Scholars have debated the nature of the market at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP). Challenging assumptions about these customers, C. K. Prahalad has described numerous success stories of multinational companies who targeted low-income people as their customers. However, other scholars have raised questions about Prahalad's propositions and the economic and ethical realities facing firms doing business at the BOP. Interestingly, though many projects have failed with the BOP market, firms operating in emerging markets have successfully implemented these programs in the mass market. Thus, many products and services, such as automobiles and hotels, have now become an affordable possibility for the mass segment. This commentary summarizes the debate over Prahalad's propositions and explains their current status.
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