A fundamental shift is occurring in the world economy. The world is getting closer in terms of cross border trade and investment, by distance, time zones, languages and by national differences in government regulation, culture and business systems and toward a world in which national economies are merging into one huge interdependent global economic system. Globalization is affecting firms that previously operated in a nice, easy, protected national market. It also illustrates the increasing importance of thinking globally. Globalization is the trend toward a more integrated global economic system. Globalization is also termed as the shrinkage of economic space. The rate at which this shift is occurring has been accelerated recently.
Two Faces of Globalization
Globalization has two faces:
1. Globalization of Markets
Globalization of markets refers to the fact that in many industries historically distinct and separate national markets are merging into one huge global marketplace.
There is a movement towards a globalization of markets, as the tastes and preferences of consumers in different nations are beginning to converge upon some global norm. The global acceptance of Coca-Cola, Levi’s jeans, Sony Walkmans, and McDonald’s hamburgers are all examples. By offering a standard product worldwide, they are helping to create a global market. Even smaller companies can get the benefits from the globalization of markets.
Despite the global prevalence of global brands such as Levis, City Bank, Pepsi etc, national markets are not disappearing. There are still significant differences – Germany still leads in per capita beer consumption, with a local pub on almost every corner and in some cities, women selling beer out of their front windows to passers by on the street. The French lead in wine consumption, and the consumption of wine is a natural part of life anywhere in France. Italians lead in pasta eaten, and these differences are unlikely to be eliminated any time soon. Hence, often there is still a need for marketing strategies and product features to be customized to local conditions.
2. Globalization of Production
The globalization of production refers to the tendency among many firms to source goods and services from different locations around the globe in an attempt to take advantage of national differences in the cost and quality of factors of production. (labor, energy, land and capital)
Through this companies hope to lower their overall cost structure and or improve the quality or functionality of their product, thereby allowing them to compete more effectively against their rivals. The example of Boeing illustrate how production is dispersed.
Boeing company’s commercial jet airliner, Boeing 777 contains 132,500 major components parts that are produced around the world by 545 different suppliers. Eight Japanese suppliers make parts of fuselage, doors and wings, a supplier in Singapore make the doors for the nose landing gear, three suppliers in Italy manufacture wing flaps etc. The result of having a global web of suppliers is a better final product, which enhances the chances of Boeing wining a greater share of aircraft orders than its global rival Airbus.
While part of the rationale is based on costs and finding the best suppliers in the world, there are also other factors. In Boeing’s case, if it wishes to sell airliners to countries like China, these countries often demand that domestic firms be contracted to supply portions of the plane – otherwise they will find another supplier (Airbus) who is willing to support local industry.