The 10 most innovative Asia-Pacific companies of 2021

Whereas China stays a powerhouse of innovation in Asia-Pacific—each Tencent and the Alibaba-backed cold-chain logistics startup Cainiao are on our checklist—companies throughout the area discovered game-changing options to tough issues. South Korea’s Seegene helped the world diagnose the novel coronavirus shortly and successfully. India’s MilkMantra allowed the nation’s small-scale dairy farmers to deliver their merchandise to market, whereas guaranteeing high quality management. And Australia’s ProAgni has cleaned up the meals chain by creating antibiotic-free complement for cattle and sheep. Learn on for extra of this yr’s greatest in Asia-Pacific.

1. Seegene

(*10*)

For producing a COVID-19 diagnostic take a look at and taking it international, sending greater than 55 million take a look at kits to 67 international locations

The biotech company constructed a molecular diagnostic take a look at for the COVID-19 virus, which helped South Korea include the virus within the spring of 2020: 80% of South Korean COVID exams taken in April had been made by Seegene. Because the coronavirus unfold, the corporate went international, sending over 55 million take a look at kits to 67 international locations.

2. Milk Mantra

(*10*)

For partnering with USAID to launch an initiative that lets small-scale dairy farmers entry their funds digitally

Odisha, India-based Milk Mantra sources, packages, and sells dairy merchandise to greater than 10,000 unbiased retailers and subscribers. The firm works with farmers to course of and take a look at the milk to manage product high quality. This yr Milk Mantra partnered with USAID to launch an initiative to let farmers entry their paychecks digitally (beforehand, some needed to journey lengthy distances to entry their funds). Milk Mantra additionally decreased its cost cycle to 5 days—from 10—to assist farmers entry their funds sooner and keep away from disrupting their operations.

3. PolicyBazaar

(*10*)

For insuring towards job loss and serving to those that do get laid off repay their loans

In response to COVID-19-related layoffs and furloughs throughout industries, India’s largest insurance coverage aggregator launched a job loss insurance coverage vertical. The vertical supplied protection for many who misplaced their jobs in layoffs, serving to them repay loans for as much as three months. It additionally covers those that can’t work as a consequence of an harm, incapacity, or demise giving them wage advantages for as much as two years.

4. Tencent

(*10*)

For advancing the utility of social media, notably in search, funds, and purchasing

Tencent added a number of new options on its social community, monetary platform, and gaming enterprise WeChat, which counts 1.2 billion customers. Now customers can discover companies and content material throughout the community by urgent a phrase in a chat dialog. Tencent additionally broke up its funds app, WePay, into totally different verticals together with Monetary Providers, Journey and Transportation, and Purchasing and Leisure. Underneath Looking for instance, customers can entry mini-shops—digital storefronts from unbiased retailers vetted by Tencent—and store through livestream, an more and more in style possibility for Chinese language shoppers.

5. NextBillion.ai

(*10*)

For driving logistics companies to reach the final mile, through customized AI-based maps

Began by two Seize alums final February, Singapore-based NextBillion.ai builds different AI-based hyperlocal companies for companies. The firm has began constructing customized AI-based maps to assist last-mile logistics companies and freight companies present correct supply and pickup ETAs and discover the most effective routes. The firm goals to increase its companies and incorporate pure language processing and facial recognition.

6. ProAgni

(*10*)

For changing livestock feed into earnings for farmers, and eradicating antibiotics from the meals chain

ProAgni makes antibiotic-free dietary supplements and feeds for cattle and sheep. The firm’s feeds have improved feed conversion (the method of changing meals into weight) by 20%, main to greater earnings for farmers as they want much less feed for his or her animals. Its merchandise have fed greater than one million livestock animals in Australia and brought multiple tonne of antibiotics out of the meals chain.

7. DrinkPrime

(*10*)

For offering clear ingesting water through a air purifier subscription mannequin

DrinkPrime provides subscription-based good water purifiers in India, the place unclean ingesting water stays a typical downside (about 35% of the nation’s city-dwellers purchase ingesting water saved in bubble-top containers that don’t meet authorities security laws). Customers subscribe to obtain water purifiers related to an app that lets them pay payments and monitor how a lot water they use. As a result of the corporate operates as a subscription service—plans begin at round $5—prospects should not have to pay set up prices and upkeep fees.

8. Mercari

(*10*)

For constructing foreign money within the secondhand market by way of a digital funds program

Mercari is Japan’s largest on-line market for second-hand items. Utilization soared final yr as individuals who had been caught at dwelling through the pandemic turned to the mobile-first platform to promote their belongings and cut back muddle (a pattern impressed by Marie Kondo). The firm launched digital funds known as Merpay in 2019 in partnership with NTT Docomo, Japan’s largest wi-fi service. The foreign money now has greater than 7 million month-to-month lively customers and is accepted at over 1.6 million shops. Although Mercari’s person base is comparatively small, it has a bonus within the funds sector: Many shoppers already maintain Merpay balances in consequence of promoting possessions on the app.

9. Cainiao

(*10*)

For making vaccine supply—through the primary cold-chain air freight service—easy as ice

The good logistics arm of the Alibaba Group partnered with Ethiopian Airways to speed up the primary COVID-19 vaccine shipments with the primary chilly chain air freight service. The new route is ready to deal with temperatures as little as -23 levels Celsius, chilly sufficient for most vaccines that should be refrigerated, together with COVID-19.

10. Amorepacific

(*10*)

For exfoliating plastic from its magnificence product packaging and opening a refill station

Final yr, South Korea’s magnificence conglomerate Amorepacific began rethinking its packaging throughout its internationally in style manufacturers that embody Etudehouse, Laneige, and Innisfree, designing new packaging to scale back its use of plastics. Innisfree, for instance, launched an eco-friendly model of its Inexperienced Tea Seed Serum produced from a paper bottle, decreasing the product’s plastic content material by greater than half. The firm additionally opened Korea’s first magnificence refill station, the place prospects fill containers produced from coconut shells with merchandise of their selection, and pay by weight.