BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – were once touted as the most promising emerging markets in the world.
The term was coined by economist Jim O’Neill back in 2001 to distinguish the nations from a host of other promising emerging markets by their demographic and economic potential to rank among the largest and most influential economies on the planet by the time 2050 rolls around – and by having a reasonable chance of realising that potential.
Only China, however, has lived up to these expectations, and many economists are now questioning whether Brazil, Russia and India deserve to remain part of the group, pointing to large fiscal deficits, falling growth, rising inflation and political uncertainty.
With this in mind, it might be time for you to identify some other emerging markets around the world.
Here is a rundown of five countries to keep an eye on in the coming years and some reasons why.
Peru is ranked by the World Bank as the 42nd easiest country to do business in, which puts it second in South America.
The country also tops Grant Thornton’s list of the best prospects among emerging markets around the world, while it is ranked 4th by Bloomberg among the best emerging countries for investment.
It marks a remarkable turnaround from the difficult years of the 1980s and 1990s. Peruvians have experienced a steady increase in their annual income since then, not to mention a dramatic drop in poverty.
If you are considering Peru, then you will need to translate your marketing materials into South American Spanish. You will also need to think about the numerous cultural nuances.
Peruvians, for example, are very family orientated, so any product or service they purchase will need to benefit everyone in their lives, not just them. They also tend to go on holiday between January and March, which is not your traditional holiday period, so keep this in mind when launching an advertising campaign targeted at holidaymakers.
Malaysia is ranked by the World Bank as the 6th easiest country to do business in, while it stands 16th in the ranking of 189 economies when it comes to the ease of starting a business.
Businesses around the world are consequently beginning to recognise the country as an attractive investment opportunity.
The central bank maintains healthy foreign exchange reserves and its well-developed regulatory regime has helped to limit unwanted exposure to riskier financial instruments and the global financial crisis.
But the Malaysia market is not without risk. Rising debt levels and a planned consumption tax may put pressure on Malaysian consumers in the not-so-distant future, so this is something to consider before you part with any cash.
To reach Malaysian consumers and businesses, you will need to translate your marketing materials into Malay – the country’s official language.
Poland is ranked by the World Bank as the 45th easiest country to do business in, while it is ranked 12th by Bloomberg among the best emerging countries for investment. So it is a country that is definitely on the rise.
It is one of the success stories of new Europe, transforming itself to from a communist country to a parliamentary democracy and European Union member in a short space of time.
Polish is the country’s official language, but English is widely spoken as well.
Apart from translation there are a number of other factors for businesses to consider before exporting to this market.
In certain tenders, for instance, there is an advantage to local businesses over competition from foreign investors that allows them a price tolerance of up to 20% more, plus there are also other restrictions in tenders in that at least 50% of the labour force and 50% of the materials must be sourced locally.
Despite that, almost the entire market is open to foreign investors, which is good news for international businesses.
Mexico is ranked by the World Bank as the 53rd easiest country to do business in, while it is placed 16th by Bloomberg in the top 20 emerging markets around the world.
Experts predict that the Mexican economy will triple before 2020, so now is definitely the time to invest. The fact that Mexico is the only Latin American country to feature in the World Government Bond Index also speaks volumes.
But businesses will need to cater to all four ethnic groups if they want to be a success story in the country.
Spanish is the official language of Mexico, yet there are also more than 60 different indigenous Amerindian languages that are recognised, so this is something you should consider prior to launching a marketing campaign.
You should also be aware of the rapidly growing young population, which should lead to a rise in domestic consumption. The average age in Mexico is 27, which compares favourably to developed economies around the world. In the UK, for example, the average age is 40.
Nigeria is ranked by the World Bank as the 147th easiest country to do business in, yet it is widely considered to be Africa’s foremost business destination thanks to the fact its economy is not heavily indebted like the majority of its neighbours.
It is the most populated country on the African continent, which means a product or service has the potential to reach huge numbers of consumers. The fact that Nigeria’s business market is dominated by a small number of sellers also makes it attractive.
To be a success, however, you need to speak to the population in their native language. There are hundreds of languages spoken in Nigeria, although English was chosen as the official language to facilitate the cultural and linguistic unity of the country.
English features heavily in urban communities, especially business settings. People living in rural areas, on the other hand, still prefer other major languages such as Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ibibio, Edo, Fulfulde and Kanuri.
If you want to appeal to the whole population, then you will need to translate your marketing materials accordingly.
Where should you put your money?
There are always going to be risks when investing in a new market – especially emerging ones, as demonstrated by China, Brazil, Russia and India.
Political changes could threaten your investment while wild currency fluctuations could mean huge gains or losses.
But by jumping on the bandwagon now you could reap the rewards further down the line, providing everything goes according to plan. After all, fortune favours the brave – and there is no place that is more applicable than the world of business.
Just remember, wherever you decide to invest, you need to communicate with your customers in their native language in order to achieve the best results.