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by Vault Consulting Editors | January 19, 2011


Yesterday, the Boston Consulting Group released its fourth annual Global Challengers top 100 list, a survey of "rising stars" in emerging markets across the world. In Companies on the Move, BCG consultants highlight companies who have grown rapidly over the last decade, providing lucrative shareholder returns amidst ambitious revenue hauls.

In sum, listed companies hail from 16 countries, with China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Russia leading the way. Perhaps predictably, businesses in China and India made the most appearances by some margin—though with less frequency than they have in the previous three surveys, the authors note. Four African firms also make the list, a trend BCG puts down to the continent's "new-found ambitions" in business.

Rising Stars

BCG consultants judged worthiness based on three mandatory criteria: high annual growth (this year's companies enjoyed an average of 18 percent), high shareholder return (average 17 percent) and aggressive expansion through acquisition (targeting foreign companies). Global challengers also had to operate "innovative business models" and be "financially fit", a designation that assumes the ability to both "buy attractive assets" and "compete against more established competitors." Researchers targeted large companies, the firm says, and those whose work abroad has garnered reputation in the international market.

The resultant top 100 is a uniquely profitable and ambitious group. By 2020, the authors suggest, the list's combined revenue could hit $8 trillion—similar to what the entire S&P 500 brings in today. The authors also suggest that around half of the listed firms could crack Fortune's Global 500 in the next five years.

Global Trends

Analyzing the data used to compile the list, consultants at BCG have identified five major trends that will shape international business in the years to come. First is the "emergence of Chinese contractors," as is clearly evidenced by China's dominance over the list (though India, cracking along at 9 percent annual growth, isn't far behind). Next is the "rush for natural resources," a trend that is also visibly manifested in the top 100; between mining and metals, steel, construction, and fossil fuels, nearly 30 of the global challengers benefit directly from the global economy's insatiable appetite for natural resources. Third is the "rise of diversified global conglomerates," a rather straightforward consequence of globalization and expanding markets. Fourth and fifth are, respectively, "the challenges of building global consumer brands" and an "increasing reliance on partnerships." Traditionally dominant name brands have struggled to cope with the surge in cheaper, more versatile foreign competitors which, the authors assert, are better-suited to serve their own markets than their foreign competitors are. That trend has seen scores of global powerhouses seek partnerships with former competitors who already have stakes in emerging markets.

Aside from the major emerging markets, other global challengers hail from Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and the UAE. Roughly one quarter of listed firms were new additions this year. China dominated the list, with most new additions (nine) and most overall (33) compared with India's two new additions and 20 overall.

For more information:
BCG Report: Companies on the Move (PDF)
WSJ: Bharti Artel, Lupin Are 'Global Challengers'


Filed Under: Consulting

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