Published in Books & Authors (Daily Dawn) on October 28, 2007 – Original Link
Understanding Emerging Markets: Building Business BRIC by Brick
By Stefano Pelle
Sage Publications, New Delhi, India
246pp. Indian Rs295
Brazil Russia India China (BRIC), as per Goldman Sachs, are moving in the direction of capitalism and globalisation, as Emerging Countries (ECs), that is, countries with rapidly developing markets and high growth rates. Fifty years into the new millennium and they are projected to be the four most dominant countries of the world, with a not-so-communist China in first place. According to author Stefano Pelle:
‘A cheap labour force for the manufacturers, a ‘hungry consumer’ for the marketers and a long-term young population are peculiarities of the ECs.’
Pelle is vice president and COO, Business Unit Russia and South Asia of Perfetti Van Melle (an Italian multinational which is claimed to be the third largest confectionery in the world). His eight years’ work experience in India as well as his teaching experiences in institutes, in India and Italy, is reflected through his style of writing and grasp of the subject.
This book will serve as reference material for business students and to some extent, as a guide for entrepreneurs unaware of the potential of and the barriers to setting up business in either of the aforementioned countries.
Pelle has included examples and material from a wide range of sources. He has briefly touched upon the geo-political scenario in BRIC, ethical considerations, corporate social responsibility, the work climate, bureaucracy and the kind of approach to business and marketing strategies required for success. Cultural intelligence and sensitivity are said to play a key role in forming a solid base for any multinational, along with the use of local talent:
‘A person who has spent most of his career in the ‘protected environment’ of the corporate office of a well-structured organisation in a developed country, might not be the ideal person to be sent to set up a green field project in West Africa.’
Information is based on recent economic models. Even though Pakistan has been rarely mentioned, except when discussing Indian politics, one can clearly identify several characteristics of Emerging Markets (EMs) present here, such as the transition segment (emerging middle classes), low pay scales for labour, similar cultural values and so on. Moreover, after its report on BRIC countries, Goldman Sachs also presented its list of ‘Next Eleven’ (fast growing) countries, considering quality of education, investment policies, and macroeconomic stability and so on for the criterion. This list also included Pakistan and therefore, this analysis of operating a business in BRIC countries may serve as an example to investors and help them conjecture what is presently lacking, whether a move in favour of democracy and anti-war and anti-terror campaigns will be of any help and so on.
The author projects a win-win situation for ECs and the presently dominant economies (in the west), though the emphasis is on how western investors can best benefit from the situation, capture markets in ECs and thus, retain their global presence. However, with 40 per cent of the world’s population living in BRIC, if these predictions of sustainable development and economic prosperity do come true, they are no doubt, going to have a global impact.
Relevant and thought-provoking as the book is, the inclusion of Pelle’s personal work experiences would have added to it considerably, as it would then have more original and different examples for one to refer to and thus, wider readership. — Ayesha Hoda