Can Akamai Find Foreign Growth?

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In today's world, most companies span several regions and sell across the world. As Foolish colleague Morgan Housel notes, 10 years ago, less than a third of S&P 500 revenue came from abroad. Today, that makes up half the S&P's sales and continues to grow.

And that number is growing. The truth is, investors regularly underestimate how much demand comes from abroad. More importantly, for large, multinational corporations that have already established a presence in their home markets, much of their future growth comes from abroad.

With that in mind, today we're looking at Akamai (NAS: AKAM) . We'll examine not only where its sales and earnings come from, but how its sales abroad have changed over time.

Where Akamai's sales were five years ago
Five years ago, Akamai collected 63% of its sales from the United States.

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Source: S&P Capital IQ.

Where Akamai's sales are today
Today, Akamai is backing the trend has seen its proportion of sales expand to the United States. 

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That's not because Akamai's necessarily struggling overseas, but more reflects the huge growth rate across its entire business. With pricing battles across the content-delivery network (CDN) space, it makes sense that companies might slow down and focus on geographies where they have more scale, like the United States and Europe.

Region5-Year Total Sales Growth
United States313%
Foreign89%
Europe284%

Source: S&P Capital IQ.

Competitor checkup
One last point to check is how Akamai's footprint compares with some of its Internet peers and industry rivals.

Company

Geography With Most Sales

Percent of Sales

AkamaiUnited States72%
Level 3 Communications (NAS: LVLT) North America91%
Limelight Networks (NAS: LLNW) United States71%

Source: S&P Capital IQ.

Akamai has almost the exact same foreign exposure as rival Limelight Networks, so it's not exactly falling behind rivals in new markets for CDNs. Optimism for investing in overseas CDN pure plays was piqued when ChinaCache (NAS: CCIH) debuted last year, but the company continues to struggle to attain continuing profitability and has seen its share price crater over the past year.

Keep searching
If you're looking to stay updated on Akamai or any other companies listed above, make sure to add them to our free watchlist service, My Watchlist. It's free, and it helps you constantly stay updated on news and analysis on your favorite companies.

At the time this article was published Eric Bleekerowns shares of no companies listed above. You canfollow him on Twitterto see all of his technology and market commentary. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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