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HOW DOES A COMPANY DECIDE WHICH COUNTRIES TO TARGET?
OVERVIEW
• Assessment of country markets o Geographic proximity Elementary my o Government policies & dear businessman exchange rates o Level of economic development (Ranking by GDP or HDI) o Political and legal system o Natural resources o Commodity prices o Potential labour force o Level of Technology o Return on investment Comparative advantage and the role of specialised economies o Advantages for a company of trading with a country which can produce a good or service more cheaply through specialisation.

ASSESSMENT OF COUNTRY MARKETS G EOGRAPHIC PROXIMITY
• Common logic would dictate that the further the nation, the higher the transport costs. However sometimes, it takes less to transport thousands of miles through cargo ships than hundreds of miles through trucking. But for normal manufacturing businesses, such as car manufacturers, it would be best to locate near their manufacturing plants, which would make transportation easier and faster. Service oriented businesses will not find this a great problem, as there is little to transport.

G OVERNMENT POLICIES AND EXCHANGE RATES
• Taxes, Businesses will try to avoid paying high taxes, often maximising profits in low tax countries and minimising profits in high tax countries: They use tactics such as transfer pricing and asset movements to reduce the profits declared in countries with a higher rate of corporation tax and boost those in lower rate countries. HMRC are currently claiming that HSBC bank 'avoided' paying £2bn in tax by such methods last year. They may well maximise profits in low tax economies to offset business in high-tax economies as well. Low taxes attract FDI. Barriers to trade such as tariffs and quotas. Ease of setting up a business; often with developing nations there is excessive red tape.

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2|Q u az i N a f i u l I sl a m – w w w . s t u d e n t t e c h .c o . c c • Exchange rates; rates unstable exchange would cause uncertainty. Undervalued exchange rates would make foreign goods more expensive; some business chose to locate the business in the target market will have to offset added production cost with sales. Grants and subsidies, this makes doing business cheaper for businesses. Often governments try to lure in businesses in poverty stricken areas in order to increase employment there.

160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0

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L EVEL OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (R ANKING BY GDP OR HDI)
The HDI (Human Development Index) is a composite index made up of the per capita income, education and life expectancy of a country. The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) 𝐺𝐷𝑃 = 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑢𝑚𝑝𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 + 𝑔𝑟𝑜𝑠𝑠 𝑖𝑛𝑣𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 + 𝑔𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑛𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 + (𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑠 − 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑠)

Consumption is expenditure on goods and services by the consumer.

High

Medium

Low

Figure 1 - A map of HDI across the world. 0.9 – 1.0 : Very High Development 0.8 – 0.9 : High Development 0.5 – 0.8 : Medium Development 0.3 – 0.5 : Low Development

3|Q u az i N a f i u l I sl a m – w w w . s t u d e n t t e c h .c o . c c • • • Targeting areas of high HDI and GDP per capita will be good for most businesses as people there are healthy, educated and rich. This means the market should be able to cater for most businesses, but labour costs should be very expensive. Strong Infrastructure should allow for businesses better communication as well as transportation of goods and services, allowing them to reach a larger number of consumers. Businesses will need to seek out economies that meet their needs and at the same time provide the best competitive advantage due to its economic efficiencies.

P OLITICAL AND LEGAL SYSTEM
• Businesses will want stability in the economy, so that business can go on as usual and long term predictions on growth can be made. However often businesses have to take risks in order to make profits in volatile nations where there is much political instability and rampant corruption. o Often businesses will ingratiate themselves with corrupt political leaders in order to gain greater safety. The legal systems in foreign nations are not always dependable. o Counterfeit software is a major concern in China. o If the legal system does not protect the business’ assets, then there will be a lot of risk involved in doing business in the country.

N ATURAL RESOURCES AND COMMODITY PRICES
• Natural resources are a big factor for location for mining and oil/gas companies. Chinese mining companies have invested heavily into Zimbabwe as it has many metal resources that China can avail of such as coal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin, platinum group metals. High commodity prices for natural resources such as coal, oil and metals may give companies enough incentive to start doing business in volatile regions. Chinese companies have a lot of mining operations in Zimbabwe (which has a lot of political instability) because of the abundant mineral reserves and very cheap labour available there. Click here to view commodity prices→ Commodity prices will affect a decision in a similar way to the level of other factor costs. Lower commodity prices make location there more attractive. However, by the widely traded nature of commodities, it is unlikely to be a major factor in location as they can simply be imported. Much depends on the importance of commodities as a raw material for the business in question.

P OTENTIAL LABOUR FORCE AND LEVEL OF TECHNOLOGY
• • Different businesses will need different levels of skill. Businesses may often have to trade off additional training costs with low wages in certain countries, and low wages should provide a greater return on investment. If a business wants to locate its R&D sector in a country, then it will have to have met its technology and human capital requirements. Infrastructure and good telecommunication should also be a key factor when deciding where to locate the R&D sector.

R ETURN ON INVESTMENT
• Businesses will make forecasts based on transportation, set-up and wage costs how much profit they are going to make. The profitability, which depends on all the aforementioned factors it also depends on what the business expects in the long term. o Many foreign businesses in China made a lot of losses to being with, but stayed for the long run as they believed that having a foot-hold in china would be a great advantage to them. o Low wages should lead to high return on investment in the long run, even if at the beginning investment needs to be made on training and other equipment, low wages can be a trade-off in the long run.

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COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE AND THE ROLE OF SPECIALISATION IN ECONOMIES
When businesses are tasked with producing something, they divide the workload into different parts, handled by different workgroups: the division of labour. As these groups work on their specific tasks more and more, they become better at what they do and thus increasing efficiency. This is called specialisation.

Advantage

Absolute

Comparative

Competitive

A BSOLUTE ADVANTAGE
Absolute advantage is the ability of a country, individual, company or region to produce a good or service at a lower cost per unit than the cost at which any other entity produces that good or service. INVESTOPEDIA

C OMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE
Comparative advantage is a situation in which a country, individual, company or region can produce a good at a lower opportunity cost than a competitor. INVESTOPEDIA Comparative advantage is an economic law that demonstrates the ways in which protectionism (mercantilism, at the time it was written) is unnecessary in free trade. Popularized by David Ricardo, comparative advantage argues that free trade works even if one partner in a deal holds absolute advantage in all areas of production - that is, one partner makes products cheaper, better and faster than its trading partner. The primary fear for nations entering free trade is that they will be out-produced by a country with an absolute advantage in several areas, which would lead to imports, but no exports. Comparative advantage stipulates that countries should specialize in a certain class of products for export, but import the rest - even if the country holds an absolute advantage in all products. (To learn more, read What Is International Trade?)

5|Q u az i N a f i u l I sl a m – w w w . s t u d e n t t e c h .c o . c c The essence of this law can be illustrated with a simple example. Imagine that you are a skilled cabinetmaker as well as a gifted painter. It takes you a day to build a cabinet or a day to paint a picture. In the local economy, paintings sell for $400 and cabinets go for $350. Your neighbour also shares the same skill sets, but it takes him a day and a half to build a cabinet and three days to complete a painting. You have an absolute advantage over your neighbour in both areas, so you should try to out-produce him across the board, right? Wrong. Here's why: If you flip between painting and cabinetmaking over a six-day work week, you would produce three paintings and three cabinets worth $2,250. If your neighbour embarked upon the same work schedule, he would produce one painting and two cabinets worth $1,100. There would be a total of four paintings and five cabinets produced: a total of nine production units. If, however, you were to choose to focus on painting, the area where you have the greatest comparative advantage and the most profit, and leave cabinetmaking to your neighbour, something magical would happen. You would produce six paintings worth $2,400 per week, while your neighbour would produce four cabinets worth $1,400, bringing the total to 10 production units. In real terms, both you and your neighbour would be richer for specializing - and the local economy is one production unit the better for it. This example rings true on the level of international trade as well. Britain provided support for comparative advantage by essentially outsourcing its food growth (importing grains, meat, cheese, wine, etc.) and focusing on manufacturing goods for export, thus, becoming the workshop of the world during the industrial revolution. This passage has been copied from Investopedia

C OMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
A competitive advantage is a particular advantage that a business has that enables it to perform better than its rivals. Competitive Advantage is to do with sales and specifically how a product or service sells in relation to the competition. So, it might be because it is cheaper, have a more popular brand name, be advertised heavily, be of better quality etc. Absolute advantage is more to do with production; it involves using fewer resources to make the product than a competing business or nation. This does not necessarily mean that a competitive advantage will follow as a result of having absolute advantage. It might do, if the business with an absolute advantage can charge a lower price, but a lower price is only one sort of competitive advantage and can be outweighed by other considerations such as brand name, customer service etc.