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With each billion-dollar indignity, Western business grows more irrelevant. First, an obscure emerging market company outbid a U.S. private equity house for a sexy American brand, when a group led by Fila Korea Ltd. beat out Blackstone L.P. for Titleist golf gear in spring 2011. A few months later, an obscure emerging market bank outbid leading U.S. insurers for a coveted emerging market business, when Colombia’s Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana S.A. bought the Latin American pension assets of ING Groep N.V. But at least in those deals, America Inc. was in the game. The final insult came early this year, when China’s Jinchuan Group Ltd. beat out Brazil’s Vale S.A. for the South African miner Metorex Limited—and an emerging market company outbid an emerging market company for emerging market assets. Western multinationals could not have been more thoroughly sidelined.

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