International Expansion Weekly Newsletter—2/23/2017

Startups & Tech

US-based Microsoft expanded its Azure cloud platform into South Korea by opening two data centers in the country. Azure is currently available in 34 markets.

Now accepting chip and contactless payments, US-based Square expects its international expansion to speed up. However, it says that building relationships with regulators and financial institutions in other markets is the biggest factor slowing its international expansion.

US-based Cloud Lending Solutions, which helps banks and other financial services companies do all of the activities involved in offering customers loans in the cloud, raised money to further its international expansion. The company already has clients in 28 countries and plans to expand to meet demand in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. No details of the funding round, except that it was led by Cota Capital and all previous investors participated, were disclosed.

Australia-based Freelancer, an online jobs marketplace, saw a positive uptick in revenue, gross payment volume, and job postings in 2016, largely due to international expansion efforts. The company prefers to enter new markets by acquisition, as it believes promoting a new platform in each market would be too costly.

South Africa-based IoT.nxt, which helps helps businesses automate processes, has raised $7.7 million to expand into Europe, where it plans to open an office in London early this year.

The Singaporean government has created a $423 million fund to contribute to Singaporean startups’ international expansion efforts.

CleanTech crowdfunding platform Gridshare announced in an interview that it plans to list projects in international markets that allow equity crowdfunding soon, but it did not give any more concrete details.

Non-Startups

US-based General Motors is retreating from Europe by selling its brands Opel and Vauxhall to France-based Peugot. Peugot plans to export Germany-based Opel outside of Western Europe, hoping to capitalize on the widespread perception of quality associated with German cars in order to compete at the upper end of the market. Opel last made a profit in 1999.

US-based theme park company Six Flags broke ground on theme park projects in Dubai and China that are expected to open in 2019. The company also signed agreements for 2 other Chinese theme parks slated to open in 2019. It also has a project underway in Vietnam and is in talks with officials in Saudi Arabia to build them parks there.

Italy-based jewelry manufacturer Bros Manifatture is focusing its international expansion on the US and China. It has opened offices Hong Kong, Beijing, and Miami; and opened three retail stores in the two countries. The company has eschewed partnerships, operating its international operations through branch offices in both the US and China.

France-based private equity fund Idinvest Partners opened an office in Shanghai to help support the growing number of Asian companies in its portfolio.

US-based Convergent Dental, which makes dental laser systems typically purchased by dentists, announced its expansion into South Korea — the company’s first international expansion effort. Convergent will leverage the sales force of its partner in the expansion, South Korean distributor MEDIS SLU, to reach South Korea’s 20,000 dentists.

Under new leadership, UK-based corporate and insurance law firm RPC plans to expand its insurance law practice in Asia, where the firm already has offices in Singapore and Hong Kong, due to the growth of the insurance market in the region.

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