Study shows rising confidence in cross-border business opportunities

Forty-two percent of companies are now seeing the best growth opportunities outside of their home markets

A new research study investigating the international growth strategies and challenges facing CFOs and Treasurers in the UK, US, Germany and France, has shown an increased growth in business confidence across borders, despite uncertainty caused by the global pandemic and its economic repercussions.

Eighty-five percent of respondents operate or implement in Asia, or are considering it for business activities, showcasing the continent as a major growth region. Africa and the Middle East were also showcased as potential growth markets over the next six to twelve months, up 4% from the previous study.

Despite the ambition to expand internationally, understanding the regulatory requirements in overseas markets remains the greatest obstacle for 35% of companies who are looking to expand or strengthen their international operations. This is followed by the need to build relationships with suppliers and adapt supply chain logistics (21%).

The study by Standard Chartered also revealed incremental emphasis towards investing in digital technology, unlocking trapped cash and increased focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in relation to trade and supply chains.

The post-pandemic environment is causing some alterations to respondent’s top three priorities, with supply chain failure down 2%, though still a major concern for 50% of respondents. The need for liquidity was also down 2% to 47%, but there was an increase in investing in digitisation to mobilise liquidity (up 4% to 66%) and ESG (up 5% to 23%).

Torry Berntsen, CEO of Europe and Americas at Standard Chartered said “It is apparent that businesses are beginning to pay greater attention to overseas growth and investing for the future. Sustainability, digitisation, and the need to understand regulation are not just key to how business will be conducted, they are also opportunities for companies to increase operational efficiency, grow internationally and stay ahead of the competition.”

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