Designed Here, Re-Designed There But Made Somewhere Else

Geography, translocal business and the exploitation of difference

Authored by: John R. Bryson

The Routledge Companion to the Geography of International Business

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138953345
eBook ISBN: 9781315667379
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores the ways in which goods are designed and redesigned by International Businesses to meet the needs of many local consumer cultures. The onset of international trade is associated with the development of international logistics, but with structures and systems that are intended to facilitate product localisation, which is the development of products to meet the needs of localised consumer cultures or a process that modifies existing products for sale in many different national settings. There are products that can be sold in many different localities and the only alterations will be related to marketing and packaging. Other products must be altered to meet local consumer expectations. This is a complex process that involves two elements. First, local design expertise must exist that informs the development of products for local markets. Second, companies must develop structures or mechanisms that enable them to localise their designs. This takes many different forms. It involves the establishment of local design centres that can be owned by translocal firms or be provided by specialist independent providers of design expertise. This chapter begins with an overview of research on International Business and geography to identify some of the key characteristics of International Business activity and to explain the focus on design, business and professional services and the distribution of production-related tasks. The focus on distribution highlights that the selection of a location for a task is the consequence of a deliberative process that is designed to provide a firm with some form of strategic advantage.

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