The emerging wave of Chinese competitors that are not only being successful in China's broad middle market but also gaining stature around the globe are sometimes called Second Mouse firms. The name draws upon the saying "The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese" and reflects the fast-learner and fast-follower capabilities of these firms.
There are many such Second Mouse firms around - Huawei in telecommunications equipment, Haier in appliances, Sany in construction equipment, Mindray in medical equipment, Geely in autos, among many other examples. All of these firms got their start in China, learning from western firms, showcasing strong manufacturing and economic competencies, and establishing a strong position serving those Chinese consumers below the points on the income distribution where western products were an option.
These Second Mouse firms are no longer constrained to China's markets. Some are now significant global players. Some haven't yet arrived in the developed markets of the west, allowing western firms to continue to embrace the fiction that they aren't serious global competitors. But it is more likely just a matter of time until they arrive and become the most serious competitors of the coming decade.
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