Tesla, Lululemon, Mastercard and Google have emerged as the best companies in their respective industries in terms of their future-readiness in the post-pandemic world, according to a global study released on Wednesday.
The Future Readiness Indicator report, released by Switzerland-based Institute for Management Development (IMD), studied more than a decade of data (2010 to 2021) to rank publicly listed companies against their competitors by how future-ready they are for the post-pandemic economy and their likelihood of survival in a world of fast and frequent change. It has analysed 86 highest-grossing companies in the four highest-revenue industries — fashion and retail, automotive, financial services, and technology.
While there is no Indian company on the list, the US led the chart with 40 companies, followed by seven each from China and Germany; six each from France and Japan; four each from Switzerland and UK; three from South Korea; two from Sweden; and one each from Argentina, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, and Taiwan. Professor Howard Yu, author of the Future Readiness Indicator, said the number of unicorns from India is surpassing China for the first time in 2021 and billion-dollar firms like Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Ola have kicked up a storm in the Indian startup ecosystem.
“Established IT companies have a long history of bringing multinationals to the region. But our ranking reveals the bottleneck lies not on private companies, but at the infrastructure level for India — and it’s a problem the state must step up to address, not just at the national level,” Yu added. According to the professor, none of the top-ranking companies in the automotive sector are from India, but it was not because firms like Tata and Mahindra cannot innovate.
“They can (innovate). But smart vehicles of tomorrow are largely based on software and electronics that interact with a city’s infrastructure. Even for an EV to take off, you need a network of superchargers. “Chinese automakers — NIO and BYD — not only rely on their own ingenuity. But they also benefit from the advanced infrastructure built by the state. It would be impossible for NIO to develop battery swapping stations without state-level support,” Yu said.
“The ease of doing business remains crucial. More than four decades of liberalization propelled India forward, but it still has a long way to go to compete on a global scale. “The way the government is handling technological disruptions won’t outpace the global competition. But state governments can and must act to keep India on the global map of companies to look out for in 2022,” the professor noted.
The study found that the companies that reoriented themselves to new trends before the pandemic outpaced their competitors, while COVID-19 has served as a dramatic test case, rewarding firms that built up their capabilities ahead of time and exposing the institutional inertia of those that did not. As per the study, sportswear brands Lululemon and Nike ranked first and second, followed by luxury brands Hermes, Burberry, Kering, and LVMH in the fashion and retail segment.
In the automotive segment, Tesla has captured the top spot, while four traditional automakers — Toyota, BMW, Ford, and Hyundai — hold the second through fifth positions. In the financial services sector, Mastercard and Visa led the rankings, followed by Ant Group, Square, and Paypal.
In the technology space, the five top-ranking companies — Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and US-based semiconductor company AMD — all have an entrepreneurial orientation, willingness to branch out from their core businesses, ability to scale up quickly, and a shared inner vision of the future, as per the study.