2018 is right around the corner. As you plan for next year, are you considering expanding overseas? For many companies, it is difficult to know where to start. This blog focuses on some popular countries for business expansion, and a few fun holiday traditions each country has to offer as well!

More than 7,500 U.S. firms have a presence in the United Kingdom. The UK is also the top location in Europe for U.S. regional headquarters covering Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Some of the factors driving businesses to the UK: the economy is the 5th largest in the world, with the largest air transport system in Europe, making it easy. There are a wide range of grants available for businesses to support private sector investment by foreign and domestic investors. Grants can cover capital expenditure, job creation, research and development, and energy projects.

A fun tradition in the UK is called “Burning the Clocks”, in Brighton, UK. Beautiful lanterns made from paper and willow are produced by Brighton in preparation for the annual “burning of the clocks” celebration on December 21st, the shortest day of the year.

France is also a top economy, ranked 6th largest in the world and the 2nd largest in Europe, following the UK. Setting up a French company can be done quickly and easily which is why there are over 20,000 foreign businesses already established in France. It’s a great choice if you don’t want to take on too much risk too soon. Positioned at the heart of the world’s largest market, France offers a favorable economic environment to potential exporters. France is very business-friendly, with strong public facilities and a legal framework in line with European standards.

Christkindelsmärik is a Christmas market (French: Marché de Noël) held annually in StrasbourgFrance, drawing in approximately 2 million visitors each year. It is mostly famous for its fragrance of warm wine and spices which travels throughout the cold, winter streets.

Canada is one of the largest countries in the world, but its population is dense and concentrated toward the Canadian and American border, rather than spread throughout the country. As an American-based country, this is to your benefit, as your Canadian customers are close together and easier to reach. Furthermore, Canada has a highly educated population. It is the 11th largest economy in the world and maintains a progressive attitude towards international trade and business. The Canadian market is different than the American market, but not by much. This allows you to learn how to expand into an international market with significantly lower risk than a market with vastly different laws and regulations.

Christmas Market in Toronto begins in November each year. The Distillery District’s annual holiday street market embraces just about every festive theme on the list. The European-inspired extravaganza is a festive browser’s delight with local vendors and craftspeople, food stalls galore, family-friendly entertainment including a Ferris wheel, beer gardens and, of course, Santa and his reindeer.

The current economic state of Australia makes it more affordable for foreign investors, while local governments and labor forces are eager for job creators to lay down roots. Australia is the top economy in the Asia-Pacific region with few barriers to entry, and simple startup procedures. Relishing in superb business opportunities for investors as well as enjoying a stunning natural environment, it offers top education facilities, excellent flight linkages globally and quality cultural infrastructure. The Australian city of Melbourne has taken first place for the world’s most livable city for the seventh year in a row as part of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Livability Report for 2017.

For international visitors who are in Sydney at Christmas time, it has almost become a tradition to go to Bondi Beach which is visited by a large number of people on Christmas Day. The warm weather enables the Australians to take part in the traditional Australian Christmas Eve carol service held in Melbourne every year. Thousands of people gather in the city of Melbourne to participate in this service.

Hong Kong:
High incomes, low tax and unemployment rates, and a strong entrepreneurial environment contribute to the main reasons businesses expand into Hong Kong.  Hong Kong taxes are among the lowest in the world. Hong Kong is also well-situated for real-time global communications, as it is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, overlapping with the US, UK, and much of Europe.

Every year in Hong Kong there is a “Winterfest” incorporating the shops, theme parks and other attractions in Hong Kong. Winterfest is famous for its New Year’s Eve countdown and displays of lights and fireworks all over the city, lighting up the skyscrapers and buildings.

New Zealand:

Doing business in New Zealand is relatively easy, with a straightforward, business-friendly taxation system that supports capital development, research and development and international investment. New Zealand also has flexible immigration policies encouraging investors, entrepreneurs, business managers, and active Government support for investment. Over the past three decades, the New Zealand economy has changed from being one of the most regulated in the OECD to one of the least regulated. The South Pacific is a great base for New Zealand with an advantageous time zone for doing business globally. New Zealand is also connected to Europe, North America and Asian markets.

In the main cities like Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton, there are big Christmas light shows and displays. There are big carol services throughout the country, even in small towns, villages and rural areas.

Sweden has an international business environment that is modern and open, and ranks as the second most business-friendly country in the world. Skilled professionals, polished business procedures, and receptivity to international partnerships make it an easy country to operate in. Overall, Sweden tops Europe in competitiveness, leading in innovation, business environment and talent. As part of the European Union, Sweden provides access to a market of 28 countries and $510 million consumers.

In December, one of the biggest celebrations in Sweden is St. Lucia’s Day. The celebration comes from stories that were told by Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden. St. Lucia’s Day is now celebrated by a girl dressing in a white dress with a red sash round her waist and a crown of candles on her head.

Denmark is one of the easiest places in the world to do business according to the World Bank. High flexibility and a safe business environment are Danish characteristics. You can set up a business in one day and have residence and work permits issued in 5 weeks in many cases. Denmark residents consistently come out as the happiest people in the world on international happiness indices and Copenhagen has been awarded the most livable city in the world.

Experience a good old-fashioned Christmas in Demark at the Christmas Market (HØJBRO PLADS), with Christmas trees and decorations, 80,000 sparkling Christmas lights, secret pixies, reindeer and Santa’s sleigh. Visit Copenhagen’s charming Christmas village.

As you consider your expansion plans for 2018, always ensure you have a partner that can help you set up business entities, employment contracts, and payroll to ensure compliance in each country. To get started visit our Countries page:  www.bluemarblepayroll.com/countries