Headquarters: Beijing

Industry sector: Consumer electronics

It has taken just four years since its 2010 launch for China’s Xiaomi to become the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker. Intellectual property has played a key role in this meteoric rise. The Xiaomi brand has quickly become among the most recognisable in Asia; while the company’s rapid growth in market share has encouraged it to employ a variety of strategies for securing freedom to operate and maintaining its competitive edge. Earlier this year it was one of the initial corporate investors, alongside Kingsoft and TCL, in Chinese patent acquisition fund Ruichuan. Recently, it entered into a joint venture and technology transfer arrangement with chipmaker Leadcore, thus gaining access to low-cost semiconductor technology.