Page 3: Targeting a market
Provident Financial had to identify correctly the most suitable countries outside the UK where home credit could be offered. The company’s market entry strategy was based on the key factors which would influence its ability to operate in a given country. With the benefit of more than 100 years’ experience of operations in the UK, the company could identify four conditions which would have to be met for it to operate successfully in a given country. A suitable country would have:
- a developed economy
- a high proportion of the population living in urban areas
- a limited range of providers of small, cash loans
- a legislative regime which would allow a UK company to set up in business and grant cash loans.
A number of countries in Central and Eastern Europe seemed to meet these criteria. Following the collapse of communism in 1989, these countries had begun to develop rapidly. As financial and legal restrictions on these economies were lifted, investment opportunities for overseas companies in these markets were developing. With a population of around 40 million, Poland offered a large market potential. It was politically and economically stable and it was planning to join the European Union. At the same time a large proportion of the Polish population had limited access to financial services. The Czech Republic also appeared to be a promising market, although it was a much smaller country than Poland with a population of only 10 million.