Emerging markets in Asia offer an attractive destination for any company looking to scale its business. Most of the countries in Asia are growing at much faster rates than the OECD countries. These new markets offer unique possibilities for U.S. companies to enter and gain an early lead in their sectors. Consumers in these countries respect U.S. brands. However, it is important to have a local presence when doing business in large markets like China and India. U.S.-based companies can leverage the unique product development infrastructure of the U.S. to develop products suitable for global local markets and then manufacture the products in countries with large market potential.

According to an article in today’s Financial Times entitled “UK ‘micro-multinationals’ lead the way”, “The UK is emerging as a leader in “micro-multinationals” – small to midsized manufacturers that operate plants in a mix of high and low-cost locations to gain maximum benefits from different forms of production.” The article provides excellent case studies of U.K. micro-national companies that have opened operations in China, India, Thailand and elsewhere.

The FT articles notes that the successful micro-multinational manufacturers it covered share the following characteristics:

  • In niche sectors with only a few competitors
  • Use of novel technologies
  • Technical processes, or the products themselves, are esoteric yet vital to big industries
  • Have close relationships with customers who frequently play a part in product development
  • Business managers are “culturally adept” at adapting to the characteristics of different countries and forging links with engineering-focused customers around the world

Interesting food for thought for any U.S. company that would like to do business in the global marketplace as a micro-multinational.