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  • 21 September 2010 14:12

Top 10 tips for doing business in Asia

Once mutual trust is achieved, you will succeed

By Cameron Ackbury, General Manager for Asia at Mindjet

Although this article highlights suggestions for doing business in Asia, cultures across the region vary widely. For example, Japan and China are as different as France and Germany. However, the following rules are universal.

1. Don’t impart Australian or US values into your philosophy of doing business – you will fail because we are too aggressive and direct.

2. Enlist someone who knows the people and the relationships. Do not imagine you understand the culture - there are levels of subtlety and depth that you are unlikely to comprehend.

3. Work patiently and respectfully towards achieving trust in your relationships. Once mutual trust is achieved, you will succeed.

4. Hire locally. Your staff speak the language, and customers are far more inclined to trust native language speakers.

5. Be prepared for prolonged and patient negotiations, where Yes often means no, and No usually means maybe. For instance, just when you think you have a contract in Korea, the real negotiating begins.

6. The Japanese market in particular requires respect, patience and a third generation Japanese born citizen in the deal.

7. The Hong Kong corridor (Shanzhen, Ghounghou) has loads of distribution, factories, production space, and resources; while China as a whole is an untapped market.

8. Be sure to tier your markets as follows: Tier #1, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan (most likely to buy); Tier #2, Thailand, Philippines, China, India, Malaysia (may buy); Tier #3, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Burma (cannot afford it).

9. Focus on multinationals when penetrating the second tier accounts. They have compliance mandates which minimise the chance of intellectual property theft.

10. Build awareness through advertising prior to entering the marketplace, and make sure you hire a quality reseller/distributor for the tier #2 markets.

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