Globalization’s New Logic: the Rise of Developing-World Multinationals

Globalization’s New Logic: the Rise of Developing-World Multinationals

In March, India's Tata Group made headlines with its $2.3 billion acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) from Ford, the latest in a series of high-profile mergers and acquisitions in which well-known Western brands such as IBM, Barclays Bank, Tetley Tea and Corus steel have been bought, in part or entirely, by multinational corporations from developing economies.

Those with a longer historical view might recall that it was private business -- the British East India Company -- that imposed imperial control over the "brightest jewel in the empire," before crown rule was implemented in 1858. With Tata scooping up two high-prestige British brands, a reversal of historic proportions appears to be taking place. Meanwhile, during the recent worldwide credit crunch, sovereign wealth funds, state-run investment vehicles often controlled by resource-rich developing countries, have helped bail out cash-strapped Western financial powerhouses like Merrill Lynch, Barclays, UBS and Morgan Stanley.

In the past, globalization's critics have alleged that the opening up of economic borders is little more than a license for giant Western companies to colonize emerging economies. But recent trends suggest otherwise. In his "The Emerging Markets Century," Antoine Van Agtmael says that the combined size of today's emerging economies will be bigger than their Western counterparts by 2030, which he predicts will help more and more emerging-market companies overtake their rivals in industrialized countries. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), foreign direct investment outflows from developing countries grew from 5.2 percent of the world total in 1990, to 14.3 percent in 2006. Simultaneously, "over 1 billion people are being lifted out of poverty," Harold L. Sirkin, co-author of "Globality: Competing with Everyone from Everywhere for Everything," told World Politics Review.

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