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Business Expansion into Asia - Part 1

Taking your business to the far east

Lots of business managers and owners have a desire to expand into the tantalising potentially lucrative markets in Asia. This prospect is likely to become even more popular now that we are no longer a part of the EU. Are you one of these ambitious business participants?
So what holds you back? In many instances it is a fear of the unknown and a reluctance to take risks and endanger the ongoing base business at home. This is understandable. If you had some practical assistance and could tap into knowledge of doing business on the ground maybe these issues would not weigh as heavily on the potential decision.
So, what do you actually need to do to get started and make a meaningful expansion into those far away enticing areas? Firstly, Asia is actually a big place with a wide variety of cultures, geographies and economies. Your specific product or service may be superb in some locations but not in others. This could be because your customers and markets are diverse but also because some businesses are controlled by monopolies which seem unfair but are there anyway. Asia is a big wide world and some refer to certain countries as the Wild West full of cowboys. This can be daunting but getting down close to the ground will reveal a great deal.
Your own market research may prove interesting but there are also western people running western style companies in Asia and they can assist with your market analysis. This will give you a flavour of the realities wherever you are exploring.
Assuming you have decided where to go the next thing is to research and start to organise the realities. What sort of business licence do you need? Is that type of business open to foreign companies or restricted to locals? Should you start with a project or are you intending to seriously jump in and make a go of it. In that case is it best to have a representative office, a branch of your UK organisation or a local subsidiary.
Very often your subsidiary, which will be a local company, must have at least a 50% local ownership. Many businesses are totally daunted by this but there are solutions around this. Some extensive practical knowledge of the rules will usually unveil the way round this. Usually that takes the form of a totally trusted local partner. Whilst they are difficult to find they are actually around in all jurisdictions.
There are a number of other hurdles to jump which I will delve into next time. None of these are insurmountable. The key here is that in fact it is not as difficult as you may think to expand your business and the rewards can be very satisfying.

If you would like an exploratory chat about this please contact me. Andrew Wood, Kaywood Ltd. 


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