Global Strategy

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Understanding China’s Next Wave of Innovation

In recent years, a handful of Chinese companies like Alibaba, Haier, and Tencent have garnered a lot of attention as they have emerged as global innovators. They are challenging the R&D strategies of foreign companies and offering lessons on how to make ideas commercially viable. But there’s another, less obvious force to be reckoned with in China: thousands of innovative companies that are quietly disrupting numerous industries and developing new products and new business models.

Learning From China’s Digital Disrupters

Digital newcomers who understand their consumers can change the economic status quo. This has been true in China and its banking industry in recent years. The financial arms of Alibaba have used powerful consumer experience insights from their digital ecosystems — and altered the nature of competition for incumbents in the process.

What Cloud Localization Means for Organizations

In the world of cloud computing, the spotlight has mostly been on cloud providers and their ability to help organizations digitally transform. With new scrutiny around data localization and privacy, enterprises must consider localization impacts on their cloud computing strategy as they invest and innovate with emerging technologies.

We Must Keep Globalization in Its Place: The Marketplace

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It’s remarkable how many people line up either for or against globalization and then dismiss the other side. Who’s right? Neither. We should all be lining up for and against globalization, to retain what is constructive about it while challenging what has become destructive. We need to keep globalization in its place — the marketplace, where it creates value — while keeping it out of the public space, where it has become increasingly destructive.

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Global Competition With AI in Business: How China Differs

AI’s largest and most enduring contributions will be in non-technology sectors, and many of them will come from China. Buoyed by the country’s latest five-year plan and enabled by centralized data, Chinese companies are investing aggressively in AI and adapting their business models to make the most of AI’s potential, but unclear business cases and bottlenecks due to lacking technical capabilities hinder adoption.

Lessons From China’s Digital Battleground

The explosive growth of the digital market in China, a country with more than 700 million internet users, provides rich opportunities. So why have so few of the leading Western players succeeded in this market? One reason is the dramatic rise of China’s digital leaders, which has put the squeeze on Western internet giants. If Western players want to get back in the game, they must learn quickly.

The Ability to Navigate the In-Between Spaces

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Efforts to effectively connect decision-makers in large organizations across functions, divisions, and business units — not to mention with other companies, governments, and other external stakeholders — usually require organizational innovations. Several key leadership attributes are necessary for this to work. They include the ability to navigate the gaps not covered by specialists, a record of following through and getting things done, and knowledge of other cultures, including the ability to speak multiple languages.

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How to Compete Against the New Breed of National Champions

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While the threat of national champions is nothing new, their essential character has substantially changed, and the competitive advantage of national champions in the global marketplace has become more pronounced. Today’s national champions are much more sophisticated, competing in more industries, and harder to spot than ever before. As a result, Western companies need a new strategic guide for competing against them.

The Five Steps All Leaders Must Take in the Age of Uncertainty

Leaders need a new mental model to better understand the complex interplay between companies, economies, and societies. To do so, they must shift their focus to the broader business and social ecosystems in which their companies are embedded.

Leading to Become Obsolete

Zhang Ruimin, the CEO and chairman of the Qingdao, China, white goods giant Haier Group Corp., has done what most chief executives dare not even dream about. He blew up nearly the entire administrative structure of a global manufacturing enterprise, eliminating the 10,000 management jobs that once held it together, and reshaped the organization into a network of entrepreneurial ventures run by employees.

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Revisiting the Logic of Being Global

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The state of the multinational and how “the world is losing its taste for global businesses” is the subject of a recent cover story in The Economist titled “The Retreat of the Global Company.” For many multinationals, the article notes, the case for global integration has been hurt by falling profits, lower returns on capital, and increasing pressures from governments looking to protect local jobs and tax revenue.

From the Archives: How to Reshore Manufacturing Successfully

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The Trump administration has an aggressive stance about finding new American manufacturing jobs, which could pressure some companies to consider bringing overseas operations back to the U.S. But the task is complex. “While the macroeconomic data on comparative labor and factor costs may be compelling, the actual process of reshoring — bringing assembly work back from abroad — is hard work,” wrote Harvard Business School’s Willy C. Shih, in a 2014 article in MIT Sloan Management Review.

Competing Through Joint Innovation

Even as multinationals struggle to make inroads in emerging markets, companies from those markets are finding ways to compete in Europe and the U.S. A case in point is Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company, which has used strategic partnerships to gain ground in Europe. Huawei’s overseas expansion closely resembles the strategy the company used to build its position in China: Start at the perimeter and work toward the center.

The Next Wave of Business Models in Asia

The first wave of innovation from emerging markets in Asia has been predicated on the replication of existing business models at lower cost. The second wave, which could be even more disruptive than the first, fundamentally reimagines various facets of the business model to find new, often digitally enabled, ways in which resources and processes can be leveraged. Such companies identify creative ways for partners, stakeholders, and customers to be involved in value creation and capture.

Mastering the Market Intelligence Challenge

A shortage of reliable information is common in emerging markets. Because such markets are heterogeneous, the sources and methods for market intelligence require modification before they can be transferred from one emerging market to another. Market intelligence is thus best viewed and managed as a strategic asset that multinationals should invest in keeping up to date.

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