The Corporate Identity of A Global Winner in 2020

Take any industry, whether it is cars or retailing or pharmaceuticals, the global winners are likely of two types.

Some of those would be incumbents, companies like Proctor & Gamble, IBM, Cisco, and Nokia that are giants today and will most likely remain giants in 2020 except that they would have transformed their identities. Today we might call Proctor & Gamble an American company. But by the time 2020 rolls around, if it is still to be a successful company, it would actually, by every measure, be not just an American company but a Chinese company, an Indian company, a European company. Same for IBM or Nokia or Cisco.

At the same time there will be a second group of winners in 2020 and they will be the newcomers from China, from India, from some of the other emerging economies. But if they are to be winners in 2020, they cannot be like the Chinese company of today. They would have to be like the Chinese company of tomorrow. And the Chinese company of tomorrow will have to be not just a Chinese company but also an American company, a European company and an Indian company. And the reason I say that is because the Chinese company that is a global winner in 2020 cannot be exporting mostly out of China. It’ll have to have R&D, manufacturing, marketing and sales, and service activities and employees and managers located in major hubs around the world. And so if the bulk of the company’s core activities are actually sitting outside China, then the company is no longer a historical, traditional Chinese company.

And a perfect example of a company like that, that’s already being created out of China, is Lenovo. Of course, the roots of Lenovo are in China. The chairman of Lenovo is Mr. Yang Yuanqing. He is a Chinese gentleman but his office is in North Carolina and he lives there. The CEO of Lenovo is Will Amelio, an American, who sits in Singapore. The CFO is Mr. Wong Wai Ming whose office is in Hong Kong. And the Chief Marketing Officer is an Indian American and the global marketing hub of Lenovo is in Bangalore. And so is Lenovo a Chinese company? True. Is Lenovo an American company? Yes. Is it an Indian company? Yes.

Posted on October 24th, 2008 by Anil Gupta
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