Western firms unaware of emerging economies

Bangalore, June 21:

Western companies exhibit a worrying lack of awareness about emerging markets like India that are reshaping global bu-siness, according to a British Tel-ecom survey today.

The survey polled 800 directors of large American, British, French and German corporations to gauge the level of their knowledge about the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

More than five out of 10 directors could not name the currency of India, nine did not know that the real is the Brazilian monetary unit and 14 per cent believed vodka, rather than oil, is Russia’s main product. “While more than six out of 10 directors accept that emerging economies will reshape the global business landscape, many seem to have only a rudimentary knowledge of their business environments.”

The BT-commissioned survey, carried out by market-research firm Datamonitorstudy, found that more than seven out of 10 Western directors believe that organisations in the developed world are better equipped technologically to work internationally than those in BRICS.

“This is a troubling finding,” Francois Barrault, chief executive of BT Global Services, said. “The message hasn’t filtered through yet that these nations are already equipped to make an impact on the global stage.”

“They have shown remarkable ability and speed at adopting new collaborative tools and technologies quicker, in many cases, than in the US or Europe,” Barrault added. “Western organisations need to increase collaboration in and with BRICS businesses or risk being left behind.”

Companies with revenues in excess of one billion dollars are currently the most active within the BRICS markets.