Harvard seeks success in HK
TWO Hong Kong-listed firms have been selected by Harvard Business School to take part in a study of what makes a successful company.
The two are trading company Li & Fung and banking and telecommunications conglomerate First Pacific Co.
The school conducted a similar programme last year. The presentation of its findings will take place in December and eight companies in Asia are taking part.
Professor David Yoffie said the school had been studying a number of companies and institutions in the region over the past few years.
'Through the study, we will understand the reasons behind their success and the methodology involves discussions and problem-solving,' he said.
He said the school would look at the companies' operations in Asia and around the world.
'We can't isolate the business of a company in Hong Kong from China, Asia or the world,' Prof Yoffie said.
He said the study would focus on the factors which had built up the firms' competitive advantage - the utilisation of Hong Kong and China as the base for their global competitiveness and the sustainability of their prospects for continued growth.
The school has studied many successful companies in the region, including multinationals such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Coca-Cola and Pepsi in China, Microsoft, Apple Computer, Campbell Soup and locally-listed Alco Holdings. Prof Yoffie said the reason for choosing each company in the case study varied according to the criteria they used to quantify their success.
'Some companies measure their own success by market penetration in volume, or financial criteria such as profits and pace of return in investments,' he said.
The school said the two Hong Kong companies picked this year were very different.
Li & Fung has a long history in the territory and its ownership is controlled by family members, while First Pacific is managed by its minority shareholders.
The school has strong ties with Hong Kong, with about 250 graduates from both its business administration course and management programme.