Difference between a global, transnational, international and multinational company

We tend to read the following terms and think they refer to any company doing business in another country.

* Multinational
* International
* Transnational
* Global

Andrew Hines over at BNET has brief and clear definitions of each of these terms,  Get your international business terms right.

Each term is distinct and has a specific meaning which define the scope and degree of interaction with their operations outside of their “home” country.

* International companies are importers and exporters, they have no investment outside of their home country.

* Multinational companies have investment in other countries, but do not have coordinated product offerings in each country. More focused on adapting their products and service to each individual local market.

* Global companies have invested and are present in many countries. They market their products through the use of the same coordinated image/brand in all markets. Generally one corporate office that is responsible for global strategy. Emphasis on volume, cost management and efficiency.

* Transnational companies are much more complex organizations. They have invested in foreign operations, have a central corporate facility but give decision-making, R&D and marketing powers to each individual foreign market.

Andrew’s advice is:  if in doubt about the right term to use, try the generic term “international business”.

Related Links

Get your international business terms right

Difference between a global, transnational, international and multinational company

Original post June 18, 2007

7 essential tips for doing business overseas

Lee’s list of 7 quick and essential tips for doing business overseas.

1.  It is always easier to sell in your town, state, or country than to export or sell internationally.  Understand that it will always be that way.

2.  Don’t do it alone.   Always get local “guide(s)” to work with you.  This can take the form of a consultant, agent, distributor or sales force.

3.  You will always feel that the customer in the international market got the better deal.

4.  No matter how well you think you understand the country and culture….there is always something important that you missed.

5.  Be humble…..be humble……be humble

6.  Listen before you start to sell.  My first 3 trips to China consisted of meeting and listening to potential customers before opening up the discussion to sales.

7.  Make a concerted effort to build and nurture personal networks and relationships.  Learn about the country, culture and politics.

Original post May 16, 2006  (Link)