Pioneers, Hidden Champions, Changemakers, and Underdogs

Pioneers, Hidden Champions, Changemakers, and Underdogs

Lessons from China's Innovators

By Mark J. Greeven, George S. Yip and Wei Wei

An insider's view of China's under-the-radar, globally competitive innovators.





An insider's view of China's under-the-radar, globally competitive innovators.

Chinese innovators are making their mark globally. Not only do such giants as Alibaba and Huawei continue to thrive and grow through innovation, thousands of younger Chinese entrepreneurs are poised to enter the global marketplace. In this book, Mark Greeven, George Yip, and Wei Wei offer an insider's view of China's under-the-radar, globally competitive innovators.

The authors, all experts on Chinese innovation, distinguish four types of innovators in China: pioneers, large companies that are globally known; hidden champions, midsize enterprises that are market leaders in their niches; underdogs, technology-driven ventures with significant intellectual property; and changemakers, newer firms characterized by digital disruption, exponential growth, and cross-industry innovations. They investigate what kinds of innovations these companies develop (product, process, or business model), their competitive strategies, and key drivers of innovation. They identify six typical ways Chinese entrepreneurs innovate, including swarm innovation (collectively pursuing opportunities) and rapid centralized decision making. Finally, they look at how Chinese innovators are going global, whether building R&D networks internationally or exporting disruptive business models. The book includes many examples of Chinese innovators and innovations, drawn from a range of companies—from pioneers to changemakers—including Alibaba, Haier, Hikvision, Malong Technology, Weihua Solar, Mobike, and Cheetah Mobile.

Greeven, Yip, and Wei offer an essential guide to what makes China a heavyweight competitor in the global marketplace.


$29.95 T ISBN: 9780262039697 216 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 10 figures


  • The impetus for this important book is a fundamental, time-tested principle: If we understand one another better, we can grow stronger relationships and do more together for the benefit of all. This book introduces China's innovators to the world.

    Dinglong Huang

    CEO and cofounder of Malong Technologies

  • A great book with most interesting insights into the dynamics of innovation in China, a country that is on the move toward becoming a leading innovation nation. An exceptional book to read to understand the rise of China's hidden innovators.

    Xiaolan Fu

    Professor and Director of Technology and Management Centre for Development, University of Oxford

  • This book is an important reminder that China is becoming more and more innovative, and also identifies the hidden champions who are leading the way.  It is not the State-Owned Enterprises or the Communist Party that are driving China's future but its business leaders and entrepreneurs, working in companies that most of us haven't (yet) heard of.  This is essential reading for anyone who cares about innovation in our times.

    Henry Chesbrough

    Adjunct Professor, University of California, Berkeley; author of Open Innovation

  • Innovation is one of the most important pillars of China's economic development. This book brilliantly depicts the specific landscape where China's social ecosystem allows for these innovations to flourish.

    Weiming Jiang

    President, DSM China