At the microeconomic level, several advantages can be cited (Fer­ guson and Gibb 1993):

• companies may become more competitive through cheaper sourcing or subcontracting across national boundaries;

• companies will be able to prepare for threats and take advantage of opportunities if they have an effective international environment scanning process;

• companies may be able to find overseas markets which offer higher profit margins;

• companies operating in niche markets may find servicing similar niches in other countries less of a risk than diversifying into addi­ tional niches in the home market;

• it may be possible to extend the product life cycle through overseas market development; and

• companies may be able to establish strategic alliances to maintain the critical mass required for research and development.