Many of these companies have now realised the opportunities they were missing by ignoring the four billion individuals who live in lower income markets.
The key to success in these so-called 'base of the pyramid' (BoP) markets involves recognising that Western-style business practices may not work in these environments. The biggest challenge for businesses is not protecting intellectual property, dealing with corruption or overcoming lack of infrastructure, but generating business model innovation. This requires a deep understanding of, and interaction with, the local environment.
When entering a new market, firms often need to turn to partner organisations for local expertise. In some countries, this is even a legal requirement.