There is no one specific definition of a global company. Though there are many labels that define globalisation, I think a global corporation is one that is recognised globally for its product quality and uniqueness. It need not be present all around the world but the product or service should be a benchmark. Also, it is not necessary for a global company to have a manufacturing base in every market, which it serves. Unilever, which has manufacturing bases across the globe is considered a global company but then companies like Seiko and BMW, which have manufacturing bases in very few or just one country, are also considered global companies.
Another aspect of a global corporation is its ability to transplant products across the markets it serves. Unilever has created a market for Wheel in Latin America. In essence, for a company to be termed as a global corporation, it needs to have a globally recognised brand that customers seek, the cost should be competitive and the product or service should be standardised.
The one thing that really differentiates a global corporation from others is its ability to rise above suzerainty. The corporation's fortunes should not be related to those of one country alone, as this is very risky. A few banks such as Morgan Chase and HSBC could be termed as global in this context. There are other companies that have managed to meet this challenge. Coca Cola is one such example.
A global corporate also needs to ensure that its customers are not seen as captives to its brand. The moment that happens, the brand might experience negative vibes from its consumers.
If we were to view the Tata group from a globalisation perspective we can say that Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors and Indian Hotels Corporation are definitely potentially global while companies like Titan can also become global. In our case, the equity of the Tata brand is of immense value. The Tata brand derives its value from the sum of its parts and this value is greater than the sheer arithmetic summation.
Finally, let me also address a fundamental issue that of people who make these companies. Ultimately it is the people within a company who drive it towards greatness and not just brands or financial muscle. If you have good people on board you can get money, but it does not necessarily work the other way round. The issue is how to manage people within a global company. From my perspective, it is a question of managing to merge individual and corporate objectives. The fortunate part is that people have distinctive capabilities. It is up to the global corporate to harness the potential. It is also imperative to understand the limitations and capabilities of individuals and to try and push them to achieve more than they think they are capable of.Other articles on globalisation: