International Finance
January-February 2019MagazineMarkets

Investing in Europe’s lucrative markets

With Brexit on the horizon, many smaller businesses in the UK are frightful of European expansion. However, with more consumers beginning to recognise brands around the world, international expansion is a lucrative decision for a range of sectors

There’s no denying that there has been financial problems over the years for some countries in Europe, causing many businesses to drift away from the idea of tackling the market. However, Greece’s financial crisis has finally ended, and other countries are developing at rapid rates — something investors should take note of.

Today, more investors are looking to the Eurozone for their business ventures. But which industries are thriving in different countries?

Spain: A Focus On Fashion

More UK fashion companies are making the shift overseas to Spain — take going out dresses retailer QUIZ for example, who have recently opened up in Madrid. Spain is possibly one of the biggest hotspots for tourism and this is one of the main drives for retail sales. Euromonitor International found that Spain’s employment rate dropped to a low of 17% in 2017, which has had a positive impact on fashion sales as more people have shown a willingness to spend more on clothes.

For the industry itself, an annual growth of 11% is expected to arise between 2018 and 2022 — taking the market value up to $6.728m. Francesc Maristany, former president of Catalan Cluster of Fashion, commented: “Some people come for the luxury tourism and realise there are smaller brands with great products and excellent branding, and become drawn to them.” This shows that there has never been a better time than now to expand into Spain.

France: A Focus On Artificial Intelligence

Did you know that Paris has passed London as the most lucrative market in Europe for foreign investors? Although you may be making investments at home, it’s crucial to start looking at shifting your finances into opportunities in France.

The introduction of artificial intelligence is thriving in France, with companies and governments making use of it. Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has launched an initiative that will position the country as a leader in the field. Through this scheme, €1,5 billion will be invested in AI projects and start-ups. Is this something that your business could benefit from?

Germany: A Focus On Biotechnology

Foreign investment is at an all-time in Germany, so it would be foolish not to look into the country. So much so, that a total of 1,063 investment projects were launched in the country over the past 12 months. Within the same time frame, 7,785 jobs were created in Germany by external European companies — highlighting the number of opportunities across the country that must be taken advantage of.

The country is exceeding well in research and development, too. Germany prides itself on constant innovation and is known to have the most biotechnology firms on the continent, which has had a positive impact on employment across the nation.

Portugal: A Focus On Real Estate

Titled the most peaceful country in Europe, Portugal is thriving in real estate investments and general trade. However, it must be noted that the country’s Golden Visa Scheme has encouraged more foreign investments in property, as residency comes with an array of benefits, including education, healthcare, social security, tax concessions, and more.

Did you know that the gross rental yields in the country are one of the highest in the continent? 5% to 14% is realistic for the right property. Have you considered setting aside investments and obtaining a visa to a foreign country to obtain great financial benefits? Now might be the time!

The Netherlands: A Focus On Creative Industries (Advertising, TV, Music, and Gaming)

It’s believed that The Netherlands is one of the most innovative countries in the world. As a result, it is home to some of the leading creative brands. Amsterdam, in particular, is a hotspot for creativity. Its metropolitan area offers world-class infrastructures and Europe’s fastest broadband speeds – essential qualities for this sector.

Almost 50% of investors think that the business climate in this country will improve significantly over the next three years, so researching early is essential. This is a positive sign, as last year, only 38% agreed. The capital city is known for its influential start-up scene, with a tech-savvy community and a diverse talent pool. To illustrate the love of creative start-up businesses, the opening of gaming companies alone increased by 42% between 2011 and 2016.

UK: A Focus On Digital

It’s no surprise that the digital scene in the UK occupies 27% of projects in Europe. As well as this, the sector seems to generate the largest number of projects in the country, which has led to an increase in employability with around 1.1m people in work.

The digital sector in the UK is growing quicker than the national economy and is improving regional areas. Because of this, the value of the industry was boosted to £184bn (2017) from £170bn, which was its estimated worth in 2016. Ignoring the opportunity to invest in the UK’s digital sector could be a big mistake.

Sweden: A Focus On Financial Technology (FinTech)

It’s known that Sweden is one of the biggest hot spots for foreign investment, especially around tech projects. This renowned status factored in the statistic that a large portion of its workforce are in tech-based jobs.

Stockholm is the second-most prolific tech hub in the world after Silicon Valley. This is a great achievement for the nation, as investment continues to grow. When it comes to emerging fintech trends, crowdfunding opportunities, mortgages and pensions are developing areas that are disrupting the industry positively.

Finland: A Focus On Clean Technology And Renewable Energy

It won’t be a surprise that Finland is the world’s greenest country and has a core focus on renewable energy. Because of this core focus, 38% of the nation’s energy is produced by renewables — which is only set to grow further with future investments and continued extensive research.

For venture capital investments, this country ranks quite high due to cleantech solutions. Because of its willingness to improve the climate of our planet, it is also home to Slush, which is one of the biggest technology-focused innovation conferences in the world.


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