Optimal expansion of business opportunity

Ling WANG, Kexin CHEN, Mei Choi CHIU, Hoi Ying WONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Any firm whose business strategy has an exposure constraint that limits its potential gain naturally considers expansion, as this can increase its exposure. We model business expansion as an enlargement of the opportunity set for business policies. However, expansion is irreversible and has an opportunity cost attached. We use the expected optimization of utility to formulate this as a novel stochastic control problem combined with an optimal stopping time, and we derive an explicit solution for exponential utility. We apply the framework to an investment and a reinsurance scenario. In the investment problem, the cost and incentives to increase the trading exposure are analyzed, while the optimal timing for an insurer to launch its reinsurance business is investigated in the reinsurance problem. Our model predicts that the additional income gained through business expansion is the key incentive for a decision to expand. Interestingly, companies may have this incentive but are likely to wait for a period of time before expanding, although situations of zero opportunity cost or specific restrictive conditions on the model parameters are exceptions to waiting. The business policy remains on the boundary of the opportunity set before expansion during the waiting period. The length of the waiting period is related to the opportunity cost, return, and risk of the expanded business. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-445
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number1
Early online date02 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


Wang, L., Chen, K., Chiu, M. C., & Wong, H. Y. (2023). Optimal expansion of business opportunity. European Journal of Operational Research, 309(1), 432-445. doi: 10.1016/j.ejor.2022.12.041


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