Five New Names from 2015

Companies Worth Knowing for 2016

Alphabet. This name takes some getting used to. Google search is still Alphabet’s cash cow, but as the company grew in new directions, it needed a name that would diversify its image, its attitude and its corporate responsibility. In addition to search and Internet services, Alphabet has subsidiaries working on biotech, fibre communications, smart homes and smart cities. These are no longer “science projects” but sovereign business groups that will have to prove their worth. (see our Daily Insight Letter Perfect).

FreedomPop. The freemium business model has come to cellular services. Los Angeles-based FreedomPop offers a limited package of free mobile connectivity, hoping that subscribers will pay for additional features. The service is currently available to users in the UK and US. FreedomPop is not alone in testing the freemium business model or the “Wi-Fi first” connectivity model. (see our Daily Insight It’s All in the Application).

Intex. During the past two years, Intex has grown from obscurity to become the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in India and the second-largest domestic brand after Micromax. Intex is successfully competing against companies such as Lenovo and Samsung in one of the fastest-growing markets for smartphones. The company is a handy demonstration of how the barriers to entry in the smartphone industry have fallen (see our Daily Insight More Names to Learn).

LeTV. Beijing-based LeTV caught our attention when the company announced in the spring of 2015 that it was heading to the US market with both hardware and content. Though not well known outside of China, LeTV is a leading Chinese entertainment company, particularly in online video. In addition to producing and distributing entertainment and sports content, LeTV also markets a small portfolio of own-brand smartphones and smart televisions. Well-established in China, LeTV is creating an ecosystem and expanding to major markets including India in addition to the US (see our Daily Insight Bold Expansion Plans from LeTV)

Swish. Swish is quite possibly the most successful mobile money service in any developed market on a per capita basis. Based in Sweden, Swish is a mobile-money clearing house established by a consortium of the country’s banks. About a third of Swedes are now Swishing money to each other and at the current pace of growth, its users could number more than 50 percent of Sweden’s population during the first half 2016. Cash transfers are immediate and generally free. “Will that be cash or Swish?” (See our Daily Insight Swedish Swish.)

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