New challenger brands emerge

20 January 2011

NEW DELHI: A new generation of brand owners from emerging markets are becoming "credible contenders" to lead their industries at the international level, the Boston Consulting Group has argued.

The firm identified 100 "rising stars" that should collectively deliver $8tr in revenue by 2020, and half of which could enter the Fortune Global 500 in just five years.

An analysis of 57 "global challengers" where information was available showed their sales rose 18% annually from 2000 to 2009, measured against 6% for the 393 non-financial members of the S&P 500 Index.

These results were achieved alongside higher margins than the norm, greater dividends and at least comparable debt-to-equity rations.

Foreign acquisitions have proved a key strategy for the "rising stars", having conducted 71% of cross-border deals in mature markets during the two years following the onset of the recession, and 58% in the 24 months before that.

India's Tata Group owns the Jaguar and Land Rover auto marques, China's Huawei and ZTE are in the top five telecoms equipment specialists and Mexico's Grupo Bimbo is the world's biggest bread manufacturer.

This selection of corporations featured in similar previous research by the Boston Consulting Group, as did well-known players like the IT titan Lenovo, business services giant Infosys and air carrier Emirates.

"These companies have been the hidden engines of the global economy in recent years," the study said.

New entrants to the list included Indian mobile operator Bharti Airtel, boasting 200m subsribers in 19 nations, and securing $8.8bn in revenues across its last fiscal year.

Carmaker Geely, which purchased Volvo from Ford for $1.8bn, joined rivals such as BYD Group and Chery Automobile in the rankings.

Chile's LAN Airlines is active in five countries, while Mexico's Mabe, Latin America's largest home appliance provider, has partnered with General Electric to reach overseas.

Lupin Pharmaceuticals, from India, makes a range of generic and branded products and is already present in the US and Japan.

Bidvest Group was one of three South African representatives, and competes in the food services, freight, manufacturing and auto sales sectors.

Brewer SAB Miller was originally from the same country, and assumed "challenger emeriti" status, as it "looks and feels" like a multinational.

Among the major obstacles facing these organisations is engaging the middle class in emerging markets, an audience pegged to contribute 30% of the global population by 2020, and 50% by 2030.

BCG suggested this necessitated expanding into lower-tier cities in fast-growth economies such as India and China, rather than emphasising "megacities", and tapping into the "often-neglected" African continent.

"The traditional challenges of product development, marketing, pricing, sales and distribution will be multiplied in these markets," it continued.

Brazilian firm Natura gets 60% of revenues from midrange fragrances and cosmetics, and China's Galanz Group has become a worldwide leader in microwaves by targeting the low- and mid-tier segments.

"Challengers can take advantage of their knowledge of these markets to develop relevant products and compelling brands that stand for quality and value," BCG's study asserted.

"Alongside consolidating their position with these customers, challengers will have to survive intense competition with established international rivals, requiring a higher focusing on branding and innovation."

Data sourced from Boston Consulting Group; additional content by Warc staff