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Cargill is a private firm which until recently was controlled by two families.
A "parent" company, located in the TNC's country of origin, exercises an authoritative, controlling influence over a "subsidiary" in another country either directly if it is private or, if it is public, by owning some or all of the shares (parent corporations can exert controlling power even with relatively small share holdings in subsidiaries).
The style of relationships between parent and subsidiary companies --that is, how control is exercised--differs among TNCs' main home regions.
More formal, centralised control has typically been a hallmark of US, and to a lesser extent European, corporations than of Japanese TNCs.
Major technological advances in shipping, transport (especially by air), computerisation, and communications accelerated TNCs' increasing internationalisation of investment and trade, while new advertising capabilities helped TNCs expand market shares.
All these trends meant that by the 1970s oligopolistic consolidation and TNCs' role in global commerce was of a far different scale than earlier in the century.
There has also been a great increase in TNC investment in the less-industrialized world since the mid-1980s; such investment, along with private bank loans, has grown far more dramatically than national development aid or multilateral bank lending.
The US agribusiness giant United Fruit Company, for example, controlled 90 per cent of US banana imports by 1899, while at the start of the First World War, Royal Dutch/Shell accounted for 20 per cent of Russia's total oil production.7 Demand for natural resources continued to provide an impetus for European and US corporate ventures between the First and Second World Wars.
Although corporate investments from Europe declined somewhat, the activities of US TNCs expanded vigorously.
United Carbide India Ltd., for example, was the Indian subsidiary of the US-based Union Carbide Corporation.
Subsidiaries can have a different name than the parent company, and can of course also be located in the same country as the parent.
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The transnational corporation as it is known today, however, did not really appear until the 19th century, with the advent of industrial capitalism and its consequences: the development of the factory system; larger, more capital intensive manufacturing processes; better storage techniques; and faster means of transportation.