Rise Of The Rest: Exceptional B2C Innovations From All Corners Of The Globe

Via Trendwatching.com, an interesting list of some of the emerging worlds’ most dynamic brands and companies, from aggressive Chinese brands to Turkish creatives to Brazilian apparel:

Time for a hefty dose of B2C innovations from China (minus Hong Kong), India, South Africa, Brazil and more. A few points;

  • We’ve included both new brands and established ones, but skipped massive corporations such as China Mobile or Itau Unibanco. We’re also showcasing some of the smaller innovators that are plying their trade all over the world.
  • Brands launched in Asia by Western corporations are not included (such as Hermes’ Shang Xia.)
  • ‘Emerging nations’ means that while often powerful, these countries won’t be run of the mill middle class consumer societies for a while to come. Hence no examples from South Korea, UAE, Taiwan, Singapore, or Poland in this Trend Briefing, let alone Norway, Australia or Canada 😉
  • Industries covered: fashion, food & beverage, automotive, personal & domestic care, consumer electronics, mobile telecoms, travel, and more.

The brands and innovations that are fuelling the fires of economic growth in emerging economies will, undoubtedly, impact anyone who’s in business, if not already. They will also serve as a source of inspiration and ideas for more jaded brands and consumers in developed economies.

Obviously, the list below is by no means complete; more a curated sample of spottings that have come our way. If you feel strongly about brands we have not covered but should have, just email us .


  • Forever is a Shanghai based bicycle brand that was founded in the 1940s. Having fallen out of favor in the 1990s, the brand has now relaunched under the leadership of 23 year old Chen Shan, offering a range of bikes in bright colors, appealing to younger consumers. The company now sells 1.3 million bikes a year.

  • Liba, TeamBuy, Taobao, EnjoyMeiTian, GetGoGive and FlashBuy all enable ‘group buying’ as a shopping strategy, connecting hundreds of thousands of likeminded consumers. The sites make money from ad revenues and/or commissions from suppliers who want mobs at their store.

  • Lenovo, the fourth largest producer of personal computers in the world, plans to launch a gaming console, the ‘eBox’ in 2011 to rival Sony Playstation, Xbox and Nintendo Wii.

  • Bus manufacturer King Long has an annual production exceeding 1,300 coaches for domestic and international clients. In September 2010, the brand announced a deal with UK based Arriva for 200 buses to be sent to improve Malta’s operations.

  • OSPOP (One Small Point of Pride) was the first footwear brand to use Chinese workers as not only the manufacturing labor, but also the product’s design inspiration. The shoes are based on a style commonly worn by Chinese laborers but constructed with superior materials, positioned at a premium price of USD 75 and intended to appeal to Western consumers. Part of the increased cost covers improved working conditions for employees and a portion of revenue also goes to charities. The company has widened its product range to include three canvas bags, also inspired by the equipment of Chinese workers.

  • Consumer electronics brand Haier reported sales of over USD 17.8 billion across all divisions in 2008. The company has surpassed Whirlpool as the world’s top refrigerator producer and achieved a global market share of 6.8%.

  • Cosmetics giant Shanghai Jahwa re-launched its “Shuang Mei” brand under the name “Shanghai VIVE”. Its initial product line, aimed at the rapidly emerging affluent female demographic in China, includes cosmetics, jewelry and accessories, with prices ranging from Yuan 300 (USD 44) to more than Yuan 1500 (USD 221).

  • Herborist uses all natural, herbal-based ingredients for its line of cosmetic products that are aimed at Chinese youth. Recently the brand has exported the products to Europe and the USA.

  • The Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) is one of the biggest Chinese auto manufacturers with joint venture links to companies such as GM, Volkswagen and Rover.
  • BYD is the world’s largest supplier of rechargeable batteries. Domestically, the organization has branched out into the Electric vehicle sector and US and European expansion is rumored.
  • Great Wall Motor is China’s biggest manufacturer of SUV vehicles. In 2010 the company teamed with Bulgarian Litex Motors and is set to open a 50,000 vehicle per year factory in Bulgaria in 2011. (Source)
  • Geely Automotive is one of China’s largest auto manufacturers with sales across Eastern Europe, South America and Asia. In August 2010, the organization acquired Volvo Cars from Ford Motors for a reported USD 1.8 Billion. (Source)
  • The Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. Ltd (BACI) was founded around joint ventures with Western manufacturers Jeep and Daimler-Benz. BAIC is aiming to unveil several own-brand vehicles in 2010 and wants to double overall sales to 2 million each year by 2011.
  • Chery International is one of China’s fastest growing auto manufacturers, with sales increasing from 2,000 units in 2000 to over 500,000 by 2009. Chery intends to build electric cars in partnership with Israel based Quantum LLC (by 2012).

  • China Railways Group has created the world’s longest high-speed rail network with about 7055 km of routes in China, and trains topping speeds of 350 km/h. The group is now bidding to build infrastructure in markets such as California, Brazil, Vietnam and South Africa.

  • In 2010 sportswear brand Li Ning pulled equal with Adidas as the number two sports brand after Nike in China. Last year it released an eco-friendly shoe called the “Green 001”. The shoe is made from eco-friendly materials such as hemp, and the marketing campaign communicates to Chinese consumers that “Environmental Protection = Trendy”. The tongue of the shoe is embroidered with the image of Wangari Muta Maathai, the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the first environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Sportswear brand Anta Sports has grown in five years to nearly RMB 6 billion (USD 882m) in 2009. The company also secured one of the biggest deals in women’s tennis, sponsoring Jelena Jankovic.

  • Bosideng is the largest down apparel company in China with 5,620 retail outlets in more than 65 cities across the nation. In 2009 it ranked 160th on the list of the “World’s Most Reputable Companies” and 13th on the “Most Valuable Chinese Brands” list.

  • Founded in 2002, 361 Degrees International is a Chinese supplier of shoe and sports goods. The brand attained 4.2% market share of sportswear sales in 2009, ranking it the eighth-largest brand in the category.

  • Peak Sport is a Chinese sportswear company that has expanded from its founding in 1989 to offering over 5,500 retail outlets in China, supported by a range of international sponsorship deals including national soccer and basketball teams around the world and a selection of NBA players in the US.

  • Regarded as the first Chinese luxury brand, NE Tiger has become a global leader in haute couture for furs, evening gowns and wedding clothes. The brand has studios across the United States, France, Italy and Russia.

  • In September 2010, telecoms giant Huawei released the Ideos, an affordable smartphone preloaded with Google’s Android operating system. The Ideos is the first smartphone designed by a Chinese company and intended for the global market, with releases expected in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia.

  • Launched in May 2010, the Umeox is a solar powered, waterproof, shockproof and dustproof mobile phone.

  • Beijing-based architects MAD Architectural Design Studio are developing the 400,000 square meter Sanya Phoenix Island in Hainan, China. Upon completion, the CNY 3 billion development will feature six luxury apartment buildings, a five-star hotel, conference center and a signature seven-star hotel. On top of that, their Fake Hills housing development will be located along the coast near Beihai. The designs feature towers in the shape of amoeba-like hills, referencing the hills in the local area and low-rise buildings on the water-side.

  • Xtep is a major player in the Chinese sportswear market. In January 2010, the brand secured a five year, GBP 7 milion kit sponsorship deal with English Premier League club Birmingham City.


  • Since 2009, Tata Cars have provided the world’s cheapest car (USD 2,200) the Tata Nano. The automaker reportedly has plans to rollout an electric version of the vehicle in 2011.

  • Part of Tata, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces own and operate 76 hotels (including The Pierre, in New York City, pictured above), 7 palaces, 6 private islands and 12 resorts. The group’s reach spans 52 destinations, 12 countries, 5 continents and employs 13,000 people.

  • In 2009, Tata also announced the Shubh Griha brand. The company’s first project was to build 1,250 tiny apartments outside Mumbai that sold for USD 7,800 to USD 13,400 each. The second project, begun in October 2010, will see the construction of a further 1,250 low-cost apartments in the Vasind suburb of Mumbai. The homes are targeted at people earning an annual salary of USD 6,000 to USD 10,000. The average call center employee with 10 to 20 years experience earns about USD 6,400 a year.

  • And yet another Tata innovation: the Swach is a water filter and purifier that produces clean drinking water through the use of common ash. The portable purifier doesn’t require running water or electricity.

  • Last Tata-owned example: Ginger Hotels, a low cost hotel chain aimed at travelers with rooms costing between INR 1,000 and INR 2,999. Ginger hotels currently operates 23 hotels in India, with 50 more planned for future development.

  • Mumbai-based Mirakle Couriers only hires deaf workers for deliveries. The company places a heavy emphasis on the training – right down to the finer points of professional grooming, and has grown dramatically since its late 2008 launch. Its client list now includes Johnson Controls, Bain Capital and the Indian Hotels Company.

  • One Billion Minds is a prize-led innovation platform that connects problem-solving scholars with solution-seeking companies and non-profits. Launched in late 2009 by Sanjukt K. Saha in Kolkata and London, One Billion Minds challenges student and alumni crowds from universities worldwide to come up with innovative solutions to real-world problems. Prizes from the participating corporations include cash, professional recognition, and opportunities to interview for full-time or internship positions. ?

  • IndiGo is an Indian based low-cost airline servicing 22 destinations across South Asia. The company is looking to expand rapidly, with 100 Airbus aircraft expected to arrive in 2015 and plans to add another 150 to the fleet by 2025.

  • Meanwhile, low-cost carrier SpiceJet is the most profitable airline in the country and has attained the second largest market share in the low cost category. The airline has won a host of awards since inception in 2005 including Outlook Travellers’ “Best Low Cost Airline” in 2009/2010.

  • And of course there’s Kingfisher, which has attained 26% market share within just four years of operation. The airline now flies 400 times daily to 69 Indian destinations.

  • Mahindra Tractors (M&M) is one of the top three tractor companies in the world; it operates in 10 countries, and is number one in sales in India – the largest tractor market in the world. Exports during the month of September 2010 were 1,181 units, as against 627 units for the same period last year, an increase of 88%. The company launched 13 new models in the US for 2011, including models suitable for basic tasks, as well as more substantial vehicles for landscaping.

  • New Delhi-based Mega Car Pool is a travel matching service that rewards drivers for giving rides.

  • Consumer electronics and home appliance giant Videocon employs over 5,000 people and has an annual turnover of USD 2 billion, making it one of the largest consumer electronics and home appliance companies in the country. The group has 17 manufacturing sites in India and plants in China, Poland, Italy and Mexico.


  • Air Asia X launched in late 2007 and is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines.

  • Tunes Hotel launched its first budget hotel in Europe in London in 2010 (pictured above). The company is planning to set up 584 hotels globally by 2013.

  • In June 2010, Malaysian Airlines included augmented reality technology in its mobile app. The technology enables users to determine their location and display the nearest airports.


  • In May 2010, mobile service provider Turkcell launched a service called Gezenzi. The service is a location-based micro-blogging platform that lets users exchange information about their travels within the city or country in which they reside. Users share information by keying in text and comments (about restaurants, travel, weather, etc) on an interactive map. Users can also micro-blog information via SMS/MMS, and can track the latest movements and comments of other Gezenzi subscribers. Blog entries on Gezenzi appear based on specific locations rather than on when they were posted. The service is also available through iPhone and Blackberry apps.

  • Turkish Airlines has purchased 90 more aircraft and become major sponsors of Barcelona and Manchester United football clubs in a bid for rapid expansion.

  • Household appliance manufacturer Arcelik employs more than 17,000 people, and sells in more than 100 countries.
  • Food and beverage producer Ülker acquired Belgium’s Godiva Chocolate for USD 850 million in 2007 and since expanded global operations to achieve global sales of USD 1.5 billion, employing 11,000 people.

  • Since 2001, Turkish furniture manufacturer Çilek Mobilya has expanded boutiques into 70 countries as well as having products sold in global chain stores including Moebel Pfister (Switzerland), Kika Leiner (Austria) and A-Mobler (Norway).

  • Istanbul-based graphic designer Beste Miray came up with the idea of selecting a location in Google Maps and using a print-out of the map as the inside of an envelope to send to a friend via old-fashioned snail mail. Later, a New York designer took that concept and launched a web application for it: Mapenvelope.


  • Fashion house Stoned Cherrie is famous for its use of images of apartheid-era heroes in its designs. In 2010, 48 Stoned Cherrie stores-within-a-store were rolled out in Foschini (a women’s clothing chain) stores nationwide.

  • Launched in 2009, Fenomenal Woman sells a portfolio of life insurance products specifically targeting women.

  • Launched in early 2010, MiWorld is a concept bar that incorporates online components including a website, a digital wall and series of touch-screen tables that facilitate both digital and real-world conversation.

  • Launched in 2009, Cape Town-based Wellness Warehouse provides consumers with a total solution for healthy shopping. The organization offers not just the usual assortment of natural and healthy foods, organics and related products but also a natural medicine dispensary, a pharmacy, spa services, a cafĂ©, fitness machines and sleeping products.

  • Great Guide is a GPS triggered audio tour that hooks up to car radios and broadcasts stories and facts when driving past points of interest. The system is booked through the website and collected with a hire car, it costs ZAR 99 per day.

  • South African chicken restaurant franchise Nando’s has expanded successfully across 28 international markets often with controversial advertising campaign, many of which are banned by censors shortly after airing.


  • Farinha Pura is a bakery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is using Twitter to promote its freshly baked goods. The bakery tweets every time a fresh batch of bread comes out of the oven.

  • In just eight years low-cost airline GOL had attained 41% of the domestic market share in terms of passengers/km. (And yes, there’s Azul, but its founder is US entrepreneur David Neeleman, who also founded JetBlue.)

  • Insurance company Porto Seguro offers free maintenance services at the homes of clients. If a customer’s refrigerator breaks, they can call Porto Seguro and a technician will pay a free house call and fix whatever is broken. Porto Seguro also funds GPS tracking systems and vehicle ID stamping in certain high-end vehicles to deter thefts or recover them promptly if stolen. It also holds driver safety programs to those most likely to be in an accident (drivers between the ages of 18 and 24).

  • Brazilian based Marcopolo S.A is the country’s leading bus manufacturer exporting to over 60 countries and providing over 50% of Brazil’s buses. The company employs 10,000 people with revenues exceeding USD 10 billion per year.

  • Embraer is one of the top three aircraft manufacturers in the world. It has 17,000 employees, boasts USD 15.2 billion in order backlog and specializes in military, commercial and luxury aircraft. In October 2010, Embraer suggested plans to develop very-long-range business jets, entering a sector currently dominated by Gulfstream, Bombardier, and Dassault.

  • In August 2009, property developers Plena Ventures handed over the keys to the first residents of the Aldeia Saint Sebastien in Arembepe. The Village Saint Sebastien is a gay-friendly development of condos facing the sea on the beach of Piru. The construction was inspired by districts across the world that are home to large gay communities. In terms of mod-cons, research showed that the gay community wanted big kitchens, large recreation areas, hot tubs, fitness centers and home theater systems – all of which have been accounted for.

  • Clube Amostra GrĂĄtis (free sample club), launched in Sao Paulo in April 2010, offers customers the opportunity to sample up to 5 items a month for free in exchange for an annual membership fee and willingness to participate in online surveys based upon the products consumed. Members have access to new releases of products, life size samples and a chance to comment on how the product may be improved.

  • In December 2010, luxury hoteliers Fasano, having ventured beyond Brazil for the first time, will open the Las Piedras Resort in Uruguay. The resort will feature a private beach, equestrian center, golf course, spa, and polo fields.

  • In July 2010, flip flop maker Havaianas and US t-shirt website Threadless launched a series of limited edition flip flops. The flip flops were the winners of a design contest hosted on the website. Submissions for the competition were received from all around the world. Another collaboration, in September 2010, saw New York’s ESPASSO gallery showcased a chair commissioned by Havaianas and designed by Carlos Motta. The chair will be available for sale in Spring 2011.

  • Kaiak, a perfume brand aimed at men, earlier this year introduced an online ‘sensory banner’. To execute the strategy, Kaiak partnered with internet cafes across Brazil, who installed small printers with perfume testers in the side of each monitor screen. As the user clicked on the online banner, the small printer automatically generated a perfume tester for the user to smell. The campaign received a click through rate of 17.2%, with 10,000 testers printed in one weekend. Kaiak is part of Natura, the leading Brazilian manufacturer of skin care, cosmetics, perfume and hair care products.

  • Ticket To Mind offers prepaid plans for multiple gifts over a set period of time. Targeting males, Ticket to Mind offers various gift plans: the Express plan is aimed at a new love or renewing an existing one, and includes three bouquets of flowers being sent over a four-month period, at random times.

  • Last year, the Brazilian transit authority starting using Twitter to update SĂŁo Paulo and Rio de Janeiro’s motorists and pedestrians of any traffic incidents or transport news. The feed broadcasts tweets from the authority itself, and the #TransitoRJ and #TransitoSP hashtags allow users to share their own transport experiences.

  • In 2009, architect Zaha Hadid and Brazilian shoe brand Melissa Plastic Dreams launched a line of Hadid-designed Melissa shoes. The organically shaped, recyclable plastic, limited edition shoes were available for GBP 200 at the Dover Street Market in London.

  • Ellus is a Brazilian jeans wear brand, which is distributed in over 70 flagship stores in Brazil and in retail stores across Europe, Asia and the US.

  • Brazilian Unilever detergent brand Omo has used GPS to bring prizes to consumers at home. The promotion, called “Try Something New With Omo,” featured hidden GPS devices in 50 detergent boxes throughout Brazil. Each device was activated when the box was removed from the supermarket shelf, and a team tracked the box all the way to the purchasing consumer’s home. Winners received a pocket video camera as well as an invitation for a day of outdoor fun at Unilever’s expense. The promotional website was updated to include a map showing roughly where winners live as well as video footage of the giveaways. The promotion began in August 2010.

  • Cosmetics brand Kapeh uses coffee from Minas Gerais in all of its formulations. The products, which include moisturizers, soaps and bath oils, are now exported to the Netherlands and Portugal, as well as being available online.


  • Mexician boutique hotelier Habita has nine properties domestically and plans to open another in Manhattan in 2011.

  • In late 2009, the city of Puebla, Mexico, launched a taxi service exclusively for women called Pink Taxi de Puebla. Intended as a safe means of transport, the thirty-five strong fleet of bright pink cabs are driven by women only and will not stop for men. The cabs are equipped with beauty kits, GPS and emergency panic buttons.

  • The government of Mexico City has passed a law restricting businesses from giving out plastic bags that are not biodegradable. Since August 2010, stores can be fined and owners jailed under the law, which affects all stores, production facilities and service providers within the Federal District, encompassing the city limits and 19 million people in Greater Mexico City.

  • Led by Mexican beer brand Corona Extra, the Save the Beach effort aims to recover at least one European beach per year from destruction by pollution and other human-caused damage. In June 2010, to draw more attention to the challenge, the Save the Beach effort built a hotel out of garbage collected from Europe’s beaches. Created by German artist HA Schult and installed next to Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, the Save the Beach Hotel was built from 12 tons of garbage and could accommodate up to 10 people.

  • ManCandy, a men’s fashion label, whose founder won the Best New Designer during the Mexico Fashion Awards, has been featured in international fashion editorials such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Invoice, Nylon and Glamour.

  • Pirwi is an eco-driven, Mexico-based designer home furniture brand. The company’s collection now includes over 70 objects by 12 designers and features cutting edge pieces considered classics of contemporary Mexican design.


  • Colombian Juan Valdez Cafe is a multinational coffeehouse chain with 120 outlets domestically. International expansion is driven by the Colombian Federation, who sees the chain’s success as a reason coffee contributes over 8% to GDP. These plans have seen the chain open shops in Latin America, the US, and Europe, as well as distribution in US Wal-Mart Stores and 650 supermarkets in South Korea.

  • Meanwhile, Rwandan coffee franchise Bourbon Coffee operates a coffee shop in Washington DC, and is planning to open two more cafes in the US (New York and Boston).

  • The Magno AM/FM radio is hand crafted using sustainable materials in an Indonesian village. Profits from sales go back to initiatives supporting the producers such as the education in handicraft and work skills and the growth of plantations for wood used to make the products.

  • EcoFaeBrick turns cattle waste into bricks that are greener, stronger and 20% lighter than regular clay bricks. The Indonesian organization was set up in early 2009 to tackle the problem of excessive waste in local farming areas. In a move to reduce carbon emissions, the EcoFaeBricks are fired using biogas, with this being the only variation from the traditional brick making process.

  • Designed by Moscow-based creative agency Firma, a concept created for Chupa Chups targets an 18+ audience. “BDSM”, “Fetish” and “Toys” are lollipops with a decidedly adult feel but with a classic candy taste. Each recall whips, collars, and other sexual toys.

  • In August 2010, Russian mobile provider MTS launched a digital campaign promoting their Data-Plan products that lets consumers take part in a weekly treasure hunt and adventure race. Each week, MTS unveil a billboard with a QR code which (when players scan it into their mobile) details a task and direction to the next location. The winner is picked from the players who scored the most points and prizes include products such as the Nintendo Wii.

  • Russian Preorder.It (launched in Q1 2010) allows customers to pre-order the latest devices in advance, before official sale starts. Consumers can browse through company press releases or search products by brand or category to locate a soon-to-be-released device. These range from mobile phones to laptops, tablet computers and digital cameras. They can then register their interest with the merchant, who will send them offers when the product becomes available.

  • Guatemala-based mapmaking company Where To Go Maps is working towards creating a globalised mapping system that would see their free artistic city maps available to travellers for all major tourist destinations worldwide. The maps present tourists with the best hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, attractions and sightseeing highlights that each city has to offer, as well as illustrating the specific locations of local businesses who advertise on the maps.

  • In June 2010, socio-ecological bamboo bicycle making enterprise Bambike launched a new set of bike designs with headlights. Bambike employs people in rural Filipino villages to create the frames of the bikes from local bamboo plants. The fair-trade labor is part of the Gawad Kalinga development program to educate and improve community living.”

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    Wildcats & Black Sheep is a personal interest blog dedicated to the identification and evaluation of maverick investment opportunities arising in frontier - and, what some may consider to be, “rogue” or “black sheep” - markets around the world.

    Focusing primarily on The New Seven Sisters - the largely state owned petroleum companies from the emerging world that have become key players in the oil & gas industry as identified by Carola Hoyos, Chief Energy Correspondent for The Financial Times - but spanning other nascent opportunities around the globe that may hold potential in the years ahead, Wildcats & Black Sheep is a place for the adventurous to contemplate & evaluate the emerging markets of tomorrow.