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. The video has almost 1 million views, and his idea tells the reality that most of companies face the difficulty in selling their products and services in other countries. As for the automotive industry, General Motors withdrew from the European market and sold its brand Opel in 2017. Nissan Motor is struggling to sell its brands in the US even though sales incentive is risen. When it comes to mobility service, Uber, the American technology giant, lost the competition with Didi Chuxing, the Chinese mobility service giant, and the company sold its Chinese business in 2016 as a result. There are good examples that implies how tough products or services are sold 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 other words, most management might make a decision to enter new countries or regions so as to sell their products or services more. Nonetheless, the reality is easier said than done, and we already see the examples in General Motors and Uber.

Even though global expansion is challenging, some products overcome it and 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 even though the price of it is around 800 US dollar? In fact, iPhone does. Of course, it is unfair to compare the smartphone market that had more than 1.4 billion shipments in 2018 to the automotive market that had about 0.1 billion shipments. However, Volkswagen sold about 10 million vehicles even though the German automotive giant had more than 10 brands and each brand had multiple models. Volkswagen selects brands as well as models so as 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.

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 analysists always follow news about iPhone.