Huawei Technologies outranks Midea, Foshan Haitian, BYD as China’s most valuable consumer goods company in new Top 100 Hurun list

Lam Ka-sing
·4-min read

Huawei Technologies has been recognised as China’s most valuable consumer goods company with an estimated market value of 1.1 trillion yuan (US$169 billion) as the nation’s manufacturing revolution produced industry world-beaters.

The telecommunications group surpassed 99 others in the inaugural “Shu Yun Hurun China Top 100 Most Valuable Consumer Goods Companies”, researcher Hurun Group said on Tuesday. The valuation is derived from benchmarks used in assessing listed peers as of March 9, or using data from most-recent financing rounds, it added.

At US$169 billion, the Shenzhen-based privately-owned group would be the 57th largest by market capitalisation globally, according to a separate Hurun ranking of global companies.

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“Through this list, [we] can see the successful transformation and upgrading of China’s manufacturing industry,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief research officer at Hurun. “Many companies on the list have become benchmark enterprises of China’s advanced manufacturing.”

Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou arrives at court in Vancouver, Canada, on March 1, 2021. Photo: Reuters
Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou arrives at court in Vancouver, Canada, on March 1, 2021. Photo: Reuters

The firm, whose chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is fighting an extradition to the US in a Canadian court, is held up as a national champion in the face of US sanctions and rejection in Europe while it seeks to expand its 5G technology footprint in competition with Western rivals.

Huawei, founded in 1987 by Meng’s father Ren Zhengfei, employs some 194,000 staff for operations across the world, serving some 3 billion customers, according to data published on its website.

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, covering a period from 2021 to 2025, called for continued push in domestic consumption as a growth strategy. The economy expanded 2.3 per cent in 2020, the slowest in four decades, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Chinese billionaires, though, have now outnumbered those in the US after a stock rally in 2020, Hurun said earlier this month.

“Huawei is most-famous for its 5G technology, but most of its sales revenue comes from the consumer sector,” Hoogewerf said. “Although sales have declined recently due to chip shortages, it is still the most successful private enterprise in China’s consumption sector.”

Midea, the world’s biggest home appliances maker based in Foshan, came second on the list valued at 580 billion yuan, while Foshan Haitian Flavouring & Food Co and carmaker BYD made up the top four, valued at 500 billion yuan and 490 billion yuan, respectively. Hurun excluded state-owned enterprises, which dominate the liquor, tobacco and automobile industries.

The rise of home-grown brands reflects the blend of self-confidence and brand awareness, and a manifestation of the courage to innovate and think about changes of controllers at Chinese private enterprises, businessman Song Xiangping said.

He Xiangjian, the billionaire founder of Midea Group based in Foshan. Photo: Handout
He Xiangjian, the billionaire founder of Midea Group based in Foshan. Photo: Handout

“After more than 40 years of development, the private economy has become the main force driving China’s rapid economic development and technological innovation,” said Song, who is the founder and chief executive of Hangzhou Shuyun Information Technology, who jointly released the new Top 100 list. “More private enterprises have emerged in various industries.”

In terms of value creation, the mobile phone industry led by Huawei also ranked the best, Hurun said. It outranked the automotive industry led by carmaker BYD and the household appliances industry led by Midea Group.

The food and household appliances industries both have the highest number of companies populating the Top 100 list, Hurun added.

“These companies not only lead in advanced manufacturing but also attach great importance to building their own brands,” said Hoogewerf. “They have opened up an internet sales model, exploited online channels such as Tmall, Taobao, and JD.com to open up markets, and rely on big data, online payment systems and logistics to achieve high efficiency.”

As Chinese brands grow bigger, 70 per cent of those who made it on the Top 100 list were also represented in Hurun’s Top 500 companies in China. About a tenth of them were also seen on Hurun’s Top 500 global firms.

About 30 per cent of the top 500 global firms were in the consumer goods-related industry. Topping the list is Apple, which is worth 13 trillion yuan. Other players include Tesla, Samsung, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, according to Hurun.


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