UK market offers the most potential for international expansion in Europe

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 06 June 2014
UK market offers the most potential for international expansion in Europe

The UK is the most desirable European market for international expansion, according to a BT survey.

According to BT’s The art of connecting global business report – which surveyed 1,150 business decision makers based in 13 regions across the world – 80% of businesses believe that international expansion is highly essential for the success of their organisation. In addition, 75% indicated that growth opportunities were the main reason prompting them to expand overseas.

Despite the rise of the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – and the MINT – Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey – economies, the report indicated that most businesses aim to expand into established markets.

The top three markets highlighted as the most desirable for international expansion were the US (33% of respondents), the UK (30%) and China (29%), due to their potential customer base and the average disposable income of citizens. In addition, 27% of respondents indicated that they would consider expanding into Hong Kong, while 26% would target the German market.

Around 37% of respondents cited the quality of governance and regulation around IT security and data protection as one of the key reasons to expand into the UK.

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), which works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets through exports, aims to capitalise on the results of the survey and attract more international companies to the UK market.

“We are making the UK the best place to start and grow businesses and I am pleased that this report reinforces our position as the number one location for inward investment in Europe,” said Crispin Simon, CEO of UKTI. “The UK has always thrived on openness and we realise that the welcome we extend to those who invest here is critical to securing our country’s long term future.”

Simon added: “Inward investment from high growth markets such as China is at an all-time high and UKTI will be working hard to encourage more international firms to set up and grow their businesses here, creating jobs and growth for the UK economy.”

Technology and IT infrastructures were highlighted as businesses’ main considerations when looking to expand into new international markets. The study found that 91% of businesses would only expand into a digital-first economy that has a ubiquitous, nationwide, high-speed internet connection, while almost two thirds would look for high-quality IT infrastructure and services. In addition, 60% would want good-quality digital and communications infrastructure, while 52% would assess the IT skills of the workforce before expanding into a particular market.

“It’s great to see so many executives around the world aiming for international growth,” said Luis Alvarez, CEO, BT Global Services. “Those countries rated as highly desirable places to expand into not only have economic potential, but the right blend of business culture underpinned by an extensive digital infrastructure, skills and sound regulation. In this environment BT is delighted to play a key part in helping take UK business to the world and in bringing world business back to the UK.”

BT’s The art of connecting global business report was compiled to mark the opening of the International Festival for Business (IFB) 2014, a 50-day festival taking place in Liverpool, UK, in June and July. The festival will showcase the UK industry and brings together business leaders from 125 countries to release the potential of economic growth.

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