Colgate-Palmolive owns 75 wholly owned subsidiaries in 75 different countries, and operates in more than 200. Colgate had a slow start after founding the company in 1806 they remained in the American market for more than 100 years. During that time, they expand their operations and develop their strategies in local market, and then in 1914, Colgate started their first international subsidiary in Canada with both geographical proximity and cultural similarities with America. The company’s international growth a little slow during the 1800’s but after rapid technological developments that took place during early 20th century and with needs to enlarge their global market share, Colgate went on its internationalization process. In 1920 Colgate established operations in Europe, Australia, Asia and Latin America, eight years later, Colgate merged with Palmolive-Peet, and became Colgate-Palmolive-Peet, thus joining forces with another company aspiring for global dominance. After that Colgate-Palmolive entered into a joint venture with Hawley & Hazel in Hong Kong, and ten years later, in 1995, after communist regime ended, Colgate entered Central Europe and Russia, thus expanding its operations into the fast growing countries of the region.
Moreover, Colgate was acquiring different companies that presented a competitive advantage, or had products that Colgate thought were innovative and had a selling potential in different global markets. In addition to mergers and acquisitions, Colgate went for joint ventures, especially in the countries to Far East; these countries are China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and India. Therefore, Colgate-Palmolive has slowly progressed in its internationalization process, starting from neighboring countries, moving to farther geographical locations that had similar cultural preferences, and expanded accordingly.
Approximately 75% of Colgate-Palmolive’s sales derive from international operations; therefore succeeding in markets outside of the United States is of great importance. The first country outside the US borders, where CP decided to launch their operations and sales was the closest, both geographically and culturally, Canada. The next step in their internationalization process was to reach more distant countries, yet still of cultural and economic similarity – Australia and Western European countries, such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom