If you’re thinking about creating an export business in Asia Pacific, you’re probably best advised to start your operations in markets such as New Zealand, Singapore or Malaysia which have legal systems based on British law and is therefore fairly similar to Australia.
One of the key recommendations is that you identify potential operators in that market who can be your agent or representative, but don’t rush in and appoint the first one you talk to. Have a good look at the market; talk to people such as Austrade, the Australian Embassy, Trade Organisations, Australian banks and advisers on the ground operating in the region to obtain extra insight on the reputation of the business you’re proposing to have as your representative in that market.
As part of your research, consider what the quality expectations are for your product or service.
In some instances they may not be as high as the Australian expectation and therefore you need to consider what changes can be made in the products or services that you’re offering because the market will probably expect to see a reduction in the price that you’re charging.
Another important aspect to remember is that in virtually every situation where an Australian business commences activities abroad in the Asia Pacific region, it takes longer to get established than what you might have originally thought. You will probably have to visit the country four or five times before you can get established and all of this is going to increase your costs. However, once sales start emerging, there is a great potential in most markets to earn considerable profits if, for no other reason, Asian markets normally are a lot larger than the Australian market. Once the sales start occurring, you will probably see a return on your investment that is significantly higher that what you would have achieved in Australia.
Think locally about your product in that foreign country.
It’s very difficult to impose Australian product into an overseas market without making some changes and modifications to suit the local market’s requirements. If you’re not prepared to do that, it’s probably best not to commence with your export strategy.
Developing export markets in Asia Pacific can be very exciting, but it will cost a significant amount of money in most instances and will take probably more time than what you originally envisaged to get started, but then the rewards can be very high.
The key thing for Australian business is to make sure the directors and management are aware of the time process and cost estimates to get started and that there will be no quick reward; it all takes time and for this to occur, you will need patience.