Almost half of British companies are interested in expanding their business overseas as part of a growing trend, according to a new survey. Companies of all sizes see overseas expansion as a key part of their forward growth strategy according to the research from one of the oldest established healthcare companies, Expacare.
Nearly half, 43%, of the businesses questioned for its Anatomy of an International Business survey were either considering a move to trading overseas in the future or hoping to further strengthen an already established international foothold. Some 44% said that they are motivated by wanting to play a part in a global market and 32% also cited supporting a client’s international presence as a reason for expansion.
Of those questioned, 64% said that they think overseas exposure is set to become more common place in the future. The survey concludes that there is a ‘real appetite’ for overseas expansion by UK firms but such a move is not without issues as 30% believe a lack of knowledge of the country would be a key challenge and 32% suggest that set up costs would make it an expensive process.
A further 20% said that motivating and recruiting staff to go overseas was seen as the biggest obstacle. They fully expect to provide a number of incentives including private health insurance and a relocation allowance to encourage staff.
A review of those taking part in the survey shows that 34% already held bases in the European Union, with 39% hoping to move to Scandinavia and 36% were considering opportunities in the emerging BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. This would indicate that firms are looking further afield as part of their expansion strategy. The survey also found that businesses aim to avoid certain countries with 41% saying that they would not operate in Switzerland and 48% ruling out South Africa.
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‘The research has shown that there is a firm trend for businesses to look beyond their borders in pursuit of growth, which is encouraging,’ said Expacare managing director Beverly Cook, adding, ‘It is fantastic that the government is doing all that it can to encourage businesses to look into the opportunities in international markets which will undoubtedly provide a boost to the UK economy’.
‘When businesses are looking to move overseas it is also crucial that they look after their most important asset, their staff. It therefore makes especially pleasing reading to see that businesses see international private healthcare cover as a priority in their expansion process,’ she added.