Global Business and the Making of the Modern World
Chapter 4: US MNEs in British manufacturing before 1962
This chapter maps the growth of US MNEs in Britain before 1962 on the basis of a unique database. US MNEs began to establish both distribution and production facilities in Britain in the 1850s. By the 1900s US-owned companies were already important in a number of sectors. The role of US affiliates in British manufacturing grew in size and significance as the twentieth century progressed. They were clustered in products involving either high technological content or advanced marketing skills, and in which their market share was very high. By the mid-1960s, US affiliates were estimated to account for over 50 percent of the British market for automobiles, vacuum cleaners, electric shavers, razor blades, breakfast cereals, potato chips, sewing machines, custard powder, typewriters, and a considerable range of other products. They held between 30 and 50 percent of the market for computers, rubber tires, soaps and detergents, instant coffee, watches, refrigerators, and washing machines. US-owned firms accounted for 49 percent of the value of prescriptions to Britain’s National Health Service, compared with the 27 percent share held by British-owned firms.
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