Out of Control Policy Blog

China's outward march

An article on Chinese computer maker Lenovo caught my eye today in the Wall Street Journal. Lenovo is opening up an international advertising hub in Bangalore, India. This is significant for two reasons.

First, its another indicator that China is truly embracing an outward, global outlook. It's indigenous businesses see themselves as global players, not just Chinese companies serving a burgeoning market. Part of this is recognizing that the best talent is not necessarily home grown:

Lenovo's India team will help dream up global marketing campaigns aimed at dozens of countries, including the U.S., France and Brazil, though not China. Marketing for the IBM Thinkpad line -- the quintessentially American brand that Lenovo inherited in 2005 when it purchased the personal-computer arm of International Business Machines Corp. -- will be handled mostly by the Bangalore hub.

Second, the move says as much about Globalization's economic impacts as anything else. The world, as Tom Friedman points out over and over again, is truly flattening:

Lenovo's decision reflects the continuing erosion of the geographic hierarchies that have long ruled the advertising industry. "The old model was you think it up in New York or London and send it around the world," says Shelly Lazarus, chairman and chief executive of WPP Group PLC's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Lenovo's longtime ad agency, which is a partner in developing the India hub. "Now we have to be able to think it up anywhere. As our clients are thinking about their brands more globally, we've had to adjust our model."

Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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