Western firms unaware of BRICS economies: survey

BANGALORE, India, June 21, 2007 (AFP) – Western companies exhibit a worrying lack of awareness about emerging markets like India that are reshaping global business, according to a British Telecom survey released here Thursday. “The increasing trend towards globalisation has a wider effect on such firms who must look to developing economies to enhance sales, diversify their geographical portfolios and minimize costs through low-cost labour and energy,” the report said. The survey polled 800 directors of large American, British, French and German corporations to gauge the level of their knowledge about the so-called BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

More than five out of 10 directors could not name the currency of India, the rupee; nine did not know that the real is the Brazilian monetary unit and 14 percent believed vodka, rather than oil, is Russia’s main product.

“While more than six out of 10 directors… accept that emerging economies will reshape the global business landscape, many seem to have only a rudimentary knowledge of their business environments,” said the report.

T.K. Bhaumik, chief executive at Reliance Industries, India’s leading conglomerate, said he was shocked by t