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CEOs Move Money Toward Foreign Markets

Global geographic expansion will see significant capital

August 3, 2015

Foreign markets are grabbing the attention of CEOs. In a May 2015 study by KPMG, about three in 10 CEOs worldwide cited geographic expansion as a strategic priority for the next three years, and over a quarter said expanding geographically would be a critical challenge during that timeframe. This makes sense when one considers the huge impact growth worldwide had already had on respondents: 54% cited global economic growth among the issues that had had the biggest effect on their company—the top response.

Areas Where CEOs Worldwide Are Devoting Significant Capital, May 2015 (% of respondents)

As such, CEOs had set their sights on geographic expansion outside of their home countries—cited by 47% when asked about the areas where they would devote significant capital in the next three years, more than any other option. And of course, they were expecting revenues to follow: More than two-thirds believed their foreign revenues would be greater over the next three years.

The US ranked No. 1 by a long shot as the country/region where CEOs worldwide saw the most potential for new market growth. Fully 64% cited the country, vs. 46% who pointed to second-place China. Western Europe as a whole trailed in third, followed by Central Europe and then India.

Country/Region Where CEOs Worldwide See the Most Potential for New Market Growth, May 2015 (% of respondents)

On the flipside, while 95% of CEOs in China said they were more confident about their own country’s prospects for growth over the next three years compared with the previous year, just 31% from the US said the same—the highest and lowest responses. About nine in 10 respondents from Spain and Italy each said they were more confident, while 85% of respondents from Australia as well as India said the same. This feeling was cited by eight in 10 CEOs from France, seven in 10 from the UK, and just over half from Germany as well as Japan.

The pressure to enter new markets is also a leading driver of big data adoption. In February 2015 polling by CA Technologies, 42% of IT managers worldwide cited the need to enter new markets as a factor driving their company’s need for big data projects.

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