Understanding the Importance of International Business

International business is all business transactions-private and governmental-that involve two or more countries. Why should one be interested in studying international business? The simplest answer is that international business comprises a large and growing portion of the world's total business. Today, almost all companies, large or small, are affected by global events and competition because most sell output to and/or secure suppliers from foreign countries and/or compete against products and services that come from abroad.

More companies that engage in some form of international business are involved in exporting and importing than in any other type of business transaction. Many of the international business experts argue that exporting is a logical process with a natural structure, which can be viewed primarily as a method of understanding the target country's environment, using the appropriate marketing mix, developing a marketing plan based upon the use of the mix, implementing a plan through a strategy and finally, using a control method to ensure the strategy is adhered to. This exporting process is reviewed and evaluated regularly and modifications are made to the use of the mix, to take account of market changes impacting upon competitiveness. This view seems to suggest that much of the international business theory related to enterprises, which are internationally based and have global ambitions, does often change depending on the special requirements of each country.

Another core issue is the company's growth and the importance of networking and interaction. This view looks at the way in which companies and organisations interact and consequently network with each other to gain commercial advantage in world markets. The network can be using similar subcontractors or components, sharing research and development costs or operating within the same governmental framework. Clearly, when businesses formulate a trading block with no internal barriers they are actually creating their own networks. Collaborations in aerospace, vehicle manufactures and engineering have all sponsored the development of a country's or a group of countries' outlook based on their own internal market network. This network and interaction approach to internationalisation shows the substance of being able to influence decisions when knowing how the global network players work or interact.

For example, a crucial market network is that of the Middle East. Middle East countries are rich, diverse markets, with a vibrant and varied cultural heritage. This means that although there has been a harmonisation process during the past few years, differences still exist. Rather than business being simpler as a result, it should be recognised that because of regulations and the need those countries have to restructure as they enter the global market, performing any kind of business can be highly complex. It should be remembered though that the Middle-Eastern countries have a low-income average and like to have their cultural differences recognised. Those firms that will or have recognised these facts have a good chance of developing a successful marketing strategy to meet their needs. Fortunately some firms have realised these important differences and reacted adequately when strategic decisions had to be made regarding their penetration to this kind of markets.

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