Three Chinese companies and industries to watch

Business & Technology

Western fears about Chinese dominance of technologies have recently focused on artificial intelligence (AI). Yet there are many other industries where China is set to lead, partly because of the sheer numbers of talented and educated people available and entrepreneurial zeal, but also because of government support and light regulation.

Biotech — pharma, healthcare, and medical devices — is one such area. Another is industrial agriculture — from the development of new crops and fertilizers to operating large-scale farms. Electric cars and the batteries that power them are one more space where China is already a dominant player. Today brings news from each of these three industries:

  • Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics is a medical hardware company that makes everything from ultrasound machines to operating tables for surgery. Caixin reports (paywall) that Mindray has “filed to raise more than 6 billion yuan ($935 million) through a listing on China’s Nasdaq-style ChiNext board.”
  • Longping High-Tech Agriculture is named after Yuan Longping 袁隆平, inventor of the world’s first hybrid rice varieties in the 1970s. Last year, the state-controlled company bought DowDuPont’s Brazilian corn seed operations for $1.1 billion. Reuters reports that Longping this week announced plans to build new seed plants in Brazil to boost its market share from “15 percent currently to 30 percent in five years,” and “said a natural second step will be to enter the soy seeds business, which is dominated by U.S.-based Monsanto Inc.”
  • Tianqi Lithium is a company founded in 1995 in Sichuan Province. Quartz reports that Tianqi “recently paid more than $4 billion to become the second-largest shareholder in Sociedad Química y Minera (SQM), a Chilean mining company.” The deal means that Tianqi now controls more than half of the current global production of lithium. Lithium is the key ingredient in almost all of the world’s smartphone and electric-car batteries.