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Research International Companies

While researching US companies is now easier than ever, the same cannot be said for international firms. If you're seeking the scoop on a company in Israel or Italy, prepare to do some sleuthing or translating, if you're up for it.

Resources on international companies exist in scattered directories and online yellow pages. And these, in turn, may be in languages unfamiliar to you.

Is online research for international businesses a lost cause, then? Not at all. You'll simply have to scout out multiple sites to piece together an adequate picture of a company. Don't settle for the bare-bones listings available at digital versions of the yellow pages. Instead, look for newspaper articles mentioning the firm. Find financial reports. Follow a virtual trail, as it were, in order to inform yourself about a company. Here's how, with links to assorted resources to help you get started.

  • A company Web site may have more to do with marketing than presenting objective information, but for international companies, it can often be a good place to begin your research. Areas of the site devoted to investor relations, press releases, news coverage and products can help inform you about the firm. Look for the firm by typing an obvious Web address (like for AT&T) or searching at a Web portal, like Excite or Google.
  • Kompass enables you to do basic research on companies all over the world. You may not find tons of information on any given company, but it's a great tool for getting some of the basic info: names of companies in certain industries in a country or region, numbers of employees, addresses and executive teams. Once you have these bits of data, you may be able to find more by doing a search on Google.
  • News media sites provide another resource for international company research. Search Google for the country name and "newspaper" or "media," and you may, if you're lucky, turn up an English-language paper. Globes, for instance, is a daily English paper covering business in Israel. Media outlets may help you find information you wouldn't get from a company home page or basic business directory.
At any of these resources, you may encounter materials in another language. If that's the case, visit AltaVista and select the Translate link. With the site's translation service, you're able to enter a Web address and have the page translated into English from German, French or other languages. Don't try it with Sartre -- the literary element would be lost -- but with business-oriented information, the Web's translation services come in handy.

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