Research by the Bruno Leoni Institute looks at the potential role of multinationals in helping local businesses
Can business respect local roots and serve international markets at the same time? Finding a balance between globalised and local business is not easy, and yet the paradigm is perhaps one of the most promising paths to growth and development. Many have tried to do it, often successfully, although the issue is complex and multi-faceted and cannot be boiled down to one technical process. Recently published research by Ornella Darova (a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania), conducted for the Bruno Leoni Institute, is a good source for better understanding the highly varied relationships between local production and global markets.
‘E se le multinazionali fossero i migliori promotori del made in Italy?’ (‘what if multinationals are the best promoters for Made in Italy?’), analyses the role of multinationals in Italy from the point of views of their focus (current and potentially greater) on high-quality manufacturing in the country. After drawing an up-to-date picture of the economic performance of multinationals and the general situation in Italy, Darova lists and examines a series of case studies on multinationals that have begun to capitalise on strictly Italian raw materials and products. These include McDonald’s and its attention to some traditional Italian products, Grom and its acquisition by Unilever, Sperlari sweets and their re-brand by the Cloetta group, Fanta and Coca-Cola’s gamble on Italian oranges, Alibaba’s Made in Italy project HelloITAT, and Findus. For each case, the current history and situation are analysed, highlighting the positive role of the presence of a multinational company alongside local companies.
The author writes in her conclusion: ‘Multinationals can play the role of facilitators for the inclusion of Italian companies in global value chains.’ She goes on: ‘The possibility of creating strategic, cutting-edge, growing entrepreneurial ecosystems depends on the ability of existing players in local areas to open up to the global market and to look to the future by imagining ways of promoting local excellence that are not limited in scope but have a view to international prospects. It is counterproductive, then, to take a defensive position and look at multinationals only as a threat. It is far more advantageous to forge collaborative relationships that represent an opportunity for profit for both sides.’ Above all the culture of production must change, on both sides.
E se le multinazionali fossero i migliori promotori del made in Italy?
IBL – Istituto Bruno Leoni, Briefing Paper, October 2019