An increasing number of Chinese enterprises in the fields of technology and intelligent manufacturing are ratcheting up efforts to expand business activity across the globe, especially in some emerging markets such as South America and the Middle East, despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, industry experts said.
Data from professional networking site LinkedIn showed that Chinese tech enterprises engaged in software, telecommunications and database management, as well as intelligent manufacturing enterprises, have witnessed the fastest growth in overseas expansion.
“In recent years, China’s intelligent manufacturing industry represented by 3D printing, industrial automation and industrial robots has seen remarkable progress,” said Vianne Cai, head of marketing solutions at LinkedIn China.
Cai emphasized that Chinese intelligent manufacturing enterprises are transitioning from exporting labor and capital-intensive products to innovative technologies and self-owned brands, with greater emphasis on technical research and development.
Meanwhile, they have shifted their focus to some emerging markets such as India and Brazil in the process of overseas expansion, and have established very good reputations in overseas markets in the past few years, Cai said.
Some high-tech, new energy, photovoltaic and intelligent manufacturing enterprises have already targeted overseas markets for growth at the early stages of development, she added.
Among early waves of Chinese companies choosing to go abroad were mostly those from digital industries like social apps, video streaming and short video platforms, but traditional enterprises have established a global footprint and enhanced global competitiveness by adopting digital technologies in recent years, according to Amazon Web Services, the cloud service platform of US technology giant Amazon.
Chinese enterprises are expanding their presence from traditional overseas markets like Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe to emerging markets such as South America, the Middle East and Africa, AWS said.
In addition, Chinese auto brands, including traditional carmakers and electric vehicle startups, are actively making forays into the new energy vehicle sector in overseas markets, said Li Xiaomang, general manager of the commercial sector of AWS China.
More and more Chinese business-to-business service providers are going abroad, while some companies that have succeeded in business-to-consumer services abroad are also expanding into the B2B sector, Li added.
Chinese home appliance manufacturer Hisense Group has accelerated steps to expand its B2B business segment in overseas markets and build self-owned brands, showing its determination to drive the transformation and upgrading of intelligent manufacturing, which will also become an important direction of strategic development for the company.
Revenue from overseas markets will make up more than half of the total within three years, said Jia Shaoqian, president of Hisense, adding that the company has strengthened cooperation with countries and regions participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Hisense is introducing high-end laser TVs and ultra light-emitting diode or ULED TV products, which have great improvements in terms of image contrast, brightness and color spectrum in overseas markets, with its sales of laser TVs surging by more than 170 percent year-on-year in the first six months in Australia.
So far, Hisense has established 55 overseas branches in Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and Southeast Asia.
The company’s overseas revenue reached 72.5 billion yuan ($10.7 billion) in 2021, accounting for 41.3 percent of its total revenue, and the figure is expected to reach 150 billion yuan in 2025.
The continuous improvement of digital infrastructure like logistics and payments has reduced costs and brought more convenience for firms seeking overseas expansion amid the pandemic, said global consultancy Accenture.
Furthermore, Chinese gaming companies have accelerated steps to expand their presence around the globe. According to mobile app data analysis firm Sensor Tower, a total of 40 Chinese mobile game developers found their places among the top 100 global game publishers’ revenue list in May.
These Chinese companies raked in a total of $2.3 billion in May, accounting for 43 percent of the revenue generated by the 100 firms, the data showed.
Jiang Han, a senior researcher at market consultancy Pangoal, said the key point for Chinese enterprises going overseas lies in improving management abilities, as they need to adapt to diversified corporate cultures in different regions and globalization management systems.
Building a diversified organizational structure that is suitable for the development of Chinese enterprises will inject stronger impetus for brands seeking overseas expansion, Jiang added.