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22 Types of Global Business

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Global business is any business model that heavily relies on customers, partners or operations in foreign jurisdictions. This is often done to reach larger markets, lower costs, increase quality and to offer greater variety to customers. The following are common examples of global business.


Intangible services such as IT services easily flow over borders and are relatively easy to sell on an international basis. Other services such as banking would be easy to sell over borders with the exception of complex regulations that make it more difficult.


Importing products for sale in your domestic market. For example, a supermarket that uses import wholesalers to offer customers fruits and vegetables from every corner of the world.


Exporting a product to foreign markets with the help of intermediaries such as wholesalers.

Channel Sales

Developing specific sales partnerships where you may be able to influence the customer experience. For example, a software company in Germany that partners with an IT consulting company in Japan to sell its software and services.

Value Added Reseller

Adding something to a foreign product or service and reselling it. For example, selling a foreign software product with local support and customization.


The transport of people and goods such as an airline.


Services that handle the complexities of moving goods including aspects such as transportation, warehousing and customs.

Tourism & Hospitality

Travel services and the hospitality industry that rely on tourism.


The entertainment industry such as movies and music that can be sold across borders.


International sporting events and the export of domestic sporting events and related merchandise.

Cultural Economy

Cultural industries such as wine making that draw much international interest to a region.

Digital Goods

Digital goods such as a downloadable game.

Licensing & Franchising

Licensing property rights or franchising a business on an international basis. For example, an American movie studio that licenses its trademarks to toy companies in Japan.


Firms that directly operate in multiple countries such as a solar panel manufacturer that produces its goods in three countries and sells them directly in six regions.

Primary Industry

Primary industries produce commodities such as gold or corn. Large global markets exist for these products such that they are often exported. For example, a farmer in America might export most of their output such that they benefit from trade agreements with large markets for their product.


Manufacturing benefits from economies of scale such that selling into multiple markets allows the manufacturer to lower unit costs and potentially dominate a market. Niche manufacturers may depend on international markets because the local market for their product may be extremely small.

Traditional Economy

Traditional goods such as crafts often largely depend on exports or tourists. For example, a traditional tea farm in Japan that makes most of its revenue by offering tours and classes to foreign tourists.


Ecommerce companies that operate in multiple countries or that offer international shipping at a competitive rate such that they generate international sales. Likewise, independent ecommerce sellers on large platforms are often engaged in import/export.


Arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of price differences in markets including financial markets and the markets for goods. For example, an investment bank that trades the difference in price for the same security trading in London, New York and Toronto.


Outsourcing such as a designer of t-shirts in France that outsources manufacturing to a firm in Turkey.

Education & Training

Education and training easily flows over borders. Likewise, it is extremely common for nations to offer student visas such that schools and educational institutions are often quite international.

Research & Development

Partnerships to develop knowledge or elements of products and services. For example, an American electronics firm that partners with a South Korean automotive firm to develop a battery technology that will benefit both companies.
Overview: Global Business
Any business model that heavily relies on customers, partners or operations in foreign jurisdictions.
Related Concepts

Global Business

This is the complete list of articles we have written about global business.
Business Model
Business Products
Digital Goods
Economic Relations
Economies Of Scale
Global Business
Global Experience
International Bus
Primary Industries
Trade Barriers
Used Goods
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