8 global giants to watch
China, India, Mexico and Brazil are home to fast-growing companies in everything from cement to tech services. Some even trade here.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Wipro, Galanz, Cemex and Embraer aren't exactly household names - at least not in the United States.
But each company is a multi-billion-dollar powerhouse that could mount a serious challenge to their more established U.S. counterparts.
That's according to a new report from Boston Consulting Group, the global consulting firm that listed those companies as part of the top 100 "New Global Challengers" from rapidly developing economies that could become the world's next General Electric or Siemens.
According to the report, the group of 100 together already have a combined annual revenue of $715 billion and are growing at an average rate of 24 percent a year.
Moreover, as these companies win more global business, both through organic growth and through acquisitions, they may pose a real risk to American multinationals that are themselves striving to find growth overseas, the report said
"We've been noticing how U.S. and other western and Japanese companies aren't taking notice of these emerging global players," said Harold Sirkin, senior vice president with Boston Consulting and one of the report's authors. "American companies have to become aware of this global threat in order to compete more effectively in the long run."
The report said India, China, Mexico and Brazil, four of the fastest growing "developing" economies, are armed with ambitious executives, low costs, low wages and a growing talent pool. Meanwhile, the United States is in danger of losing its competitive edge in engineering and product development, especially as it imports more of what it consumes, he added.
The firm's list of the top 100 global challengers was constructed using data from more than 3,000 companies in 12 developing countries. To streamline the process, analysts focused only on companies with annual sales of at least $1 billion, with 10 percent of their revenue coming from outside their home countries.
Based on the report, CNNMoney.com asked Sirkin to pick a corporate leader and a rising star from each country.
INDIA: Wipro, the Bangalore-based company has become one of the world's biggest technology services firms, with $1.8 billion in sales last year - about two-thirds of which came from outside of India.
Sirkin said Wipro has positioned itself to become a substantial threat to big tech consulting firms like Accenture (Charts). "Wipro provides high-quality business process outsourcing at a low cost," he said.
India's rising star? Auto equipment maker Bharat Forge, Sirkin said. The company is the largest exporter of auto components from India and a leading chassis component maker. More than half of its 2005 revenue of $450 million came from international sales. The company operates six plants in India, Germany and North America.
"Bharat Forge's competitive advantage is its rapid product introduction. It's very quick in going to market with customer-specific designs, typically in about three to four weeks versus four to six months from competing companies," Sirkin said.
CHINA: Johnson Electric: The Hong Kong-based company is the world's biggest maker of small motors used in autos, home appliances, power tools and business equipment.
With plants in China, western Europe, Latin American and the United States, the company posted $1.1 billion in sales in 2004, the latest figures available, with two-thirds of that coming from outside of its Asian markets.
Sirkin sees home appliances maker Galanz Group as an up-and-coming global star. Galanz, the world's No. 1 manufacturer of microwave ovens, posted $1.2 billion in sales in 2004. Global competitors include Panasonic and Whirlpool (Charts). According to Sirkin, the company owns about 25 percent of the U.S. market for microwaves and 45 percent of the European market.
MEXICO: Cemex, one of the world's biggest cement producers, notched 2004 sales of about $8.1 billion in more than 40 countries, including the U.S., Venezuela, Columbia, and parts of Asia. Two-thirds of its business came from outside of Mexico.
"Infrastructure development in Latin America and the United States is certainly helping Cemex's business," Sirkin said. "But Cemex's customer service is also highly reliable. When you're in the business of delivering cement, your customers don't want to have it delivered too early or too late."
Sirkin picked Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo, known for its Corona beer brand, as a hot contender on the global stage. The company logged $3.6 billion in sales in 2004 and it's the world's No. 8 brewer. The company exports five brands to 150 countries, with Corona the No. 1 non-European bottled imported beer in the U.S.
BRAZIL: Embraer, the world's largest maker of regional jets, took in $5 billion in sales in 2004 with most of its revenue coming from overseas.
"Embraer is become a serious challenger to the low-end of Boeing 737s and the Airbus A318 models," Sirkin said. In the United States, Delta, United and JetBlue have bought aircraft from Embraer.
Lastly, steel producer Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), with more than $8 billion in sales, earned a spot in Sirkin's list. CVRD (Charts), the world's largest iron ore producer, has seen its U.S. shares jump 44 percent over the last year.
"The advantage to CVRD is that Brazil is rich in iron ore and labor costs are low. It also owns its own hydroelectric power systems," said Sirkin.
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