Why are some companies successful in some countries but unsuccessful in others?
Wal-Mart serves as a good example here. It has done well in Mexico Canadaf the U.K., and China but has suffered resounding failures in Germany and South Korea and is struggling in Japan. We present a detailed analysis of the lessons from Wal-Mart’s globalization in chapter three of The Quest for Global Dominance. As Wal-Mart has expanded globally, it has not always taken into account the underlying economics of the discount retailing industry. In this industry, all key elements of the cost structure (sourcing, supply chain logistics, store operations, and advertising) are local. Thus, for a discount retailer, it is critical that its local market share be large vis-Ã -vis other local competitors. This was not an issue in emerging markets such as China where most players were starting from scratch. However, in mature markets such as and South Korea, Wal-Mart faced incumbents with large market shares. In these markets, it was a fundamental mistake for Wal-Mart to enter via small toe-hold acquisitions. The company could never recover from this mistake in these markets.