SCMP：China more popular in emerging markets than the West
Chinese companies have proven successful at adapting their operations to align with the development goals of emerging economies, while by comparison, Western nations have been more focused on dissuading developing countries from cooperating with China on security grounds, reported Connor Mycroft of the South China Morning Post.
"Western firms should learn from China's localization success if they are to match the country's influence in developing markets amid growing competition between the world's economic superpowers," the report quoted researchers and analysts as saying.
The Hong Kong-based newspaper said the findings come in a year that has seen a renewed push from Western countries to counter China's influence in emerging markets, followed up in September with US-led negotiations among 14 nations to kick-start the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the economic arm of US President Joe Biden's Indo-Pacific strategy.
The paper quoted analysts saying "Despite the recent initiatives, Western governments still have a lot of catching up to do".
It quoted Tin Hinane El Kadi, a political economy researcher and associate fellow in the Middle East and North Africa department at Chatham House in London, saying Western nations are "trying to impose hegemony on a shoestring".
"US and European companies have not been able to match the price or quality of Chinese offerings," said Kadi.
"More importantly, Chinese firms are addressing skills shortages by providing high-quality training and partnering with universities to offer student workshops, something emerging markets desperately want as they seek to climb up the value chain," said Kadi in the report.
The report also said that Chinese success is not isolated to northern Africa, but is evident across the rest of the continent as well. Recent studies looking at Chinese telecommunications operations in Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa have all shown how essential their involvement has been in accelerating skills training in the region.
"African governments are more welcoming to Chinese companies because of the ‘customer-oriented' strategy these companies seem to pursue, including their tendency to understand local needs and respond quickly," the report quoted Seifudein Adem, a professor of Global Studies at Doshisha University in Kyoto, whose research includes Sino-African relations and African development.
The report also quoted Shameen Prashantham, a professor at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, saying "China's own recent history helps its firms better address the needs of emerging markets".
"Unlike their Western counterparts, Chinese companies have dealt with, in living memory, challenges around inadequate infrastructure, both physical and digital, as well as consumers' limited purchasing power," he said.