Companies must have annual revenue of at least $1 billion, 1,000 or more employees, and growth rates that outpace their home-market GDP or industry average. EBIT margins must equal or surpass the industry average. Companies must also have a strong international presence—10% or more in international sales or $500 million or more in international M&A—and credible aspirations to build a truly global footprint. We do make some exceptions for fast-growing, high-impact companies that are accelerating rapidly toward these thresholds. About two-thirds of the 100 global challengers meet all the criteria; almost all meet three or more.
Joining the list of 100 global challengers for 2018 are these 17 companies from ten countries whose 2015–2016 growth rates averaged 20%:
- Almarai (Saudi Arabia), the world’s largest vertically integrated dairy company. It has a strong international presence, with 37% of its revenue currently coming from abroad.
- Alpargatas (Brazil), a global footwear and apparel company, with 41% of sales outside of its home market.
- Arca Continental (Mexico), the second-largest bottling company in Latin America, with 44% of revenue outside its home country.
- BYD (China), a battery and car manufacturer and the largest electric-car producer by volume in the world. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns a 25% stake in BYD, which stands for “build your dream.”
- Cielo (Brazil), a leader in payment processing with a greater than 50% share of transaction volume in its home market. In 2016, Cielo launched Cielo LIO, a new generation of point-of-sale open platforms that integrates sales information with merchants’ management systems.
- Dangote Cement (Nigeria), Africa's leading cement producer, with operations in ten countries. In 2017, Dangote introduced online ordering through the e-commerce platform Jumia.
- IHH Healthcare (Malaysia), the leading private health care provider in Southeast Asia. The company also owns Acibadem Healthcare, the largest private health care provider in Turkey, and Continental Hospitals in India. IHH operates in ten countries and generates more than 80% its revenue outside of Malaysia.
- Jain Irrigation Systems (India), the second-largest microirrigation company in the world, with operations in 126 countries. A pioneer in Internet of Things applications in agriculture, almost half of Jain’s revenue comes from high-tech products.
- JinkoSolar (China), a member of the Silicon Module Super League, a group of the six largest suppliers of crystalline-silicon photovoltaic modules in the world. Jinko has a strong international position and derives 61% of its revenue from outside China.
- LC Waikiki (Turkey), a leader in the value-apparel retail market in Turkey, with operations in 38 countries.
- MercadoLibre (Argentina), the most popular e-commerce platform in Latin America, with 175 million users in 19 countries. It derives 68% of its revenue from outside of its original home market of Argentina.
- Midea Group (China), with a strong competitive position in electrical-appliance manufacturing, earning 40% of its revenue internationally. It has been an active cross-border buyer. In addition to its acquisition of Germany’s KUKA in December 2016 for $5 billion, it has purchased other international players such as Servotronix, Eureka, and Toshiba’s home appliance business.
- OPPO Electronics (China), a market leader at home and in India, and also present in 21 countries, mainly in Asia. In the past two years, OPPO has experienced explosive growth in China (more than 120% a year) and is now one of the leading smartphone producers in China and India.
- Safaricom (Kenya), the leading mobile network operator in Kenya and the leading mobile platform for transactions in Africa. Safaricom is the first Kenyan company to record a profit of more than $1 billion a year.
- Tianqi Lithium Corporation (China), is a leading global supplier of lithium products with major businesses in lithium resource development, exploration, and downstream lithium refining. Tianqi Lithium produces a diverse range of high-quality lithium products for customers in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Oceania.
- Weichai Power (China), a manufacturer of diesel engines, heavy machinery, and construction equipment with a strong international foothold. The company derives almost half its revenue from international sources.
- Zhengzhou Yutong Bus (China), the domestic leader in production of both combustion-engine and electric buses, with a greater than 30% and 17% share, respectively. Yutong recently began selling electric buses to Cuba.
In addition, four companies became global challenger graduates: SABIC of Saudi Arabia, and Alibaba, China Communications Construction Company, and Tencent of China. See Digital Innovation on the World Stage for profiles of Alibaba and Tencent.