Unilever prioritises emerging markets

31 October 2012

NEW DELHI: Unilever, the FMCG giant, is moving more of its business infrastructure to Asian markets as part of its "fundamental shift" towards the emerging world.

The Times of India reports that the company is setting up a €40m leadership centre in Singapore in order to boost management skills across its international network.

This is Unilever's second leadership centre. The other is located in the firm's home market of the UK.

Unilever also currently operates six specialist R&D centres to foster the creation of innovative products. Two of the six are located in India and China.

"We are putting a lot of our global resources in the emerging markets because we know that is what will fundamentally drive our future," Harish Manwani, Unilever's global COO, told the Times of India.

"This is a very fundamental shift. The reason: Because this is where the incomes are going to be, and this is where our growth is going to be. So we want to invest in that."

Unilever has already made public its aim of gaining 75% of its revenues from developing and emerging (D&E) markets by 2020. Sales growth in these nations is running at around 12% per year, offsetting slower sales growth in Europe and North America.

"We now have a broad-based momentum in emerging markets. We were always doing well in D&E and have now accelerated the momentum," Manwani added.

Earlier this month, Unilever said it was pursuing a "reverse-engineering" product strategy of copying branding and packaging innovations the FMCG firm first used in the emerging world, and re-launching these innovations in recession-hit mature markets.

Data sourced from Times of India; additional content by Warc staff