From SCR to SEA – how do local businesses break into new markets?

Asia on Globe
Our affiliate member and Asia specialist, Mosaic International, share their thoughts on making the leap from the Sheffield City Region (SCR) to the Southeast Asia Region (SEA).

Southeast Asia (SEA) is a region about half the size of Europe but with nearly 80% of its population. It lies strategically in a region surrounded by China and Japan to its north, Australia to its South, India to its west, and the west coast of the United States to its east.

For centuries, the region has been strategically important to regional and Western powers, not least due to the fact that the Straits of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, is located in the region and has significant oil reserves in the South China Sea.

Not only is this region an important strategic location, it is also home to some of the most diverse economies (and people), with predictions that this region will be the engine of growth in the next decade as growth of the middle classes is set to outstrip that of Western economies.

What about the Sheffield City Region?

While most multinational companies are already in this region, in our experience SMEs in the Sheffield City Region (SCR) have not really considered this as a region to develop. Part of the reason for this is the lack of resources and expertise. Most SMEs usually have a handful of staff (if any) working in sales and/or business development. They tend to focus their efforts in the UK while putting one or two to develop business internationally.

Given the breadth that they have to cover, international business development managers tend to focus on Europe as they harvest the lowest hanging fruit; allowing them to get quick wins and achieve their targets. Further afield, they may have one or two customers, but nothing that would form the basis of a sustainable business.

It is no wonder then that exports from the SCR outside the UK and Europe is not as good as it can be 

This is where Mosaic International comes in. Our goal is to help SMEs achieve sustainable ongoing business in the region. We help these businesses get a better understanding of whether their products or services would find traction in the markets.

Most businesses tend not to have an export strategy and, even if they do, it is not geographically defined. Here’s a quick reality check – what works in Germany may not work in Indonesia. So, doing market research, and speaking to stakeholders in the target market is essential in making the first steps.

Once we determine that strategy, the implementation should not be overlooked. Whether this is the appointment of agents or distributors in the market, setting up of a correspondence office or a subsidiary in country, the crucial factor in all of this is finding the right people.

Our expertise is to help businesses navigate some of the issues. But perhaps more importantly, we act as a sherpa to businesses in dealing with the cultural and communications gap with in-country customers and contacts so that our clients’ probability of success is enhanced.

If breaking into new international markets is part of your 2020 vision, and you would like to explore what Southeast Asia has to offer then drop us a line on 07885 874873 or kiley.tan@mosaicint.co.uk. We’re on the ground in both regions to help bridge the gap.

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