Achieving a Global Reach with a Local Perspective
Recently, three colleagues and I visited Huawei headquarters for two weeks. While there, we were called upon to divide into teams of two and take on opposite sides of a timely, pertinent debate question: Has globalization benefited the world?
Two of the team got to debate in favor of globalization, while myself and another colleague represented those opposed to it. Amazingly, based on audience votes, we bested our pro-globalization colleagues.
How? By arguing that the central question is a bit misguided. After all, as Huawei employees, we and some 190,000 other people around the world are direct beneficiaries of globalization.
So we offered an alternative central question: Have the benefits of globalization been worth the costs?
A Global Outlook
Those in favor of globalization tend to promote globalization’s benefits, while minimizing discussion and analysis of its true costs and their effects. Those against globalization tend to argue that its negative economic, social, cultural, and environmental effects are largely and unfairly borne by the poor, the disenfranchised, and the unempowered. Yet it is globalization that has provided many of those with opportunities to improve their lives. For example, providing Internet access to remote communities opens up the rest of the world, brings global knowledge and ICT resources, and yields much greater opportunities in terms of business as well as health and education. And that’s not just in emerging economies – it holds true for the US and Canada.
Robert Scott of the Economic Policy Institute has estimated that globalization has caused more than 45,000 US factories to close or move offshore. He adds that more than 3 million jobs, including some 2.4 million manufacturing jobs, have gone to China. Another nearly 900,000 have moved to Japan, and nearly 700,000 to Mexico. All this, he argues, is due to trade wars and wage differences. At the same time, globalization has helped to raise wages and expand worker options in the countries to which those factories and jobs have moved. It has also lowered costs, prices, and purchasing options for consumers and companies around the world.
This apparent contradiction was at the core of our winning argument. Globalization is like any other transformative force, from fire and water to modern technologies. They can help, hurt, or do both, depending upon how they are implemented and deployed.
Fortunately, Huawei leadership has long understood the double-edged potential of global growth, and developed a balanced, optimized approach. You will sometimes hear Huawei people refer to this approach as “glocalization.” Huawei’s goal is to develop an industry and ecosystem in which every active participant can succeed, wherever they are. In addition, the company’s people take pride in being responsible local corporate citizens. This means respecting local laws, customs, and cultures, and supporting local community organizations and programs making a positive difference in the lives of local people.
Huawei does business in more than 170 countries. This global footprint means more than 170 opportunities to support and empower local companies and communities, and to learn important lessons from them. These 170-plus bi-directional channels deliver benefits to the localities in which we operate, and to Huawei as an organization. The various projects we’ve undertaken with local non-profits and other organizations under our TECH4ALL initiative are just some of the positive results of these connections.
Our worldwide reach also means 170 governments are watching Huawei closely to ensure our offerings violate no local laws and meet local cybersecurity requirements. Huawei’s growth and success around the world enable a constantly evolving and improving balance between central and local management activities and processes.
As both debate teams agreed, the trend toward globalization is likely impossible to stop. And as Huawei and other global companies demonstrate every day, globalization can deliver significant benefits. However, it can and must be better managed, with more attention paid to mitigating its negative effects and sharing its benefits more broadly and fairly. Huawei is striving to achieve these goals, in partnership with workers, communities, governments, and organizations across the globe.
Leave us a comment below: What’s your opinion on globalization?