The 10 Best Locations For International Business

There’s a whole world of business opportunities out there, literally. For those willing to reach outside of their comfort zones and confront business problems on an international level, there are opportunities to grow businesses an order of magnitude bigger than in any one domestic sphere. More than that, foreign investment is the main driving force of International economy. Beyond that, it’s simply interesting to take a look at some of the fastest growing economies in a world. For those who are already in business, or looking to obtain a degree in international business, there’s a lot one can learn from the most thriving economies in the world. Here at GreatBusinessSchools we’ve taken a look at the top hundred economies in the world and compared them according to a number of metrics: how skilled the workforce is, how high quality the infrastructure is, economic predictability, attractive tax measures, and good connectivity with international markets.

For your convenience, we have compiled a list of the 10 best destinations for international business.

1 – Singapore

To stay on top of the ever-changing economic landscape, Singapore has invested heavily in upgrading its infrastructure and connectivity. In fact, the Republic ranked as the top logistics spot in the world according to the World Bank, putting Singapore at the forefront of supply chain solutions in today’s global market. The country is also recognized for having a very strong infrastructure, global and regional high-speed connectivity, and is one of the most networked economies in the world. Singapore is also business-driven and offers a business-friendly regulatory environment in order to attract global businesses. Finally, 53 percent of the population holds a Bachelor’s degree or above and Singapore has two major universities, assuring the presence of a qualified workforce and educated clientele.

Singapore is known for being a key player in the area of Biomedical Sciences, Tourism, Logistics, Construction, Finance, Health Care, Info-Communications, and Media, and as a main chemical development and manufacturing hub worldwide. Additionally, as an established IT hub, it already attracts global players in the media industry such as Twitter and Netflix, among others, and has formed countless foreign business partnerships. Receptivity to international partnerships greatly facilitates operations in the country. Moreover, the government launched Smart Nation, a program promoting the use of technology and cloud computing within private industry to create data analytics, cyber security, design, and more. In fact, the government is behind many decisions promoting a shift toward a high-tech economy founded on diverse industries ranging from education, gaming, sports, and lifestyle to finance.

2 – Sweden

Investing in Sweden sounds like a good venture since the country excels and competes at the highest international level. In fact, Sweden is one of the most productive nations in the world and also a leader in innovation, ranking #1 in Europe. The Swedish infrastructure and construction sector is booming as the country is investing 64 billion euros in roads, railways, and metro expansions, and 150 billion euros will be spent on new housing and offices between now and 2030. This in turn is creating major opportunities for contractors and there is currently a need for international expertise, as well as for innovation and investment from foreign firms. Sweden is also home to 6 of the top Global Universities, so it is not surprising that it has one of the highest educated workforces in the world. Additionally, 47.2% of the population holds a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and Swedish people are known for their work ethic and sophisticated consumer taste.

Major industries include Automotive and Transportation Technology, Information Technology, Communications, Pharmaceuticals, Green Technology, and, of course, tourism. Sweden hosts over 30 of the 500 largest companies in Europe, and many international information technology companies like Microsoft and Intel have elected Sweden as a base for their European operations. Starting a venture in Sweden is an easy process, and the country offers economic and political stability, a well-performing economy, and has the highest manufacturing productivity in Europe. Additionally, regulatory frameworks are outright and transparent, and, comparatively, the corporate tax rate is low, making Sweden a business-friendly environment. Not surprisingly, Forbes has recognized Sweden among the top five best countries in which to do business.

3 – Canada

As a dynamic, multicultural center, Canada offers a welcoming business environment to foreign investors, and major incentives for business development. The country has experienced remarkable growth due to a diversified economy, low business tax costs, judicious fiscal management, and financial regulations. Moreover, a sound banking system, a stable workforce, and a business climate that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation are all predictors of profitability. Canada also ranks highly in terms of quality of life and hosts six of the top 200 global universities. Additionally, technology is opening up endless possibilities in terms of business ventures and is an important driving force behind the country’s recent infrastructure improvements. Finally, Canada possesses a highly educated workforce with 60.6% of the population having completed post-secondary education.

Canada is a country that drives tremendous amounts of innovation and growth, thus, presenting significant levels of opportunities for strategic foreign investment in sectors like Oil & Gas Field Services, Construction, Marketing & Media Software Publishing, Financial Technology, Virtual and Augmented reality, and Medical Marijuana. Additionally, marijuana production is federally-regulated and medical use is legal nationwide, creating opportunities for support companies from transporters, growth capital sources, and industry consultants, to the tech space. According to the World Bank, Canada offers foreign investors preferential market access through NAFTA and EU partnerships, and immigration policies have recently changed to become more advantageous for foreign investors.

4 – Australia

Australia is increasingly gaining attention from foreign investors due to a strong economy (the world’s 13th largest, in fact), a strategic geographic location that is close to emerging Asian markets, political stability, and a flexible regulatory environment. Australia offers high levels of innovation investment and a world-class information and communication technology infrastructure. Indeed, because of a vibrant economy, immigration into Australia is on the rise and with this expansion has come an improvement in large-scale infrastructure. In particular, the construction , civil engineering, and transportation sectors have seen major activity. Additionally, the government welcomes foreign organizations to enter the infrastructure development market in order to increase competition. Australia is also home to world-class research institutions. In fact, the country hosts eight of the top 200 Global Universities and 49.3% of the nation has completed tertiary education.

Australia’s workforce is among the most skilled in the world and employment in knowledge-intensive services is one of the highest in the world. Australia offers distinct advantages due to its richness in natural resources making it an attractive option as an investment destination. Agricultural Production, Resources & Energy, Financial Services, Biotechnology, Education, and Tourism are among the main sectors for entrepreneurship. The Finance sector is currently one of the country’s key areas of growth–particularly fund management, payment systems, and retail banking.

Australia’s strong record of innovation, commercial focus, and globally collaborative approach make it an ideal environment for international organizations to enter joint or standalone ventures.

5 – Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the top 10 wealthiest countries in the world and home to some of the world’s top multinational companies, such as pharmaceutical major league players, and the largest food and beverage company–Nestle. Due to its advantageous geographic location, Switzerland offers easy access by land and a well-developed automotive infrastructure network for international trade. Switzerland is also one of the world’s most advanced countries in terms of research and development and provides the opportunity to attend some of the world’s most renowned universities (seven of the top 200 global institutions are located in Switzerland). Additionally, the literacy rate is 99% and 48.8% of the population hold a bachelor’s degree or above. Additionally, a highly educated and multilingual workforce offers potential investors the choice of employing multilingual workers. In short, the country offers many business advantages: a good geographical location, first-rate infrastructure, and a highly qualified and diverse workforce.

Switzerland has long been recognized as an investment safe-haven and, due to its neutral political state, it has maintained a strong and stable economy over the years. Banking is one of the most important industries there but other sectors are attracting foreign entrepreneurs as well. For instance, other key economic sectors include Tourism, Information Technology, and Pharmaceuticals, as well as new industries like the Bio- and Nano-technologies. Among developed countries, Switzerland offers one of the lowest taxation rates, a very low inflation rate, and provides investors with many tax incentives, such as generous interest rates. For foreign investors interested in doing business in Switzerland, the government has initiated the Swiss “one-stop-shop” program, which is a service that provides helpful resources and helps investors connect with their desired field of activity. A strong and stable economy as well as many tax incentives make Switzerland an appealing destination for investors.

6 – United States

The United States has long been a top investment destination and consistently ranks among the best internationally for its competitiveness, innovation, and ease of doing business. While infrastructure quality is inconsistent across the country, upcoming strategic infrastructure projects worth $450 billion are scheduled for the near future. The U.S. is also home to 63 of the top 200 global universities and while 47,5 population hold a bachelor degree or higher, the country hosts one of the most productive workforces in the world.

Some of the advantages include a business-friendly environment, open markets, and a high quality of life. The United States is known for promoting and encouraging free enterprise, competition, and economic growth. Indeed, the U.S. offers the world’s largest consumer market, and a market-driven and transparent economy. Moreover, regulatory environments offer great operational freedom, making the process of forming a business simple and straightforward. Major industries in the United States include Energy, Manufacturing, Transportation, Healthcare, and Agriculture, Financial Services, IT, and Telecommunications. Reasons for foreign entrepreneurs to invest in the U.S. include risk diversification, efficiency of financial markets, and strong corporate governance. Other factors may include geographic convenience, and a common business language of English.

7 – Netherlands

Excellent business infrastructure makes Holland the perfect place for high-tech industries to flourish. Businesses can benefit from a first-class logistics infrastructure that include airports, seaports, high-speed roads, rail, and IT connectivity. Holland is also known for providing world-class education and is home to 12 research universities, and 8 university medical centers. Notably, 45.2% of the population holds at least a bachelor’s degree. On top of an educated and highly trained workforce, 90% of the Dutch population speaks English–a major incentive for international corporations.

Top industries include life sciences and clinical research, which, in turn, contributes greatly to business expansion and productivity. In fact, the country ranks among the Top 10 in life science and healthcare patents worldwide. The country’s open corporate business culture, transparent government, competitive tax structure, and strategic location on the North Sea have attracted major corporations over the years. For instance, heavyweights like Shell, Heineken, and IKEA all have headquarters in the Netherlands. Holland is also a leading supplier of chemical products and services. Other key industries include agrifood, information technology, high tech innovation, and aerospace. New regulations allow foreign entrepreneurs to apply for a temporary residence permit for the Netherlands. Competitive tax measures, a strategic geographical location, and being one of the most wired countries in the world make the Netherlands a hotspot for international investors.

8 – United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a leading force in terms of foreign investment in Europe. Also a world leader in innovation and research, it is home to 33 of the Top 200 best global universities. The U.K. also maintains the 2nd largest workforce in the EU and 52% of the population is educated at the bachelor’s level or above. Perks of operating in the U.K. include flexible labor laws, low labor costs and high returns, world-class transportation systems, a strong communication network, and, of course, the fact that English–the language of business–is the main language there.

Internationally competitive tax measures, a stable political climate, and regulatory environments that offer transparency are very beneficial for the United Kingdom’s business environment. Not only does the UK offer a relatively low 20% Corporation Tax Rate, but companies may get a 100% deduction for Research & Development costs, which incentivizes innovation. Additionally, opening a business in the UK is extremely easy, (it only takes 48 hours to register a company and 13 days to establish a business in the UK, according to the World Bank). The UK also happens to have the fewest barriers to entrepreneurship in the world. For instance, most companies based in the UK do not pay Corporation Tax on foreign dividends. The country is recognized worldwide as a major player in finance and banking, but other key industries include information technology, construction, service, oil and gas, healthcare, education and administration, manufacturing, and government.

9 – Germany

Germany is Europe’s leading economy and largest market, and, as such, has long been a top destination for foreign investors. Germany offers a first-class transportation system and a superior energy and communications infrastructure, ensuring a direct and efficient way to do business. Due to low unemployment rates, consumer spending is extremely stable, and a first-class infrastructure and central location have all contributed to making Germany the largest consumer market in Europe. Germany hosts 22 universities that rank on the Top 200 Best Global University list and 30.5% of the population hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

As a world leader in innovation, Germany’s high-tech sector is one of the major industries and one backed by billions of euros in federal funds yearly. Other highly performing industries include automotive, aerospace, chemical, consumers industries, and corporate industries. Over the years, the Federal Government has significantly lowered corporate taxes and also offers many tax incentives at all stages of the investment process.

10 – Luxembourg

Although last on our list, Luxembourg ranks extremely high in terms of global economic dynamism. International studies on the competitiveness of countries consistently rank Luxembourg among the top. The government offers a pro-business environment and promotes diversification within the financial marketplace, which are both attractive factors to foreign investors. In terms of education, Luxembourg hosts a major global university–an internationally-focused, research-oriented institution–the University of Luxembourg. Notably, over 51% of the population has a tertiary-level education. Furthermore, Luxembourg offers state-of-the-art logistics infrastructures for transport and communication–a sector of the economy that is actively supported by government initiatives. Luxembourg has long been recognized as a prime business location and an international financial center.

Due to its political and economic stability, specialized and multilingual workforce, state-of-the-art infrastructure, excellent connectivity to global markets, favorable legal environment, and attractive tax laws, Luxembourg offers a wide range of assets and opportunities for doing business in the EU. In order to encourage business, the Luxembourg Government offers many incentives like capital investment subsidies, reduced tax rates, deferred corporate tax payment schedules, equipment financing, and financial assistance to entrepreneurs. The government also supports investments that are technology-based and that contribute to the development of innovation. Besides the technology sector, other key industries to invest in include manufacturing, financial, services, tourism, and e-commerce.

Foreign investment is the main driving force of international economy. Not only do you need an economic environment that is conducive to your activity, when investing abroad, you also need a skilled workforce, high quality infrastructures, economic predictability, attractive tax measures, and good connectivity with international markets.

For your convenience, we have compiled a list of the 10 best destinations for international business.

1 – Singapore

To stay on top of the ever-changing economic landscape, Singapore has invested heavily in upgrading its infrastructure and connectivity. In fact, the Republic ranked as the top logistics spot in the world according to the World Bank, putting Singapore at the forefront of supply chain solutions in today’s global market. The country is also recognized for having a very strong infrastructure, global and regional high-speed connectivity, and is one of the most networked economies in the world. Singapore is also business-driven and offers a business-friendly regulatory environment in order to attract global businesses. Finally, 53 percent of the population holds a Bachelor’s degree or above and Singapore has two major universities, assuring the presence of a qualified workforce and educated clientele.

Singapore is known for being a key player in the area of Biomedical Sciences, Tourism, Logistics, Construction, Finance, Health Care, Info-Communications, and Media, and as a main chemical development and manufacturing hub worldwide. Additionally, as an established IT hub, it already attracts global players in the media industry such as Twitter and Netflix, among others, and has formed countless foreign business partnerships. Receptivity to international partnerships greatly facilitates operations in the country. Moreover, the government launched Smart Nation, a program promoting the use of technology and cloud computing within private industry to create data analytics, cyber security, design, and more. In fact, the government is behind many decisions promoting a shift toward a high-tech economy founded on diverse industries ranging from education, gaming, sports, and lifestyle to finance.

2 – Sweden

Investing in Sweden sounds like a good venture since the country excels and competes at the highest international level. In fact, Sweden is one of the most productive nations in the world and also a leader in innovation, ranking #1 in Europe. The Swedish infrastructure and construction sector is booming as the country is investing 64 billion euros in roads, railways, and metro expansions, and 150 billion euros will be spent on new housing and offices between now and 2030. This in turn is creating major opportunities for contractors and there is currently a need for international expertise, as well as for innovation and investment from foreign firms. Sweden is also home to 6 of the top Global Universities, so it is not surprising that it has one of the highest educated workforces in the world. Additionally, 47.2% of the population holds a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and Swedish people are known for their work ethic and sophisticated consumer taste.

Major industries include Automotive and Transportation Technology, Information Technology, Communications, Pharmaceuticals, Green Technology, and, of course, tourism. Sweden hosts over 30 of the 500 largest companies in Europe, and many international information technology companies like Microsoft and Intel have elected Sweden as a base for their European operations. Starting a venture in Sweden is an easy process, and the country offers economic and political stability, a well-performing economy, and has the highest manufacturing productivity in Europe. Additionally, regulatory frameworks are outright and transparent, and, comparatively, the corporate tax rate is low, making Sweden a business-friendly environment. Not surprisingly, Forbes has recognized Sweden among the top five best countries in which to do business.

3 – Canada

As a dynamic, multicultural center, Canada offers a welcoming business environment to foreign investors, and major incentives for business development. The country has experienced remarkable growth due to a diversified economy, low business tax costs, judicious fiscal management, and financial regulations. Moreover, a sound banking system, a stable workforce, and a business climate that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation are all predictors of profitability. Canada also ranks highly in terms of quality of life and hosts six of the top 200 global universities. Additionally, technology is opening up endless possibilities in terms of business ventures and is an important driving force behind the country’s recent infrastructure improvements. Finally, Canada possesses a highly educated workforce with 60.6% of the population having completed post-secondary education.

Canada is a country that drives tremendous amounts of innovation and growth, thus, presenting significant levels of opportunities for strategic foreign investment in sectors like Oil & Gas Field Services, Construction, Marketing & Media Software Publishing, Financial Technology, Virtual and Augmented reality, and Medical Marijuana. Additionally, marijuana production is federally-regulated and medical use is legal nationwide, creating opportunities for support companies from transporters, growth capital sources, and industry consultants, to the tech space. According to the World Bank, Canada offers foreign investors preferential market access through NAFTA and EU partnerships, and immigration policies have recently changed to become more advantageous for foreign investors.

4 – Australia

Australia is increasingly gaining attention from foreign investors due to a strong economy (the world’s 13th largest, in fact), a strategic geographic location that is close to emerging Asian markets, political stability, and a flexible regulatory environment. Australia offers high levels of innovation investment and a world-class information and communication technology infrastructure. Indeed, because of a vibrant economy, immigration into Australia is on the rise and with this expansion has come an improvement in large-scale infrastructure. In particular, the construction , civil engineering, and transportation sectors have seen major activity. Additionally, the government welcomes foreign organizations to enter the infrastructure development market in order to increase competition. Australia is also home to world-class research institutions. In fact, the country hosts eight of the top 200 Global Universities and 49.3% of the nation has completed tertiary education.

Australia’s workforce is among the most skilled in the world and employment in knowledge-intensive services is one of the highest in the world. Australia offers distinct advantages due to its richness in natural resources making it an attractive option as an investment destination. Agricultural Production, Resources & Energy, Financial Services, Biotechnology, Education, and Tourism are among the main sectors for entrepreneurship. The Finance sector is currently one of the country’s key areas of growth–particularly fund management, payment systems, and retail banking.

Australia’s strong record of innovation, commercial focus, and globally collaborative approach make it an ideal environment for international organizations to enter joint or standalone ventures.

5 – Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the top 10 wealthiest countries in the world and home to some of the world’s top multinational companies, such as pharmaceutical major league players, and the largest food and beverage company–Nestle. Due to its advantageous geographic location, Switzerland offers easy access by land and a well-developed automotive infrastructure network for international trade. Switzerland is also one of the world’s most advanced countries in terms of research and development and provides the opportunity to attend some of the world’s most renowned universities (seven of the top 200 global institutions are located in Switzerland). Additionally, the literacy rate is 99% and 48.8% of the population hold a bachelor’s degree or above. Additionally, a highly educated and multilingual workforce offers potential investors the choice of employing multilingual workers. In short, the country offers many business advantages: a good geographical location, first-rate infrastructure, and a highly qualified and diverse workforce.

Switzerland has long been recognized as an investment safe-haven and, due to its neutral political state, it has maintained a strong and stable economy over the years. Banking is one of the most important industries there but other sectors are attracting foreign entrepreneurs as well. For instance, other key economic sectors include Tourism, Information Technology, and Pharmaceuticals, as well as new industries like the Bio- and Nano-technologies. Among developed countries, Switzerland offers one of the lowest taxation rates, a very low inflation rate, and provides investors with many tax incentives, such as generous interest rates. For foreign investors interested in doing business in Switzerland, the government has initiated the Swiss “one-stop-shop” program, which is a service that provides helpful resources and helps investors connect with their desired field of activity. A strong and stable economy as well as many tax incentives make Switzerland an appealing destination for investors.

6 – United States

The United States has long been a top investment destination and consistently ranks among the best internationally for its competitiveness, innovation, and ease of doing business. While infrastructure quality is inconsistent across the country, upcoming strategic infrastructure projects worth $450 billion are scheduled for the near future. The U.S. is also home to 63 of the top 200 global universities and while 47,5 population hold a bachelor degree or higher, the country hosts one of the most productive workforces in the world.

Some of the advantages include a business-friendly environment, open markets, and a high quality of life. The United States is known for promoting and encouraging free enterprise, competition, and economic growth. Indeed, the U.S. offers the world’s largest consumer market, and a market-driven and transparent economy. Moreover, regulatory environments offer great operational freedom, making the process of forming a business simple and straightforward. Major industries in the United States include Energy, Manufacturing, Transportation, Healthcare, and Agriculture, Financial Services, IT, and Telecommunications. Reasons for foreign entrepreneurs to invest in the U.S. include risk diversification, efficiency of financial markets, and strong corporate governance. Other factors may include geographic convenience, and a common business language of English.

7 – Netherlands

Excellent business infrastructure makes Holland the perfect place for high-tech industries to flourish. Businesses can benefit from a first-class logistics infrastructure that include airports, seaports, high-speed roads, rail, and IT connectivity. Holland is also known for providing world-class education and is home to 12 research universities, and 8 university medical centers. Notably, 45.2% of the population holds at least a bachelor’s degree. On top of an educated and highly trained workforce, 90% of the Dutch population speaks English–a major incentive for international corporations.

Top industries include life sciences and clinical research, which, in turn, contributes greatly to business expansion and productivity. In fact, the country ranks among the Top 10 in life science and healthcare patents worldwide. The country’s open corporate business culture, transparent government, competitive tax structure, and strategic location on the North Sea have attracted major corporations over the years. For instance, heavyweights like Shell, Heineken, and IKEA all have headquarters in the Netherlands. Holland is also a leading supplier of chemical products and services. Other key industries include agrifood, information technology, high tech innovation, and aerospace. New regulations allow foreign entrepreneurs to apply for a temporary residence permit for the Netherlands. Competitive tax measures, a strategic geographical location, and being one of the most wired countries in the world make the Netherlands a hotspot for international investors.

8 – United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a leading force in terms of foreign investment in Europe. Also a world leader in innovation and research, it is home to 33 of the Top 200 best global universities. The U.K. also maintains the 2nd largest workforce in the EU and 52% of the population is educated at the bachelor’s level or above. Perks of operating in the U.K. include flexible labor laws, low labor costs and high returns, world-class transportation systems, a strong communication network, and, of course, the fact that English–the language of business–is the main language there.

Internationally competitive tax measures, a stable political climate, and regulatory environments that offer transparency are very beneficial for the United Kingdom’s business environment. Not only does the UK offer a relatively low 20% Corporation Tax Rate, but companies may get a 100% deduction for Research & Development costs, which incentivizes innovation. Additionally, opening a business in the UK is extremely easy, (it only takes 48 hours to register a company and 13 days to establish a business in the UK, according to the World Bank). The UK also happens to have the fewest barriers to entrepreneurship in the world. For instance, most companies based in the UK do not pay Corporation Tax on foreign dividends. The country is recognized worldwide as a major player in finance and banking, but other key industries include information technology, construction, service, oil and gas, healthcare, education and administration, manufacturing, and government.

9 – Germany

Germany is Europe’s leading economy and largest market, and, as such, has long been a top destination for foreign investors. Germany offers a first-class transportation system and a superior energy and communications infrastructure, ensuring a direct and efficient way to do business. Due to low unemployment rates, consumer spending is extremely stable, and a first-class infrastructure and central location have all contributed to making Germany the largest consumer market in Europe. Germany hosts 22 universities that rank on the Top 200 Best Global University list and 30.5% of the population hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

As a world leader in innovation, Germany’s high-tech sector is one of the major industries and one backed by billions of euros in federal funds yearly. Other highly performing industries include automotive, aerospace, chemical, consumers industries, and corporate industries. Over the years, the Federal Government has significantly lowered corporate taxes and also offers many tax incentives at all stages of the investment process.

10 – Luxembourg

Although last on our list, Luxembourg ranks extremely high in terms of global economic dynamism. International studies on the competitiveness of countries consistently rank Luxembourg among the top. The government offers a pro-business environment and promotes diversification within the financial marketplace, which are both attractive factors to foreign investors. In terms of education, Luxembourg hosts a major global university–an internationally-focused, research-oriented institution–the University of Luxembourg. Notably, over 51% of the population has a tertiary-level education. Furthermore, Luxembourg offers state-of-the-art logistics infrastructures for transport and communication–a sector of the economy that is actively supported by government initiatives. Luxembourg has long been recognized as a prime business location and an international financial center.

Due to its political and economic stability, specialized and multilingual workforce, state-of-the-art infrastructure, excellent connectivity to global markets, favorable legal environment, and attractive tax laws, Luxembourg offers a wide range of assets and opportunities for doing business in the EU. In order to encourage business, the Luxembourg Government offers many incentives like capital investment subsidies, reduced tax rates, deferred corporate tax payment schedules, equipment financing, and financial assistance to entrepreneurs. The government also supports investments that are technology-based and that contribute to the development of innovation. Besides the technology sector, other key industries to invest in include manufacturing, financial, services, tourism, and e-commerce.

What Makes an International Destination Business Friendly?


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A: The global economy and the digital era have reshaped business opportunities, whether they be educational, financial, or in networking and building organizations from the ground up. Now you can run a business in a foreign country remotely, or with the help of people you rarely if ever see in person. Given the disparate regulatory (and deregulatory) policies of countries around the world, and the access to different markets they allow, it behooves business leaders to carefully consider what destination is most business friendly. International business involves lots of moving parts, and must work within different confines while taking advantage of opportunities that are tricky to suss out. Countries do many things to attract international investment, and not all of them are beneficial to the countries, or the international community.

International Business Destinations might not be where you’d expect. Take Alabama for example. In 2014, over $1 billion in direct foreign investment was pumped into the state, and it saw a 115% increase in exports between 2004 and 2014. At a time when American manufacturing struggled across the country, Alabama’s automotive manufacturing industry flourished through foreign investments from Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Honda and Airbus. In 2012 it set production records, and has a strong supplier infrastructure, respected training programs, wide and efficient transportation network and continued success with top auto manufacturers. It also has a low corporate tax rate in comparison with many other states. Other key exports from Alabama now include industrial machines, minerals, iron and steel, plastics, chemicals, and aircraft and aircraft parts.

One way countries attract global business is through their corporate tax rates, which fluctuate massively throughout the world. It might seem logical to offer lower corporate tax rates to be business friendly, and many countries do so. In December 2016, CNN wrote about work Oxfam researchers did studying the Netherlands, Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Ireland’s corporate tax rates, and the damage they do to the international community. By keeping corporate taxes so low, Oxfam found these countries were “starving countries out of billions of dollars needed to tackle poverty and inequality.” They found the cuts in corporate tax resulted in massive cuts to public spending, or taxing poorer people. However, the strategy worked, with Oxfam saying 90% of the world’s biggest companies were involved in at least one tax haven. Sometimes, larger regulatory bodies force international destinations that would like to be business friendly to go against their wishes. Ireland was recently ordered by the European Union to recover €13 billion in unpaid taxes from Apple. Companies have also been targeted more directly, like Starbucks, which was told to pay back €30 million it avoided paying in taxes due to a deal with the Netherlands. Countries also incentivize international business investment and production through cutting safety regulations, workers rights and other restrictions that prevent multinational businesses from making maximum profit.

The international communications technology explosion has lowered delivery costs and allowed instantaneous access to far larger consumer pools much the way transportation developments lowered costs in the previous two centuries. Arranging business processes across borders with ease has made many international destinations appealing, strictly by being emerging, untapped markets for products that can reach them with remote cooperation and minimum cost. Now a country can enter existing supply chains that want their participation instead of building them in order to attract interest and investment from global businesses.

To get a better understanding of global business, you might consider an International MBA or Global MBA. International and Global MBAs are MBA programs that focus on international political economies, foreign languages and culture through a diverse student body and course materials that prepare students for multinational business ventures. They also often take place in other countries, or on multiple campuses across continents, to give students real world experience with fluctuating regulations, business practices and cultures to prepare them to wreak havoc on the market once they graduate. Some IMBA programs require students to participate in one or two international experiences. Classes in Global MBA and International MBA programs often include financial management analysis, financial accounting, marketing for international managers and international economy and business. These programs prepare students to work in education, government, finance and multinational corporations, and focus on giving them the tools they’d need to do so wherever they please. International MBA programs are often less expensive than traditional American MBAs, and can take only one year as opposed to the American standard of two. Here’s a list of top International Business Schools to help start your search. It prizes schools that develop graduates for careers in global sales, marketing, and financial management, ranking programs based on their unique features and affordability.