5 Tips For Perspective International Business Professionals

International Business can often times get a little tricky, as different countries tend to have different ways of conducting themselves in the business world. That is why it is so important for any prospective business professional to become familiar with the different practices for wherever they travel for business. I recently read this article, outlining some important tips on international business customs. Here are five of my favorite tips that you should always keep in mind while conducting business abroad.

Do Not Mind Personal Space

In many countries, maintaining close proximity to the person who is speaking is a sign of trust. This can be very valuable as you look to establish long-term relationships. If you step away from a person who is looking to speak with you, it can unintentionally come off as a sign of disrespect.

Use Business Cards Properly

Handing out business cards may be more complicated than you would think. There are a number of countries that have specific rules about the proper distribution and receiving of business cards. If you are doing business in China, both hands must be used when receiving and giving a business card. Meanwhile, in Japan, it is customary to receive someone’s business card with a bow. No matter where you are, make sure that you treat a business card as a gift and with respect. The business card should be printed in both English and the language of the host country as well.

Be Aware Of Body Language

Controlling and interpreting body language is a major key to success for any business professional looking to do business abroad. You should always keep your hands out of your pockets as it is a sign of disrespect in many places, especially Russia and Ireland. Also, keep in mind that hugs and cheek kisses are very common in many countries, including Brazil and Belgium.

Be Aware Of Local Dietary Restrictions & Religious Beliefs

You should spend some time studying up on the country’s dietary customs before any trip. For example, you would never want to order or eat beef in India, as it is considered sacred by many people living there. It is also important to follow the local customs when eating food. In the Middle East and India, eating with the left hand is considered to be unclean. Chinese business banquets include many rounds of toasts, therefore, those drinking alcohol should pace themselves.

Don’t Break The Silence

Silence during a conversation can often be unbearable to Americans. However, this is not the case in many other countries. For example, in Finland, it is actually extremely common for there to be long periods of silence during meetings. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the meeting, instead of rushing into a decision or action. So think twice between you are tempted to make an unnecessary interjection just to break silence.

5 Of The Major Trends In International Business

As the economies of countries around the world continue to develop, foreign trade and an interdependence of firms, markets, and countries continues to growth and expand. This development has lead to intense competition among different countries, industries, and firms to claim their share within the global markets. There are several major trends influencing the growth of international business, and how the players in the international arena interact. Here are 5 of the major international business trends.

1) Forced Dynamism

International business is a complex topic because the environmentally is constantly changing. Business continually push for new ways to expand and grow, adopting new technologies in the process. The cultures and politics that shape countries and they ways in which these countries act are continually changing as well. These factors all influence the ways in which global economies develop and interact with each other.

2) Cooperation Among Countries

Countries cooperate and conduct business with each other through thousands of different international organizations, treaties, and consultations. This cooperation tends to encourage globalization because restrictions on business operations tend to become less restricted. Business and countries are able to benefit from more cooperation because they can grow their markets, solve more complex problems, and deal with concerns that lie outside of one’s territory.

3) Liberalization of Cross-Border Movements

In one way or another, every country restricts the movement across its borders of goods, services, and resources. These restrictions tend to limit international trade and business. However, countries today impose much fewer restrictions on cross-border movements than they did in the past. This has allowed companies to take advantage of opportunities, and markets, around the world. When countries are more open to cross-border movements, consumers have better access to a greater variety of goods and services at a lower price. This also creates more competition, forcing producers to become more efficient because they are competing with foreign companies.

4) Transfer of Technology

Technology transfer refers to the process by which commercial technology is disseminated to governments and businesses around the world. When two organizations agree to a technology transfer, all areas of the economy and society benefit, including research and education, transportation, employment, infrastructure, and agriculture among others.

5) Growth in Emerging Markets

The growth of emerging markets has benefited international business in two major ways. First, they have increased the potential size of markets, giving companies a greater number of people to sell their products or services too. Second, as these markets grow, they are developing an entire new generation of innovative companies that can help address the world’s most pressing issues.

7 Tips For Learning A Second Language

Learning a new language is extremely difficult. It takes a lot of practice, repetition, and conversation to gain the ability to communicate in a different language. I would like to offer up a few suggestions that can help you get a second language ingrained in your mind. These tips can certainly make the journey easier, but they by no means can replace the hard work that is necessary to learn a new language. If you are interested in picking up a second language, whether it is for business or pleasure, I recommend you start here.

1) Conversation Is Key

The most important thing that you need to do is have conversations with others who speak the language you are trying to learn. The conversations will be awkward, but if you want to improve then you need to speak with people who speak the language better than you. You will be more motivated to learn when speaking with a real person. Furthermore, language is something that needs to be processed, it cannot just be memorized. An hour of conversation is as good as multiple hours in a classroom or language course by yourself.

2) Keep Up The Intensity

Studying a language for multiple hours a day for two weeks is much more effective than studying one hour a day for two months. Language requires repetition, commitment, and investment. You will be better off really trying hard everyday for a few weeks, than spreading it out with inconsistent studying over the course of several months or years.

3) Start With The Most Common Words

Start with the 100 or so most common words. Learn these words and then begin making sentences with them, constantly. You should learn just enough grammar so that you are able to formulate these sentences. Do this until you are pretty comfortable with all these words. This will build you an incredible strong foundation with practical words and sayings that will help you keep a conversation moving.

4) Carry A Pocket Dictionary

Having a dictionary to translate words with you will help you maintain conversations, and learn the words in the process. Since you are using these words in conversation, you are much more likely to remember it later.

5) Keep Practicing In Your Head

If you don’t have anyone to carry on a conversation with then have a conversation in your head. Challenge yourself to think in the new language by practicing and constructing sentences. Fake conversations in your head will help you better visualize what you need to learn. Keep the dictionary on you so that you can keep the voice in your head moving when you are unsure of what to say.

6) Use Audio & Online Courses To Build Foundation

These study tools should only be used to build the foundation. I am talking about the study materials such as Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, and DuoLingo among others. They do a good job of getting you from zero ability to a basic understanding of the language. This will help you speak basic sentences and phrases in just a few days time. Once you have this foundation, however, it will take real life communication (as we discussed before) to master the language.

7) When You Learn A New Word, Try To Use It Right Away

When you first learn a new word, such as looking it up in the dictionary during a conversation, make a point of using that word a few more times throughout your conversation. Studies show that you need to hit a certain amount of repetitions within one minute of learning it, in order to really lock it down. If you are able to repeat the word a few times, chances are it will stick.


An Introduction To International Business

International business is composed of all commercial transactions that take place between two or more regions, countries and nations beyond their political boundaries. Typically, private companies undertake such transactions for profit; governments undertake them for profit and for political reasons. International business essentially refers to all of those business activities that involve a cross-border transaction of goods, services, and/or resources between two or more nations. Transactions of economic resources involve people, capital, and skills for interntional production of physical goods as well as services, such as finance, banking, and insurance.

This video below will define what defines a business as international. It also does a great job of differentiating an international business from a domestic business.

Sony Merges PlayStation Business Units

Sony has announced that it will be merging two of its entertainment businesses into a single company later this year. The company is looking to integrate all of its PlayStation activities under one roof in San Mateo, California.

Effective April 1, the Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment business units will combine to form Sony Interactive Entertainment, LLC. The new company will be led by Andrew House, the current president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. in Tokyo. Kazuo Hirai, the former PlayStation boss — and current CEO of all of Sony — will serve on the board as well.

In a statement released by Sony, Andrew House stated: “By integrating the strengths of PlayStation’s hardware, software, content and network operations, SIE will become an even stronger entity, with a clear objective to further accelerate the growth of the PlayStation business.”

The move to San Mateo appears to reflect a shifting of priorities and business of the PlayStation consoles. Sony Computer Entertainment has long been headquartered in Tokyo, since its establishment in 1993. Sony Network Entertainment International, which houses all of Sony’s online content business (PlayStation Network, PlayStation Vue television service, and PlayStation Music among others) was established more recently in 2010.

The PlayStation 4 has been a major bright spot within the Sony corporation. The company announced earlier this month that the console has sold over 35 million units worldwide since its launch in 2013.

The 8 Most Influential Drivers Of International Business

james torpey business

Over the past several decades, international business has grown at an incredible rate. There are a number of reasons why international business has grown at such a rapid pace, ranging from advancements in technology to improved political positions. Here are the eight most influential drivers for the growth of international business.

1) Saturation of Domestic Markets

In developed countries, the continuous production of similar products over the years can lead to the saturation of domestic markets. Eventually the majority of the population owns the product and has no need to replace the product. Take Japan for example: 95% of people have all types of electronic appliances and there is no growth of organization there, as a result they have to look out for new markets overseas.

2) Opportunities in Foreign Markets

While domestic markets become saturated, there are many developing countries where the markets are blooming. Organizations have great opportunities to boost their sales and profits by selling their products in these markets. These blooming markets have growing economies that demand new goods and services at unprecedented levels.

3) Availability of Low Cost Labors

Labor in developing countries is relatively much less expensive than it is in developed countries. Therefore, organizations find it cheaper to shift production to these countries where they can produce goods for a much lower cost and increase their profits.

4) Increased Demand

Consumers in countries that did not have the purchasing power to buy high-quality products are now able to purchase them due to improved economic conditions. A growing international demand draws more organizations into these growing markets.

5) Diversification

In an effort to combat the cyclical pattern of business, companies expand and diversify their business. Through international expansion, companies are able to uncover new markets, allowing them to attain higher profits.

6) Reduction of Trade Barriers

Many developing countries are relaxing their trade barriers and opening their doors to foreign multinationals. Furthermore, these countries are giving their companies at home the opportunity to set-up their organizations abroad. The reduction in these trade barriers has stimulated trade between countries and opened markets that were previously unavailable for international companies.

7) Development of Communications and Technology

The growth of technology and communications has been an instrumental driving force for international business. This technology has allowed people to connect with others throughout the world instantaneously. Organizations can easily learn about the demands, products, and services offered in other parts of the world. Furthermore, technology has helped reduce the cost of transport and improve efficiency, leading people to expand their business.

8) Consumer Pressure

The growth of technology and communications has allowed led to a more aware consumer. As a result, consumers around the world are demanding new and better goods and services. This pressure has led to companies researching, merging or entering into new markets.

China Is Trying To Rewrite The Rules Of The Global Internet

James Torpey

The second World Internet Conference began yesterday in the eastern Chinese city of Wuzhen. Chinese leaders are organizing at this conference in an attempt to reframe the future of the internet. The conference will continue through Friday, with President Xi Jinping delivering the keynote speech.

The World Internet Conference is part of a larger Chinese effort to redefine debates over cybersecurity, national sovereignty, and censorship.

Chinese leaders have been pushing for the idea of “cyber sovereignty,” which is the idea that each country’s government should maintain independent control over what content is available online within its own borders. There are already a number of countries that censor online content they deem illegal, however, cyber sovereignty takes on an entirely new dimension in China. The country blocks many of the global web giants such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

Jeremy Goldkorn, the founder of China-focused service Danwei.com and a long-time commentator on the country’s internet, spoke with The WorldPost to explain the impact of China’s push for cyber sovereignty.

How has the Chinese government employed the terms: “cyber sovereignty” and “Internet sovereignty?”

The use of these terms has allowed the Chinese government to argue that they should be absolutely in control of what’s happening on the Internet in China. This has allowed China to take a more confident approach to talking about internet censorship.

Previously it had been a situation where they were trying to make excuses for it at press conferences. The consistent use of these terms has paved the way for a renewed confidence and almost a kind of nationalist, implying that control of the Internet was part of China being a strong country.

How much do you attribute this new confidence to the fallout from the Edward Snowden revelations, and how much to the recognition of China’s strong bargaining power concerning the major Silicon Valley players?

Not surprisingly, Snowden is cited in almost any Chinese government discussion of Internet policy, whether it concerns cybersecurity, hacking, or censorship. But the dynamism of the Chinese language Web sector and the truth that the Silicon Valley giants all want to be here is certainly another issue that they use.

The World Internet Conference attracts Silicon Valley heavyweights. Furthermore, during Xi’s visit to the United States, there was a meeting in Seattle with Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and the others all attending, almost looking like tributary states.

Another thing that exists is the very real fear of an uncontrolled Internet, brought about by social media, which is a really serious threat to Communist Party control over the country. The watershed moment was the Wenzhou train crash of July 2011 when the party completely lost control of the narrative. Instead, social media was telling the story. This moment supported their views about the threat of an uncontrolled Internet and made that a real factor.

Recently there’s been increased discussion of the Great Firewall as not just an issue of human rights, but also protectionism for local Internet companies. Do you see any leverage for the U.S. pressing these concerns from a free trade perspective?

I could see the United States Internet companies and the U.S. government using the World Trade Organization or some other kind of platform to apply some non-human rights pressure on the wall or restrictions on foreign companies operating in China. Although we have not seen much evidence of this taking place so far. It is a difficult thing when the foreign Internet companies are eager to get a slice of the market; Google apparently has started a company in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, and it looks like it’s trying to get back in.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. To learn more about China’s attempts to rewrite the rules of the global internet, please check out this article.

China’s Economic Growth Declines To 6.9 Percent, Six Year Low


China’s economy decelerated in the latest quarter to a six-year low of 6.9%, the slowest since early 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. The unstable Chinese economy has fueled concerns of a worsening world economy that may be entering a period of low growth that could extend into next year.

China’s economy has been under a microscope this past year as its slowdown has unnerved global financial markets and held down growth in countries that export raw materials to China, such as Brazil and Australia.

The growing concerns over China has affected the United States as well. This past month, Federal Reserve mentioned China’s slowdown and unstable economic conditions as one of the factors in their decision to not increase short-term American interest rates. The Fed’s main concern in their decision was the low U.S. inflation, which suggests that there is weakness in the United States economy as well.

China has cut interest rates five times since last November in an effort to shore up growth. However, the country has continued to experience weakening trade and manufacturing. China has also experienced a contraction in construction output, which has a significant impact on their demand for oil, iron ore and other commodities. These conditions in China have dragged down growth in Australia, Brazil and other suppliers as a result.

According to Louis Kuijs, one of the forecasters for Oxford Economics,”continued downward pressures from real estate and exports caused GDP growth to drop. But robust consumption and infrastructure prevented a sharper slowdown.”

Rising Chinese incomes has driven demand for European wines, wheat and fresh fruit from Australia and the United States, medical technology and other imports. The growth in consumption has been the one bright spot in the Chinese economy.

The rise in consumption, however, has not been enough to drive the overall economy in a positive direction. To make matters worse, some analyst are skeptical that the real numbers are even worse than reported. These analyst believe the true growth rate is likely to be below 4% and that these reported numbers have been exaggerated amid pressure from Beijing.

Uber Launches New Feature In China

Uber has recently launched a new carpooling feature in the Chinese city of Chengdu. The move comes at an interesting as the ride-hailing battle continues to intensify in Asia.

For those unfamiliar with the company, Uber is a mobile application that allows users to hail a private car right from your phone. Uber connects you with one of their drivers in just a few minutes and lets you know when they have arrived at your location. The company has been met with a great deal of resistance in the United States from traditional taxi services as Uber continues to steal market share. But the company has its sights on growing markets abroad, which may prove to be even more profitable.

The new service in Chengdu, known as “UberCommute” builds on Uber’s growing carpooling function in China. The service matches riders with drivers who are already going to a similar destination as them. It is pretty similar to the traditional idea of carpooling as well as services offered by a few of Uber’s rivals.

In the United States, Lyft, introduced basically an identical option last November. Furthermore, France-based BlaBlaCar and Zimride (the company Lyft’s founders originally started) have both provided a similar services for people taking longer trips as an alternative to trains or planes.

Typically Uber introduces new services in its hometown of San Francisco or other U.S. cities, however, China has become a major battleground in the ride-hailing industry. According to Uber’s rival Didi Kuaidi, China is well suited for these ride services as it is projected its urban population will grow by 20 million people per year and the country already has 100 cities with populations of more than a million. In addition, only 10% of people in China own cars, versus 80% in the United States.

These conditions make China a prime market for ride-hailing and carpooling. Uber is positioning itself to become the industry leader in China as it has done within the United States. This past June, Uber announced plans to invest more than $1 billion into its operations in China.

The competition is just starting to heat up. We will be sure to witness a great deal of investment within China over the next several years from Uber and its competitors.


Greece’s Road to Recovery

Greece has been on the economic ropes lately. After a headlong collision with debt, the eurozone is debating over how to handle Greece’s slip up. Currently in talks to receive their third bailout, political battles have erupted over whether or not Greece is deserving of their third and final chance. Should this latest bailout be agreed upon, Greece is set to meet some strict guidelines informing them how to use the funding. Whether or not the troubled country will be willing to meet these stringent rules has yet to be seen.

One hotly debated topic has the public ire more than roused. Greece’s debt needs to be paid off immediately, and the only viable option is to raise taxes. Naturally, this news was poorly received by a public still reeling from damaging bank closures. Though the means to solve their debt crisis is as time-tested as the taxes being raised, Greece’s citizens aren’t quite as receptive to the tightening of their belts.

The government and their spending will be under tight scrutiny over the coming months, and the debt relief program will be closely monitored after the disbursement has begun. With the threat of backsliding looming over Greece, the added resistance from public sector unions have only greased the already steep slope ahead. Fighting feverishly against the raise in taxes, citizen groups refer to this bailout as barbaric, and will stop at nothing to see that it’s overturned. A divided populace and an economy in the gutter has Greece at its own throat, desperate for a solution.

The forecast for Greece’s relief is grim. Accumulating a mountain of debt, Greece’s fate truly rests between a rock and a hard place. Without a surge in their economy, Greece will continue to need aid from the eurozone in the form of loans, increasing the ever-expanding debt chasm they have yet to leap.