What are some advantages and disadvantages that come to Nike as a company because of international business.

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One advantage is that Nike is an internationally known brand and can thus sell shoes all over the world. Nike also can keep labor costs down by using laborers in the developing world—this allows the company to maintain large profits and thus keep investors happy. Athletes are as willing to...

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partner with Nike as Nike is to partner with athletes. This enables athletes and Nike to build international brands.

While the advantages are great, the disadvantages can be just as large. Social justice groups in the United States and throughout the world point to sweatshop conditions in Nike factories in Asia. When pressed on this, Nike points out that they create jobs in the developing world and that they pay fairly well relative to other jobs in the area. Some consumers boycott Nike products so as to not to support overseas sweatshops. Tariffs and unrest overseas can also affect Nike's ability to trade or to recruit workers in a stable work environment. Shipping costs are also a factor, as the price of fuel has increased considerably. Many companies are realizing that they could potentially save money by automating their production lines and bringing the jobs back to the United States. Some companies overseas are able to sell knock-off Nike products by using the brand but marketing a product that is not up to Nike standards. This may hurt the brand in that area.

Nike, like many international businesses, has many considerations when deciding to move operations overseas. While it is important to find the lowest possible costs, the company must also target the socially conscious consumer at home as well as look at other costs such as tariffs and fuel costs.

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Having begun its expansion into international markets in 1980 and 1981, Nike lays out the advantages disadvantages of its international business in its annual financial report. The Corporate Responsibility (CR) Report for fiscal year (FY) 2013 (FY2013, FY13), the latest available one, is made public online as are initial reports of the first fiscal quarter for 2015.

ADVANTAGESSome of the advantages to Nike as a company because of international business are that they can:

  • promote environmental sustainability by "decoupling" growth from "constrained resources."
  • ensure ethical sustainability by monitoring and regulating international labor forces.
  • increase revenue profits by increasing global market share.
  • initiate cost reduction by being globally selective about resource supply chains and delivery.
  • generate market share increase.
  • develop job creation.
  • create consumer value to the athlete in everyone.
  • cultivate global potentialities for meeting challenges.


As of 2013 Nike had approximately 48,000 in a worldwide international workforce operating in approximately 950 worldwide locations. This translates to job creation, employment and employment sustainability founded on ethical sustainability with labor policy oversight and regulation.

Between FY2011 and FY2013, revenue profit increased 25.9 percent to $23.5 billion and the projection is for an increase up to $30 billion for FY2015. The 2015 first quarter update shows Nike is on target with increases in the three Nike revenue categories of 15, 15, and 16 percent (NIKE, Inc, Nike Brand and Converse). Additionally, outsourcing to countries like Bangladesh increases cost reduction, which advances increased profits from revenue.

DISADVANTAGESSocial discord impacts market performance, market confidence and sustainability. To illustrate, Nike's partnership with the Bangladesh manufacturer Lyric Industries was cut off in 2014 because of unsafe and abusive labor practices:

Rolls of fabric were strewn across the production floor and some windows were bolted shut ... clear-cut hazards in the event of a fire.

The increase of 10,000 international employees from 2011 to 2013 came in the shadow of previous US outcry over abusive employee and child labor practices in globally outsourced Nike manufacturing locations. The 2014 break with Lyric Industries of Bangladesh shows the continuing need for vigilance and action to underpin the philosophy of sustainability.

Global events from economic troubles to weather to political upheaval impacts whether Nike's international business can meet its projections of fails to do so. To illustrate, the global economy affects rising costs, which in turn impact inflationary pressures and margin pressures. Extreme global weather events affect supply chain and delivery. Political unrest is another factor that effects market and market confidence among other market factors.

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The major advantage that comes to Nike from international business is lower costs.  Nike produces its shoes in countries where labor is cheap, thus cutting down on its costs.  If we expand the definition of international business, we see that Nike also gets more brand recognition by sponsoring teams and athletes who are famous in other countries than the US.

The main disadvantage that can face Nike is the possibility of bad publicity.  If Nike plants in other countries are found to have working conditions that seem abusive to Westerners, the company can get a lot of bad press, thus degrading its image in the eyes of its customers.  Another danger that Nike faces is from political and social instability in countries where it manufactures.  A change in government in such countries can lead to radically different policies that can seriously damage Nike's ability to operate profitably.

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