According to consulting firm Ernst & Young, “By 2020, rapid-growth markets are expected to account for 50% of the global GDP when measured at purchasing power parity, 38% of the world consumer spending, and 55% of the world fixed capital investment.” Given this enormous shift in the power of global audiences to support businesses all over the world, it’s no surprise that American companies of all types and sizes are looking at global expansion as a way to grow their businesses.
Rapid Growth Markets
Ernst & Young identified 25 “rapid-growth markets.” The list may surprise you:
- Czech Republic
- Saudi Arabia
- Greater China & Hong Kong
- South Africa
Clearly there is an opportunity to reach new audiences in fast growing markets all over the world and in many different languages.
If your business is thinking about a global expansion strategy, there are many things to take into account during the planning process. Here are a few:
- Market Research and Selection: Given the diversity of the opportunity for global expansion, it makes sense to carefully consider the countries or regions you wish to address. You’ll need to invest the effort to research the product demands, culture, and trends in the area. You’ll also want to understand the competitive landscape, which may vary from place to place.
- Business Model: There are lots of ways to approach foreign markets including licensing, offshore production, partnering, exporting, or importing. Choosing the right approach is especially important for companies that manufacture or sell goods, but service and technology companies must also be prudent as they consider just how they will carry out their market penetration strategy and bring their solutions to market. What works well in the U.S. may not be the best approach overseas.
- Government: Different governments across the world means different laws, so you must consider things like privacy laws, product labeling regulations, accessibility rules, consumer protection laws, taxes, disclosure requirements, import/export laws, and more. Consulting with a subject matter expert in the country or countries you plan to tackle is a best practice.
- Language: It may seem to go without saying, but many business leaders underestimate the importance of language when considering global expansion. Americans often fail to realize that English is not the primary language used for conducting business across the globe. According to Forbes, if you’re looking to expand in one of the top fifteen emerging markets, there’s “a sixty-percent likelihood that your customers will speak little to no English.” Consider that, along with the fact that more than half of customers will not buy a product from a website that is not in their native language, and you’ll understand the importance of language for global expansion.
Smartling Can Help
Smartling helps support customers’ global expansion aspirations by providing translation software to assist with the key tasks of translating and localizing websites. Our tools are designed to increase translation process efficiency with in-context translation, translation memory, automated workflow, and access to a network of trusted human professional translation providers.
In addition, the Smartling solution automates the on-going process of content collection necessary to keep your websites in sync and up to date. The solution recognizes changed content and collects it for translation, then returns it to the source system once translation is complete.
Global expansion is an increasingly attractive way for businesses to accelerate growth. With the right technology and partners, many businesses have successfully executed the strategy and profited as a result.