The Asia Pacific region alone is home to more than half of the world’s population. If there was just one statistic to tempt you into branching out into this huge market, that would probably be it. But, with 49 separate countries each with their own language, culture and economy, every market in Asia is at least as unique as those here in Europe. There’s certainly no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach you can use to take Asia by storm. In fact, the Profit or lose executive, recently launched by Ernst & Young, advises companies entering the Asian market to employ greater local autonomy, granularity, focus and agility than ever before.
However, expansion into new markets is often the next natural stop for successful UK businesses and, given the increase in tourism, the widespread use of technology and successful mobile innovations, Asian countries now feature at the top of many ‘expansion wish-lists’.
So, if you’re going to localise your business for the Asian market, here’s what you need to consider…
1. A big opportunity, an even greater challenge
Entering into developing economies might seem like an opportunity that’s impossible to miss, but selling in countries that are undergoing massive change is too big a challenge for most small businesses. Instead, smaller online companies are more likely to see a return on their investment by targeting developed parts of Asia. That includes countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. China is last on that list because, although the market is huge, the competition is intense and there is stiff regulation in place, particularly when it comes to imports.
2. A by-word for quality
British products and services are increasingly popular in Asian markets and are often, rightly or wrongly, perceived to be of a higher quality than much of what is available domestically. For that reason, you should display the ‘Made in Britain’ slogan prominently and with pride. You should also forget about competing on price with suppliers in the region. Not only do they have a giant pool of cheap labour to tap into but they also don’t have to worry about shipping costs. Asian consumers will generally be willing to pay more for British brands as long as you position them correctly.
3. Get your online presence up to scratch
It’s no generalisation to say that young Asians in developed countries are highly adept at researching and buying products online. For that reason, it’s essential you take the time to localise your website and online content to make it available in the language spoken by your target market. You should also make sure your website is responsive – is able to adapt to the screen it is being viewed on, regardless of what device it is – as a greater proportion of internet traffic in these regions comes from smartphones than laptops and PCs.
4. Nuance is everything
Localising your website and other online assets means a lot more than simply translating the text. Forgetting to account for the cultural context in the visual design of your assets is a big mistake. The focus needs to be on the digital experience of the user. Nuance is everything, so make sure you plan a full-scale sensitivity review at every stage of the design process. Even certain colours, the navigational structure and imagery can turn buyers off.
5. Market across the most popular channels
Once you’ve launched the new version of your website your work has only just begun. You’ll now need to adapt your British marketing strategies to target the local market. What works in the UK may not work overseas. Your first job is to determine who the audience is, what methods of distribution are most likely to reach them and how they can be leveraged to get the message across.
If you hope to expand into Asia, above all, you need to do everything you can to learn about and cater to your new customers. The companies that succeed are those that do more than just replicate their strategies in the domestic market.
To learn more about how we can help tailor your offering for the Asian market, please call our localisation and transcreation team on 02393 987 765 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.