China Competitiveness Indicator
IMD China Company Competitiveness Indicator

Measuring the competitiveness of companies in the Chinese market sector by sector

IMD China Company Competitiveness Indicator

Measuring the competitiveness of companies in the Chinese market sector by sector

IMD’s China Company Competitiveness Indicator tracks how likely a firm is to move toward a new knowledge discipline and competence in its effort to be competitive, and innovative, and to prepare for the future in the Chinese market. It is based on research undertaken by IMD’s China team, based in Shenzhen.

The aim of the indicator is to help executives identify the most competitive Chinese companies and gain insights into their business practices and strategies. We focus on leading companies and new champions in core industries.

Our current focus is on four key sectors: food and beverage, automotive, healthcare, and technology.

Our first ranking, which looks at China’s most competitive food and beverage companies, is now available. See the ranking results below:

Hard facts about Chinese companies: Unearthing the art of being competitive in a Chinese market

Kweichow Moutai Co. Ltd, a partially publicly traded, partially state-owned firm that produces and sells the baijiu spirit Moutai, reached the top spot in the F&B survey thanks in large part to its consistent business performance – despite the personal scandals of its former chairman – in combination with radical digital experiments and their fast-paced ecosystem building. It is a dancing elephant. Moreover, to diversify its leadership team, recently the company announced the first female leader in the top job in its history.

The Coca-Cola Company, with its highly impressive performance, ranked the second. The iconic American company did well across the board in this survey of the Chinese scene in supply chain, customer insights, business diversity, and brand value measures. Its success can be appreciated even more by comparing it to that of PepsiCo, which works in partnership with a local company in China and yet lags behind its competitors. The company excels at balancing building core resilience while exploring new revenue growth opportunities, especially leveraging its top-notch consumer data and analytics capabilities.

Mengniu Dairy Company Limited, with headquarters in Mongolia, manufacturing and distributing dairy products and ice cream, came the third. Digitally speaking, it closes the loop from the grass in the field to cows and milk production, all the way to the table of the consumer. Their wide embrace of AI on the farm and with their partners is exemplified especially when they launched the first-ever GPT-enabled AI nutrition expert.

Food and beverage companies ranking
Our rule-based methodology

We leverage the methodology of IMD’s Future Readiness Center led by Howard Yu for its Future Readiness Indicator but localized it to the country level (China) and customized it to the F&B sector: in terms of data sources, data verification and triangulation, variable selection, constrained normalization and outlier analysis for optimizing model stability and use of Random Forest for our prediction analysis.

Our Country Company Competitiveness Indicator includes the top key players by revenue in each industry and is based on eight main factors with 37 variables.

Business success
Business robustness
Investors’ expectations of future growth
R&D efforts
Early innovation results
Business diversity
Customer engagement

How we calculate the rankings

All of our variables are hard data publicly available on company websites, annual reports, press releases, news stories, and special reports on topics such as corporate social responsibility.

For press count data, we consulted Factiva, a global news database that covers various premium sources, and counted the number of press releases on each trending topic previously identified in the industry. The data was also supplemented by third-party data sources from Pitchbook which specializes in the topics of corporate ventures, M&A, Patent Search and Analysis portal by China National IP Administration, which specializes in patent search. We also used Wind, Statista, Wallmine,, Yahoo Finance, HKEXnews, and East Money Information.

To calculate the Indicator, first, we collected historical data for each company. Then we performed calculations for each variable before we standardized the criteria data. Next, we aggregated variables to the main factors and then determined the overall ranking. For comparison purposes, we ranked each company from 1 (best) to n (worst, n=sample size) on a scale of 1 to 100.