The difficulty in selling products in other countries

Pankaj Ghemawat who is a globalization researcher, offers one of his famous TED videos, “Actually, the world isn’t flat”, in 2012. As a result, the video has almost 1 million views. His idea tells the reality that most of companies face the difficulty in selling their products and services in other countries. For example, General Motors withdrew from the European market and sold its brand to Opel in 2017. Nissan Motor is struggling to sell its brands in the US, even though it increased sales incentive.

When it comes to mobility service, Uber lost the competition with Didi Chuxing in the Chinese market. In addition, the US company sold its Chinese business in 2016. There are good examples to verify the difficulty to sell products and services in other countries.

However, due to capitalism, especially in public companies, shareholders give pressure to management to increase sales and profit. In this sense, it might seem easy way for them to go global in order to increase sales and profit. In other words, most management might make a decision to enter new countries or regions to sell their products or services more. Nonetheless, the reality is easier said than done, and we already see the examples above. Even though global expansion is challenging, some products overcome it. Thus, we can possibly say that they become global standard: iPhone is one of them.

How popular iPhone is

According to Apple Inc.’s investor relation, unit sales of iPhone was more than 200 million per year from 2016 to 2018. This number is huge. Can you believe that there are hardware sold more than 0.2 billion every year? What’s more, the price of iPhone is around 800 US dollar. In fact, iPhone does. Of course, it is unfair to compare between the smartphone market and the automotive market. This is because the smartphone market had more than 1.4 billion shipments in 2018, but the automotive market had about 0.1 billion.

Volkswagen sold about 10 million vehicles, even though it had more than 10 brands and each brand had multiple models. Volkswagen selects brands as well as models to maximize its sales and profit in each region. In other words, this strategy shows how consumer preference is different from region to region, or from country to country. Another example is that Lamborghini, which is one of the most luxury car brand, sold only 7,430 vehicles in 2020. However, it could realize highest profit in the same year.

On the other hand, iPhone is the most sold smartphone in many countries such as the US, the UK and Japan. This fact implies that iPhone’s attractiveness is universal. Or Apple has superiority to design, marketing and sales. This is one reason why Apple is the most valuable company all over world, and business analyst always follow news about iPhone.