AJE manufacters of Sportade had disrupted the global soft drinks market

The New Multinational Mission in Asia

Is the era of the multinational corporation (MNC) over? Professor Peter Williamson, University of Cambridge, looks at how MNCs can learn from — and compete — with rising local players.

With growth across the US, Europe and Japan struggling to get beyond 2%, the CEOs of the world’s multinational corporations (MNCs) are counting on emerging markets to meet their sales targets. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with more than 600 million people, and an expanding number of middle-class consumers, is the world’s third-largest potential market and one that ranks high on MNCs’ agendas.

It used to be assumed that MNCs were going to take over the world. Their leading-edge technologies, superior products, efficient systems and established brands would...

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