Western companies attempting to enter the Asian market have quite a lot of trouble making the transition due to many factors, from cultural differences to different purchasing habits. Even some of the largest Western brands (like Walmart and Groupon) had a tough time getting established; it makes you then wonder what businesses not back by billions in capital must do to reach the Asian market.
The following are some of those frequently asked questions about our topic.
1. Is there a market for my product?
Ask yourself whether the location has an actual market demand for your product(s). Early entry can give a great advantage but can backfire, too, due to a lack of understand or inherent need/want for what you have to offer. Likewise, entering too late allows you to one-up the competition but poses the problem of being a late-comer that may not be accepted.
2. Who are the potential customers?
Understand the market to the finest detail. The demographics, age groups, social patterns, economics, and more. Attempt a trial run of the product to collect real-world data about the customers. Purchase market data from providers that have vast resources already developed to help foreign businesses.
3. Who represents the main competition?
Are you setting yourself up for failure by attempting to enter a market that is utterly dominated by the competition’ Good as a product may be there will be a great resistance due to the strong branding the competition has with the locals. If, however, there are weak points then it gives you a perfect opportunity to exploit them and sink your feet firmly in the ground.
4. Can my product cross cultural boundaries?
Many factors come into play when transitioning your product to reach Asia. Even the basic colors or choice in packaging can cause the market to be fickle about your product. Your best bet is to combine the use of your local research and working with a graphic/product designer that is versed in Asian culture and consumer nature to ensure any important changes are made before shipping.
5. How will I provide my product to the new market?
Success in the new market relies on your presence. The presence can be built through online means in combination with local marketing/advertising efforts which allows you to sell to Asia through an online portal. Alternatively, you have the choice of setting up shop which does require a greater investment but can be great for gaining local support and branding.
6. How will I deliver products to new areas?
Logistics are a choke point for many businesses attempting to reach new markets. It is vital to work with a logistics company that provide a myriad of flexible services, whether it’s freight across oceans, through the air, or distribution centers located in strategic parts of the world to greatly cut down the costs when operating from your original location.
7. What are the current economic/social conditions?
What is currently happening with the country? Are they at peace? At war? Is the local government stable and does the economy allows for foreign competition? Do your homework about the country in question down the finest financial and social detail to avoid the costly mistakes of entering a market that cannot support your presence.
8. Who can act as my partner in this new market?
Networking events or even the simple use of LinkedIn will play a pivotal role in finding potential partners that will aid in your entry. The partners will provide a wealth of knowledge about the marketplace and other important elements such as legalities and local culture. The right selection of a partner is, perhaps, one of your easiest options for laying the groundwork of entering Asia.
9. What legalities should I know about my selection?
It is essential that you understand legalities in both your current location and your selection. Ask yourself whether you meet these legal regulations when exporting and importing your products to and from the locations. Consider the taxes and whether the materials in your products are legal in the country, too.
10. Will a new market actually provide a return on investment?
One you should consider is the amount of capital investment your business will make when entering one of the many Asian markets. Rightly so you should consider what this investment does to your current location. It’s important that you do not stretch your resources too thin (ultimately damaging what has already been form). Keep in mind the financial implications.