Forbidden City: Launching a Craft Beer in China
The case describes a difficult choice faced by Victor Wang, Managing Director of Singapore-based Eurasian Brewing Company (EBC), concerning the competing product launch plans of Le Jie, Vice President of EBC's China and East Asian operations, and Vivian Chin, EBC's Director of Marketing and Export Sales. Wang's decision will shape not only the company's future strategy but also the organization model and management approach EBC takes in its fast-growing business. The narrative focuses on the role of Le Jie in growing the sales and profitability of EBC's beer business in China and subsequently in its East Asian operations. Tension arises when Le announces his plan to introduce a new product into the fast-growing craft-beer segment in China. Simultaneously, Vivian Chin initiated a rollout of a small-batch craft-type beer that she felt had strong regional and perhaps even global potential. The two executives have escalated their conflict to Wang. His decision will not only shape EBC's product market strategy but will also exert a strong organizational influence on the division of responsibilities between headquarters and subsidiary management. In addition, it will likely send a signal about the risks and rewards of local entrepreneurial initiative. The case can be taught in courses in strategy, general management, international business management, global marketing, organizational behavior, and entrepreneurship at both the MBA and executive education levels. Its action-oriented decision focus suggests using it in the later stages of a course.