multinational, thc, tran

The Rise of the Asian Multinational

By Phuong Tran

Globalization has changed business as we know it. This phenomenon has led to the “multinational”—companies whose reach can seemingly take over every inch of the world. While many of these companies have been created with a Western approach to business, Asian corporations are rising, forcing Western-style multinationals to create new strategies when it comes to their presence in Asian countries and cultures.  

As Asia’s power rises on the world stage, its governments are increasingly questioning whether it is a good idea to automatically give Western multinationals free entrance into their markets. Why let them come charging into a country and buy up its crown jewels? Why become part of someone else’s global supply chain?

Instead, many Asian governments are actively seeking to foster domestic champions of their own. These champions, built on traditional Asian views, have already reached a large enough size to expand overseas and forge partnerships with other companies in the region. The result? The birth of a new type of multinational: the Asian multinational.

Traditionally speaking, multinationals entering Asian countries have largely been from the West; however, Asia’s rise is undoubtedly making an impact on which of these companies are capturing market share and how. THP, my family’s company, is a perfect example of this. When Coca-Cola courted THP in the effort to penetrate the Vietnamese market and its surrounding areas, THP ultimately chose not to partner with the beverage giant and would instead go on to successfully compete by offering products that are tailored to its market.

An intimate look at and focus on its customers, as well as an understanding of our cultural values, has fueled THP’s continued success over the years. Many Asian companies have a similar background to THP and consequently think about their business operations in a different way than Western multinationals—leading to the rise and success we now see.

Like THP, the Asian multinational is built on familial relationships with a focus on respect for those who have come before and an acknowledgment of generations to come. There is a sense of pride felt by these family businesses and a desire to be successful, all while understanding the importance of relationships within and outside of the organization. These Asian multinationals are just as interested in accessing foreign markets. However, unlike Western firms, there is a desire to foster long-term joint ventures, not takeovers.

Western culture will always create heavy-hitting corporations that reach across the world. That said, as Asia gets wealthier and its firms build up greater financial firepower, the competitive business landscape will continue to expand and involve more and more Asian multinationals.

Find out more about how to build a competitive, Asian multinational company by checking out my book today.

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