EE204: Business Management for
Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists

The Practice of Global Product Development


  1. The Practice of Global Product Development (HBS materials)
  2. Gold Peak Electronics: R&D Globalization from East to West (HBS materials)
  3. SKIM: The Branding Challenges of Asian Manufacturing Firms (HBS materials - reading for 5/17/12)

Case Summary

Globalization has prompted a new trend of cross-border acquisitions from the East to the West. Fueled by non-traditional motivations, Asian companies are acquiring respected and well-established Western brands, technology, assets and knowledge, and through these acquisitions gaining access to developed markets and talent pools. One such company, Gold Peak Electronics ("GPE"), is a multinational corporation that is among an elite group of Hong Kong electronics companies that design, manufacture and sell premium professional and home electronics products. Acquiring two high-end British premium loudspeaker companies in 1992--KEF Audio and Celestion International--has allowed GPE to take advantage of these companies' well established intellectual assets and R&D capabilities. However, cross-border acquisitions such as these are complicated, requiring companies to take into consideration differing regulations, national cultures, political factors, employee mindsets and work cultures. The acquiring company has also had to deal with human resource issues in its acquisitions, including handling work distribution and promoting employees' sense of job security. Although several years have passed since the acquisition, collaboration between GPEs various R&D sites in the UK, Hong Kong, and China is still not optimal. How can GPE successfully overcome the distances between these locations and promote innovative collaboration between its dispersed R&D sites? Was growth by acquisition of Western companies the best strategy for GPE's growth?

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is Gold Peak trying to move up-market? What was the goal with the acquisitions, and does it fit with the business that Gold Peak is in? What does Exhibit 2 tell you about which businesses Gold Peak is in?
  2. What is the main problem posed in the case? How did Gold Peak get to this point? Is this the most critical problem they need to solve for success, or is there another one?
  3. How should R&D be organized to achieve the strategic vision of the company? Consider product development, geographic location, and teams. What ideas do you have about how Gold Peak can identify and create new markets?
  4. How important is it that Gold Peak solve the UK integration problem, and what steps need to be taken to solve it?
  5. Managing director Li is deeply concerned about the future direction and strategy of Gold Peak. He thinks that building a growth strategy is not just about improving email to the UK and flying executives to Hong Kong for meetings. Propose a plan of action and a timeline for its execution.

SCPD Students

See the SCPD Resource Page for general information on assignment submission, team building, expectations, and getting help. See the SCPD Grading Page for evaluation procedures for daily written assignments.

Written work should be submitted using SCPD Homework Processing procedures.

All times listed below are PDT (California time).

  1. Complete the assigned readings and submit answers to the Discussion Questions in Writeup 1 (1 page) by 9am Tuesday 5/1/2012.
  2. The videotaped class meeting should be available via SCPD by 2pm, Tuesday 5/1/2012.
  3. Watch the video of the class meeting and meet with your team to discuss.
  4. Submit Writeup 2 (1-2 pages) by 9pm Sunday 5/6/2012. This writeup should include the following:
    • A summary of the main points of the class discussion
    • Any points from the discussion that you found particularly enlightening or disagreed with
    • A discussion of how your initial responses did or did not align with the direction of the class discussion
    • A revised go-forward strategy for Gold Peak