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Is Europe more worldly in business?

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Bill Radke: An annual survey just out ranks the top brands in the world. Coca-Cola was number one again in the BusinessWeek-Interbrand ranking. It’s followed by IBM, Microsoft, GE — all of them American names. But that’s worldwide — if you go to China, it’s European brands doing well. From Shanghai, Marketplace’s Scott Tong reports.


Scott Tong: Financial brokerage CLSA ranked the top hundred brands in China. The highest-ranked multinational was Finland’s Nokia at 4, way ahead of American competitor Motorola at 54. France’s Carrefour leads Wal-Mart in big-box stores. And Germany’s Adidas outranks Nike. Is there a built-in European edge?

Retail consultant Paul French at Access Asia thinks European firms think more globally because they have to.

Paul French: I think it’s just been a historical accident of geography that European countries are small, and in order to expand, successful companies have to go abroad at a very early stage.

By contrast, American companies have a huge market at home to occupy their time. He’s quick to say this is not a cultural story; it’s not that European people are somehow more worldly and open-minded.

French: Europeans, believe me, can be just as isolationist as Americans can, and quite spectacularly so.

CLSA’s brand rankings in China are dominated by Chinese companies. Where they’re seen as weak – and foreign brands are more popular — are consumer electronics, cosmetics and fashion.

In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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