Chinese Companies Going Global Rake in Surging Overseas Revenues in 2023

TMTPost's "TIGLOBAL" focuses on five major industries: medical devices, gaming, new energy, smart home appliances, and cross-border e-commerce. These sectors have shown significant overseas expansion based on their revenue and growth metrics.

TMTPOST--"Going global" has become a buzzword for Chinese companies since 2023. Among enterprises venturing abroad, publicly listed companies make for a critical segment. Based on their just-released annual 2023 reports, TMTPost's "TIGLOBAL" has compiled a report on overseas revenue and growth data.

As of May 10, TMTPost's "TIGLOBAL" analyzed 5,364 A-share companies' 2023 annual reports  on the Choice platform. So far, 3,564 companies have disclosed their overseas revenue, accounting for 66.44% of the total, setting a record high.

This indicates that going global has become an undisputable trend among listed companies seeking new growth opportunities.

Additionally, the proportion of overseas revenue to total revenue has also been rising from 10.18% in 2019 to 11.73% in 2023.

Chinese companies listed on Hong Kong and U.S. stock markets have also performed exceptionally well in overseas markets. To provide a comprehensive view of the global expansion of Chinese listed companies, TMTPost's "TIGLOBAL" compiled financial data from A-share, Hong Kong, and U.S. listed companies' 2023 annual reports. Based on the core metric of overseas revenue growth, along with positive total revenue growth and overseas revenue exceeding 10% of total revenue, they created a detailed map of the "Top 30 Chinese Listed Companies by Overseas Revenue Growth in 2023."

Industries such as automotive, photovoltaics, and lithium batteries feature prominently, with 10 companies representing one-third of the list. Great Wall Motors and JAC Motors saw their overseas revenue more than double, leading the charge in overseas expansion. BYD and CATL achieved over 70% growth, joining the ranks of companies with overseas revenues exceeding 100 billion yuan.

The home appliance and consumer electronics sectors also feature significantly, comprising 20% of the list. This includes well-known brands like Midea, Haier, and Transsion, as well as upstream suppliers like Luxshare Precision, Wingtech Technology, and TCL Technology.

BeiGene, a representative of the biopharmaceutical sector, saw impressive growth in overseas markets, with a 147.27% increase in 2023. Despite this rapid growth, it ranked 32nd and did not make the Top 30 list. Nonetheless, the biopharmaceutical sector remains a key area for overseas expansion.

Internet platforms, primarily listed on Hong Kong and U.S. markets, face challenges in meeting the overseas revenue threshold. Companies like Tencent, Alibaba, and Kuaishou have significant overseas revenue but fall short of the 10% criterion. Tencent’s overseas revenue increased by 62.17 billion yuan but only accounted for 9.56% of its total revenue. Alibaba’s international digital commerce segment saw a 13.3% growth to 69.204 billion yuan, representing 8% of its total revenue. Kuaishou’s overseas revenue grew by 265.4%, yet it only constituted 2.01% of its total revenue.

TMTPost's "TIGLOBAL" focuses on five major industries: medical devices, gaming, new energy, smart home appliances, and cross-border e-commerce. These sectors have shown significant overseas expansion based on their revenue and growth metrics.

Medical Device Industry: Seeking Growth Amid Decline

The medical devices sector, although experiencing a 26.68% decline in overall revenue to 234.697 billion yuan in 2023, still saw significant growth from overseas operations. Mindray, a leader in the sector, achieved an overseas revenue of 13.55 billion yuan, maintaining a 40% share of its total revenue. United Imaging, known for its advanced imaging equipment, continues to lead with significant overseas market growth.

Gaming Industry: Cut-throat Competition

The gaming sector faced a challenging year with a 5.65% decline in overseas revenue. Companies like Tencent and NetEase maintained leading positions, but competition and market saturation present challenges. Century Huatong, through its subsidiary FunPlus, and Ultra Power, with successful SLG games, demonstrated resilience and growth in overseas markets.

New Energy: The Rise of Energy Storage and the “New Trio”

In 2023, China's exports of the "new trio" — new energy vehicles, lithium-ion batteries, and photovoltaic products — surpassed the trillion-yuan mark for the first time, growing by 29.9% year-on-year. Despite this rapid growth, there are hidden concerns, as both the power battery and photovoltaic sectors have entered a phase of structural overcapacity, leading to a slowdown in overall growth and even "price wars".

However, with the increasing global demand for energy storage and the high profitability of overseas ventures, many new energy companies are now focusing on the international energy storage market to seek new revenue and profit streams.

According to TMTPost's "TIGLOBAL," over 30 new energy companies that have disclosed their 2023 financial results reported on their efforts in the energy storage sector (excluding portable storage). These companies include industry giants like CATL and BYD, which are leaders in the power battery and new energy vehicle sectors, as well as companies like Eve Battery, which covers consumer, power, and storage batteries, and TBEA, a leader in the power transmission and transformation industry. Additionally, companies like GCL Integration are leveraging their photovoltaic business to transition into energy storage.

Despite their varied backgrounds, these 30 companies share common themes of "global expansion" and "energy storage."

Given that most financial reports do not distinguish between domestic and international energy storage revenue, TMTPost's "Globalization Reference" used "triple growth and double exceed" as the criteria for the new energy storage overseas business expansion list.

"Three-pronged growth" refers to:

1. Positive overall revenue growth in 2023 compared to the previous year.

2. Positive overseas revenue growth in 2023 compared to the previous year.

3. Positive energy storage revenue growth in 2023 compared to the previous year.

"Double Over Two-digits" means:

1. Overseas business accounted for more than 10% of total revenue in 2023.

2. Energy storage business accounted for more than 10% of total revenue in 2023.

Based on these criteria, TMTPost compiled the "TOP8 in 2023 New Energy Storage Overseas Revenue."

CATL began separately disclosing energy storage business revenue in its 2021 annual report, which showed that energy storage revenue already accounted for over 10% of total revenue. Since then, CATL's energy storage business has recorded rapid growth, with its 2023 energy storage revenue approaching 60 billion yuan, and overseas revenue growth exceeding 70%, making it a strong leader in both absolute and relative terms.

It's worth noting that BYD did not separately break down energy storage business data in its financial report. However, according to BYD, it was the largest supplier of industrial and commercial energy storage systems in China in 2023, with global energy storage battery shipments reaching 28.4 GWh and a cumulative total of 40.4 GWh.

At the end of 2023, Shenzhen Pingshan Fudi Battery Co., Ltd. was renamed Shenzhen BYD Energy Storage Co., Ltd., indicating a clearer path for BYD's independent development in the energy storage sector.

While energy storage has become a beacon of growth for many listed new energy companies, the competition is intense. Despite not making the list due to overseas revenue accounting for less than 10%, companies like Rept Battero, Pylon Technologies, and CALB, which are among the top ten global energy storage suppliers, are expected to focus heavily on international markets in 2024.

In addition to numerous listed companies, primary market energy storage upstarts such as Hithium, Lishen Battery, SVOLT, and Hyper Strong are also ramping up their overseas market efforts.

Smart Home Appliances: Chinese Brands Make Their Mark Globally

Home appliance companies have been at the forefront of Chinese brands going global. Brands like Hisense, Haier, Midea, and TCL began venturing into international markets over two decades ago, establishing themselves in the global home appliance market through acquisitions and building their own brands.

According to customs data, China's exports of home appliances in 2023 amounted to 617.4 billion yuan, a 9.9% increase year-on-year.

As Chinese home appliance brands continue to strengthen in core technologies such as 5G, AI, and IoT, and as global consumers' demand for quality of life continues to rise, the export data for Chinese home appliances shows an upward trend towards intelligence and high-end products.

For example, TCL Electronics, under its "mid-to-high-end + large screen" strategy, saw a 10.0% year-on-year increase in international shipments of its smart screens in 2023. The overseas shipment of 65-inch and larger smart screens increased by 60.3%, driving a 8.7% increase in international market revenue.

TCL Industrial Vice President Jiang Biao recently told TMTPost that overseas business accounts for about 60% of TCL Industrial's total business.

TMTPost's "Globalization Reference" released the "TOP13 2023 Smart Home Appliances Overseas Revenue" after compiling data on companies recording a continued growth in total revenue and overseas revenue, and with overseas revenue exceeding five billion yuan in 2023.

The list shows that five home appliance companies have overseas revenue accounting for more than 50% of their total revenue, including Haier Smart Home, Hisense Visual Technology, TCL Electronics, Anker Innovations (in the smart home appliance business), and JS Global Lifestyle.

Moreover, it is clear that while traditional leading comprehensive home appliance brands show remarkable growth in overall and overseas revenue, emerging brands in the smart cleaning appliance sector are also performing well in international markets.

Midea Group's 2023 performance shows that the intelligent home appliance segment, primarily composed of HVAC and consumer appliances, remains the company's main revenue source, reaching 295.8 billion yuan, with overseas revenue accounting for 40.56% of the total.

Midea's overseas business began with OEM production for international brands such as GE, Panasonic, and Toshiba. In 2006, Midea started investing overseas to promote its own brand, supplemented by acquisitions. In 2016, Midea acquired Toshiba's white goods business to strengthen its global high-end product layout.

This strategy is reflected in Midea's 2023 results, with its own brands, including Toshiba, Midea, and Comfee, contributing to over 40% of its overseas smart home appliance revenue.

Haier Smart Home has been more active in overseas acquisitions, purchasing companies like Japan's Sanyo Electric, New Zealand's Fisher & Paykel, the United States' GEA, and Italy's Candy since 2011, and tailoring regional strategies for different markets.

In 2023, Haier Smart Home's overall overseas revenue grew by 7.62%, with overseas revenue accounting for over 50% of the total, and nearly 80% of its overseas revenue came from the European and American markets, which also showed significant growth.

Hisense Home Appliances and Hisense Visual Technology, the dual engines of Hisense Group's white and black goods, saw over 10% growth in overseas revenue, with Hisense Visual Technology's overseas revenue surpassing its domestic revenue.

Hisense Visual Technology focuses on upgrading product structures with large screens and high-end products. The 2023 financial report shows a 152.68% year-on-year increase in global sales of 100-inch and larger televisions, with a 115.88% increase in sales revenue.

According to Omdia data, Hisense held a 49.49% global market share in laser TV shipments in 2023, ranking first worldwide. Laser TVs are expected to be Hisense's flagship product in international markets.

Besides the giants with billion-yuan revenues, emerging smart and cleaning appliance brands are  "shining new stars" in the hundred-billion-yuan range.

Ecovacs Robotics, with its brands Ecovacs and Tineco, saw over 40% of its revenue from overseas markets.

Anker Innovations, with over 90% of its revenue from overseas, achieved 8.826 billion yuan in revenue from its smart innovation business (including home cleaning, security, and printers) and smart audio-visual business (including home laser projection and Bluetooth headsets).

According to Euromonitor's forecast, the global home appliance (including major appliances and small appliances) retail market will reach US$ 540.6 billion in 2024, growing by 2% year-on-year. In breakdown, major appliance retail sales will reach US$ 292.5 billion, growing by 1.9%, and small appliance retail sales will reach US$ 248.2 billion, growing by 2.1%.

The overseas market has undoubtedly become an important battleground for new revenue streams for smart home appliance brands.

Cross-Border E-Commerce: Platforms and Brands Keep Flourishing

According to customs data, China's cross-border e-commerce imports and exports totaled 2.38 trillion yuan in 2023, an increase of 15.6%, with exports reaching 1.83 trillion yuan, growing by 19.6%, and imports at 548.3 billion yuan, marking a growth of 3.9%.

Cross-border e-commerce's share of China's total goods trade increased from 1% in 2015 to 5.7% in 2023. As cross-border e-commerce continues to grow, these companies will experience sustained growth.

2023 financial reports show that global e-commerce platforms Amazon and eBay saw total revenue increases of 11.83% and 4.15%, respectively. This revenue growth was accompanied by a surge in profits, with Amazon and eBay's net profits growing by 1217.74% and 317.82%, respectively.

Alibaba's latest quarterly report in February showed a 44% year-on-year increase in revenue for its International Digital Commerce Group, reaching 28.616 billion yuan, with AliExpress achieving over 60% growth.

Although Pinduoduo did not separately disclose its cross-border platform Temu's data, it is widely believed that the company's fourth-quarter revenue of 40.21 billion yuan, a 357% year-on-year increase, was largely driven by Temu's overseas performance.

The other two cross-border platforms, Shein and TikTok Shop, are not publicly listed, so their data is not available. Market estimates suggest that Shein's 2023 GMV was around US$ 45 billion, with profits exceeding US$ 2 billion, significantly higher than US$ 700 million in 2022. TikTok Shop's GMV in Southeast Asia alone reached US$ 11.86 billion in 2023, with a target of achieving US$ 50 billion GMV in 2024.

Numerous seller-type cross-border e-commerce companies are flourishing, presenting a diverse brand ecosystem. TMTPost's "Globalization Reference" compiled a "TOP 10 of 2023 Cross-Border E-Commerce (Seller Type) Overseas Revenue Ranking" based on public financial data, revealing significant growth among brand sellers, with most companies' overseas revenues increasing by more than 20%, such as Anker Innovations and Savi Times, which recently went public.

Notably, Huading Holdings, which made the list through its subsidiary Tomtop Technology, disclosed in its latest report that it would sell Tongtuo Technology to Huakai Yibai. With this asset sale, Huading Holdings may exit the cross-border e-commerce arena, potentially marking its last appearance on the list.

Nearly half of the listed companies are optimizing their supply chains by building overseas warehouses, achieving cost reduction and efficiency improvement. Companies like Lekki and Santai have opened their logistics capabilities to external companies, creating new growth sources.

E-commerce and logistics are synergistic in the cross-border sector, complementing each other in their international ventures.

Overseas revenue is just one metric for evaluating a company's globalization efforts. True globalization requires more than just revenue; it involves factors like talent, marketing, and ESG. TMTPost's "Globalization Reference" will continue to focus on globalizing Chinese brands, releasing data and industry maps based on different dimensions. Self-recommendations from various brands riding the wave of new globalization are welcomed.

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