Middle East’s Global Champions Revealed

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We live in a corporate age which is in constant dynamics,always paving way to innovation and excellence. The old ways give rise to the new, belief systems change and opportunities are constantly throwing up greater challenges and growth prospects for companies and organizations. It’s a fact that the fundamental leaders of growth capitalize on these trends, make decisions that have unprecedented and enduring impact on their own fortunes as well as of their organizations, the global economy and their social structure. They are the game changers, the path breakers, the innovators of growth.

Global management consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) ‘The 2013 BCG global challengers report is a part of that endeavour to pull together innovative ideas, insights and ways to win – invaluable lessons for  global business leaders to imbibe  from the winners and learn.

The BCG has identified 100 global challenger companies from the emerging markets that are showing unprecedented growth, in such a way that they are surpassing every known player from traditional multinational companies. From Colombia to Qatar, these companies from 17 countries, have added 1.4 million jobs, are spending $1.7 trillion a year to fuel growth and have had profound impact on global economy.

The report calls on western business houses to follow the examples of multinationals that are allying with these new generation of growth leaders for strategic partnerships to promote growth.

“Global challengers bring far more to the table than a low-cost structure,” said Tenbite Ermias, coauthor and head of BCG’s office in South Africa. “Multinationals that view global challengers only as low-cost competitors misunderstand their competitive threat and their potential for partnership.”

BCG’s Methodology for selecting the Global Challengers 2013:

The report was based on comprehensive screening of thousands of companies from emerging markets by BCG experts in each market. Companies that were eligible had to have annual revenues totalling $ 1 billion and overseas revenue of at least 10% of their total revenues or 500 million. It also analyzed company’s International presence, and the number and size of its international investments and the strength of its business model.


The 2013 BCG global challengers are 100 companies from rapidly developing economies (RDEs) that are both growing and globalizing quickly. The BCG compiled list of global challengers is a diverse group of companies with wider geographic and industrial breadth .

From the Middle East, Emirates Airlines, Saudi Aramco, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are included in the list, which according to the report are ‘hard at work transforming themselves into global champions’. In fact, Emirates Airlines and Saudi Aramco are among the seven companies with large sustained global positions and hence moved beyond challenger status.

2013 BCG Global Challengers
2013 BCG Global Challengers

Global Challengers by the numbers

Jobs created – 1.4 million
Average annual increase in revenue per employee – 12%
Total revenue generated – $2.6 trillion
Total cost of goods sold – $1.7 trillion
Capital expenditures – $330 billion

Global Challengers by the Numbers
Global Challengers by the Numbers

A snapshot of Middle East’s Top Companies listed in the The 2013 BCG global challengers

Emirates Airlines

Dubai’s flagship carrier , Emirates Airlines is the largest airline in the Middle East, operating over 2,500 flights per week, from its hub at Terminal 3 in Dubai International Airport. Equipped with the world’s largest fleet of A380s and the largest fleet of Boeing 777s, Emirates continues its broad  global expansion and now flies to 126 destinations to 74 countries across six continents.

Emirates is a subsidiary of The Emirates Group, which has nearly 68,0000 employees, and is wholly owned by the government of Dubai directly under the Investment Corporation of Dubai.

Emirates Airline ranks amongst the top 10 carriers worldwide in terms of revenue and passenger kilometres, and has become the largest airline in the Middle East in terms of revenue, fleet size, and passengers carried. In 2011 the airline was the fourth-largest airline in the world in terms of international passengers carried, and largest in the world in terms of scheduled international passenger-kilometres flown.

Emirates Airline is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world and has received more than 200 international awards for excellence since its launch in 1985.

In November 2012, Emirates Group reported a record AED 2.1 billion (US$ 575 million) half-yearly (Apr-Sep 2012) net profit up 68 per cent, while Emirates had a half-yearly net profit of AED 1.7 billion (US$ 464 million) up 104 per cent.

Saudi Aramco

Saudi Arabian national oil and natural gas company (Saudi Aramco) is a fully integrated global petroleum enterprise with exploration, producing, refining, petrochemicals, marketing, distribution and shipping.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s top oil producer, supplying more than 10 percent of global oil demand.

Saudi Aramco’s value has been estimated at up to 10 trillion US$ (almost the GDP of the United States) in the Financial Times (subscription required), making it the world’s most valuable company.

Saudi Aramco has both the largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 260 billion barrels, and largest daily oil production. Saudi Aramco operates the world’s largest single hydrocarbon network, the Master Gas System.

Saudi Aramco’s crude oil production was 3.3 billion barrels in 2011 with an average daily crude oil production of 9.1 million barrels per day and it managed over 113 oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabia, including 282.6 trillion standard cubic feet of natural gas reserves. Saudi Aramco owns the Ghawar Field, the world’s largest oil field, and the Shaybah Field, one of the world’s largest oil fields.

Saudi Aramco employs more than 56,066 workers worldwide from 77 countries, of which 48,647 are Saudi nationals.

Saudi Aramco’s 2011 revenues were estimated at $311 billion and Forbes had ranked it as the world’s top oil company generating more than $1 billion a day in revenues.

Qatar Airways

State-owned flag carrier of Qatar, Qatar Airways is headquartered in the Qatar Airways Tower in Doha, from where it operates a hub-and-spoke network, linking over 100 international destinations from its base in Doha, using a fleet of more than 100 aircraft.

Qatar Airways currently has orders worth over US$50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 Family of aircraft. In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year in 2011 and 2012, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the seventh year in a row.

The airline has more than 20,000 staff, with 14,000 people employed directly and a further 6,000 in its subsidiaries.

Qatar Airways reportedly made a small net loss during the 2011 financial year because of high oil prices, according to its CEO Akbar al-baker.

Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways is the National Airline of the United Arab Emirates. The airline was set up by a Royal Decree in July 2003, with Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, as its hub. Etihad started commercial operations in November 2003.

Etihad’s fleet of 66 aircraft operates more than 1300 flights per week, serving an international network of 87 passenger and cargo destinations in 55 countries. Etihad Airways also owns nearly 30 percent of Air Berlin, Europe’s sixth largest carrier and 40 percent of Air Seychelles.

In 2011, Etihad carried 8.3 million passengers, a 17% increase on the previous year, delivering revenues of US$ 4.1 billion and net profits of US$ 14 million.  In December 2012, Etihad Airways announced that it has surpassed its target of carrying 10 million passengers for the year and is set to achieve a 22 per cent increase compared to 2011 figures.

Etihad has received a range of awards including ‘World’s Leading Airline’ at the World Travel Awards in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

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