During the past decade, affiliate marketing has grown exponentially across Europe. Coupled with e-mail marketing, it also accounted for 16% of e-commerce online income in the US and Canada. Still, such growth naturally slowed down and stabilized by the end of 2019.

Developing countries, meanwhile, are following different paths. Gradually overcoming development and trading barriers, these markets grow stronger and develop rapidly. Economies of countries like Japan, India, Brazil, China, and Africa receive billions of dollars in investments yearly. Such a picture only testifies to the fact – today, brands can access unexplored resources for establishing fruitful affiliate partnerships.

Specifics of businesses in developing countries

India – when you think of India, the first thing that pops up in the mind is the world’s best pool of IT talents. Internet technologies play a very important role in Indian transformation. Google and Amazon have built their own technological wealth on the basis of the existing infrastructure. Indian companies are typically run by small teams that are technically skilled, business-wise, and prefer to collaborate using a SaaS model.

Brazil – this country has a well-established system of startup accelerators that work across business verticals. Brazil doesn’t only replicate western successful business projects but also adapts them to the Latin American market – an important thing one should remember in order to quickly grasp the local approach to business building.

China – many iconic tech companies – Huawei, Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Lenovo, and Xiaomi originated in China. The encouragement of entrepreneurship is currently the main vector of China’s economic growth. In March 2015, China built a giant startup incubator Zhongguancun in Beijing based on the prototype of Silicon Valley. Position, membership in associations, etc., are the keys to business success in China. That’s why finding local partners may be indispensable if you are trying to conquer the Chinese market.

Japan – following the experience of western countries, Japan is becoming more open to entrepreneurs. The IT business is considered to be one of the main engines of the country’s rapid economic growth. Japan is also the third-largest ICT market in the world. The internal business processes are characterized by long technological chains that comprise small businesses that serve bigger businesses.

Africa – at the beginning of 2018, a shift in South Africa’s government restored the confidence of businesses in the country and elevated the rand, which grew to a maximum level. African business communities, in contrast to those in China and Japan, are very cosmopolitan. In some regions, companies that work in the mining, agriculture, energy, and tourism industries can also receive subsidies.

Building affiliate relationships at expos & conferences

No matter if you want to gain a foothold in new markets on a long-term basis or just eager to get larger brand exposure, interpersonal relationships established at big expos & conferences (below) may play a crucial role in your future success: 

India Affiliate Summit (Sep 17 – 18, 2020 – India)
Ad:tech New Delhi (March 19 – 20, 2020 – India)
Afiliados Brasil (May 28 – 30, 2020 – Brazil)
China International Internet & E-commerce Expo (Sep 23 – 25, 2020 – China)
eCommerce Fair Tokyo (Jan 28 – 29, 2020 – Japan)
iGB Affiliate Africa (Oct 28 – 29, 2020, Africa)

If you want to make the most out of each visited conference and expo, take the time to target the local community to make sure they are aware of your affiliate proposition/program: post it on local affiliate forums, make the announcement about participation, and notify potential partners where and when they can find you at the expo to discuss collaboration details.

Digital affiliate marketing opportunities

The digital affiliate program is the simplest low-budget business method that a novice can try without meddling with additional financial risks. As an advertiser, you can create your own affiliate program and attract highly-targeted relevant traffic from local websites.

The most popular affiliate programs to check out:


Amazon, eBay, Tata clique, ShopClues, Jabong,


Paysale, MyLead, DoAff.net, 3Snet, Leadbit


Linktech, Chanet, YiQifa, LinkHaiTao,


A8Net, WhiteRabbit, Peerfly, CPALead, Admitad


WealthyAffiliate, Zando, Wonga, Loot, Zasstra

All offers in CPA networks are grouped according to the business vertical. Some of them might work only across one or two verticals, e.g. beauty and healthcare. The others might work in retail or luxury and so on.

Those brands that strive for awareness instead of performance give preference to CPM (cost-per-mile) ad campaigns, which can be launched on programmatic demand-side platforms. Unlike a CPA campaign, a programmatic campaign based on CPM enables the advertiser to cover all business verticals across suitable geo-targeting audiences according to the giant arrays of user data.

Embrace DTC (Direct To Consumer) collaborations

Setting the customer to the centre of your attention with a DTC campaign, you can bypass expensive channels and advertising intermediaries: television, press, billboards. For this, however, you have to know the specifics of every DTC market you are going to enter:

Japan – over 84% of Japanese population uses smartphones (instead of desktop computers) when purchasing online. If you want to gain the trust of customers in this local market, the product or service that you introduce should be localized, suited to fit Japanese etiquette, and showcased in detail, preferably on mobile devices.

India – to win over the Indian customer’s heart, one should keep in mind that this country has more millennial customers than any other (34% of population). These people give preference to online shopping experiences. However, 75% of the population still gravitates to offline experiences. The good combination of offline and online shopping might be a win-win strategy.

Brazil – Brazilian customers can be the most engaged social media followers for your brand (young people spend on social media no less than 3 hours and 43 min. daily). Mobile devices are used for 27.3% of e-commerce purchases. However, the desktop is still the most popular device. Thus, you can target your audience on desktop and then retarget them on mobile.

China – China has the biggest e-Commerce websites: Alibaba (500 million people), Taobao, TMall. Internet penetration in this country is higher than 75%. Most online purchases are made through mobile devices. Certain international web sources are censored. This means that products can be marketed online, but they need to be localized and suited to internal digital policies and regulations.

Africa – Africa’s Internet penetration is low, although the overall mobile phone ownership rate is high (91%). In such circumstances, ad campaigns should be run offline and online (via mobiles). To succeed, you need to develop sophisticated pricing strategies and take into account the needs of local customers with a multicultural marketing approach.

Use a multicultural marketing approach

Challenges that your potential customers may face, particularly in the minority-owned communities, are related to the fact that people may not have access to the same networks, sources of capital, or products.

Now, with the continued growth of the infrastructure for online services, your brand can take advantage of new opportunities. For this:

Prepare the product for the local market. In order to evaluate whether you can grasp a desired share of the local market, run a preliminary gap analysis. This will allow you to assess risks and understand how far your business stands from the desired position on the market.
Make sure you’ve pinpointed a vacant niche – in order to enter new markets effortlessly, take time to determine whether your product idea really covers an unfilled market niche: run a private survey, distribute questionnaires, attract customer representatives to test your product and obtain honest feedback.
Revise local regulations – keep in mind that legislation across developing countries varies, especially when it comes to services and products that utilize user data. If compliant to local regulation, your product will easily get certified or patented.
Make a roadmap of market expansion – determine market penetration plans for short, medium, and long time periods and adopt metrics according to which one you will use to measure the success of market penetration.

To wrap it up

Entering a new unexplored market niche can be a daunting task, but it can also be highly rewarding for those businesses that make it in-time. The quick rise of emerging markets arms millions of consumers with new purchasing power. Those brands that harness meaningful business relationships, and understand the needs of the local economies and communities, are far more likely to capture the loyalty of new customers and the trust of new partners.