Yanks took a dive and China is taking a bow in the annual survey of the 50 "smartest" companies in the world, with a number of Chinese tech companies kicking past American operations.
The list compiled annually by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review is still topped by a US company — Tesla Motors — but No. 2 is Chinese giant Xiaomi. The "Apple of China" has already surged past sales of both Apple (way down at No. 16) and Samsung among the nation's exploding population. Xiaomi started out as a smartphone seller but is now also engaged in software and ecommerce, and expanded this year into the US.
Chinese powerhouses Alibaba and Tencent also cracked the top ten. Alibaba (No. 4) — the "Amazon of China" — is the world's largest online retailer and has created its own payment and banking service: Alipay. Tencent (No. 7) has more than 549 million monthly users on its messaging services WeChat and Weixin.
The usual American smartest suspects made the list as well: Netflix (10), Google (12), Amazon (13), SpaceX (22) Facebook (29), IBM (46), Snapchat (47), Microsoft (48) and Uber (50).
The companies all fall into the categories of transportation, energy, Internet and digital media, biotech and computing and communications.
Biomedicine companies had the biggest year, notes the Technology Review, with Gilead Sciences (15) selling the first pill that can cure most cases of hepatitis C, and Bristol-Myers Squibb (26) selling an immunotherapy drug fighting skin and lung cancer. Start-up Counsyl (5) has developed cheap, automated DNA analysis used in pre-natal testing and cancer screening.
The excellent showing by companies in China comes just weeks after former Hewlett-Packard CEO and current GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina dissed the Chinese as non-innovators.
The Chines are "not terribly imaginative," Fiorina told Iowa political blog Caffeinated Thoughts. "They're not entrepreneurial, they don't innovate, that is why they are stealing our intellectual property."