Home Essentials: Building a Global Service Business with Local Operations

Case Solution

Lynda M. Applegate, William R. Kerr, David Lane
Harvard Business School ()

Chris Exline founded Home Essentials, an expatriate furniture rental company in Singapore, but quickly moved to Hong Kong. The company was very successful in Singapore and Hong Kong and then pursued rapid global expansion. As there was no framework for deciding which candidate countries to choose and provide services in each country, Exline used instinct. Lacking information and control systems, he was unable to identify problems in time and had difficulty understanding the root cause of the errors. The global financial crisis has exacerbated the problems. The case ends with a description of how Exline was able to change the company’s situation and develop the necessary governance systems. The question of whether to try again to grow beyond Hong Kong, and if so, how to proceed with country selection, is a key issue that Exline was grappling with at the time of fall.

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