The decline of foreign markets and the rise of local markets

An article in The Wall Street Journal talks about the American “two track” economy — in which US companies that sell globally are doing much better than those focused only domestically.

One quote jumped out at me:

But John Farrell, global head of strategic planning, says Coke approaches the world not as an American company that does a lot of business abroad, but as a global company that numbers the U.S. among its hundreds of markets.

I’ve been saying something similar to since for many years. In 2005, I wrote:  Smart and aggressive companies will transform themselves from US companies serving foreign markets to global companies serving local markets.

Every market is now a local market.

The only question is whether (or when) your company will go after it.

The Wall Street Journal article, because it relied on publicly traded corporate data for its analysis, may create the impression that only only large companies can benefit from these global opportunities.

But I find the most exciting global success stories among smaller, privately owned companies. This is a golden moment in history for small businesses to start expanding into new markets. Internet growth in emerging markets is booming. And I’m not even recommending you dive into China, a market that is extremely difficult to succeed in. Take a look at Brazil, Chile, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, Indonesia. If you’re a smaller company, look at a smaller market that may be overlooked by your larger competitors.

I’ll leave you with this excerpt from the article:

… economists expect economic growth of 9.8% this year in China, 8.3% in India and 7.5% in Brazil.

All that  growth is encouraging more American companies to venture abroad. Pizza-chain operator Papa John’s International Inc. currently gets only about 4% of its revenue from its foreign operations, but in recent years the Louisville, Ky., company has been making infrastructure and supply-chain investments that it says will help it expand in foreign markets.

“We believe international is going to be more of a part of our growth,” says Papa John’s Chief Financial Officer David Flanery, adding that within two or three years he expects the company will be opening more new restaurants outside the U.S. than inside it.

And if you’re curious about what companies have done the best job localizing their web sites for markets around the world, check out the Web Globalization Report Card.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.