FRANCHISING'S GLOBAL OPPORTUNITY: Continued urbanization around the world has opened new, vibrant markets on every continent.

Author:Herrera, Carlos

Throughout history and for multiple reasons, humanity has progressively moved to the village, the township, the city, in other words, the world has become more urbanized. If nothing else, the exchange of goods and services is facilitated due to the physical proximity of the receiver and the supplier of said goods and services. For franchising, this is the world's most important trend. It represents a tremendous opportunity to grow franchised businesses around the world.

There are several diagrams in this article that are sourced from a tool called Gapminder (1). Gapminder is the brain child of Hans Rosling: physician, academic, statistician and public speaker. He died in 2017 but his children continue to further his thoughts and ideals through the Gapminder Foundation. In the diagrams accompanying this article, each bubble represents a country, the size of the bubble is proportional to its population. Additionally, each region of the world is highlighted in a different color: yellow for the Americas, orange for Europe, red for Asia, green for the Middle East and North Africa, light blue for the Indian subcontinent, and dark blue for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Back to our story on the most important trend in the world today: urbanization. The vertical axis in Figures 1 and 2 shows the percent of the population of each country that lives in urban centers. Figure 1 shows how much of each country's population lived in urban centers in 1960 while Figure 2 shows the same data in 2017. The big red bubble is China, which in 1960 was 16 percent urbanized. By 2017, Figure 2, China was 58 percent urbanized. This means that in China alone, hundreds of millions of people have moved to the city. The largest bubbles are: the United States in yellow, Russia in orange, China in red, India in light blue, Nigeria in dark blue.

If you compare Figures 1 and 2, you can see that the whole world is shifting upwards in the urbanization scale, meaning that a large portion of the world's population is moving to the city. I have added the rectangles and the labels to highlight the shift. One of the most beautiful features of Gapminder is that it allows you to see the evolution in a dynamic way. Here, I can just show you the initial state and where we are most recently, two snapshots, but in Gapminder you can see the full evolution from 1960 to 2017.

You may have noticed that the bubbles are not only moving up but also moving to the right. The horizontal axis in these...

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