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Asian rise forcing Western cos to unite

business Updated: May 15, 2007 17:35 IST

The rise of India and China on the global economic platform is fast emerging as the biggest international challenge for US and European companies, forcing them to consider a joint fight against this trend.

While a consensus eludes on a broader trans-Atlantic cooperation, the companies in the US and Europe think that such an agreement will provide a strong platform to fight China and India, found a new survey of CEOs from the two regions.

According to the survey carried out by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants for the German business magazine "think:act", the trans-Atlantic cooperation is finding widespread support among Europe's top managers, but is being met with scepticism in the US.

"While 95 per cent of European decision-makers would like to see a close cooperation of the two economic regions, about 40 per cent CEOs in the US consider such a cooperation unimportant," the survey found.

However, CEOs of both the US and European companies agree that China and India present the greatest competition and extension of trans-Atlantic relations would serve as a strong platform to fight this situation, it added.

The offensive from China and India is high on executives' lists in Europe (54 per cent) and the US (50 per cent), said the findings of the survey, which would be published in the next issue of the quarterly magazine produced by BurdaYukom Publishing.

The two groups also agree to a large extent on building up trade relations (98 per cent CEOs in EU and 70 per cent in the US) and working together against terrorism and white- collar crime (98 per cent each).

The CEOs see contact with colleagues on the other side as an opportunity to be inspired and to learn. When it comes to the topics of corporate governance, industrial politics and support of research, all executives want to benefit from looking across the pond, it added.

However, there are areas where the two sides prefer their own national economies. While the Americans consider themselves leaders in genetic technology and data security, the Europeans see themselves as being ahead in corporate social responsibility.

The top managers in both regions also set distinctly different courses when it comes to the goals of cooperation. While the Europeans seek closer cooperation in the areas of foreign policy, research and environmental protection, their US colleagues favour trade facilitation and collaborative action against brand piracy.

"Europe's CEOs see the extension of the Atlantic bridge as significantly more important than their US counterparts do," Roland Berger's Global Marketing Director Torsten Oltmanns said in a statement.