Chapter 21Frenemies: If You Can't Beat Them, Join ThemCase Studies

The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.

—Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The word frenemies is an amalgam of the words friend and enemies. As the saying goes, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

In the spirit of a more positive interpretation, my intention is simply to say that it is also important to be friendly with your competitors in different geographies. It is a small world, after all, and globalization is making it even smaller. And while you may compete for similar customers, you and your competitors also need each other in different capacities. You need to play in each other's sandboxes—their home turf is an addressable target market for you, and vice versa.

There are opportunities to leverage another's areas of strength (e.g., a competitor's manufacturing efficiencies) in your own business. You can also exchange knowledge and best practices with each other to develop the next great innovation. And then, of course, there is the human factor: Helping each other to climb higher up the ladder of socioeconomic development. Of course, this is a delicate balance and intricate dance…one that continues to be explored, refined, and modified.

This chapter includes three case studies. Two of these illustrate how a company from the West and a company from the East have each approached its globalization strategies. The company from the West (the United States) is Cisco Systems and the company ...

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