International Business GuideThis guide was created on October 1st, 2010 by Chad Boeninger
Modified on: February 20, 2013
This is a guide for finding information about doing business in another country. Please note that this guide is not comprehensive, as it only covers some of the more commonly used resources for this topic. Read through the entire guide or use the links below to skip to a particular section. All links on this page will open in a new browser window. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by using the “Contact” link at the top of the website.
The resources in this section contain basic country background information.
Europa World Plus (direct link) is provides in-depth country information, including history, industries, economy, politics, and more.
Country Watch (direct link) offers a political overview, economic overview, cultural information, investment climate, environmental overview, and more.
globalEDGE is a great place to start if you are looking for international business information. It contains country insights, industry profiles, rankings, and much more.
If you are going to do business in another country, it helps to know the people.
Intersource Country Insights
Intersource Country Insights contains country facts and cultural information on the countries of the world. Intercultural issues may include: Conversations, Communication Styles, Displays of Emotion,Dress, Punctuality, and Formality, Stereotypes, Relationship building, Preferred Managerial Qualities, Conflict in the Workplace, and much more. Please note that some information is from a Canadian perspective.
Global Road Warrior
The Global Road Warrior contains essential information about doing business in and traveling in another country. The book covers 10-20 pages for each country, and contains really good information for business culture at the end of each section.
Economy & Trade
Passport GMID is an excellent source for economic indicators, country outlook, foreign trade statistics, and more. The easiest way to access information for a specific country is to choose a region under the Geographies tab, then choose your country on the following page. From there, you have literally a world of information to choose from. If you are just getting started and need an overview, look at the Country Profile. The image to the right shows the kind of data available in Passport GMID. Finally, Passport GMID is also a good source for analysis of a country’s business environment.
Handbook of Country Risk
The Handbook of Country Risk offers an overview of a country’s economics and political condition in less than five pages. It is a great resource to consult when evaluating countries as potential international markets, as it provides economic and political information in a concise and easy-to-use format.
Industry & Market Research
The tools in this section are ideal for looking at international consumer markets and industries. However, for more in-depth industry research, please take a look a the resources on the Industry Research Basics guide.
Passport GMID is an excellent source for market research reports for consumer product information in other countries. If you need a market research report for salad dressings in Japan, this database would be the place to look. It is also contains Consumer Lifestyle Reports that offer “insight into how and why lifestyles differ from country to country including analysis of household profiles, income, education, eating and drinking habits, shopping habits, leisure and tourism.” Look for the link to Countries & Consumers at the top of the Passport GMID page.
Mergent Online covers 25 of the world’s largest industries i great detail. Mergent has reports for Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America. For directions on how to find the reports in Mergent, see the bottom of this page.
Mintel Oxygen also offers market research reports, though it does cover a more-limited number of countries and products. Nevertheless, it can often have the perfect report for your industry, so be sure to check it out.
OneSource has a good selection of industry and market research reports. To find these reports, search for your industry in the industry search box, then find your industry in the results. You can then view available Market Research reports to see what countries are covered (can be hit or miss) for your industry.
The resources are for finding basic information about companies, such as location, number of employees, etc. For more extensive company research needs, you will want to use the tools on the Company Research Basics guide.
Uniworld allows you to find listings of American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries, and Foreign Firms Operating in the United States.
Newspapers & More
One of the best ways to understand an international market is to find articles about your topic/industry/product in newspapers from the country you are studying. The tools below will help you to find this kind of information. Because both LexisNexis and Factiva index different publications, you should search both for your topic.
LexisNexis is an excellent source to use to find articles from international newspapers. Take a look at this helpful guide for Finding International Newspapers in LexisNexis and Factiva.
Factiva is also an excellent source to limit a search to specific international papers. Take a look at this helpful guide for Finding International Newspapers in LexisNexis and Factiva.
Business Source Complete
Business Source Complete can be a great source for international business research, as it contains trade publications, magazines, company and industry profiles, and market research reports. Just search for your country and your topic to find available information.
Statistics & Indicators
Economic and trade statistics can be found from a variety of different organizations and sources. This is not a comprehensive list, but simply a selection of the most-recommended sites and sources.
Tradestats Express is a great resource to use when you need to measure value of U.S. imports and exports. The database contains data back to 1989, and as recently as the previous economic quarter. The database can retrieve import/export values for specific industries by NAICS code, and allow for limiting by country as well.
Eurostat is a great resource for European statistics, and is a great resource for economic and trade indicators.
WDI Online (World Development Indicators) is an extensive collection of development data that includes population, income, social, economic, financial, natural resources, and environmental indicators for more than forty years.
Statista is a wonderful resource that contains a variety of useful statistics on almost any topic imaginable.