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Global CEO Study: The Enterprise of the Future. Register to download the full report.

Two years ago globalization meant paring off a function and moving it abroad: a factory in China, a call center in India. The key driver was cost. Today, CEOs see globalization as intrinsic to their business, the means of accessing the best resources wherever they are. It is the gateway to new markets.

To fully realize their globalization strategies, 57% of CEOs will make fundamental changes to their organization's capability and skill mix. What will they do? Of those interviewed, 85% plan on partnering; 66% will use mergers and acquisitions. One such company is Hong Kong-based Li & Fung. They used acquisitions-more than 20 in less than 10 years—to grow market share in their target geographic markets.

With a network of 10,000 suppliers and staff in 40 different countries, Li & Fung can source from virtually anywhere in the world. Cotton can be purchased from America, knit and dyed in Pakistan and sewn into garments in Cambodia. When Li & Fung acquires a company, it typically preserves the front-end customer interface, which is often the reason for the acquisition, but merges the back end with its own operation within 100 days of deal close.

To thrive on a global level, the Enterprise of the Future needs to:

  • Be agile, with flexible operations, such as short-term leases and local workforces
  • Have modular technology for rapid reconfiguration and seamless integration with multiple partners
  • Develop leaders with multiple global experiences for the skills to manage diverse markets
  • Provide employees with strong collaboration tools so they can function cohesively, regardless of location

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