U[n]sual suspects in the Top Tech 100

Who heads the Business Week “Top Tech 100″ in 2010?

Apple? IBM? This year the ranking is topped by a Chinese manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, mobile handset components and cars. BYD - which stands for “Build Your Dreams” – can of course count on a “healty” growth of the car industry. BYD has plans to introduce a hybrid and a pure electric sedan in the Chinese, US and European markets by 2011. 

In less than a decade BYD managed to become the #2 manufacturer of rechargeable batteries. Not bad in a capital and technology intensive industry – something which doesn’t usually play to the advantage of labour-intensive firms. Its secret? The firm spend its R&D budget both on product improvement and manufacturing process improvement. For instance, BYD designed a new battery production method replacing robots by labour force that give a significant cost advantage over its foreign competitors. 

BYD appeared so promising that Berkshire Hathaway acquired 10% for USD 230 million in 2008. It comes to no surprise that Buffet’s investment has been multiplied by 7 since then.

P.S.: For those wondering, the third place – just behind Apple – is held by Tencent, China’s #1 online gaming operator and host of Happy Farm.