The story of a multinational company is one of the biggest business stories of our time. It begins in 1929, when Margarine Unie and Lever Brothers merged to form Unilever. From there, Unilever began to diversify its product line and expand its operations internationally. In the following decades, Unilever acquired numerous other businesses, including Lipton in 1971 and Brook Bond in 1984. It also acquired Best Foods in 2000 and Dollar Shave Club in 2016. Today, Unilever is among the largest companies in the world, with more than 5,000 subsidiaries in dozens of countries. Some of the largest multinational companies, such as Toyota, have acquired numerous companies. Because of their size and economies, many multinational firms now have monopolies in various industries.
Multinationals are considered apex predators of the global economy. They account for over 30% of world sales, are responsible for defining ecosystems in which others want to live, and control most of the world’s intellectual property. As a result, they have become the driving force behind globalisation.
In addition to creating jobs in emerging markets, multinationals are also creating jobs at home. From 2009 to 2013, multinational firms created 400,000 net jobs in the United States. Initial figures suggest this figure has risen in 2014. While multinational companies create jobs abroad, they also create a large portion of their profits in the United States. This means that multinationals must invest in their home countries to support local industries and create more jobs. However, the story of a multinational company is a complicated one.
The recent slump in global commodity prices has caused some multinationals to slash their returns on equity (ROE). In fact, half of them are now failing to achieve ROE of 10% or higher, a widely accepted measure of firm value. Moreover, many large multinationals have suffered losses in their foreign operations. For example, Unilever, General Electric, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble have lost 25% of their foreign profits in the past decade. The trend is similar across OECD countries.
The story of a multinational company often revolves around the love life of its employees. In some cases, it is a love story between the men and women within the company. In some cases, this love story may represent the fierce conflict between transnational capital and Taiwanese society. For example, in the novel “Night Truck,” the main character Liu Xiaoling is the mistress of the finance department. She is constantly harassed by her foreign superiors and cannot resist her love for a young man in the company.