How we found an underdog Chinese Partner of Alibaba

 In Case Studies

“What you don’t know, you don’t know”

How would you know about a startup or a new player about which there is too little or nothing written on the internet? It won’t appear in Bloomberg or Crunchbase. And so in your market research reports you received.

What if such a startup is being funded by one of your competitors? Or if it is a strategic partner of one of the biggest conglomerates/giants? It must be a kind of insight you would like there on your report.

Today I’ll share one such recent instance where we were scouting technologies for one of the biggest cosmetic companies. Our objective was to help them find a way to remove non-biodegradable components from their cosmetic products. So, we were aiming to find a newfound company or startup working in this area that could become a good candidate for acquisition.

We found a startup that is a strategic partner of Chinese multinational conglomerate Alibaba. The startup company was hard to find if we wouldn’t have supplemented our market research with patent analytics.

How we did that?

During the research, we were analyzing patent sets through which we figured out various companies who have relevant patents.

Out of which one of the company we found was from China “Qingdao Saize Network Technology” with 115 patents. These patents were good and highly relevant to our research.

The next steps were to check if it was a startup or a well-established company. Now, it’s not very difficult to find such information about an organization but this time we got stuck because even our multiple different searches returned no relevant results.

We resorted to the patent portfolio of this company and saw that all of their patents were filed after 2016. This gave us a hint that this is a startup, but still, it was hard to be sure at this moment.

Seeing that a normal search is not going to work here, we decided to dig a bit deeper into their portfolio and found the Chinese name for this company which we used for our next searches. This is where our efforts started returning results as there was no mention of this company with their English name but, Chinese name brought something up.

Not only we were able to confirm that this company indeed was a startup, but we also came to know that they are a cooperative strategic partner of Alibaba. Something really interesting for the kind of search we were doing.

Why patent data should be on your list when conducting market research?

Imagine if we never had the patent data to begin with?

Chances are, we would have missed this startup completely as it had a negligible market presence. Not just missing this particular startup, the solution that we were searching for would have slipped right through our radar.

This is how including patent data in your market research can give you an entirely new dimension of insights to explore.

Apart from protecting their innovation, businesses use patents strategically to get an edge over their competition, expand into new geographies and technology areas. This is why patent information is a great way to analyze technology shifts and trends of your market.

Authored by: Mithattmeer Kaur, Senior Research Analyst (Patent Analytics) and Rajneesh Rana, Research Analyst (Market Research)

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