I just love this article.  For so many reasons.

The article is entitled, Quenching your thirst on road to democracy: Coke, Pepsi wage war in long-isolated Myanmar, and I like it for the following reasons:

  1. It reinforces what we have been saying about Myanmar (see Myanmar Foreign Investment. Difficult And Expensive, But Opportunities Are There).  It is a great place for big companies like Coke and Pepsi, who need to go there to establish their footholds, but there is little evidence that it is ripe for small companies that need to make profits relatively quickly.
  2. It shows the importance of being first to market.
  3. It shows how local domestic companies can and do compete against the “big boys,” and of how when it comes to consumers, little is certain.
  4. I am convinced it has tremendous applicability for doing business in China as a whole and in its various regions.

Just last week, I was talking with a consumer goods company of ours and they told me that their sales were going really well in both Shanghai and Beijing, but “outside those two cities, we might as well not even exist.  In fact, we don’t really exist.”  They are at the point where they are trying to decide whether to spend a lot of money ramping up (really beginning) their operations outside those two cities.  The person with whom I spoke said that their main impetus for believing that they need to do something is not so much the profits they think they will achieve, but rather their belief that if they do not go beyond Beijing and Shanghai with their operations, their Beijing and Shanghai sales will eventually erode in the face of eventually larger and more national competitors.

What do you think?  Relevant for doing business in China?  If so, how? What China markets still present opportunities for foreign companies and what markets are already pretty much closed?