Questions to ask before entering an emerging market

Here’s my latest post for client Pitney Bowes:

For companies in search of global growth, emerging markets are hard to resist. But like the California gold fields of the 1850s, the promise of riches doesn’t always result in riches. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have an emerging market strategy — you absolutely should. But set your expectations accordingly.

Begin by understanding that “emerging market” can apply to diverse range of countries, cultures, governments, and growth rates. China, for example, is considered an emerging market even though its economy is more than ten times the size of Turkey — another emerging market.

And China, despite its massive size, may for some companies be a more challenging market to succeed in than other markets. For example, a number of American multinationals, most notably Facebook and Google, have been humbled by China’s “great firewall,” which has often left their websites blocked to hundreds of millions of Internet users. Meanwhile, Facebook has been surprisingly successful in Indonesia — another emerging market that often gets overlooked by companies rushing headfirst into China.

As you begin crafting an emerging market strategy, keep your eyes open to all emerging markets, and not just the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China).

And consider the following ten questions.


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2 thoughts on “Questions to ask before entering an emerging market”

  1. Another great article, John. I really like the idea of setting up micro sites to monitor success in individual markets. I think that lessens the overall risk and expense, and allows a company to put metrics in place to measure against. Thanks for the post!

  2. Hi Val — Thanks for the comment. I’m a big fan of starting small and building from there. The idea that you have to translate everything for all markets (or do nothing at all) often prevents companies from testing the waters in new markets.


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