Page 1: Introduction
This case study focuses on the HSBC Group, which, as one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world, is able to develop partnerships with organisations either trading or wishing to trade overseas. Through combining its local understanding of business and commercial environments with global expertise, it is able to manage the processes for effective trading.
The HSBC Group’s international network comprises more than 5,000 offices in 79 countries and territories, operating in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. It has listings on the London, Hong Kong and New York stock exchanges.
International trade is part of everyday life. Shops, supermarkets and 21st century lifestyle provide a vast array of goods and services. Where they come from or the processes by which they arrive at the market place are rarely considered by consumers. Many consumers enjoy cars made in Germany, eat French apples, wear American jeans or trainers from the Far East and watch Hollywood blockbuster films. Before these products can be made available, numerous processes will have taken place and partnerships formed.
Imagine what it would be like to live in a country that did not trade with its neighbours. Everyday products would simply not be available. Businesses would be small because they would not be able to specialise and export their wares overseas. If the standard of living was measured by the variety of products available to consumers, it would be very poor.
Greater communication, transportation and financial flows have shrunk time and distance to create a global economy in recent years. It is easy to identify global brands that have been around for a long time such as Coca-Cola, Kodak, Nestlé, Ford and Heinz. Today, international trade is intensifying. Companies large and small continuously search for new markets. Consequently, domestic companies in the UK are increasingly facing the threat of new competitors.
There are many differences between trading in the home market and marketing products overseas. Marketing overseas often involves greater risk and a detailed understanding of many issues such as currency prices, payments, trading requirements, cultural issues, market structures and protocols. Trading overseas is not an easy process and businesses require partnerships to provide them with the expertise and support required to compete in these markets.