Many international companies enter Asia without giving suitable or sufficient thought to their best point of entry. There may be an existing connection or a preference for entering a specific Asian territory, however the ideal way to enter your best Asian market is through a thoroughly indexed, comparative analysis based on criteria particular to your company, product or service and competitive situation. Jari Hietala, Managing Partner of Asian Insiders offers an experienced perspective on this.
Each Asian market offers a unique set of factors beyond simply the size of their domestic market. Aside from international or domestic politics there are a wide range of circumstances and metrics in each market that requires comparative evaluation, matched to the company’s capacities and longer-term growth strategy.
Alternatively, many international companies will already be present in Asia and have accumulated expertise and infrastructure that suggests easier expansion into new Asian territories. But which new markets make better sense?
In my experience, selecting the best Asian market should not be based on generic macro-economic data or the theoretical market size or even the broad development stage of the economy. Generic data doesn’t verify the suitability of any market to your products or services, and the criteria for assessing your best Asian market must be customised to your capabilities and circumstances.
So what then is the right way to determine your best Asian market? I have found the best results come from a thorough indexing of the company’s sector, core competencies and capabilities with a detailed and comprehensive summary of each Asian market. Where the range of market and sector characteristics are tabled in a format allowing parameters to be indexed alongside the client company’s current capabilities as well as regional strategy and local aspirations.
Note that this approach does not require an in-depth specific market study – that is a different task to be undertaken once the new market has been determined. Further detailed reports are also normally conducted in preparation for market entry, such as market analysis, partner search and so on.
Often also, within an organisation differing views on priority markets may be held between marketing, salespeople and management, especially when fact-based criteria for market assessment are unavailable or poorly detailed. For this reason, an objective and analytical process establishes fact as the baseline for consideration, discussion and decision making. The process utilised removes bias, agendas and aligns team thinking with clear corporate objectives.
Deciding upon the best Asian market is a singular exercise of comparing market metrics against the company’s specific sector, capabilities and goals. These include detailed evaluations using weighted parameters on sector demand and trends, market attractiveness, an assessment of economic and regulatory factors with a likely direct impact, a consideration of available supply chains, infrastructure and logistical reliability, direct competitive environment as well as any present barriers to entry, tariffs and so on. Its important to note that these studies should not be generic, nor based on macro-data but must rest on the exact criteria of the company in its sector and stage of evolution.
A comprehensive and comparative evaluation of the best Asian market to enter allows for better risk assessment and checking for ongoing financial viability. This exercise will avoid costly error and save on executive time and resources, both at the outset and following. It will ensure the right decision with each element of the process recorded and tabulated. Outcomes include a verification of competitive viability as well as confirmation of the right product – market fit. Executive and operational teams will be aligned with the appropriate decision and its rationale.
Consultancies that specialise in just one or a small number of Asian markets will naturally have a bias in that direction but also will lack the expertise or reach in other markets nearby. Asian Insiders is the only advisory organisation with a comprehensive presence that offers a tested, unique methodology across the wider Asian region and able to offer a truly comparable perspective.
We offer this service – Best Asian Markets to assist clients in making clear, analytical and objective decisions on their best Asian markets. For a no-obligation call, please contact Jari Hietala, Managing Partner: jari.hietala(at)asianinsiders.com