political, economic, and currency risks are all important factors



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political, economic, and currency risks are all important factors that need to be assessed as companies enter foreign markets. Country risk rankings such as the one published here reflect examples of potential threats to a firm’s operations in a foreign markets. Basically speaking, downstream activities that are performed closer to customers (e.g., marketing and sales) usually require more decentralization in order to adapt to local market conditions. However, local adaptation of products and services will increase a firm’s cost structure, yet in many industries, competition is so intense that few firms can afford any competitive disadvantages on cost. That said, if a particular product feature is critical to local consumers, a firm has no choice but to incorporate it into its local product strategy.
All – Do you expect more emphasis on local adaptation in your industry in the years to come? Does there seem to be a need for decisions to be more decentralized in your own organization so that changes in demand or “conditions on the ground” can be responded to more effectively?


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