiobooks and eReaders.

7) Flipkart

Flipkart is a major player in India’s ecommerce market, alongside competitors Amazon India and Paytm Mall. India’s internet economy was worth an estimated $38.5bn in 2017, with increasing smartphone use and consumer wealth set to generate considerable growth and a market of $200bn by 2026. Keen to muscle in on this action, in May 2018 Walmart bought a 77 per cent stake in Flipkart in what was the world’s biggest ever purchase of an ecommerce company.

8) NetEase

NetEase is a Chinese internet company with a heavy focus on social applications. The company develops some of China’s most popular PC and mobile games, as well as running ecommerce businesses, advertising services and email clients. In 2017 NetEase had total revenues of over $8.3bn. Interestingly, the URL for the company’s main site in China is 163.com – a reference to the numbers that people in China had to dial to access the internet before the advent of broadband in the country.

9) China Mobile Ltd

China Mobile Ltd is the leading telecommunications service provider in Mainland China, as well as the world’s largest mobile telecommunications corporation by market capitalisation. It also has the highest number of mobile phone subscribers in the world, with 910 million customers as of July 2018. In a divergence from the rest of the businesses on this list, the company’s controlling shareholder is China Mobile Communications Group Co., which is owned by the Chinese state. Nevertheless, with a total revenue of $108bn in 2017, the sheer size and strength of this telecoms giant make it a force to be reckoned with.

10) B2W

B2W Companhia Digital is a leading Brazilian ecommerce company which provides a variety of products through a range of branded platforms: Americanas.com, Submarino, Shoptime, and Sou Barato. These sites cover the sale of goods from books and electronics to furniture and clothes, with each brand catering to a different consumer profile. The B2W portfolio also includes Submarino Finance – a consumer financial services platform – as well as the outsourcing of ecommerce solutions to other companies as part of its B2B2C (business to business to consumer) operations.

The companies on this list – which is by no means exhaustive – show that investors and innovators in the Western world cannot afford to ignore the operations of technology businesses further afield. In fact, it’s interesting that many legacy companies in the West are now choosing to merge or partner with these less familiar names. This shows how important these foreign markets are becoming to established businesses right now, as they fight to stay relevant in the midst of digital and global disruption.

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