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So far, the German economy has proved to be extremely robust in faltering Europe, especially thanks to its remarkable export figures. As Germany’s export levels increased in the first half of 2012, the President of trade association BGA, Anton Börner feels it is „a pity economic pessimism is at a high level“ as Germany continues to prevail in the conditions. So, is all this talk about a crisis that will never even materialise?

The fact is, this contradicts the data from the Statistichen Bundesamts, which actually found exports to Europe were down by double digits. Offsetting this trend, however, is the strong demand overseas: exports to countries outside of Europe saw significant growth, increasing by more than 11% to EUR 231 billion. 

Also, the industry association Spectaris highlighted the strength of exports, at its recent annual conference in Hamburg. The trade association takes this special view for SMEs in the high-tech industry, which represents businesses in the areas of consumer optics, photonics & precision engineering, medical, analytical, biological and laboratory equipment. This is especially evident in the export-dependant medical supplies sector, in light of the Euro debt crisis, subdued economic outlook and projected savings for health care bodies, where the search for new markets is therefore of  increased importance. But which countries provide future growth momentum, when the books of European countries remain empty?

Spectaris identifies potential in the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China. What exactly distinguishes thse countries for the chief economist of Goldmann Sachs, Jim O’Neill, to make up this collection of geographically distant locations?

The BRIC countries, which account for roughly 40% of the world population, also account for five to ten percent of the growth in economic output, considerably higher than the average in the EU. In connection with the economic recovery is the modernisation and expansion of the health infrastructure in these countries, leading to a high demand for medical technology products. Because China and Russia, for example, have the highest market growth rates in the sector, it can be assumed that German health exports are likely to decrease in the future.

German SMEs, which form the backbone of the medical technology industry, are especially at risk with their high international orientation. For this reason, appropriate methods and approaches for the generation of relevant information should be made in advance of the entrance of new markets. Questions that need to be considered as part of an international expansion could be as follows: What market entry strategy (export, licensing, joint venture/strategic alliance or a subsidiary, etc.) is the best? What are the legal, financial and cultural contexts that must be considered? Which products/product lines are particularly in demand, in which countries?