Of course China is the hot market to sell US products. Now there is a new player that is helping small businesses get access to this huge market. Export Now is the new access point for SMB’s.       Check it out here.

Also, don’t forget to use Baidu in China. It is the search engine giant there.

UPS is sponsoring a day long international trade program for businesses. AmeriChannels will participate to do breakout sessions throughout the day on International Marketing. The symposium description is; Reaching customers around the world has never been easier, but successful business people need to take into consideration delivery options, differing payment methods, and contingency planning in order to ensure a profitable and sustained presence in global markets. This full-day, action-oriented program will give you the tools and resources to make strategic decisions to benefit your bottom-line success.

For more information your invitation is here

http://www.exportassistance.com/documents-forms/export-documentation-templates/doc_download/171-ups-international-trade-symposium

Three months until the end of the year. If you’re not already done, now is the time to be finalizing your marketing and sales strategies for 2012. Review your market strategies. What are the marketing and sales drivers that are going to really affect next year? What else needs to be done to get ready? Training? Localization of materials? Packaging? Production or supply chain issues?

All of these questions should have answers by now. Remember, the easiest way to hit sales targets for next year is to have a full 12 months of sales. In other words, you can’t be wasting the 1st quarter getting your marketing, promotional strategies and sales channels up to speed. It all needs to be in place to maximize your revenue for the full 12 months of next year.

We continue to see a number of news stories (see below) that indicate technology globally is in good shape. It is robust and growing despite all of the financial woes that many countries are experiencing. Because of these financial concerns are we in jeopardy of seeing a slowdown in IT and technology spending? Are you concerned and what do you think needs to happen to fix it? We need to continue the momentum that has started as it is so difficult to get it moving again. And, many of the companies that benefit from this growth are US companies that can’t afford to see a decline globally.

1. Gartner is reporting that the global enterprise software market grew by 8.5 percent in 2010 – reaching USD$245 billion. Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, SAP and Symantec accounted for a combined 50.2 percent of the market. Company’s seeing some of the strongest growth rates were VMware (41 percent), Adobe (29 percent) and SalesForce (28 percent).

2. The global technology sector saw 794 mergers and acquisitions during the first quarter of this year, according to Ernst & Young. That represents a 26 percent increase in activity over the first quarter of last year. The firm noted that cloud computing was a factor behind dozens of deals with telephone and cable network operators acquiring services companies with large data centers in order to increase their ability to provide cloud services.

3. Over the past 10 years, the information and communication technology (ICT) growth in Africa has exceeded all predictions. In 2000, 11 million people in Africa had cell phones, in 2005 the number was 200 million and today it is approaching 400 million. Likewise in 2000, 3 million users accessed the Internet in Africa while last year that number reached more than 100 million users. Annual ICT-related revenues in Africa are expected to reach USD$50 billion this year.

4. Last year the Singapore government spent USD$896 million on information and communication technology investments.  This fiscal year the investment will be USD$880 million. A portion of the investments this year will be put toward integrating military healthcare records with the national health care system.

5.  Fourty percent of businesses surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region are considering cloud computing. Of all the businesses surveyed by SpringBoard, 16 percent said they were looking to support unpredictable workloads, 13 percent wanted to reduce hardware costs while 11 percent needed to reduce staffing and/or administrative expenses. Only 14 percent of companies with fewer than 50 PCs said they were currently using any cloud offerings, while 36 percent of companies with more than 500 PCs reporting some level of cloud utilization.

5 points above from the York Group monthly newsletter

Over the past several weeks I have read a variety of comments from research analysts, technology manufacturers and industry pundits that paint a positive future for technology growth around the world. I have listed just a few of them below.

Reading these would make you believe that technology will be a leading factor in bringing the current worldwide economic picture into a more positive position. It’s hard to see negatives in these numbers. While I always like to view the glass as half full, the current long recovery makes me a bit skeptical but optimistic.

1. KPMG reports that during the first quarter of this year $84 billion was spent acquiring 881 companies. That’s the most since the second quarter of 2008. KPMG expects the level of activity to continue.

2. IDC says $21.5 billion was spent on public cloud services in 2010 and that the spending will increase by more than $50 billion over the next four years, for a compound annual growth rate of 27.6 percent. The spending will focus on servers, applications, systems infrastructure software, etc.

3. Gartner reports, worldwide enterprise software revenue will grow by 9.5 percent this year over 2010 – reaching $267 billion. The company is predicting continued growth for each of the next five years.

4. Cisco predicts that by 2015 the number of network-connected devices will total more than 15 billion…twice the world’s population. And traffic will quadruple over the next four years.

5. IDC forecasts that IT spending on the African continent will grow by 10 percent in 2011, reaching $25 billion. South Africa is expected to grow by 7.5 percent, while Egypt will continue to grow rapidly at more than 15 percent and the spending in the rest of Africa will grow at 12 percent.

6. IT services spending in the Asia-Pacific region is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6 percent over the next four years, according to Ovum.

7. Gartner reports, Eastern Europe saw a 36 percent year-on-year jump in server revenues during the first quarter of this year – the highest percentage globally. Asia-Pacific saw the second strongest growth with 29 percent over the first quarter of 2010.

A recent article in The Economist on June 1st 2011 provided some interesting questions about the business of outsourcing in India and other countries. Here is an excerpt from the article.

“Yet there is a slight whiff of a mid-life crisis. So far this year both Infosys and Wipro, two of India’s “big three” IT firms, have given guidance for profits that has disappointed analysts. Both are restructuring their operations and have had turbulence at the top. Infosys muddled the transfer of power among its founders. Wipro, a firm still controlled by its long-time leader, whose villa can be spotted through a forest glade next to its headquarters, lost its joint-chief executives. Only the largest, Mumbai-based TCS, is firing on all cylinders.”

We have had conversations with a number of US companies who are rethinking their outsourcing strategies. With rising labor costs and a desire to support “Made in America” the move is definitely starting. What are your thoughts?

What’s the future of outsourcing in India?  Is there a place for outsourcing abroad give rising costs?  Have countries like India outlived their turn in the cycle and with rising labor costs are they becoming obsolete?

I was reading an article in the Economist “Brazil’s labour laws: Employer beware” which highlighted some of the risks of running a business in Brazil. This experience is not limited to Brazil. Things like this can be found in many countries. What often seems ridiculous is status quo in some countries. In our Top Ten Tips the seventh tip is Don’t Ignore The Political Situation. Part of this is understanding local laws, rules and regulations. This article in the Economist talks about the laws that expose employers in Brazil to unecessary lawsuits and liabilitites. It is a must read for anyone considering international expansion not just to Brazil but anywhere.

What types of bizarre situations have you experienced?

The Economist article can be found here http://www.economist.com/node/18332906?story_id=18332906?fsrc=nlw|mgt|16-03-2011|management_thinking

Almost all “tips” lists for international business include a recommendation to find a good partner – ours included. But what if you want more information before you jump in? Most states have either, or both, a U.S. Commercial Office and State Trade Office which offer workshops, and informational sessions on a regular basis.

As an example, this weekend I had a chance to catch up on various newsletters and thought the upcoming workshop in Minnesota “FINDING and MOTIVATING the RIGHT Foreign Business Partner” looks like it will offer some great information, and a chance to meet and exchange ideas with other business people.

http://www.positivelyminnesota.com/Business/Exporting_Trade/Calendar_of_Trade_Events/Seminars,_Conferences_Roundtables.aspx

 As Dave Forest points out in the article referenced below, the United States exports relatively few consumer products, like t-shirts and CD cases. What may not be well-known is that the U.S. continues to enjoy relatively strong levels of capital goods exports.  In fact, Forest points out that capital goods exports levels earlier this year were at 2006 levels, still 35% higher than 2003.

 Opportunities to expand and increase revenue exist.  Take advantage, even in a down economy.

 http://oilprice.com/Geo-Politics/North-America/America-Export-Nation.html

Dan Brutto, President of UPS’s international division, shares international business best practices with small businesses looking to export. Why? This year’s UPS Business Monitor United States, an annual survey of U.S. small and midsize business exporters with fewer than 500 employees, found that one-third of respondents cited cultural or language barriers as the reason why they didn’t follow up on an international sales lead.

As Brutto notes, 96% of the worlds’ consumers are outside the U.S. Figuring out your international strategy now so you don’t have to play catch up later is good advice. Learning from others so you don’t have to make the same mistakes is also good advice. Check out Bruttos article here: http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/aug2010/ca20100823_647891.htm. And then check out our Top Ten Tips link. International business strategy is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’, and you will need to do your homework. But taking advantage of good advice? Priceless.