Posted by Thomas Crampton
My experiences in changing cities five times and continents three times in the last 18 months have given me an insight into the shallowness of certain aspects of globalization from a consumer perspective.
(My experiences are used merely as example I know well, not because I think they are of world significance. )
I first had an American Express card in Hong Kong, then in the US and now in France. When I applied for the new Amex card in the US and in France, I was assured that my membership date would go back to when I first joined.
Each time I got the card, however, (my French card just arrived) they considered me a new member. A longer term of membership can confer benefits.
When I complained to the French Amex yesterday, the customer service person explained that American Express in Hong Kong is not the same as American Express in France. Funny, because that is not what their advertising seems to imply.
I had a similar experience with HSBC. Their Hong Kong service has been excellent (great website), so I checked out the bank in the US and then here in France. Each time I was informed that although they market the bank as HSBC in these different places, each bank is fairly independent country-by-country. They said this is partly due to banking legislation that varies in each jurisdiction.
What generalizations can be drawn? Products (McDonalds burgers, Coke, etc) globalize more quickly than services?