The Wimbledon effect (Japanese: ウィンブルドン現象, rōmaji: Uinburudon Genshō, literally "Wimbledon Phenomenon") is a chiefly British and Japanese analogy (which possibly originated in Japan) which compares the tennis fame of the Wimbledon Championships, held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, with the economic success of the United Kingdom's financial services industries – especially those clustered in the City of London. The point of the analogy is that a national and international institution (the All England Club) can be highly successful despite the lack of strong native competition, as in modern tennis Britain has produced very few Wimbledon champions, with only Ann Haydon Jones, Virginia Wade (both women's singles), Jonathan Marray (men's doubles), Andy Murray (men's singles), Jeremy Bates, Jo Durie and Jamie Murray (mixed doubles) winning titles in the Open Era.
London's financial industry has boomed since the deregulation of UK financial markets (the "Big Bang") in the 1980s under the Thatcher government — but has also become dominated by foreign companies, especially American investment banks, rather than British firms (a result opposite to the original intention of the reforms).
The analogy is typically used to mark a debate over whether it matters if an industry is primarily domestically owned if easing of foreign ownership restrictions allows the economy to benefit from foreign investment and increased global competition. The phrase can be used positively to assert the economic success of liberal attitudes towards foreign ownership (and sometimes to emphasize that such attitudes promote a level playing field for domestic and foreign interests alike); or it can be used negatively to emphasize how these policies have eroded a nation's ability to produce globally leading domestic companies. This opposing perspective is represented by economic patriotism and "national champion" policies.
The analogy has also been used in policy discourses outside Britain – most notably in the business discourse of Japan, whose financial markets and other parts of the economy (as of 2006) have not yet been substantially opened up to foreign competition compared with its international peers. It has also, for instance, been used in banking reform debates in South Korea as well as in discussing business process outsourcing in India.
Sports in Japan
The term has been also frequently appeared in sports in Japan since late 20th century, including sumo where there has been no Japanese-born yokozuna since 1998 and no Japanese-born champion since 2006 as most of the top players have been from Mongolia or Polynesia. Similarly in combat sports (kakutougi), K-1 was the biggest kickboxing promotion of the world, whereas Pride Fighting Championships was the biggest mixed martial arts promotion of the world. Nevertheless both K-1 and Pride had few Japanese-born popular players or champions. The vast majority of prominent competitors in K-1 came from the Netherlands or Thailand, while Pride's biggest names were from Brazil, United States, and Russia.
References and further reading
- "Leader: Foreign ownership – Importing success", 19 June 2004, The Guardian
- Amory, Edward Heathcoat : "A fearful symmetry", 6 June 1998, The Spectator
- Sprague, Jonathan : "Foreigners at the Wheel : A new boss at scandal-hit Mitsubishi Motors", 22 September 2000, Asiaweek.com
- "DATABASE: GLOSSARY OF JAPANESE TERMS", ANALYTICA JAPAN: FINANCIAL RESEARCH
- "::: The Korea Times :::". Times.hankooki.com. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- "Wheeling & Dealing", Newsweek, 23 January 2006
- The Competitive Position of London as a Global Financial Centre, report by City of London Corporation & Z/Yen, November 2005
- "Spate of takeover bids 'sign of economic strength'", The Financial Times, 14 November 2005
- "Buying British", The Guardian, 1 November 2005
- "Foreign Penetration of Japan's Investment-Banking Market: Will Japan Experience the 'Wimbledon Effect'?", discussion paper by Nicole Pohl, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University, July 2002
- "What is the Wimbledon Effect shocking the world of sumo?", livedoor, 2 November 2005 (Japanese)