Trusted partnerships in Asia take a long time to develop. We have the tendency in the western world to rush things and try to get deals done quickly, often without properly knowing the people we are doing business with. This cannot be done when trying to find a trusted partner in Asia. In most cases you are working on your Asian partner’s timeline, not yours. Your Asian partner is the one with the power in their home market.
If you do your due diligence and take your time, you will find Asian partners you can trust. However it is a two way street. If you want the partnership to work to its maximum potential, you must allow time for your partner to trust you.
In getting to the stage of selecting a partner you must understand what it was going to take to be successful in Asia. You must be interested in developing a deeper relationship from an Asian point of view. You cannot just have an arms-length business relationship that you are used in your home market.
This probably sounds basic and obvious, but the biggest tip I would give in any Asian partnership is it is not just a negotiation or discovery process – it is a time to listen, ask questions, and listen some more. Many western business people don’t realise this.
The natural instinct for an Asian when they meet someone from a western country is that they will be seen as inferior and they become very uncomfortable. They are expecting to be lectured to and they will be the ones doing all of the listening.
Here is my gold nugget for finding trusted Asian partners. If you come in with a very different approach in terms of being friendly, open, patient and relaxed, the entire process will go much easier. Show that you are taking a personal interest in them and their family, employees and friends. By listening to them and asking questions, you will immediately get their attention and differentiate yourself from other western business people.
In the end you will earn their trust and develop a meaningful long term win: win partnership. It is certainly worth the time and effort to do this if you wish to be successful in Asia.