Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coca-Cola's Muhtar Kent on China, Brazil, and the U.S.

Muhtar Kent, the CEO of Coca-Cola (KO), said some things of note about doing business in the U.S. compared to China and Brazil in this article:

..."in many respects" it was easier doing business in China, comparing the country with a well-managed company. "You have a one-stop shop in terms of the Chinese foreign investment agency and local governments are fighting for investment with each other," he told the Financial Times.

He later added...

"They're learning very fast, these countries," he said. "In the west, we're forgetting what really worked 20 years ago. In China and other markets around the world, you see the kind of attention to detail about how business works and how business creates employment."

The above comments remind me of what Professor Michael Porter said in an interview earlier this year on U.S. competitiveness. In the interview, he offers up some thoughts on how to make doing business in the United States more competitive with other countries.

How the U.S. Can Compete Better

Separately, in this 2010 interview, Professor Porter said that the U.S. needs to do more to encourage domestic investment.

According to Porter, data shows U.S. domestic investment is, somewhat amazingly, the lowest among OECD countries. He says that individual U.S. companies are competitive globally but they hold back investment on home soil because the cost and complexity (healthcare, litigation, taxes, other regulations etc.) of doing business in the U.S. has piled up over the years.

Michael Porter: U.S. Needs Increased Domestic Investment

In the interview, Professor Porter also said that according to the Global Competitiveness Report, the US now ranks like a developing country in terms of cost and complexity of doing business.

Finally, in this The Globe and Mail article from a couple years back, he added the following thoughts:

Michael Porter on Business and Investing

With so much focus on the immediate value of stocks, and the resulting costs from short-term trading in and out of individual company shares, "the stock market now is a tax on the real economy."

"The financial sector is extracting value from the rest of the economy [through] fees, costs and expenses."

Mr. Porter, considered one of the world's foremost experts on business strategy, noted that 30 years ago many people owned stocks for the long term – 20 years or more. In that environment, corporate executives could focus on long-term growth rather than quarterly results, and investors' interests were aligned with those goals.

We can't address some of these weaknesses soon enough as far as I'm concerned.

Adam

Long KO

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