Living In Hong Kong

Tips for small businesses breaking into Asia

Expanding into Asia can be a very complicated as it’s a widely diverse continent with 52 primary languages, 27 different currencies and numerous cultures, religions, legal systems and trade barriers.

Experts suggest prioritising the top markets (countries or cities) across Asia that you would like to target. Start by researching figures for things like population size, internet penetration, or number of smartphone users.

It’s better to select between one and four markets which allows you to really dive deep and understand the intricacies of what it takes to make your business successful. Keep in mind that large insular markets will soak up resources, particularly India, China and Japan. These markets, although they are potentially lucrative, can be difficult places to break into when you’re first starting out in Asia.

But in the end it will be worth it. Asia is home to some of the largest and fastest growing markets in the world – and will be for the foreseeable future.

Asia is an ace place to set up a business
Asia is an ace place to set up a business

Three things to remember when launching a business
Callum Laing is the CEO of Entrevo, a company helping entrepreneurs and leaders to stand out, scale up and build global small businesses. He said there are three things worth remembering for entrepreneurs looking to expand in Asia:

1 – You’re not the first. Life is a lot easier today than when Sir Stamford Raffles set up shop for the East India Company. Not only are there now lots of expat business-owners in Asia, most are very willing to meet up and help new entrants. Get out there and introduce yourself.

2 – Different doesn’t mean worse. Some areas of Asia will provide more of a culture shock then others. Keep an open mind and embrace as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to try on new habits.

3 – Right place, right time. You have half the world’s population on your doorstep and Asian economies are growing at an impressive rate. There is no better place in the world to be right now, so get stuck in and enjoy it!