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 outside the United States. Today, more than half of the S&P 500's growth comes from overseas. 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 foreign markets.

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

Where Oracle's sales were five years ago
Five years ago time, Oracle reported 45% of sales to the United States. The company breaks out several geographies, with its second largest sales contributor being a nebulous "Other Countries" category.

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Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

Where Oracle's sales are today
In the most recent year, Oracle changed how it reports. Gone is the vague "Other Countries" classification, and in its place is a breakdown between the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

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Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

The changed reporting structure can make a 2006-to-2011 comparison difficult, but Oracle did keep the same reporting structure through fiscal 2010 (which ended in May of last year). And from those numbers, we can glean a little more insight into where the business is growing the most quickly:

Region

5-Year Total Sales Growth

Other Countries

114%

United States

78%

Japan

60%

United Kingdom

46%

France

90%

Canada

88%

Germany

92%

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

Oracle's growth looks relatively uniform across most geographies, with a slight push toward the "Other Countries," category which is probably focused on emerging markets. One of the advantages of offering advanced software is that companies can collect more profits out of emerging markets. Advanced systems can't easily be pirated, and systems require continued support. Compare that situation with more consumer-focused software, whose sales suffer heavily from piracy.

Competitor checkup
One last point to check is how Oracle's footprint compares with some of its peers across the broader software industry.

Company

Geography With Most Sales

Percent of Sales

Oracle Americas 52%
salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) United States 68%
SAP (NYSE: SAP) EMEA* 50%
Qlik Technologies (Nasdaq: QLIK) Europe 61%

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.
*EMEA is Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Oracle reigns supreme in most of the world, although Germany-based SAP has particular strength in the European market. As emerging markets develop and new companies look to build out their IT infrastructures, companies such as salesforce.com and Qlik -- which offer cloud-computing options with little upfront onsite hardware demands -- could see increasing sales.

Keep searching
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Eric Bleeker owns no shares of any companies listed above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Oracle and Qlik Technologies. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of salesforce.com and Qlik Technologies and shorting salesforce.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.