A New Threat To America Inc., by Jeffrey E. Garten

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The biggest challenge posed by these up-and-coming rivals will not be in Western markets, but within developing nations. That’s the arena of fastest global growth — and home to 80% of the world’s 6 billion consumers, hundreds of millions of whom have moved into the middle class. Through long experience working in a Third World commercial environment, companies such as India’s Bajaj Group (transportation), Egypt’s Orascom Telecom, and Turkey’s Sabanci Holdings (packaging, tires) will have an advantage in supplying goods and services that are cheaper, simpler to operate, and more effectively distributed than those of many Western rivals. And companies like Thailand’s Cementhai Chemicals Co. will have close cultural ties in growing regional markets such as Southeast Asia or the Indian subcontinent.

The rise of these new multinationals will force Corporate America to rethink strategies for Third World product development, marketing, and links with local companies. But growth of these new rivals should also compel Washington and other Western governments to revamp today’s inadequate hodgepodge of global commerce rules. The reason: Western companies could be disadvantaged by having to adhere to more stringent economic and social standards than the competition, because of their tougher home-country laws and expectations.
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Source: BusinessWeek