This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of Asia’s Best Under A Billion 2022, which highlights 200 Asia-Pacific public companies with less than $1 billion in sales and consistent top- and bottom-line growth. See the full list, sorted alphabetically, here.
As Covid-19 restrictions ease across the Asia-Pacific and people adapt to the new normal, this year’s annual Best Under A Billion list highlights the shift to discretionary spending. While healthcare and pharmaceutical-related companies were standouts last year, the post-pandemic return to daily life has benefitted apparel makers, mall operators, restaurants, consumer electronics and entertainment companies, among others. This year’s list includes 75 returnees from the prior year, reflecting their resiliency in a fast-changing environment, such as Taiwan’s Aspeed, which has made Best Under A Billion for a notable nine consecutive years.
We’ve highlighted eight companies that captured the momentum of economic reopenings following the pandemic.
E-bike popularity accelerated during the pandemic as people looked to cycling for recreation and alternative transport. Riding the trend, sales at Suzhou-based electric motor and battery maker Bafang Electric surged 90% last year while net profit climbed 50%. It recently opened a new manufacturing plant in Poland to serve the European market.
Following a recovery from Covid 19-induced trade and supply disruptions, Indian apparel maker Dollar Industries booked 30% sales growth for the fiscal year ended in March, with net profit surging 72%. Besides expanding its clothing range for women, the company also recently added a spinning mill and a warehouse.
The ramen restaurant company saw sales jump 22% to $124 million as pandemic restrictions lifted in Japan, bringing customers to its tables again. Last year it managed 602 restaurants across Japan, including 147 company-owned outlets, up from 519 in 2020.
This Australia-based apparel, footwear and skateboard manufacturer saw sales increase by 75% to $199 million as its three main markets, Australia, North America and Europe, delivered the biggest return in the company’s history. It sells to over 100 countries worldwide.
Easing Covid-19 restrictions helped to boost the South Korean entertainment company’s sales from concerts and offline events. As a result, sales increased 34% and net profit more than doubled in 2021. The company’s main artists include K-pop boy band 2PM and girl group Twice.
Thai beverages company Sappe grew its sales by 12% last year to $108 million as its export markets recovered from the pandemic. Sappe exports to 98 countries worldwide. The company also began to explore hemp and cannabis products to expand its portfolio.
Last year, the Indonesia-based herbal medicines and supplements manufacturer saw sales rise 21% to $281 million. The company said a trend toward health and wellness during the pandemic helped push demand for its food and beverage products.
Sales at the Singapore-based luxury watch retailer increased nearly 40% last year, and net profit surged 86%, as the pandemic’s homebound shoppers looked for ways to spend their cash. The Hour Glass, which sells brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, has 50 boutiques across Asia-Pacific.
With reporting by Jonathan Burgos, Ralph Jennings, John Kang, Ramakrishnan Narayanan, Phisanu Phromchanya, Yessar Rosendar, James Simms, Yue Wang and Jennifer Wells.
This list is meant to identify companies with long-term sustainable performance across a variety of metrics. From a universe of 20,000 publicly traded companies in the Asia-Pacific region with annual sales above $10 million and below $1 billion, these 200 companies were selected. The companies on this list, which is unranked, were selected based on a composite score that incorporated their overall track record in measures such as debt, sales and earnings-per-share growth over both the most recent fiscal one- and three-year periods, and the strongest one- and five-year average returns on equity. Aside from quantitative criteria, qualitative screens were used as well, such as excluding companies with serious governance issues, questionable accounting, environmental concerns, management issues or legal troubles. State-controlled and subsidiaries of larger companies were also excluded. The criteria also ensured a geographic diversity of companies from across the region. The list uses full-year annual results, based on the latest publicly available figures as of July 11, 2022.