Consumers in China are all too familiar with the realities of shopping locally. In the kingdom of "caveat emptor," the buyer who doesn't beware faces a daily gamut of frustration and disappointment with substandard purchases. Call it one of the paradoxes of modern industry: Countless consumer-goods multinationals have built global empires by contracting out manufacturing to partners in China, generally without cutting corners or letting quality standards slip. Yet for one reason or another, Chinese consumer goods firms aren't replicating that success for their home market. Can China follow the same path as countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan and move up the value ladder?
Published: March 19, 2012 Patients versus Profits at Johnson & Johnson: Has the Company Lost its Way?
For a corporate icon long held up as the gold standard in business ethics, Johnson & Johnson has suffered some stunning setbacks in recent years. Among the headaches: a seemingly endless string of product recalls, safety issues with the company's artificial hips, and lawsuits brought by numerous states over the marketing of its anti-psychotic medication. Critics wonder whether J&J -- its CEO William Weldon will step down in April, and vice chairman Alex Gorsky will take over -- can regain its once stellar reputation.
Published: March 05, 2012 Innovative Thinking: The Graduate School of Media Design's Creative Partnership Approach
Most Japanese women have more opportunities than women in other less-developed nations to become highly educated before starting businesses. And yet, to be on the cutting edge of innovation and the growth of creative industries, Japanese entrepreneurs are looking to The Graduate School of Media Design -- also known as Keio Media Design or KMD -- a young program at Keio University in Tokyo that focuses on training top creative industry managers. Through its partnership with 10,000 Women, KMD trained faculty members from 10,000 Women partners around the globe in teaching creative industry management.
Published: February 20, 2012 Research Roundup: Team Performance, Demystifying Market Composition and the Reality vs. Hype of Sponsored Search
How do interpersonal relationships affect the performance of individual team members? Why is a shopping mall composed the way it is, and how do different stores affect each other's business? Do higher-ranked sponsored search listings pay off in terms of a company's bottom line? Wharton professors Jennifer Mueller, Maria Ana Vitorino and Kartik Hosanagar, respectively, examine these issues -- and what they mean for business -- in recent research articles.
Published: February 07, 2012 Will India's Current Diversification Trend Pay Off for Companies?
Reliance Industries, India's leading private sector company, has garnered notice with its recent announcement of a major foray into the media and entertainment sector. Reliance's move is also reflective of a larger trend of companies moving outside their comfort zones. Of course, diversifications are not new to Indian firms. But unlike earlier, the current spate of activities is strategically driven, rather than mere opportunism. There have been some failures, however, and the final outcome of many of these efforts remains to be seen.
Published: January 24, 2012 Talent Management at Multinational Firms in China
Developing the Chinese market is a top priority for many multinational companies. Across industry sectors, however, they face a common obstacle -- attracting, developing and retaining the local Chinese talent needed to accomplish this goal. Global firms realize the importance of having local leadership in tune with the idiosyncrasies and rapid shifts of the Chinese market. Indeed, over the past 13 years, the American Chamber of Commerce has conducted annual surveys of U.S. companies in China and frequently cites management-level human resource constraints as the top business challenge.
Published: January 24, 2012 Is China's Solar Industry Heading for an Eclipse?
China's solar product companies now make more than half of all crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels sold in the world. In just a few years, Suntech Power, Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar and a host of other Chinese firms have become industry pace-setters, driving international competition and pricing trends. But after blazing across the globe from small beginnings, is China's solar panel industry on its way to becoming a victim of its own success? Some of its fiercest rivals in the U.S. hope so, while others say that any kind of major trouble, including trade sanctions against China, would be a backwards move for the entire industry.
Published: December 20, 2011 A Bumpy Road Ahead for China's Electric Bikes
China may have become the biggest auto market in the world, but cars aren't the only motorized vehicles spewing on to the country's roads. Electric bicycles -- the Cadillacs of the working class -- are increasingly popular for commuting or dashing about town. Though the number of bog-standard bicycles in China is much higher than their electric counterparts, plenty of "e-bikes" are vying for space in bike lanes and bustling city streets. But a number of issues at home and abroad may force the industry to slam on the brakes.
Published: December 06, 2011 The Vanity Deal: Why Indian Firms Are on a Buying Spree
Indian companies are on a buying spree. While some acquisitions are in sync with the firms' existing businesses, others are buys designed to catapult the company making the purchase into the global arena. Chinese and Japanese firms have been making similar moves for years, and Indian companies are only now catching up. But experts caution that the businesses must be careful to choose "trophy" purchases that will enhance shareholder value.
Published: November 08, 2011 To Succeed in the Gulf, Offer the Best Price and Be Mindful of Relationships
European companies with a history of operating in the Gulf note that in some ways, doing business in the Middle East is not much different than being in Europe. Jan De Nul Group is a civil engineering and maritime services company that has been in the Gulf since 1978. Its area manager for the Middle East tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that European businesses enjoy some advantages in the region. But successful companies don't ignore the Middle East's cultural and business practices, he says, and always offer the best price to customers.
Published: October 11, 2011