Published on Linkedin on November 19th, 2019
Many companies entering Asia come in with short term interests to test the waters by simply allocating very limited resources and operate with no plan other than to see if there is interest from prospects to buy their products or services. For these companies, they rarely succeed and end up leaving Asia with their tail between their legs.
Entering Asia requires a well thought out committed plan that is built with the help of an individual or a team that understands the dynamics of doing business in Asia. It can never be done in isolation with a planning team that has no experience with Asia at all. A well thought out and curated long-term Asia market entry business plan will contain the following components:
Identify the right sales / business development model to enter Asia. This can be a direct or indirect (or both) business model. Establishing this initial approach correctly will ensure you do not waste valuable financial resources and time performing the wrong type of missionary work to establish your sales pipeline, brand and presence in Asia. An experienced business development professional who understands Asia intimately will be able to provide guidance on the best approach.
Establish a direct legal business entity in-country and tie the local hires to this entity. Unless there is a large allocated budget, it is normal to initially hire one or two headcount(s) to establish the office from the start. Some companies dispatch an expatriate from headquarters with no depth in Asia experience to start the local operations but his is always ill-advised. Always hire experienced locals when possible.
Finally, establish a level of staff support at headquarters to ensure requests from the new Asian team are answered in a timely manner and time-zone differences are accounted for. Without timely support from headquarters, it will be very difficult for the Asian team to effectively build their business in the early days of Asia market entry. Realistically, the Asian team cannot build and grow the business in isolation from the rest of the world.
Expect to spend at least 6 to 12 months to come up with an Asian business plan before you establish your direct presence in Asia. Make multiple trips there to scope the environment and build up key contacts. Most importantly, in these early days of building up your Asia market entry business plan, you must engage an experienced Asia market entry specialist to guide your planning efforts. Otherwise, your risk for failure will be much higher as a result.
Next up, our last and final article in this series: We will discuss the right budget to make things work in your Asia market entry business plan.
About the Author:
Peter Hum is the Founder and Managing Director of StrateValue Pte Ltd, a leading boutique business management and Asia market entry firm based in Singapore. With more than 26 years of international business and global telecommunications experience, Peter has held successive career roles ranging from technical, marketing, sales, executive management, and serial entrepreneurship across Asia and North America. He specialises within the fields of Telecommunications, Business Analytics, Enterprise Software, and Digital Services. Peter has provided strategic and operational guidance to senior level executives in some of the largest multinational organisations in the region.