‘Cultural understanding’ key to SE Asia trading success, IFB told

Cultural understanding is the key to building successful business relationships in South East Asia, the International Festival of Business (IFB) in Liverpool has been told.

Doing business in South East Asia
Firms and entrepreneurs looking to trade in South East Asia, China and North America have been taking advantage of two days of free advice sessions at Trade Exchange events organised by banking giant HSBC.Addressing the session on trade with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Amanda Murphy, HSBC’s Head of Corporate Banking UK, said, “Cultural understanding is key. The ASEAN market holds great opportunity, and to be successful in any of the countries that are a part of ASEAN, it is important to develop an understanding of their culture."Business relationships are not as transactional as they can be in other parts of the world, and it is the relationships that you foster that can ultimately help your company reap the rewards of operating in the ASEAN market. A key challenge for businesses looking to operate in the ASEAN market is getting top quality people into the business – you have to have a compelling proposition to stand out from your competition.“As a global bank, we’re hugely focused on bringing the opportunities of ASEAN to our customers. Having an introduction into a country can be really helpful in opening up doors, communicating with local businesses, but also helping understand the culture of those countries. During IFB2016, we are keen to get businesses attending the festival thinking about opportunities in ASEAN’s 10 dynamic markets and facilitating some of these introductions. “British brands are highly sought after by markets all over the world – yet so many businesses can be reticent in taking the leap to export and take their product to international markets. Businesses need to be brave and consider the significant opportunity that the ASEAN market represents.”Ian Stuart, HSBC head of commercial banking UK and Europe, said at the opening of IFB, organised by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), told delegates that the core idea behind the festival was "to bring together like-mined people to talk about mutually beneficial business opportunities, to connect people and to make trade easier".He added, "There’s nothing particularly new in that; it’s what HSBC is all about. We’ve invited many of our clients along here, and you’ll see some of their products over the next few weeks – from Savoir beds that are used in the Savoy Hotel to award-winning gin by Warner Edwards, who were the winners of our Elevator Pitch competition to find a budding entrepreneur with a great plan for growth. “The government has an important role to play, and HSBC are working closely with UK Trade and Investment to promote British exports abroad. But the next Savoir and Warner Edwards aren’t going to come along without an entrepreneur taking a risk. And banks like HSBC need to share those risks. “We currently approve more than 85 per cent of lending applications – but we want to do even more. That’s why we’ve launched a fund worth £10 billion specifically for SMEs, as well as a promotion to make it cheaper and easier for small businesses to borrow. We want to show British companies of all sizes that we’re right behind them – and in turn we believe in those companies to show the best of Britain to the world. And Britain is a very good story!”

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Read more about the Asia-Pacific region in our APAC Summer 2016 digital magazine.
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