Magazine

Is This What You Call Global?


"The BusinessWeek Global 1000" (Cover Story, July 15) included companies from 23 countries. However, many Asian countries, including China, India, South Korea, and Taiwan, were not represented. Readers would have gotten an impression that most of the world's largest companies were in America, Europe, Japan, and Hong Kong.

They could also have gotten a false idea that Asian companies, except for those in Japan and Hong Kong, do not fare well against American and European competitors. As a proud citizen of one of the excluded countries, I am highly disappointed.

Yongsub Kim

San Jose, Calif.

Are emerging markets not part of the "global market?" In my opinion, [separate lists] give readers the illusion that emerging-market companies are not worth as much as those in developed countries. That, at least, was my first impression. It was not until I started comparing the two tables that I realized, for example, China Mobile (Hong Kong), would have made it to rank 55, before Hewlett-Packard Co., had you placed China Mobile (Hong Kong) in the main table.

It might be helpful in the future if you were to put both markets in the same table. I believe that this will give investors a clearer and truly global picture of what is happening in the business world, especially for those who are interested in investing in the so-called "emerging markets."

Louisa Kim

Dae Jeon, South Korea

Editor's note: Companies from China, India, South Korea, and Taiwan appeared in the Emerging Markets 200 Scoreboard, which appeared in the same issue as the Global 1000.

The Global 1000 does not list a single South African company. Look at your own "Top 200 emerging market companies," however, and no fewer than 10 South African companies come in at more than $3.9 billion market cap, [higher than] Advanced Micro Devices at No. 1,000]. Not bad for a country that has been free only since 1994.

Undisputed leaders in deep-level hard-rock mining (five companies qualify for the Global 1000); a world-class financial services system (Old Mutual and two banks qualify); the world's leading chemicals-from-coal operation (Sasol), and the world's No. 2 brewer (SAB, now SAB Miller) all reflect a country with world-class competencies.

A (hopeful) prediction for the 2003 Global 1000: recognition that Africa is not all darkness and that the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) can work. Also, a section for South Africa in your country-by-country list with more companies than Austria (1), Belgium (10), Denmark (6), Finland (6), Greece (3), Ireland (5), New Zealand (1), Norway (5), Portugal (3), and hypercompetitive Singapore (6). A few more years of freedom; goal-oriented economic and fiscal policy; and opportunities such as those presented by the U.S. (Africa Growth & Opportunity Act), the EU Trade Agreement, and NEPAD--and you can expect more world-class success out of Africa.

Mike Perry

Managing Director

Perry & Associates

Johannesburg

The artificial separation of markets into "developed" and "emerging" categories makes it difficult for investors to get a holistic view of what is going on in the world. What I have done is add in the Top 200 emerging-market companies. What was particularly interesting was the extent to which companies were profitable. [I found that] the market-cap weightings of the respective companies by country are almost identical to their MSCI country weights.

What is different, however, is their contribution to profits. Specifically, South Africa, which has a market-cap weight of just 0.57%, contributes almost three times as much to profitability: 1.42%. Similarly, the U.S., which has a market-cap weight of 51.66%, generated just 38% of last year's profits. This, coupled with some of the other ratios, makes South Africa look like a pretty good bet relative to other global markets.

Peter Urbani

Head of Research

Fairheads Asset Managers

Cape Town I enjoyed "Venezuela: Why Ch?vez could soon be gone--again" (International Outlook, July 8). Even though there are many peaceful and democratic people, it is too difficult to stop a social explosion. We are tired of waiting to claim a democratic country for our children.

Hector Arocha

Caracas


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