Asia-Pacific Research Center

Established in Hong Kong in 1999, the Asia-Pacific Research Center (APRC) was the first of the School's international Research Centers. The APRC is an essential part of the continuing HBS effort to influence the practice of management education, while creating world-class educational experiences for MBA students and business leaders alike. Through its ongoing work, the APRC has developed important links with governments, academic institutions, and corporations within a region that is assuming an increasingly vital role in the world economy. Since its inception, the center has been instrumental in helping to enhance the breadth and depth of HBS research and to facilitate HBS faculty in developing case studies. To further support research being carried out in this region, two senior researchers were placed in Shanghai and Beijing.

In July 2008 Dean Jay O. Light and William C. Kirby, T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies and Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard, and Chairman of the Harvard China Fund, announced the opening of
a Harvard office in Shanghai.


Ayala Corporation

Villalonga, Belen, Raphael Amit, and Chris Hartman
December 2006

Ayala Corporation is the oldest conglomerate in the Philippines and has been controlled by the Zobel de Ayala family for seven generations. Over the past 25 years, Ayala has evolved from a real estate family business into a highly diversified and professionally managed business group, with a significant number of non-family shareholders. Between the holding company and its four largest subsidiaries, the Ayala group accounts for a quarter of the market capitalization of the Philippines Stock Exchange. Provides data to assess the value created for Ayala's stockholders in the ten years leading up to 2006, when the transition to the seventh generation of the Zobel de Ayala family culminated.

Medco Energi Internasional

Villalonga, Belen, Raphael Amit, and Chris Hartman
October 2006

In late 2004, Hilmi Panigoro, CEO of the publicly traded Indonesian oil company Medco Energi Internasional, is striving to regain majority control of the company his brother Arifin founded in 1980. The Asian financial crisis of 1999 led to a major restructuring that left the Panigoros with a 34.1% equity stake in Medco. Two other large shareholders are now looking to sell their combined stake of the 50.9% and have selected Temasek, the Singapore government's investment arm, as their preferred bidder. The Panigoros have a right of first refusal, but only a four-month window to raise the capital needed to head off Temasek's bid. The Panigoro brothers are considering a two-stage plan: a leveraged buyout to be followed by a secondary equity offering at a share price high enough to enable them to repay the loan and maintain majority control of their company. As attractive as the plan seems, they worry about the high cost of the loan and the risk that the offering might fail. In January 2005, with no time left to consider alternative financing plans, the Panigoro brothers have to decide whether to go ahead with the plan or lose control of Medco to Temasek.

Cathay Pacific

McFarlan, F. Warren, Fred Young, and Waishun Lo
September 2006

Explores the various aspects of information technology that can be outsourced. Cathay Pacific outsourced a significant part of its vital operations from Hong Kong to Sydney, Australia.

World Wide Licenses Ltd.: From Disney to Polaroid

Tripsas, Mary
September 2006

World Wide Licenses (WWL) was a low-technology firm that licensed famous brands, which it then applied to timepieces, stationery, and back-to-school products. It transformed into a digital imaging company and landed worldwide rights to the Polaroid brand name. Explores how it made the transformation and how it should proceed.

China: Building "Capitalism with Socialist Characteristics"

Spar, Debora L., and Chris Bebenek
June 2006

Describes China's phenomenal development from a poor, communist country to a global powerhouse. Provides background on China's history and culture, details the reforms launched in 1978 by Seng Xiaoping, and describes the situation as of 2006, focusing on the government's attempts to equalize China's financial markets without giving up the reins of central control.

Chrysanthemum and Dragon: JAFCO Asia in China

Abdelal, Rawi, and David Lane
May 2006

In the autumn of 2002, JAFCO Asia, a subsidiary of JAFCO Co., Ltd., became the first foreign private equity firm to open an office in Beijing's Haidian Science Park. JAFCO was the only Japanese private equity firm operating in China. As such, Managing Director Vincent Chan observed, "JAFCO is the bridge between Japan and China." Yet, under that bridge the waters appeared increasingly choppy. While the economic relationship between Japan and China had grown increasingly close, their political relations had not and some Japanese firms had begun to reassess their commitment to China. Would capital-rich Japan and capital-poor China find a way to transcend their troubled history? Could JAFCO Asia be a catalyst for cooperation, or would its managers find their own operations affected by rivalry between Asia's two most important countries? The mix of formal rules and informal practices that governed foreign private equity firms in China was complex. Opening an office in Beijing signified a renewal of JAFCO Asia's efforts to master these challenges and coincided with an acceleration of the firm's investments. But JAFCO's first years of engagement with China had not been notably successful, and without some fundamental changes, there was little reason to believe that the addition of a physical presence there would yield better results now.

Haier: Taking a Chinese Company Global

Khanna, Tarun, Ingrid Vargas, and Krishna G. Palepu
December 2005

In 2005, Haier, China's leading appliance manufacturer, had over $12 billion in worldwide sales and was the third-ranked global appliance brand behind Whirlpool and GE. Describes Haier's rise from a defunct refrigerator factory in China's Qingdao province to an international player with nearly $4 billion in overseas sales. Haier had followed a nontraditional expansion strategy of entering the developed markets of Europe and the United States as a niche player before venturing into neighboring Asian markets. Facing intense competition and price wars in the domestic market, in 2005 Haier was redoubling its efforts to build a globally recognized brand. Could Haier complete with the likes of Whirlpool and GE in their home market? Could Haier successfully defend against Chinese and multinational challengers in China while building a brand overseas?

Red Flag Software Co.

Felix Oberholzer-Gee, Tarun Khanna, David Lane, and Elizabeth A. Raabe
December 2005

In 2005, just five years after its formal launch, Beijing-based Red Flag Software was the world's second-largest distributor of the Linux operating system and was expecting its first annual profit. On a unit basis, Red Flag led the world in desktops (PCs) shipped with Linux and was No. 4 in installed servers. On a revenue basis, Red Flag was fourth overall. Within China, Red Flag held just over half of the Linux market and ran key applications for the postal system, large state-owned enterprises, and more than a million PCs. The Chinese government supported Linux as an alternative to Microsoft's Windows operating system to avoid royalty payments to foreign firms and dependence on foreign technology. Even so, Red Flag President Chris Zhao felt the same pressure many start-ups faced: How could Red Flag compete against a giant like Microsoft? And what competitive advantages could Zhao bring to bear against an experienced Linux veteran like Red Hat, a U.S.-based software company that had just announced its plan to invest to capture market share in China? Zhao worried that government support would evaporate if Red Flag performed poorly.