Where next in the world?

For those of us who enjoy contemplating our navel whilst at the same time reading macroeconomic reports on which export markets we should next be focusing our efforts on, the last couple of years has been a trying time. You see, it has all to do with acronyms. You might well ask what have they got to do with selling overseas. Well, the acronyms I’m referring to, represent collective names bestowed on lists of countries, which assorted experts and consultants consider to be the next happening places in terms of market growth and international trade development.
BRIC , I understand. This acronym has been around for some time and refers to Brazil, Russia, India and China as the most rapidly advancing large economies in the world, which are destabilising the old world order dominated by the USA, Japan, Germany and other former colonial powers of the West. Indeed, China is now the second largest economy in the world and Brazil has just moved ahead of the UK to become the sixth largest economy. Interestingly, Russia and India are now respectively ninth and tenth in the world economic order and advancing rapidly.
However, as I said, this is nothing new, the BRIC countries we know and many of us will have been trading with them for some time. It’s the other acronyms that confuse: MIST, CIVETS, N-11, BRICET, BEM, F-10, TIMBI…the list goes on and on. But what do they mean?
Well, first of all, you won’t be surprised to read that many of the acronyms were thought up by consultants (is that perhaps why they don’t have any obvious meaning?). However, dig a little deeper and a treasure trove of information is uncovered on exactly why and where we should be placing our forward bets (informed ones only, of course) regarding increasing our sales overseas. I don’t have the space here to run through each of the acronyms and which countries each of them favour – they can all easily be found by googling. What is interesting, however, is that some of the same countries crop up time and time again in most of the lists, namely Vietnam, Indonesia, and Turkey. Egypt, Mexico, and Colombia also feature prominently. Some surprises (perhaps) include Pakistan, Bangladesh and Argentina, all of which appear in more than one list.
Remember, these are countries which experts are predicting will increasingly offer serious business opportunities and are worthy of investigation now, where the risks involved – political instability, weak legal systems, poor infrastructure, amongst others – have started to be offset by substantial rewards, often deriving from first-mover advantage. Despite the strange acronyms, there is profitable business to be done in the countries in these lists. If you haven’t done so already, they may be worth a look.
For my part, in the sub-BRIC lists I personally favour Colombia and Indonesia as offering opportunities now and in the next 3-5 years. South Africa is another favourite of mine and will increasingly figure as a gateway to the whole of Africa.
Interestingly, SA recently joined the Premier League in emerging markets and shifted acronym by expanding the BRIC countries to five…..now to be known collectively as the BRICS.

Mike Harling, Managing Director, Whitefield International Ltd – 01672 851802 mharling@whitefieldinternational.com