Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2011 (Revised January 2013)

Home Essentials: Building a Global Service Business with Local Operations

by Lynda M. Applegate, William R. Kerr and David Lane


Chris Exline founded Home Essentials, a furniture rental business targeted toward expatriates, in Singapore but rapidly moved the base of operations to Hong Kong. The company was highly successful in Singapore and Hong Kong and then pursued rapid global expansion. Lacking frameworks for deciding upon countries to enter and services to deliver in each country, Exline used gut instinct. Lacking control systems and information, he failed to identify problems early and had trouble understanding the root cause of failures. The global financial crisis intensified the problems. The case ends by describing how Exline was able to turn around the troubled company and develop necessary governance systems. The question of whether to once more attempt to grow beyond Hong Kong and, if so, the approach to take in selecting countries, is a central issue Exline faced at the time of the case.

Keywords: Growth Management; Renting or Rental; Corporate Governance; Global Strategy; Failure; Singapore; Hong Kong;


Applegate, Lynda M., William R. Kerr, and David Lane. "Home Essentials: Building a Global Service Business with Local Operations." Harvard Business School Case 811-078, June 2011. (Revised January 2013.)