Friday, October 31, 2008

What nationality is Wal*Mart?

So I own a Toyota. Toyota is headquartered in Japan,yet it has a substantial US presence.

from Wikipedia:

United States employees and investments
Toyota directly employed around 34,675 people in the United States, invested USD $15.5 billion, produced 1.2 million vehicles using US and foreign auto parts, sold 2.54 million vehicles, and donated USD $340 million to nonprofits. [34] It has in total 10 plants, USD $2.9 billion per year payroll, purchased USD $28 billion in parts and supplies from 30 states. It created around 386,000 jobs in the United States as result of Toyota's spending and demand from suppliers.

But most people wouldn't consider it a "US" company - would you?

Bill Bishop wrote the following about traditional "US" companies rooting for the Chinese Olympic teams

No ‘Home Team’ For U.S. multinationals
Many U.S. multinationals have a big presence in Beijing. Some, like Coca-Cola (see an earlier post on their Beijing Olympic market efforts here and McDonald’s, are Olympics sponsors.

While from a business perspective I understand why they are doing it, as an American I find viscerally strange to see U.S. corporate icons rooting for the Chinese team. McDonald’s is running ads with the slogan “Cheering for the Chinese team 24 hours a day,” and in at least one Beijing Wal-Mart (not an Olympic sponsor) employees wear shirts with slogans supporting the Chinese team.

What these companies are doing is necessary to be successful in the China market. But it does, to me at least, bring home the point that at least some of these American corporate icons don’t seem to have a home team anymore.

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