The challenges of succeeding in emerging markets are forcing the Western powers to come up with bold new strategies. They’re under pressure to innovate like crazy, pioneer new ways of doing business, and outmaneuver their feisty new competitors.
That’s what BusinessWeek says in the international cover story for its Sept. 27 issue. The story, portentiously called Tech’s Future, mostly talks about technology companies’ entry into developing economies. The story is both optimistic about the promise of fresh new markets—millions and millions of poor people just waiting to become consumers like us—and full of warning about how those new markets may shake some giants from their pedestals as they have to adapt and compete in unfamiliar arenas. Giants like Intel, Cisco, IBM, even Microsoft are being forced to compete against smaller, nimbler local companies that sometimes have close ties to their governments. The future will include new ways to get traditionally pricey and sophisticated products to the huge untapped markets where cash is tight and infrastructure unreliable. Hewlett-Packard, for instance, rents equipment with solar chargers to itinerant photographers who make a good living in remote villages. That’s not part of what you’d think of as HP’s core business, but, the story suggests, mold-breaking approaches are going to win the day. If you’ve got an idea that’d help your company break into a so-far-untouched market, it might do your reputation good to voice it.
For an interesting twist on difficulties in entering global markets, check out Websites,
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