No Firm from the Greater Bay Area Named a Changemaker by Fortune

By Silvi writer

 

Fortune selected no firm from the Greater Bay Area in its annual ranking of the top companies that make a positive social impact as part of their core business strategy.

The GBA is a Chinese government’s scheme to link nine Pearl River Delta cities, including international financial centre Hong Kong and the country’s booming tech centre Shenzhen, into an integrated economic and business hun.

The GBA is home to some of the world’s most widely known companies including tech firms like Tencent and drone maker DJI, as well as tele communication including like Huawei and ZTE.

Missing from the list means firms from the GBA fall short of making positive social impact while pursuing commercial success.

Alibaba Group, JD.com, Didi Chuxing are the only three Chinese companies that have been named to the 2018 Fortune Change the World List, announced on Aug 20.

Tencent and BYD, China’s leading automobile manufacturer headquartered in Shenzhen, were the only firms from the GBA that managed to be named in the list, respectively in 2017 and in 2015.

More companies than ever are using the profit motive to help the planet and tackle social problems, Fortune said in the introductory note of this year’s list.

The Change the World list recognizes companies that have had a positive social impact through activities that are part of their core business strategy. We prioritize companies with annual revenues of $1 billion or more, it said in its methodology.

The Fortune Change the World list celebrates the changemakers—those pioneering business leaders who look at social issues material to their long-term success and say, “We can do things differently.”

“They’ve embarked on a strategic shift towards shared value, a smarter business model that reimagines the way companies build new markets, innovate, create distinction, and contribute to a thriving society and planet,” Fortune said.

Alibaba Group, JD.com and Didi Chuxing ranked the fifth, the 45th, and the 53rd respectively in this year’s list, for different reasons.

 

Alibaba Group, based in Hangzhou

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Alibaba wants to drive money into rural China in a fairly literal way. Its popular maps service, Auto-Navi, launched a “poverty alleviation map” feature in Henan province this year, designed to entice day-trippers into remote countryside towns. It flags what facilities are available, helping local restaurants, gas stations, and shops draw customers and develop an online presence.

 

JD.com, based in Beijing

JDChina’s rural population—around 589 million people—is larger than the entire U.S. population but constitutes an economy relatively untapped by e-commerce. JD.com is rectifying this by pioneering innovative delivery solutions for rural China. Most striking is its drone delivery program: To date, JD drone deliveries are servicing over 100 villages and have made more than 20,000 delivery runs. Ultimately, JD envisions combining unmanned planes and wingless drones to complete long distance and last-mile deliveries for rural areas. (It has also innovated in urban areas, with four-wheeled autonomous minicars that can avoid traffic and find uncongested routes.) CEO Liu Qiangdong claims that when the network is expanded nationwide it will save 70% on delivery costs. Those savings will benefit not just consumers but producers too, such as farmers who want to get their goods to urban markets quicker than trucking allows.

 

Didi Chuxing, based in Beijing

1462414703393191To solve China’s endemic traffic problem, the ride-sharing company is working with local authorities on an initiative it calls Smart Transportation. Over 20 Chinese cities have adopted the program, which includes installing smart traffic lights and “reversible lanes” to improve flow during traffic peaks. In some locations, the system has reduced delays by up to 20%, an annual savings of 11.5 million commuter hours. This translates to increased turnover and revenue for Didi drivers, and a reduction in carbon emissions from idling cars.

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