The Export Imperative

Press release
Published January 22nd, 2012 - 11:10 GMT

Companies operating in international markets are reporting better results (revenue trends, or profit trends, or both) than those concentrating on their domestic market, according to evidence from the Regus Global Survey, which polled opinion from over 12,000 companies around the world. These findings indicate that foreign expansion is good for business and should be considered urgently by domestically-focused companies who do not want to be left behind in fiercely competitive markets.

Evidence from the survey emphasizes the need for a shake-up in attitudes at domestically-focused firms. There is a gulf between the outlook of companies already operating internationally – where 80% intend to expand still further – and those solely operating in home markets – where only 42% intend to expand abroad over the next few years.

‘Property’ and ‘People’ are key perceived obstacles to international expansion:-

  • 34% of firms say the biggest obstacle to overseas expansion are the challenges of setting up a physical presence in a foreign country
  • 63% of companies also say that property commitments have to be very short term when setting up a foreign operation, as they do not know how quickly or slowly they will grow.
  • Opinion is split over the where senior management for overseas operations should hail from, with 53% favoring a mother country manager, and 47% opting for a local manager
  • A similar division occurs over management language skills, with 48% of respondents demanding local language fluency

Regus CEO, Mark Dixon notes, “This report provides hard evidence that, in the current economic climate, firms who have diversified overseas are faring better than those who have stayed with their home markets. This applies to companies both large and small and should act as a wake-up call for those still solely focused on domestic markets to find effective and cost-efficient ways of moving cross-border in order to enhance their earnings and spread their risk. While ‘property’ and ‘people’ are perceived as potentially major challenges, the wide availability of flexible workspace options around the globe make the ‘property’ element more perception than reality, the ‘people’ issues do require very considerable judgement.”

“Decisions about whether to install a local manager or install one from the mother country are critical and, we believe, rest heavily on whether sales are mainly being handled through a few major distributors, or whether direct contact with a wide range of customers is required.”

“Interestingly, the only exception amongst the major economies of the world is China. Here, state-sponsored infrastructure investment and development is providing disproportionate domestic market opportunity for Chinese firms. Nevertheless, such infrastructure development will ultimately turn out to be finite, and we suspect that into the next decade, Chinese firms will once again be looking for export-led growth.”

Background Information


Regus is the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace solutions, with customers including some of the most successful entrepreneurs, individuals and multi-billion dollar corporations.

Our network includes almost 3000 business centres, spanning almost 900 cities across 120 countries.Through our range of office formats, as well as our growing mobile, virtual office, and workplace recovery businesses, we enable people and businesses to work where they want, when they want, how they want, and at a range of price points.

Founded in Brussels, Belgium, in 1989, Regus is based in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange

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