An Ideas-Based Online Magazine of the Global Network for Advanced Management

Future of Globalization: The Localization Parallel

To coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Global Network for Advanced Management in April 2017, Global Network Perspectives asked faculty across the 29 schools in the network: "What do you think the future of globalization looks like? How will this affect the economy in your country or region? How is your school preparing students for this world?" Read all of the responses. Also, in a session at the anniversary symposium, a panel of experts—including former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry—led a discussion of the future of globalization and its implications for business and management education. Watch the video.

In the gaming console industry, Japan has been a leading producer in the global market while creating and exploiting its core competencies with major hardware and software makers like Nintendo, SONY, CAPCOM, and so on. According to Sara X. T. Liao’s 2015 study, “Japanese Console Games Popularization in China: Governance, Copycats, and Gamers,” the Japanese game industry could be able to settle successfully even in China, where cultural resistance, piracy, the black market, and government regulation are rampant. This achievement of the Japanese game industry can be understood as both the process and the consequence of globalization in China, as many Chinese gamers now enthusiastically enjoy content created by Japanese video game producers.

But I would like to highlight here a related phenomenon of localization by Japanese producers. These companies sought cooperation with Chinese gamers and developers from the beginning of their entry into the Chinese market. One very concrete example showing the interaction between globalization and localization is SONY’s recent campaign “China Hero Project.” SONY’s Shanghai entity launched this project in mid-2016 to identify and support regional game developers in China. At first glance, this project looks like a typical regional promotion to localize a company’s products in a target market while increasing product awareness and attractiveness for local customers.

But SONY’s plan may be aiming at a longer-term goal rather than immediate profitability in the specific market. In other words, SONY seems to be trying to find a way to globalize the outcomes (i.e., games developed in China); as its official press release says, “The most important criteria in selecting developers for this program is finding titles and teams with the potential to succeed globally.”

In sum, the globalization of one country’s product is the start of localization in a regional market; then the localized product will be sold globally. Many discuss this parallel relationship between globalization and localization, and SONY’s case can be used to enrich students’ understanding on this issue.