Change your market … Making sense of the kaleidoscope, to shape markets in your own vision.
Making sense of the “kaleidoscope” of dynamic markets, tectonic shifts in power and disruptive technologies, to find the best opportunities for profitable growth. The best companies have foresight beyond traditional borders, geograpies and categories. From masses to niches, averages to individuals, geography to global tribes. They look east and south, to millennials and boomers, women and entrepreneurs.
- From accepting markets as they are … to shaping markets in your own vision
- From defining them by geography and category … to tribal and based on outcomes
- From treating people as rational and average … to emotional and individual
Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) – The rise of China's drone technology
A drone crashed on the White House lawn in January 2015. A month later, a drone delivered a 9.15-carat diamond ring to Zhang Ziyi, the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon actress, in a marriage proposal engineered by Wang Feng, a rock star in China. Two months after, a drone deposited small amounts of radioactive waste on the rooftop of the Japanese Prime Minister’s office, as a protest against using nuclear power in the country. All three drones were made by Da Jiang Innovations (DJI).
Graze – Snacking reinvented ... fast, healthy, delivered
Graze is a London-based snack company which offers over 200 snack combinations - including nuts, small puddings, and porridge - through snack subscription boxes, an online shop and retailers. It expanded operations to include the United States in 2013, launching snacks into US retailers in 2016. In 2012, The Carlyle Group bought a majority share holding in the business.
Padang & Co – Asian innovation catalyst for corporates and government
“Padang” in Malay means “open field”. It is also the name of an important historical landmark in the heart of the civic quarter of Singapore, where Padang & Co is headquartered.
Zhong An – China's first online insurance brand, with a quirky approach to selling
Ping An, Tencent and Alibaba joined forces in 2013 to launch Zhong An, China’s first truly digital insurer. Zhong An is China’s first property insurance company that sells all its products online along with handling claims.
Ouarzazate Solar Power Station – The world's largest solar farm, in the Moroccan desert
OSPS, also called Noor Power Station (نور, Arabic for light) is a solar power complex located in the Drâa-Tafilalet region in Morocco, 10 km from the town of Ouarzazate. The entire Solar Project is planned to produce 580 MW at peak when finished and is being built in three phases.
Total project expected to cost $9 billion, and cover an area of 2,500 hectare. The plant will be able to store solar energy in the form of heated molten salt, allowing for production of electricity into the night. Phase 1 comes with a full-load molten salt storage capacity of 3 hours. The planned Phase 2, due to open in 2017 and 2018 will store energy for up to eight hours.
Ctrip – China's travel market is ready for take off
China's largest travel site, Ctrip, lets users book hotels, flights, and packaged tours around the world. In 2016, an estimated 250 million travelers used the site, making it the world’s second-largest online travel agent. (In 2015, the company booked nearly $50 billion in travel.) Ctrip now owns one of the world's biggest flight metasearch engines following its $1.74 billion purchase of the Edinburgh-based Skyscanner in 2016. And with its recent acquisition of several tour companies in the United States, Ctrip is forming itself into an online travel service that’s part aggregator, part booking platform, and part end-to-end tour operator. In November 2016, Jane Jie Sun became Ctrip’s CEO and director of the board.
Dalian Wanda – China's Walt Disney, the world's largest property group
Dalian Wanda Group was founded in 1988 and operates in four key areas: commercial properties, culture & tourism, e-commerce and department stores. In 2014, the company had assets of 534.1 billion yuan and revenues of 242.48 billion yuan. The company now operates 125 Wanda Plazas, 81 hotels (including 68 five-star hotels), 6,600 cinema screens and 99 department stores nationwide. Looking ahead, by 2020, Wanda aims to grow itself into a leading MNC with assets of 1 trillion yuan, annual revenues of 600 billion yuan and net income of 60 billion yuan.
Magic Leap – "It's like dreaming" ... bringing virtual reality to life
Magic Leap's mind-bending "mixed reality" technology uses photonic wafer chips to manipulate light. It superimposes 3D generated images over real world objects, by projecting a digital light field into the user's eye. Founder Rony Abovitz says "the best way to describe it, is like dreaming." He has attracted $1.4bn funding from Alibaba and Google, and is currently signed up contracts with leading movie studios and game makers.
Ava Winery – Turning water into wine ... including a $50 replica Dom Pérignon
Ava is a venture-backed food technology startup based in San Francisco creating synthetic wine without grapes or fermentation by analysing the molecular profile of wines to recreate and even perfect them. Ava's mission is to recreate the experience of wine without having to recreate the process of traditional winemaking, making the great vintages available to everyone.
Sonae – Portugal's leading retailer focuses on "improving life"
A stock market flotation was the catalyst for Sonae to diversify its business into many new categories. Innovation lies at the heart of Sonae's vision for improving life. Most important platform for this is Sonae's Continente retail brand which has recently extended across Europe, and also take its own-label brands into other retailers in order to go further faster.
nuTonomy – The world's first self-driving taxis
nuTonomy is a leading developer of state-of-the-art software for self-driving vehicles, developed by two MIT researchers, and first launched in Singapore in 2016.
BeMyGuest – Taking Asian travellers off the beaten path
BeMyGuest is your gateway to Asia, in one sense an online marketplace of small travel companies from across the continent, but more importantly a traveller's guide to the most unusual, interesting and spectacular places in a largely undiscovered continent.
The East India Company – Recreating the exotic luxuries of empire
The East India Company was the world's first multinational company, dominating world trade for centuries. It made a wide range of elusive, exclusive and exotic ingredients familiar, affordable and available to the world; ingredients which today form part of our daily and national cuisines. Today it continues to develop and market unique and innovative products that breathe life into the history of the brand.
Hysteric Glamour – Japanese fashion, inspired by pop and porn
Hysteric Glamour is a Japanese clothing brand created by Nobu Kitamura.
Tatcha – Beauty inspired by the Japanese Geisha
Vicky Tsai was sitting at her Merrill Lynch analyst desk watching 9/11 as it happened. It made her realise that there must be a better world. She started to explore the world, culture, and spirituality. She was taken by Asian culture, and in particularly the secrets of the Japanese geisha. Tatcha was born to share the geisha's wisdom with modern women everywhere, and to further the belief that true beauty begins with the heart and the mind.
Apple – Designed in California, loved around the world
Apple’s story is retold a thousand times. But in a world of relentless innovation and imitation, the brand needs to reassert itself, as more than its products, and more than Steve Jobs.
M-Pesa – Safaricom creates a new currency for Africa
M-Pesa became the mobile currency of Africa, embracing phones to do more than connect people, and improvising for the lack of infrastructure in fast growing markets.
Rakuten Ichiba – Asian shopping ... crabs and kimonos with “omotenashi”
As markets become more fragmented into specialist niches, the economics of local stores gives way to online platforms. With careful focus, small businesses can become global and profitable, without the costs of becoming big.
Inditex – Fast fashion from La Coruña to Bershka, Mango and Zara
Inditex group has built on the global success of Zara and its fast fashion, to develop a range of retail brands that carefully target adjacent market segments with distinctive and relevant fashions. As markets and trends evolve the portfolio gives the group strength and agility.
Xiaomi – China’s Apple-like phones with Jobs-like leader
Xiaomi saw its smartphone sales sink in 2016 due in part to its ramped-up competition with Huawei and BBK. But the company has seen remarkable international growth
It sold 2 million devices in India in fall 2016—and hopes its sleek new Mi Mix and Mi Note 2 smartphones will reignite sales in China. Xiaomi is also working to upend the narrow perception of its brand: The company’s wide-ranging hardware offerings include everything from headphones and fitness bands to tablets and power strips and water purifiers. In 2016 alone, it introduced its first laptop, a set-top box, a robot vacuum, a smart rice cooker, a $29 VR headset, a quadcopter drone, and its MiJia electric scooter, among a slew of other ventures.
Xiaomi aims to become an internet of things powerhouse through its investments, so far, in 77 companies, which can tap into Xiaomi’s resources, supply chain, and growing retail presence online and off (Xiaomi opened three-dozen brick-and-mortar stores this year, with hundreds more in the pipeline) to scale up faster. The company believe this portfolio approach—which doesn’t involve hiring engineers to build all these products—will create an ecosystem of devices and services with recurring revenue streams.
Uber – Creating disruption on the streets of the world's big cities
Uber is changing the way the world moves, connecting riders to drivers through its technology platform. The potential to "uberfy" almost any type of business is obvious.
Planetary Resources – Asteroid mining for precious metals and water
Explorer James Cameron is one of the entrepreneurs behind the asteroid mining company that plans low cost robotic space exploration to find commercial y viable asteroids near Earth. From these, they hope to extract precious metals and water (which can be converted to rocket fuel and oxygen).
Syngenta – Biochemists of the world’s future food
As populations rise, and farmland diminishes, Syngenta is applying science to every aspect of food production, finding better ways to feed the changing world and also improve health.
GE – Becoming market makers with "brilliant machines"
GE is leading an industrial revolution in applying the “internet of things” to business processes and equipment. The challenge however is to make sense of the new possibilities in ways that capture the imagination of businesses and consumers.
ARM – Designing the architecture of the digital world
ARM designs the chips inside most of the world’s smartphones, and increasingly other devices, creating an ecosystem of research and innovation with its partners, and most of the world’s device brands as licensee customers.
Zipcar – Why own a car when you can hire a cooler one?
Collaborative consumption drives the better use of assets, and often a better deal for customers. Better products at a fraction of the price. The subscription model builds community and loyalty.
Airbnb – Now you can belong anywhere
Airbnb is a great example of collaborative consumption, making more of under-utilised assets, whilst also enjoying the social experience of sharing. All built around a sustaining community.
Spotify – The freemium business model for music
Spotify grew out of deviant behaviour – imitating the actions of illegal downloaders to find a legal business model which combines free access with the ability to also make money as a business, and for artists and publishers. The brand is contagious, driven by consumer collaboration, and staying topical.
Netflix – Changing what and when we watch
Netflix grew out of consumer frustration with the stupid rules of an old model. This provoked one guy into creating a better solution, which has continued to evolve in format and business model as new technologies emerge, and competitors catch up. The next horizon of data-driven content creation is perhaps most intriguing.
Narayana Health – Low-cost hospitals with a heart
Narayana operates a dual business model, one funding the other. Whilst knowledge and equipment are not compromised, the growth in medical tourism subsidises low-cost heart surgery for the poor.
Zidisha – Peer to peer microfinance in developing markets
Zidisha is a non-profit organisation that matches African entrepreneurs with peer to peer loans from around the world, keeping interest rates low by cutting out intermediaries and using simple technology.
Square – Making payments easy, anywhere anytime
Square’s insight came from the millions of small businesses who lose sales because they cannot accept credit cards. Empowering first the retailer, and the consumer, Square had to fight to change the rules of the market.
Moven – Bank 3.0 that promises to be different
Moven is a digital financial manager designed around the mobile consumer, making banking and life easier, and through a range of easy and fun analytics, embracing games and social media, and even makes you a rockstar!
Amazon – A mission to become the world's most customer-centric business
Amazon, from Dash to drones, Alexa and Echo, uses technology to disrupt and redefine a range of adjacent industry, and then do it again, whilst adding new business models that create a convenient and personalised customer experience.
Alibaba – Connecting the world's businesses
Alibaba is a trading platform for the new world order, enabling a small business in remote China to deal directly with a large corporate, for any entrepreneur to access a global marketplace.
Raspberry Pi – Build your own computer gadgets for $25
Eben Upton wants to inspire kids about the potential of computing. With an incredibly simple $25 computer, a cool brand a social movement, he is inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.