By Daniel Hunter

The majority of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) expect 50% of their revenues to come from international sales by 2019, according to new research.

A study conducted by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of DHL Express, found that international trade is seen as vital to the long-term success among SME owners.

But it said that political instability, cultural factors and inadequate infrastructure still cause huge concerns and often outweigh the growth of potential markets.

The vast majority (84%) of respondents described understanding a target market’s culture or language as important or very important in determining its attractiveness. This also explains why most SMEs expand into markets that resemble their own.

Ken Allen, CEO DHL Express, said: “BRICM (Brazil, Russia, India, China and Mexico) SMEs are better positioned in other developing markets thanks to their superior ability to navigate the challenges that these markets present. They are also taking advantage of lower costs and smaller pools of competitors. If you consider these countries as the growth markets of the future, then SMEs in industrialized economies need to review their approaches to emerging markets and identify new strategies that will help them to compete internationally in the future.

“From DHL’s own experience, we know that partners and service providers, particularly in the field of logistics and transportation, can provide critical support in overcoming cultural barriers and infrastructure challenges while managing costs in order to compete.”

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