At McKinsey Quarterly , Yuval Atsmon , Michael Kloss , and Sven Smit lay out the case for multinational companies to "start thinking more like emerging-market companies." There is significant growth potential, they point out, in the emerging middle classes in the BRIC nations and elsewhere. At the moment, that is allowing companies based in emerging markets like Brazil and China to grow at twice the rate of competitors based in developed economies. And they are better equipped to serve rising consumer classes in emerging economies beyond their own, as Atsmon, Kloss, and Smit write: Emerging-market companies generally serve the needs of fast-growing emerging middle classes around the world with lower-cost products. Developed-economy companies tend to rely more on brand recognition while targeting higher-margin segments, which are relatively smaller and thus less likely to move the needle on the companies’ overall growth rates. We found that across a number of product segments—such as soft drinks, telecoms services, and mobile phones—emerging-market companies’ price points were 10 to 60 percent below those of developed-market counterparts. Even in business segments such as construction equipment, emerging-market players offered more products at lower prices. Consistent with that growth model has been the focus of many emerging-market players on R&D investments aimed at lower-cost products that fit developing-market conditions (and sometimes fuel “reverse innovation,” which can make a dent in developed markets). That’s still the case, and in aggregate, emerging-market companies still file significantly fewer patents than their developed-market counterparts. But they are starting to catch up (Exhibit 3), and a few innovation leaders are emerging, such as Chinese manufacturer Huawei, which was among the world’s top five companies in terms of international patents filed from 2008 to 2010. Huawei had 51,000 R&D employees in 2010, representing a stunning 46 percent of its total headcount, and placed them in 20 research institutes in countries such as Germany, India, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. Efforts such as these could boost the intensity of global competition. Before you make the mistake we initially did, and assume that the faster growth rate of companies headquartered in emerging in economies was due to those companies being smaller and having more room to grow, read Parsing the growth advantage of emerging-market companies here .
Filed under: mckinsey quarterly, global business, india, Brazil, emerging economies, developed economies, China, McKinsey & Company, vietnam, viet nam, r&d, headquarters, Yuval Atsmon, Michael Kloss, Sven Smit