Don't get caught in the churn
Who's up and who's down?
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This week: A look at different company rankings, a new rocket company, and scads of policy developments
Who’s on top?
Last month, the Taibo Intelligence Unit put out their list of top companies to invest in. The Taibo Intelligence Unit is the think tank arm of Taibo (泰伯), which is a Beijing-based technology-focused media company (and not an aerobic exercise).
Taibo’s list is the top 30 companies in emerging technologies, broken down into three categories: commercial space companies, big data, and self driving cars. Obviously, I’ll be focusing on the 10 space companies.
Because a lot of these space companies are so new, and most are private, I find these rankings, while very subjective, to be one useful entryway into seeing what the experts think.
I’ve translated the list and also added which business area the companies are involved in:
Almost a year ago now, I covered a similar list that was put out in 2019 by EqualOcean (亿欧), a media and business services group, and Future Aerospace (未来宇航), a space-focused think tank and investment fund. They put out an annual list of the top 30 commercial space companies in China.
I thought it would be interesting to revisit EqualOcean / Future Aerospace Top 30 list, as well as take a look at the Taibo Top 10 list from previous years. I’ve translated them both (2018 - 2020), and you can find them here:
I think that there are two main takeaways from these lists. The first is that they are a useful way of keeping up with some of the less flashy companies that are out there but make fewer headlines (especially the ones that don’t make rockets).
The other is that, while these lists have only been out for three years now, I think you can see at least one real trend: there was a lot of churn from 2018 — 2019, which was then followed by more stability from 2019 — 2020.
Five companies from Taibo’s 2018 list failed to make it onto the 2019 list, while only three companies from the 2019 list lost their place on the 2020 list.
Although Future Aerospace and EqualOcean had a different list with (presumably) different standards, there’s the same trend — in 2019, 11 companies were bumped off the list by challengers, whereas in 2020, only 8 companies lost their spot, while 3 returned from the 2018 list.
There’s no way of knowing if that trend will continue in 2021, with the industry maturing and the truly successful companies becoming more apparent. It seems to me just as likely that the Chinese government’s addition of satellite internet to “new infrastructure” back in April 2020 will have spurred quite a few new entrants to the sector.
Speaking of new entrants - I recommend this thread about yet another new launch company:
March 7: Bao Weimin of CASC gave the first official indication of the long-rumored official state satellite internet system (link in Chinese), using the term 国网 (guowang — national network). Check out the new years issue for more.
March 8: SOE CAS Space (中科宇航) announced that it began construction of a solid rocket facility in the Nansha New Area of Guangzhou.
March 9: China and Russia finalized their MOU on lunar cooperation.
March 12: The 14th Five Year plan for the Chinese economy was announced, which includes the construction of a commercial spaceport (link in Chinese).
March 12: A Long March 7A took off from Wenchang, sending an experimental satellite into orbit. This was the first successful launch of the Long March 7A after a failed attempt a year ago.
March 13: A Long March 4C launched three Yaogan satellites from Jiuquan. The Yaogan series is believed to be military intelligence satellites.
March 15: CPPCC member Pan Jianwei said that China plans to develop a network of quantum communication satellites over the next five years.
Until next time
My name is Cory Fitz and I write the Taikonautica newsletter. To make you smarter about China’s rapidly evolving space industry, Taikonautica brings you translations of Chinese-language articles, as well as a roundup of links and news.
If you have any questions, comments, or corrections, tweet at me at @cory_fitz or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.