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Chinese app beats US tech giants like Apple, Amazon to be crowned world’s most innovative company

Chinese app beats US tech giants like Apple, Amazon to be crowned world’s most innovative company
The world’s two most innovative companies this year are both from Asia, with Chinese tech platform Meituan Dianping unseating 2018 champion and Silicon Valley giant Apple, according to ratings by US business magazine Fast Company.

While Washington keeps saying that Beijing is stealing its technology and uses this mantra to justify the ongoing trade war, the Chinese “transactional super app” claimed top spot among 50 of the most innovative companies in the world. It is the first time that a non-US company has emerged on top since Fast Company started running the rankings in 2008.

In its “definitive list of who matters in 2019,” Fast Company gave the crown to Beijing-based Meituan Dianping, which was making its debut in the ratings. The app-based service expedites the booking and delivery of services such as hotel stays, movie tickets, and food.

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The Chinese platform was followed by Singapore-based Grab, which forced American rival Uber out of the region in 2018 and acquired its local operations. The company now not only includes ride-hailing, ride-sharing services, food delivery and travel booking, but also offers its 130 million users financial services and will soon add healthcare services. Grab hit $1 billion in revenue last year and is likely to expand further after it managed to attract more than $3 billion in fresh funding.

The top two firms were described by Fast Company as “transactional super apps,” because they contribute to and change the lives of hundreds of millions of customers, connecting them with local businesses.

One of the features of the Chinese platform is that it can analyze users’ consumption habits to offer other things the person may like. It aims to “attract a large volume of users with high-frequency services, and then push forward some low- and medium-frequency ones like haircuts and marriage services,” said Xia Huaxia, Meituan’s chief scientist, according to the magazine. In the first half of 2018, the app facilitated 27.7 billion transactions (worth $33.8 billion) for more than 350 million people in 2,800 cities.

The 2019 innovation champion also boasts efficiency. It uses a smart dispatch system to ensure that its 600,000 motorcycle delivery riders take the optimal route so that each can deliver up to 10 orders at a time. However, it has to compete with world famous Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and although its revenue in the first half of 2018 was $3.8 billion, the company has sustained significant losses.

Last year, Fast Company’s most innovative firm was Apple, followed by Netflix and another US tech firm, Square. The 2019 results show that Apple not only lost its crown, but did not even make to the top 10, falling to number 17.

In 2017, almost all of the top 10 positions in the ranking were given to American companies led by Amazon, followed by Google, Uber and Apple.

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