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Amitava Chattopadhyay


Amitava Chattopadhyay
Emerging Market Multinationals - Amitava Chattopadhyay


emerging markets

Study consumers in emerging markets…study firms in emerging markets

The key to successful entry into emerging markets lies in learning about customers in the field through experience. To compete against brands from emerging economies that will come to the fore in the future, it is necessary to learn “emerging market style” strategies. We met Prof. Amitava Chattopadhyay, who has studied firms from emerging markets for more than ten years, and learned those strategies from him.

Breaking the curse of national particularism: EMNCs as pioneers of globalization

According to INSEAD Professor Amitava Chattopadhyay, an expert of the leading-edge trend of game-changing EMNCs, emerging markets are a gold mine of innovations. MNCs need to deep-dive into local customers for truly understanding them, which is a tough challenge for Japanese companies both in and outside emerging markets.

What Indian companies can learn from their Chinese rivals

As the founder of the modern Chinese economy, Deng Xiaoping once observed that “No matter if it is a white cat or a black cat; as long as it can catch mice, it is a good cat.”, meaning that one cannot be philosophically wedded to ways of doing things. Deng also used a quote originally coined by Mao Zedong, noting that one must “seek truth from facts”.
The willingness to experiment and think beyond urban markets has helped Chinese companies scale up.
These quotes heralded his efforts to create the so-called “socialist market economy” of China as clearly the economic model under Mao had failed to deliver the economic progress the country wanted. Deng’s pioneering efforts unleashed the Chinese economy, generating decades of double-digit growth that has now catapulted China to being the largest economy in the world. This dramatic growth has spurred the rise of giant corporations like Lenovo, Haier, Huawei, Mindray, TCL, BYD, and many others in a span of a couple of decades.

What can Indian businesses learn from the Chinese experience?

Six Lessons for Setting Your Business on a Growth Trajectory

The refrain I often here among practitioners is that they are facing declining growth, ever increasing competition, and loss of pricing power and thus margin. Is this inevitable in the world of business today, or is there a way that businesses can recharge growth and regain margins? Below are three case studies of companies that have successfully recharged profitable growth and there is a remarkable commonality in their paths to success. We first report the case studies and then draw out the lessons for recharging profitable growth in your business.

Cracking the Emerging Markets: Lessons from the Indian Experience

Multinational companies seeking to tap the vast potential of emerging markets often find themselves stumbling through a fog on unsure feet, discovering that their usual way of doing business will not necessarily bring them either the desired growth or success. In this article, Professor Amitava Chattopadhyay offers some important insights to MNCs operating in emerging markets, based on the experiences of companies in India, who cracked the code and broke the mold.

What is your advice for Canadian companies who are looking into becoming a multinational?

The book talks somewhat about using cheaper labour from abroad (especially in regards to cost leaders). Is there an ethical part of this for EMNC’s or does the ethical side of it come in after they have already been more established in their market?

EMs may be under performing but the corporations emerging from them have a rosy outlook

Emerging market economies have experienced hard times of late. In India, FY13 GDP growth was the slowest in 10 years and the rupee hit a record low against the US dollar. Many foreign companies are retracting their investments and leaving the government struggling to turn back the tide. Other EM giants Brazil and China have also come under the spotlight as national growth rates plateaued and fell throughout the first quarter of 2014.

However, despite turbulent times in their home markets, the outlook for EM corporations is rosy.

Mindray Medical International Limited: Going Global from China

Mindray Medical International Limited was the second largest medical device manufacturer in China with global sales of 2.23 billion RMB in 2007. Since 2002, Mindray had launched between seven and nine new products every year across four product lines: Patient Monitoring & Life Support products, the In-Vitro Diagnostic Products, Medical Imaging Systems and Veterinary. In 2006, Mindray’s American depositary shares (ADS) were listed on the New York Stock Exchange. By the end of 2007, Mindray had sold medical devices to over 37,500 hospitals and clinics in China. It had 12 international offices and its products were sold in more than 140 countries.

However, the company’s US performance had not lived up to expectation and, recently, Mindray founder and chairman Hang Xu had been approached by a leading investment bank to discuss the potential acquisition of Datascope, a mid-sized American producer of medical devices for the global marketplace. What should Xu do?

Making a Success of an Acquisition!

China is sitting on a cash pile of US$3.8 trillion and recent data suggests that its outbound direct investments (ODI) have risen to almost the same level as in-bound foreign direct investment (FDI). If the trend continues, China will soon be a net outbound investor.

One key area for investment could and perhaps should be in acquiring international brands that would enable, particularly the Chinese national champions and the other large players (there are 89 Chinese companies in the latest Fortune Global 500 list), to leap on to the world stage rapidly and without the baggage of the Chinese country-of-origin (see last week’s blog).

Global 500 2013_ Top 12 Chinese companies

The challenge, should we see a spate of such acquisitions, will be integration. The history of Chinese international acquisitions is mixed, much more so than that of companies from its other large Asian neighbor, India. Thus, for instance, TCL acquired Thompson of France back in the early days of this century, an acquisition that almost took it under.

Why did the acquisition fail? On the one hand, TCL’s bet on the rear-projection TV technology, a technology in which Thompson was a leader, did not pan out, as plasma and LCD screens came to dominate that industry. But, equally, TCL struggled with the integration of Thompson in to its business. Cultural differences in many ways proved insurmountable.

So what can Chinese acquirers learn from the much more successful acquisitions undertaken by Indian firms? The most important lesson is, humility is essential. While Chinese firms are arrogant and believe like many Western acquirers, that there is little to learn from the acquired company and that they can improve the performance of the acquired company by implementing their own and superior systems and processes, injecting their superior and more hardworking executives to “run the show”, and doing so at the much faster “China speed” that they are used to, Indian firms acquire with the view to learn what is good from the acquired company, improve what is not so good by injecting their own capabilities, and doing so gradually. In some sense, the old adage of being slow and steady to win the race applies equally to acquisitions.

To take this more humble but successful approach, perhaps the most difficult step will be to learn humility. Swept away by the “China Dream”–an idea that has been around for a while, but now is reaching fever pitch, pushed by the efforts of the current administration under President Xi Jinping–there is a general view of Chinese superiority which blinds acquirers to the superior aspects of the acquired firm, which, ironically, was the reason for the acquisition in the first place!

With humility in place, the rest is relatively easy. You can read more about that in my “The New Emerging Market Multinationals: Four Strategies for Disrupting Markets and Building Brands”. Indeed, a bit of humility and with the right acquisition team and process, Chinese companies could start becoming the acquirers of choice, just as the Indian acquirers have successfully become.


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