We’ve all heard anec­dotes and sto­ries about deal­ing with Asian mar­kets. And while you shouldn’t shy away from tak­ing your ideas to the world, you shouldn’t go into it with blink­ers on, ei­ther. Here­with, dear reader, our ul­ti­mate guide to South East Asia a

Idealog - - Contents -

Some of us might be a bit touchy right now talk­ing about milk­ing the Asian mar­ket (ph­nar, ph­nar). But there are still great and grow­ing riches to be had around the South China Sea. Here’s how to milk them your­self.

Some of us might be a bit touchy right now talk­ing about milk­ing the Asian mar­ket. But de­spite the re­cent Fon­terra face palm, a few rot­ten ap­ples and shocks in the stock mar­kets of some of the emerg­ing economies, there are still great and grow­ing riches to be had around the South China Sea. New Zealand busi­ness buc­ca­neers with the savvy to op­er­ate in places such as China, In­done­sia, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, Thai­land, Viet­nam and Cambodia can make good money.

South East Asia and China con­tinue to be our fastest-grow­ing ex­port mar­kets, but there’s been a par­a­digm shift from sim­ply look­ing to th­ese places as pro­duc­tion sites to see­ing the whole coun­try and its po­ten­tial as a mar­ket and busi­ness part­ner.

It’s not hard to see what’s driv­ing this: China gen­er­ates in a week the kind of wealth it takes New Zealand a year to scrape to­gether. Do­minic Bar­ton, global man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of McKin­sey and Com­pany, has worked out a few sig­nif­i­cant es­ti­mates.

“By 2022, China’s mid­dle class should num­ber 630 mil­lion. By 2022, we ex­pect China’s mid­dle class to be con­sum­ing goods and ser­vices val­ued at US$3.4 tril­lion. It is im­per­a­tive that com­pa­nies get to know the new Chi­nese mid­dle-class con­sumer in in­ti­mate de­tail. Con­sider, for ex­am­ple, that China is al­ready the sec­ond largest dig­i­tal cam­era mar­ket in the world af­ter the United States.

“Or take flat-screen TVs,” Bar­ton says. “In 2012, sales to­taled 50 mil­lion units – more than the 42 mil­lion units sold that year in the US and Canada. China is also al­ready the largest re­tail mar­ket for lap­top com­put­ers, and laun­dry soft­ener sales have grown by 20 per­cent an­nu­ally for the past five years, ex­ceed­ing the sales of both Ger­many and France.”

To this we can add rapid growth in the ser­vice sec­tor, re­flect­ing the in­creas­ing will­ing­ness of Asia’s up­per mid­dle classes to spend on en­ter­tain­ment, leisure, care ser­vices for the el­derly, se­cu­rity ser­vices and equip­ment such as bur­glar alarms and se­cu­rity cam­eras and ed­u­ca­tion.

But it’s one thing know the scale of this mar­ket and another thing to be able to reach out and take ad­van­tage of it. You need de­tailed in­tel­li­gence, cul­tural un­der­stand­ing, and ad­vice on mak­ing the right con­tacts. You need strat­egy – and you need tac­tics. This guide pro­vides some ba­sic train­ing, and ad­vice from some of those who know the lie of the land.

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