While understanding that we all need to “Think Global, Act Local” in our Asian business dealings there are some fundamental key success factors to achieve profitable business outcomes. These key success factors apply whether you are importing, exporting or if you have a business operation in an Asian country.
No. 1 – Possess an Asian Mindset
Without an understanding of the Asian mindset you are doomed to fail.
The large majority of Asian business people want to build a long term relationship with you. They are want win: win outcomes. You need to understand that your Asian partner is fearful of the loss of face in any business relationship or transaction. You need to respect cultural and social differences. You also need to demonstrate consistent behaviour and exhibit extreme patience.
No. 2 – Have a Long Term Commitment to Asia
Your business stakeholders need to understand that the ROI in Asia takes at least twice as long as an investment in your home country.
You need to ride the ups and downs of investing in your Asian business activity. Do not loss your nerve and stick at it. Your overall business plan needs to include your Asian business plans. It cannot be a separate plan or there will be less commitment. Do not enter into an Asian business venture if you have a short term ROI mindset.
No. 3 – Understand the Market
Asian markets are complex and different. Even within the same country there may be geographic differences in market characteristics, likes, wants etc. Why have Uber and Amazon failed in the Chinese market?
Take your time to research and learn the market in detail before you enter that Asian market. Commit to the appropriate level of market research. Use an expert in the specific market to conduct that research for you. If you do not understand the market you are bound to fail.
No. 4 – Select the Right Asian Partner
You cannot do business in Asia without a committed and engaged Asian partner. This partner needs to be on the ground in Asia or have strong connections in the market you are entering. This may be an agent or distributor, consultant, local employee or equity partner.
Take your time selecting this partner. Do not rush in and select someone without fully understanding them. You need to identify the characteristics you require in your Asian partner. Their personal traits and family beliefs are in some ways just as important as their business expertise and connections.
In conclusion, of course I recognise there are many other factors that lead to success when it comes to doing business in Asia. However I believe these four key success factors are fundamental and musts to achieve to ensure profitable outcomes.