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The world's most innovative company is Chinese
Published on: 2019-02-27
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The top two most innovative companies in the world are from Asia, according to Fast Company, a US business magazine, in the latest sign that the West is waking up to the fact that a lot of innovation today is taking place beyond Silicon Valley.

031Meituan Dianping workers at a morning briefing in Beijing.China’s Meituan Dianping, which offers an app-based service that expedites the booking and delivery of services such as hotel stays, movie tickets and food, has taken Apple’s crown as the world’s most innovative company in Fast Company’s 2019 ranking of the world’s 50 most innovative companies. Apple is 17th.

042Having facilitated 27.7 billion transactions worth US$33.8 billion for more than 350 million people in 2,800 cities in the first half of 2018, Meituan Dianping is one of China’s biggest on-demand services providers.

Here are the top 10 companies that, according to Fast Company, are making "the most profound impact on both industry and culture" and are thriving in "today's volatile world."

1) Meituan Dianping

032The Chinese app maker, which made its debut on Fast Company's list this year, expedites the booking and delivery of services such as hotel stays, movie tickets and food. In the first half of 2018, Meituan Dianping facilitated 27.7 billion transactions, worth $33.8 billion, for more than 350 million people.

2) Grab

033Based in Singapore, this ride-hailing company booted Uber out of the region and took over its local operations last year. Grab has since also expanded into food delivery, travel booking and financial services — and hit $1 billion in revenue in 2018.

3) NBA

034Fast Company lauded the National Basketball Association for breaking attendance records in 2018 and growing its streaming service subscribers by 3 percent. Its total revenue increased by 25 percent, in part because of the NBA 2K League, its move into esports.

"The NBA was really smart and very early to bring esports in-house," Farley said. "People around the country, around the world, who never can actually get to a game, will engage with the sports, will engage with the team and the individual players and will feel very connected to the sports."

4) Walt Disney Company

035When it comes to the streaming wars, Disney is the best positioned to compete with Netflix. The media giant is set to debut Disney+ later this year — and will offer new original content and a library of Disney movies and TV shows in what Fast Company called an "unparalleled portfolio."

5) Stitch Fix

036This e-commerce retailer is "basically a data analytics company that is masquerading as a clothing subscription service," Farley said.

Stitch Fix sends clothes tailored to their clients' tastes in a subscription service. "What they have running underneath it is a really sophisticated data analytics operation that finds out what clothes you like, what will fit you well. They'll find out clothes that you didn't even think were in your style," she said.

Stitch Fix, which went public in 2017, generated $1.2 billion in its fiscal 2018 with earnings of $45 million and took in $366 million in its first quarter of 2019.

6) Sweetgreen

037A fast-casual, farm-to-table business, Sweetgreen has 91 restaurants in eight states — and it's expected to open another 15 this year. The magazine pointed to its "cult products" and the fact that it is finding ways to get its food to customers more efficiently with its app, which has been downloaded by more than a million people.

7) Apeel Sciences

038James Rogers wanted to find a way to slow down the rate of food spoilage, so in 2012 he founded Apeel Sciences with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to produce a barrier out of edible plant materials. Last May, the company debuted its coating on avocados at more than 250 grocery chains, Fast Company said. And there's more to come — Apeel Sciences has also developed products for dozens of organic and conventional produce categories.

8) Square

039Square stands out in the payments space because it "continues to find ways to make payments less painful," Fast Company said. Its latest offering is Square Terminal, an all-in-one credit card machine with wireless connectivity and a touch screen. Square handled $23 billion in transactions in its last quarter, up 29 percent year over year.

9) Oatly

040This Swedish company offers an alternative to milk in the form of pulverized oats. While it first came on the scene in the 1990s, it didn't make its way to the U.S. until 2016 — and that's when things took off. Between 2017 and 2018, the company's revenue grew from $1.5 million to more than $15 million. Oatly — currently in 2,500 coffee shops and 1,500 grocery stores — also estimates sales will double in the next year.

10) Twitch

041Fast Company recognized Twitch for its "growing prowess" in livestreaming.

"It's known for its gaming community, and that's huge," Farley said. "It's also making inroads into sort of real-world mainstream livestreaming. You can watch everything from congressional testimony there, you can watch a 'Dr. Who' marathon, cooking [and] fitness classes, NFL games and the interactions that happen between streamers and the community that is watching is really powerful."

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