Bite-size Case Study

Walmart: a roadmap for globalisation

Published on February 28, 2018 Originally recorded 2014   8 min
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It was around 1992 that Walmart said, "Okay, now we are nearing the stage where we will be in almost all of the 50 states in the US. Yes, there are growth opportunities in the US, but now it is time we start thinking outside the US." So, the question was, where in the world should they go? And Walmart is not a particularly diversified company, certainly was not in 1992 so, lets say we're talking really about the discount stores, Walmart discount stores. So now, they could just look at the rest of the world. Rest of North America, that's Mexico and Canada, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central South America, Africa, where should they go? So what is the logic that a company like Walmart should use? So, first let's look at what Walmart did.
And so what Walmart did here, and then we look at what kind of a logic might have guided Walmart is that Walmart essentially gave lower priority to Europe and highest priority to first Mexico and Canada, the rest of North America, and then to Latin America, then to Asia, and then to Europe. And in fact, ignored Africa during the first ten years of its globalization. Walmart has entered Africa, particularly South Africa very recently just in the last couple of years but that's 20 years after they began the globalization process. So, what's going on here? Why did Walmart make these choices?