The use of local business partners is as old as global commerce itself. European merchants leveraged middle men across the ancient Silk Road, while the first multinational corporations relied on local resources and manpower for their global operations.
Today, requirements set up by foreign governments often mandate business relationships with native firms in order to guarantee the benefits of resource extraction or technology transfer. In other cases, complex business environments all but necessitate local know-how in order to get things done. But as firms move into emerging and frontier markets, they face increasing challenges on their home turf, especially in areas of compliance and reputation management.