To stay in the race, western corporate giants will need to know when to compete and when to collaborate with the new guys on the block.
They are not "mere curiosities operating in distant regions," said the report entitled "Allies and Adversaries." "Global challengers are full-fledge competitors" that will "shape the global economy in the next decade."
Among them: Alibaba, the largest e-commerce company in China and Trina Solar, the world's fourth largest solar panel manufacturer; South Africa-based media giant Naspers, Chile's Latam Airlines, Russia's Lukoil and Gazprom, as well as India's carmaker Tata Motors and Infosys, a software solutions company. (Read More: Developed or Emerging Stocks—Who Will Win in 2013?)
"If ever there was a wake-up call for business leaders in the West, this is it," said David C. Michael, coauthor of the report, in a press release. "We have been monitoring the rise of global challenger companies for nearly a decade, and the ambition of these companies — what we call the accelerator mindset — has never been stronger."(Read More: China Stocks Overbought? Charts Suggest Correction)
The global challengers already outpace their competitors from the developed world in growth, job creation and productivity.
According to the report, their average revenue was $26.5 billion in 2011, compared with $21 billion for the S&P 500 nonfinancial companies.
In the past five years, global challengers added 1.4 million jobs, while employment at nonfinancial S&P 500 companies remained flat. Moreover, their average revenue per employee now exceeds that of nonfinancial S&P 500 companies.
While China and India dominate the list, with 30 and 20 companies respectively, the geography of global challengers is steadily broadening. It now includes firms from Egypt, Colombia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
The span of industries is also widening. Although heavily concentrated in industrial-goods and commodities, the game-changers of emerging markets are rapidly taking on the financial services, healthcare equipment and electronic commerce sectors. (Read More: Gear Shift? Relax on Europe, Beware Emerging Markets)
"Challengers and established multinationals are increasingly chasing the same consumers and customers," said the report.
Some challengers like Mexico's conglomerate Alfa and the baker Grupo Bimbo are expanding into the home markets of multinationals.