2.1 The Field of International Trade (国际贸易领域)
International trade is business whose activities involve the crossing of national borders. It includes not only
international trade and foreign manufacturing but also encompasses the growing services industry in areas such as transportation, tourism, banking, advertising, construction, retailing, wholesaling, and mass communications. It includes all business transactions that involve two or more countries. Such business relationship may be private or governmental. In the case of private firms the transactions are for profit. Government-sponsored activities in international business may or may not have a profit orientation.
In order to pursue any of these objectives, a company must establish international operational firms, some of which may be quite different from those used domestically. The choice of firms is influenced not only by the objective being pursued, but also by the environments in which the firm must operate. These environmental conditions also affect the means of carrying out business functions such as marketing. At the same time, the company operating internationally will affect to a lesser degree, the environment in which it is operating.
.2 Motivation for International Business (从事国际贸易的动机)
The are three major motivations for private firms to pursue international business. These are to expand sales, to acquire resources, and to diversify sources of sales and supplies.
(1) Sales are limited by the number of people interested in a firm's products and services and by customers' capacity to make purchases. Since the number of people and the degree of their purchasing power is higher for the world as a whole than for a single country, firms may increase their sales potentials by defining markets in international terms.
Ordinarily, higher sales mean higher profits. If, for example, each-sales unit has the same mark-up, volume translates to more profits. Lucasfilm, for example, receives a percentage of the sales made by companies marketing Star Wars merchandise; thus Lucasfilm's revenues increase with each additional toy that Parker Kenner sells in the United Kingdom. In fact, profits per unit of sales may increase as sales increase. Star Wars cost approximately ＄10 million to produce; as more people see the film, the average production cost per viewer decreases. International sales are thus a major motive for firms' expansion into international business. A United Nations study indicated that among the largest industrial firms in the world, about 40 per cent of their sales come from outside their home market.
(2) Resource Acquisition (寻求资源)
Manufacturers and distributors seek out products and services as well as components and finished goods produced in foreign countries. Sometimes this is to reduce their costs: for example, Lucasfilm used studios in the United Kingdom in the filming of Star Wars and Kenner manufactures its Laser Pistol in Hong Kong. The potential effects on profits are obvious. The profit margin may be increased, or cost savings may be passed on to consumers, thereby permitting more people to buy the products. Sometimes foreign procurement is done to gain some unique capability not readily available within one's own country, such as the use of the Arctic snow fields for filming The Empire Strikes Back. Such a strategy may allow firms to improve their product qualities or at least differentiate them from their competitors, thus increasing their market shares and profits.
(3) Diversification (多种经营)
Companies usually prefer to avoid wild swings in their sales and profits; so they seek out foreign markets and procurement as a means to this end. Lucasfilm has been able to smooth its yearlong sales somewhat because the summer vacation period (the main season for children's film attendance) varies between the northern and southern hemispheres. It has also been able to make large television contracts during different years for different countries. Many other firms take advantage of the fact that the timing of business cycles differs among countries. Thus while sales decrease in one country that is experiencing a recession, they increase in another that is undergoing recovery. Finally, by depending on supplies of the same product or component from different countries, a company may be able to avoid the full impact of price swings or shortages in any one country that might be brought about, for example, by a strike.
2.3 Types of International Business (国际贸易的形式)
Companies must choose among different operational forms.
In making these choices, the companies' own objectives and resources as well as the environments in which the firms operate should be considered. The following discussion introduces the major operating forms, which also correspond closely to the categories in which countries keep records of aggregate international transactions. These transactions are summarized as part of balance of payments accounts.
(1) Merchandise Exports and Imports (商品进出口)
Merchandise exports are goods sent out of a country, whereas merchandise imports are goods brought in. Since these are tangible goods that visibly leave and enter countries, they are sometimes referred to as visible exports and imports. The terms exports or imports are used frequently yet in reality the reference is only to the merchandise exports or imports.
Exporting and importing of goods are the major sources of international revenue and expenditure for most countries. Among companies engaged in some form of international business, more are involved in importing and exporting than in any other type of transaction.
Importing and or exporting is usually, but not always, the first type of foreign operations in which a firm gets involved. This is because at an early stage of international involvement these operations usually take the least commitment and least risk of a firm's resources. For example, firm may be able to export by using excess capacity thus limiting the need to invest more capital. Firms may be able to use the services of trade intermediaries who, for a fee, will take on the export-import functions, thus eliminating the need to have trained personnel and a department to carry out foreign sales or purchases.
Exporting or importing are not typically abandoned when firms adopt other international business forms. Although this may sometimes occur, exporting and importing usually continue, either by business with other markets or to complement the new types of business activities.
(2) Service Exports and Imports (劳务进出口)
Service exports and imports refer to international earnings other than those from goods sent to another country. Receipt of these earnings is considered a service export, whereas payment is considered a service import. Services are also referred to as invisible. International business comprises many different types of services.
A. Travel, Tourism, and Transportation (旅游业、交通运输业)
Earnings from transportation and from foreign travel can be an important source of revenue for international airlines, shipping companies, reservations agencies, and hotels. On a national level, such countries as Greece and Norway depend heavily on revenue collected from carrying foreign cargo on their ships. The Bahamas earns much more from foreign tourists than it earns from exporting merchandise.
B. Performance of Activities Abroad (国外商务活动)
Fees are payments for the performance of certain activities abroad, such services as banking, insurance, rentals (e. g. the Star Wars film), engineering, and management. Engineering services are often handled through turn-key operations, contracts for the construction of operating facilities that are transferred to the owner when the facilities are ready to begin operations. Fees for management services are often the result of management contracts, arrangements through which one firm provides management personnel to perform general or specialized management functions for another firm.
C. Use of Assets From Abroad (国外资产的运用)
Royalties are the payment for use of assets from abroad, such as for trademarks, patents, copyrights, or other expertise under contracts known as licensing agreements. Royalties are also paid for franchising, a way of doing business in which one party (the franchisor) sells an independent party (the franchisee) the use of a trademark that is an essential asset for the franchisees business. In addition, the franchisor assists on a continuing basis in the operation of the business, such as by providing components, managerial services, or technology.
Firms often move to foreign licensing or franchising after successfully building exports to a market. This move usually involves a greater international commitment than in the early stages of exporting. The greater involvement occurs because the firm commonly has to send technicians to the foreign country to assist the licensee or franchisee in establishing and adapting its production facilities for the new product.
(3) Investments (投资)
A. Direct Investments (直接投资)
Direct investment takes place when control follows the investment. This can amount to a small percentage of the equity of the company being acquired, perhaps even as little as 10 commitment to foreign operations in the given country. Not only does it imply the ownership of an interest abroad, it usually means the transfer of more personnel and technology abroad than when there is no controlling interest in the foreign facility. Because of the high level of commitment, direct investment usually (but not always) comes after a firm has experience in exporting or importing. Direct investment operations may be set up in order to gain access to certain resources or access to a market for the firm's product. Kenner, for example, uses its Mexican direct investment to assemble the Chewbacca Bandolier Strap because this gives access to a resource, cheap labor, for the product's manufacture. Kenner also has direct investments in Europe, which have been made as a means of gaining markets in the countries where the production occurs.
When two or more organizations share in the ownership of a direct investment, the operation is known as a joint venture. In a special type of joint venture, a mixed venture, a government is in partnership with a private company.
B. Portfolio Investments (间接投资)
Portfolio investment can be either debt or equity, but the factor that distinguishes portfolio from direct investment is that control does not follow this kind of investment. For U. S. Firms as a whole, sales from output produced abroad are many times greater than sales from U. S. production that is sent abroad as merchandise exports. Today most of the world's largest firms have substantial foreign direct investments encompassing every type of products or components, selling of output, and handling of various services.
Foreign portfolio investments are also important for nearly all firms operating extensively internationally. They are used primarily for financial purposes. Treasurers of companies, for example, routinely move funds from one country to another to get a higher yield on short-term investments. They also borrow funds in different countries.
2.4 Multinational Enterprise (跨国企业)
The multinational enterprise or MNE has a worldwide approach to foreign markets and production and an integrated global philosophy encompassing both domestic and overseas operations. Because of the difficulty of ensuring whether a firm has a "worldwide approach" narrower operational definitions emerge. For example, some might say that a firm must have production facilities in some minimum number of countries or be of a certain size in order to qualify as an MNE. The term multinational corporation, or MNE, is also quite common in the literature of international business and is often used as a synonym for MNE. We prefer the MNE designation because there are many internationally involved companies such as accounting partnerships that do not use a corporate form.
Another term sometimes used interchangeably with MNE, especially by the United Nations, is transnational corporation, or TNC.