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Virtual special issue

Emerging markets case studies

Emerald and CEEMAN collaborate on an annual case writing competition, open to submissions globally.

The aim of the competition is to encourage and promote the development of high-quality teaching case material relevant to the realities of dynamic and emerging economies and at the same time promote the development of case-writing capabilities in those countries. 

Find out more about the case competition

We have put together this virtual issue to promote some of the winning cases in recent years.

Sustainable growth in times of crisis: L’Oréal Russia

Authors: Muravskii Daniil, Muravskaia Snezhana, Romanova Elena and Kudinova Valeria at IBS-Moscow, Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Russia

During the 2014–2015 financial crisis in Russia, L’Oréal Russia managed to increase growth by 7%–15%, strengthening its place as the market leader in the country. Upon recalling his success story, Antonio suddenly found himself at the dawn of yet another crisis caused simultaneously by the COVID-19 outbreak and oil prices drop. The case dilemma involves choices Antonio faced during mid-March 2020 about strategy formulation based on an adjustment to the expected consumer behaviour patterns and possible need to rethink sustainable development goals priority.

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Peebuddy: ladies, it’s time to stand-up!

Authors: Sondhi Neena at the International Management Institute, New Dheli and Basu Rituparna at the International Management Institute, Kolkata

Peebuddy, “India’s first portable female urination device” that gave women the freedom to stand and pee in unfriendly toilets was launched in 2015. Over two million units were sold by December 2019. Riding on this success, Deep Bajaj – the creator of Peebuddy built a 20-product company from a small bootstrapped start-up, over a four-year period. After receiving two rounds of funding, Bajaj knew that for the next phase of expansion, he needed to showcase Peebuddy as the star product. Facing the challenge of getting over the chasm of limited adoption of an unconventional product in the intimate feminine hygiene and almost taboo space in an emerging market such as India, Bajaj was determined to retain the first mover advantage and emerge as the leader in the category. For this, he had to define his lead user distinctly and design appropriate strategies to increase consumer reach and sales that could overcome the challenges of cultural stereotypes.

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Drink the Duchess: marketing challenges and opportunities encountered when SMEs internationalise

Authors: Geoff Bick and Fran Heathcote, University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, South Africa.

This teaching case is about The Duchess, a recently developed and launched virgin alcohol-free and sugar-free gin and tonic beverage. The adult soft drink was originally launched in South Africa, and just 18 months later became available in international markets (the UK and Belgium). The founders and protagonists of the case, Johannes le Roux and Inus Smuts, face the dilemmas of creating a competitive local brand while also looking to access new markets and internationalise as a born-global firm.

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It's everybody's business, Period

Authors: Sadaf Taimoor and Mahnoor Hameed, NUST Business School, Pakistan

Founded in early 2018, Girlythings was a young startup spearheaded by Tanzila Khan. It aimed at not only improving the availability of sanitary products in the emerging Pakistan market but, over and above, also removing the stigma attached to the topic of menstruation in the society. While the startup was still nestled at an incubation center, the protagonist faced the utmost challenge of deciding the fate of the venture due to the taboo nature of the product. This case is a rich description of the stigma that prevails on the topic of women health in conservative societies like Pakistan. It will help students appreciate the idiosyncrasies of operating in emerging markets and spearheading ventures that deal with sensitive issues.

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WinChannel's digital gambit to revitalize rural China

Authors: Peter Moran, Daniel Han Ming Chng and Liman Zhao, China Europe International Business School, China

The case series traces the developments in China’s FMCG industry from the early 2010s to 2017, in general, and the efforts of Beijing WinChannel Software Technology Co., Ltd. (WinChannel) and its affiliated company, Huixiadan, in their attempt to apply new digital technologies to transform the traditional trade channel, in particular. The decision point of Case A, in early 2015, is how WinChannel can help improve the reach and efficiency of the traditional trade channel and wonders if the emerging online/mobile B2B FMCG platforms are the right solution for the increasingly digitized FMCG retail industry in China. The decision point of Case B, at the end of 2017, is how could Huixiadan’s business model be sustainable and what it should do to withstand the competitive threats even as it tries to exploit opportunities in the traditional FMCG industry in China.

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In the uncertain world of Qontrac International: navigating through family, growth and succession management challenges

Authors: Diantha D'Costa and Virginia Bodolica at School of Business Administration, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE, and  Martin Spraggon at MBRSG, Dubai, UAE.

This case study unveils the tumultuous story of Vishwanath Shetty, an ambitious entrepreneur who transformed his small venture into a profitable family business with operations in Middle East, Asia and Africa. Since the early establishment of Qontrac International in 1989, he relied on the ownership and management participation of several members of his and his wife’s families. Yet, almost three decades after its launch and continuous growth, the company was confronted with a number of family, growth and succession management challenges that endangered its survival in the long run. By describing the strategic events and family dynamics that shaped the evolution of Qontrac International over time, the case provides an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of managerial decision-making in the context of family firms and provide viable recommendations for ensuring firm survival and longevity.

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Advantech: evolution of its IoT ecosystem strategy

Authors: Guo (Ginkgo) Bai, Liman Zhao and Zhenrong (Edison) Wang, China Europe International Business School, China

This case describes why and how Advantech Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Advantech) has transformed in the age of the Internet of Things. Aware of the ecosystem attributes of the IoT industry and committed to the company’s principle of “altruism”, Advantech strategically positioned itself as an “IoT platform provider” and an “enabler” for IoT applications. After carrying out a reform in terms of internal management, external cooperation, and development model, Advantech has evolved from an industrial computer maker to an IoT solution provider. Since the launch of the “co-creation model” at the end of 2016, Advantech has drawn attention from many excellent companies in traditional industries. With the Internet of Everything close at hand, Chairman KC Liu is well aware there are many challenges to overcome as Advantech strives to build an industrial IoT ecosystem, the “evolution” continues.

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