Think Outside NY: Low-Cost Hubs to Launch Your International Brand

Photo credit: jamesteohart/Shutterstock

Want your business to take the next step in its evolution but don’t know where to start? Consider setting up an international headquarters in one of these low-cost, high-potential commerce hubs.

Businesses commonly face one of two problems. They’ve either conquered their domestic market, or they’re underperforming within it. Either way, the next logical step is to expand outward in order to fuel growth and prosperity. There are countless international markets you can access and take advantage of for financial gain – and the evolution of your brand.

International markets come teeming with opportunities and benefits that are unavailable domestically, a larger pool of customers, new chances for investment, reduced competition, access to better resources, etc. If you look at the biggest, most successful brands from around the globe, most operate on an international level. There is a reason for that. Business on a global scale means greater possibilities of commercial success.

However, international businesses comes at a cost. Establishing a headquarters abroad, finding staff and investing resources in market penetration does not come cheap. However, if you are looking to reap the rewards of international business, it is a necessity. While the digital age has made it easier to trade with international markets from a domestic setting, there is still no replacement for corporate relocation and laying physical roots.

So, how do smaller enterprises establish their international businesses? They seek out prosperous markets that offer cost-effective opportunities to develop. Every business wants to have headquarters in New York, London and Hong Kong, but operating costs alone for these world-famous hubs can cripple your ability to grow.

This is not the case for many other cities around the world. Plenty of low-cost hubs of commerce exist – places full of opportunity for growth and investment, without the sky-high prices.

Mumbai: The financial capital of India

Mumbai’s nickname as India’s financial capital already sets it up to be a powerful hub of trade. With a population of over 18 million and the second-highest average personal wealth in the country, the thriving market of Mumbai has ample opportunity for international businesses to stake their claim on greater financial prosperity. The city ranks amongst the top 30 largest economies in the world and is growing rapidly. Enticed by expansion, investors continue to flock to the city, providing more chance for brand evolution in Mumbai than ever before. This Indian trade powerhouse is also the gateway to many other cities in the region, alongside affluent countries like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar across the Arabian Sea.

Despite all the outlined benefits, Mumbai continues to be one of the cheapest cities on the planet to operate within. All costs associated with business operation, from property rental and utilities to insurance and labor, are low. India is home to a high volume of qualified personnel seeking employment. The result is that the acquisition of talent – talent required to fuel growth – is no problem at all.

Johannesburg: The economic hub of South Africa

You might expect the capital of Africa’s third-largest economy to come complete with a high price tag, but that’s not the case. Johannesburg ranks as one of the 20 cheapest cities to live and work in. A bright, modern and urbanized city, known for its culture and lively atmosphere, property prices in Johannesburg are low, with office and retail space in prime areas often placed at around $1,000 per month. Add to this the relatively high average wages of residents, continued economic expansion, and strong domestic and international links, and you have a market primed for supporting the growth of your business.

Johannesburg itself is a fast-paced economy bristling with opportunities for business. The production of 17 percent of the country’s entire GDP, despite a population of below 1 million people, is testament to its affluence. Many titans of industry place their African headquarters in the heart of the city, thanks to its robust infrastructure and thriving inner-city business districts and stock market. Money is drawn to Johannesburg, both from domestic entities and global ones, making it the perfect spot to establish your international platform.

Belfast: The U.K. portal to Europe

The terms “cheap” and “United Kingdom” are rarely synonymous. The U.K. is famous for being a rich country and well known for its relatively strong economic status. However, thanks to its potential, the U.K. is also an expensive place to do business. Commerce hubs like London, Bristol and Manchester all carry hefty price tags for operations. Yet there is one city in the U.K. that can offer the major benefits of doing business on the islands without the extreme running costs: Belfast. Thanks to already cheaper overhead costs than other U.K. cities and the decline of the pound against the U.S. dollar, Belfast has become one of the cheapest cities to live and operate within in the world.

Establishing your international brand in the capital of Northern Ireland provides access to a strong domestic market and other benefits. A higher percentage of businesses hit £1 million in revenue in their first three years of trading here than anywhere else in the U.K. Yet, the biggest advantages in Belfast are ties to Europe – and often London. Positioning your enterprise in Belfast means you can enjoy low operating costs, ensuring stability for your brand’s international move, while also gaining easy access to major hubs of commerce across Britain and the continent of Europe.


What Next?

Recent Articles

Leave a Reply

You must be Logged in to post comment.