By Vidhan Rana

We have heard a lot about globalization in the past few years, but the attention has been mostly focused on a handful of key countries in the global market. We hear a lot about Brazil, Russia, India and China, which are collectively known as the BRIC economies. Nevertheless, much economic growth is taking place outside of these four countries. Economic development professionals need to keep track of businesses outside these four economies if they are to maintain an advantage over their competitors in attracting international business to their communities.

In today’s globalized world, businesses are on the hunt for talent and resources and are open to locating anywhere in the world if conditions are suitable. We hear politicians in the United States cite globalization as a threat to the American economy, but that is hardly the case. As countries such as China and India develop, not only do millions of people come out of extreme poverty, but businesses rise up to compete on a global scale. Last month, Tata Motors, a part of Indian conglomerate Tata Group, bought Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford and established itself as a global brand. A study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found 100 companies from emerging markets with total assets in 2006 of $520 billion, more than those of the world’s top 20 car companies. By 2006, foreign direct investment from developing countries had reached 14.3 percent of the world’s total from a meager 5.2 percent in 1990.

Enormous companies have arisen within the BRIC economies–Chery Automobiles, China’s largest auto exporter; Brazil’s Marcopolo, the world’s third-largest components-maker for buses and vans; India’s Suzlon Energy, the fifth-largest company for installed wind energy capacity; and Russia’s Inter RAO UES, the country’s number-one importer and exporter of small electronics, which earns 64 percent of its revenue outside Russia. However, companies outside of BRIC are also leaving marks on a global scale. When BCG first published its report in 2006, only 10 companies in the list were from outside the BRIC economies; in 2008, the list includes three more. The 2008 report lists companies from Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Malaysia, Poland, Thailand and Turkey.

Cemex, a Mexican-based maker of ready-to-mix cement, now earns more than three-quarters of its revenue outside of Mexico. It started producing cement in the US when lawmakers in Congress placed anti-dumping duties on cement imports. Today, it is the largest producer of ready-to-mix cement in the US.

As the competition among communities to attract the right businesses gets more intense, economic development professionals need to expand their field of target markets. While some are already targeting companies like Chery Automobiles of China and Suzlon Energy of India for investment, those that are able to attract businesses from outside the BRIC economies will have a competitive advantage in our global economy.