From The Wall Street Journal, via YaleGlobal Online:
Many foreign companies have long viewed China as a land of great potential but little immediate profit. As recently as the late 1990s, most Western marketers found this country more frustrating than fruitful.
A 1998 survey by consulting firm A.T. Kearney found more than one-third of multinationals were losing money in China, and an additional 25% were barely breaking even. In 1999, when the American Chamber of Commerce in China polled its members on how long it took their local operations to post a profit, many of them responded by writing humorous notes on their forms.
That situation has changed faster than many executives expected. Today, China represents not only a fast-growing source of revenue for many multinational companies, but also a rising source of profit. The change has given those companies and their shareholders a sometimes-overlooked stake in the continuation of China’s rapid economic transformation. [Full Text]