Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dividends for the Emerging Market Knowledge Account

Dell announced the formation of a new emerging-markets group this week to concentrate on growth opportunities in developing countries. This announcement echoes similar efforts by Sun to create a dedicated emerging-markets business unit and IBM’s late-2007 “significant shift” to focus on emerging markets. These multinational technology companies represent a second wave of re-organizations aimed at cracking emerging-markets; nearly a decade ago HP, AMD and Cisco started pioneering programs focused on understanding emerging economies.

The contingent of ICT professionals focused on emerging markets is still relatively small but it is growing quickly as large corporations continue to make organizational and financial investments to better address these growing markets. Emerging-market business professionals in Silicon Valley came together Wednesday at Vital Wave Consulting’s third anniversary celebration and networking event in Mountain View, California. In attendance were long-time emerging-market practitioners as well as those new to the discipline. Collectively, they possess extensive experience and hard-earned knowledge of successful business growth in emerging markets. At the gathering, conversations ranged from segmenting the market for an alternative energy generation and storage device to the scalability of social capital investments in emerging markets. “It’s great to see more large companies investing in emerging economies,” said Janine Firpo, executive director of Sevak Solutions and former head of HP’s Microfinance Development Program. “In the early days at HP, there was really no one else doing this type of work.”

With the surge of mobile phone and low-cost laptop sales in emerging markets and recent media attention on the vibrant business opportunities in these countries, corporate executives are determined to develop appropriate strategies for these new markets. The broad and varied projects discussed at Vital Wave Consulting’s event this week demonstrated the momentum that has resulted from investment in ICT business growth in emerging economies. By building on lessons learned, those new to the discipline of emerging-markets business will be better equipped to quickly and effectively enter these exciting and challenging markets.

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