New Horizons:

How external counsel can help you explore and secure market entry opportunities

IR Global members offer jurisdiction-specific advice on how external counsel can help you explore & secure market entry opportunities. 

The global Covid-19 pandemic may not be over, but business leaders around the globe are approaching the end of 2021 with far more optimism than at the close of last year. The global economy is projected to grow 5.9% by the end of 2021, and a further 4.9% in 2022: while these figures are skewed by the 5.93% decline in 2020, they still signal a reassuring step in the right direction towards economic recovery. 

With growing confidence that the end is in sight – at least in terms of restrictions on travel and everyday life – many organisations are looking towards growth strategies that will enable them to seize opportunities in the global, and regional, economic rebound. 

Market entry will undeniably play a central role in that growth. M&A in particular has emerged over the past 12 months as a valuable tool for businesses looking to mitigate the regional risks created by the pandemic and rapidly pivot their business model to gain a competitive advantage. 

Yet it’s not the only method of market entry for businesses looking to meet long-term global expansion plans against the backdrop of the pandemic. Although restrictions on travel made M&A a convenient market entry option (both logistically and economically) during the heart of the pandemic, the gradual easing of these restrictions is bringing alternative market entry strategies back to the fore, including export, distribution partnerships, and ‘boots on the ground’ strategies like the development of brand-new wholly owned subsidiaries. 

However, despite increased optimism and signs of economic recovery, it’s crucial that businesses recognise the ongoing impact of the pandemic. Covid-19 has cast a long shadow across the global business landscape and will continue to do so for many years: for businesses exploring expansion in this ‘new normal’, it’s important to understand the distinct regional challenges and opportunities. Global political responses to the pandemic have been varied, with different governments adopting different levels of support – from providing extensive policies, packages and emergency legislations designed to aid businesses and stimulate national GDP growth, to giving virtually no governmental support at all – creating disparate opportunities and risks in each region. 

At present, two major challenges are set to colour the global market in the months ahead. For advanced economies, who are approaching the end of direct pandemic disruption thanks to successful stimulus packages and wide-reaching vaccine rollouts, supply chain challenges are still impinging on growth. The income-developing countries who play such a crucial role in that supply chain, meanwhile, are still facing direct disruption due to the pandemic, with access to vaccines marked as the number one prohibitor to economic growth in many of these regions. 

The result is an even more complex global trade picture than usual and, as such, businesses looking to market entry for growth are recommended to ascertain in-depth local knowledge at the earliest opportunity. 

Businesses’ reasons for exploring expansion have also changed. The afore-mentioned “competitive advantage” is fast over-taking pure financial growth or geographical footprint as a driving force behind market entry, with target regions, acquisitions or trade partners increasingly being chosen in order to access local talent, technology, Intellectual Property (IP), or trade benefits in particular to gain fast access to growth pockets such as e-commerce, telecommunications and digital. 

Last, but by no means least, is the issue of corporate responsibility (CSR) in a post-pandemic world. Covid-19 has intensified the spotlight on social and ecological concerns: from the climate crisis to wage disparity and inequality. As you will discover throughout this publication, CSR has become a key component across every aspect of market entry, whether it’s in choosing a target for M&A, selecting trade partners, assessing market compatibility or ensuring that satellite operations overseas are committing to the same CSR standards as the central business. 

In the following pages, IR Global members share unique local insight into their jurisdictions, from the effects of Covid-19 to the CSR factors that are influencing market entry strategies in their region. Covering many of the core aspects of market entry and the complications that can arise – from regional real estate regulations and insolvency practices, to conflicting intellectual property laws and legal dispute processes – New horizons provides an in-depth, regionalised perspective on the global business landscape.