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  • Genghis Kahn Rocking Louis Vuitton and Burberry

    Sometimes you find prosperity not on a new expedition, but right under your nose. Because you are known more for a mythical leader, strategic warfare than commerce: but times are changing.

    Mongolia is rising out of the shadows: it’s ready for a starring role.

    Sometimes you find prosperity not on a new expedition, but right under your nose. You are known more for a mythical leader, strategic warfare than commerce: but times are changing.

    Did you know: one of the new hotspots in the world, not only for business – but luxury commerce is – is – is — Mongolia. Fooled you, but yes Mongolia – the land of the Great Genghis Kahn.

    I was just as surprised by this as you might be, because Mongolia presents some unique problems, like such a big country being somewhat disconnected from the rest of the world, a very low education and literacy rate, while not being known for contemporary and viable economics, but what happened?


    Mongolia has discovered that it has vast sums of close to 100 different minerals and now they are invested in oil exploration as well – who knew.  Mongolia is poised to be the unlikeliest of global players, as it sits between China and Russia. I wonder will Mongolia have enough assets, government infrastructure and domestic and international business acumen to win on the global market and become an emerging power: time will tell, but it looks good.

    Read the Wall Street Journal’s, The Luxury Frontier, by Maureen Orth, who looks at Mongolia’s slow, but serious transition from backwoods expanse to cosmopolitan comer.

    Orth writes, “Nothing illustrates the topsy-turvy nature of Mongolia today more than the capital city’s main Sukhbaatar Square, where a bronze statue of Lenin once presided. Now a gleaming Louis Vuitton store, opened in October 2009, offers clients champagne in a circular VIP room outfitted with a lavish ceremonial Mongolian saddle and antique caviar case. Outside the store, however, several hundred yards away, a group of dissident poor have pitched their round felt and wood yurts (gers in Mongolian) to protest the government’s cozying up to foreigners and not doing enough for them. “We want jobs. The poor need to have a better quality of life,” 52-year-old I. Baganuur tells me. “The government is implementing policies for themselves, not for its citizens….Sharing the same luxury mall with Vuitton are Burberry, Zegna, Emporio Armani and Hugo Boss. Burberry is planning a second store in a Shangri-La hotel currently under construction. Ferragamo and Dunhill are also looking for space. At the same time, the capital, which boasts the most vibrant democracy in Central Asia, does not have street addresses and has just begun to introduce zip codes. “The irony for Mongolia,” says American ambassador to Mongolia Jonathan S. Addleton, “is the more successful they are, the more challenging it becomes.”

    Only time will tell if Mongolia will succeed in transforming itself into a global powerhouse. But I know one thing: Genghis would be proud.

    Good Luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Global Business


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    1. Wow! Total shock to me, Calvin.

      The news is exciting, though. So often, when you think of Mongolia, you think of marginalized, sub-third world existence.

      If they can only control their own assets and not succumb to greedy multinational conglomerate vampires… (MEAN)

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