6 best emerging market companies to play the blockchain theme

6 best emerging market companies to play the blockchain theme

  • Blockchain technology can revolutionise how businesses operate, improving security, transparency, and privacy
  • We highlight 6 listed EM companies that are deploying blockchain technology to achieve real-world use-cases
  • Their revenue contribution from blockchain is currently negligible, but the growth potential is very strong

With bitcoin hitting US$1tn market cap, blockchain and cryptocurrencies are an active topic of debate among investors. However, there is much more to blockchain than cryptocurrencies; the technology has the potential to revolutionise the way businesses work and could help address some key problems with existing technology, like security, transparency and privacy.

In this note we highlight 6 listed emerging market companies — Alibaba, Baidu, Infosys, Tanla Platforms, Tata Consultancy Services and Tencent — that are aggressively deploying blockchain technology to achieve real-world use-cases. These companies are using blockchain technology across a broad range of applications, such as smart contracts, logistics, supply chain management, communication services, government services etc.

The revenue contribution from blockchain for these companies is still very small, but given the possibility of further rapid adoption, this segment could become a meaningful revenue driver in the future. We identified these six companies based on our study of c100 listed EM companies in financials, technology and telecom sectors. We plan to showcase other blockchain pioneers in the future.

Select listed EM companies with blockchain exposure

Source: Tellimer Research

Alibaba

Market cap: US$692bn, Country: China

Alibaba is a global blockchain leader; together with its fintech partner Ant Group, it holds the most blockchain-related patents in the world. Apart from patents, Alibaba is also active in blockchain partnerships, innovations and creating real-world applications for the technology. Some blockchain-related innovation and offerings of Alibaba include:

  • Alibaba Cloud BaaS (blockchain as a service) is an enterprise-level offering, based on blockchain technologies. This service helps users quickly create and deploy a blockchain environment, and provides graphical interfaces for blockchain management and operation.

  • Alibaba's Lynx International has developed integrated blockchain technology to track information in its cross-border logistics services.

  • T-Mall, another subsidiary of Alibaba, has adopted blockchain technology for its cross-border supply chain.

  • Alibaba's affiliate, Ant Group, has launched a blockchain-powered platform, Trusple, for cross-border trade settlements. Buyers and sellers can upload trading orders to the platform, which automatically generates a smart contract with information such as logistics.

Baidu

Market cap: US$115bn, Country: China

This Chinese search engine giant, often known as the Google of China, is actively innovating in blockchain and has developed several applications including its BaaS platform, and a blockchain-based digital image property rights platform. It has various other use-cases planned in areas such as logistics, financial collection, asset securitisation and consumer finance.

  • Baidu operates a BaaS platform, Baidu Blockchain Engine, which is an open source, commercialised platform, to simplify decentralised application (Dapp) development.

  • Baidu has its own open-source blockchain protocol called XuperChain, which supports smart contracts.

  • The firm runs a blockchain-based digital image property rights management platform, Totem. It is a distributed platform that utilises blockchain technology to create a traceable chain of tamper-proof data to protect photo sharers' intellectual property.

  • Baidu Baike, a Chinese equivalent of Wikipedia, uses blockchain technology to record entries' revision histories to bring transparency and traceability.

Infosys

Market cap: US$74bn, Country: India

Infosys is a leading business consulting and information technology company. It has developed various applications and platforms for blockchain technology, providing use-cases in sectors like healthcare, supply chain and government services. Infosys also advises businesses on how they can use blockchain technology to improve their processes, for example in terms of efficiency, security and transparency. Below we discuss some of the Infosys services housed in its blockchain segment:

  • Infosys Blockchain Assessment Framework provides consulting services to identify best-fit blockchain use cases and define operational models for clients' business processes.

  • Infosys Government Services Distributed Application enables governments to provide a one window solution for citizen services. It could be used for various use cases such as digital licenses, management of healthcare records, ownership titles and intellectual property records.

  • Infosys Healthcare Provider Data Management Distributed Application is a payer-provider network that aims to reduce the errors in online health care provider directories and also reduce labour costs.

  • Infosys Insurance Distributed Application provides blockchain-based solutions to insurance companies for policy administration and claims handling that include multi-party claims to reduce due-diligence costs and improve processing time for claims.

  • Infosys Pharma Supply Chain Distributed Application helps track and trace drugs on a blockchain-powered network to enhance quality control, and optimise targeted inventory and recall management.

Infosys blockchain portfolio

Source: Company data, Tellimer Research

Tanla Platforms

Market cap: US$1.8bn, Country: India

Tanla Platforms (previously Tanla Solutions) is a cloud communication services provider in India, which is disrupting traditional communication methods using various state-of-the-art technologies, like artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain. Investors seem to value the company's innovations reflected in its 1-year stock price return, which is at 1,140%. Some of its blockchain-driven solutions include:

  • Trubloq, which is a blockchain-based platform that empowers individuals to own, control and manage their commercial communications. This platform provides security, transparency and privacy to businesses in managing communications with their customers.

  • Wisely, which is a blockchain-enabled Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) launched in collaboration with Microsoft. Wisely has two facets, Wisely Network (an enterprise-grade platform for communications) and Wisely Marketplace (a platform for commerce where businesses can discover and collaborate with global suppliers).

Wisely's business model

Source: Company data

Tata Consultancy Services

Market cap: US$152bn, Country: India

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading IT company in India, is also taking blockchain seriously; our survey suggests that the company is increasing its investments in technology and automation. The company has launched various solutions to help businesses deploy blockchain technology in the areas of smart contracts, bank guarantees, supply chain management etc. Some of TCS's initiatives in the blockchain space include the following:

  • TCS operates a blockchain service, Quartz, which includes various blockchain solutions for businesses like smart contracts (Quartz Smart Solutions and Quartz DevKit), interoperability between blockchain platforms (Quartz Gateway) and blockchain oversight services (Quartz Command Center)

  • TCS has recently deployed a blockchain-based digital supply chain solution for the Indian government to help manage Covid-19 testing kits. The project entails eliminating supply-chain bottlenecks, and hand-holding SMEs to help them bridge capability gaps, meet necessary quality standards and expand capacities.

  • Another project involves launching a blockchain-based digital bank guarantee platform for Bank Hapoalim, Israel's largest bank. This platform would digitally transform the end-to-end lifecycle of guarantees, including issuance, modification and termination.

Tencent

Market cap: US$875bn, Country: China

The leading Chinese tech conglomerate and operator of WeChat and WeChat Pay has aggressive plans in the blockchain technology space. It has disclosed its plan to invest US$70bn over the next five years in new technology infrastructures, including blockchain. Below we highlight some of Tencent's blockchain initiatives and plans.

  • Tencent has launched a blockchain-based SME supply-chain finance platform, WeChain. Trade documents are verified on the network, transaction banks acquire receivables and then package the assets in ABS products and distribute to investors.

  • Tencent used blockchain technology in its 2020 annual philanthropic campaign to ensure data traceability and enhance transparency in charitable programmes.

  • Tencent is opening a blockchain-based virtual bank and has already received its license.


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