Community Partner

How to research international markets

Let’s take China as an example. It’s huge and full of potential and well worth expanding into. But it’s huge. And very different to Australia.

So how do you start?

First, consider which region your product or service will do best in. Just the region alone can make a big difference. Are you selling to the tech and trade dominated east coast? The industrial centre? Or the rural west? Will your business need a translator or is this in a city proficient in English? Will the translator need to know Mandarin or Cantonese or Hokkien or any of the other sixty-odd dialects?

This will also inform you about the culture to that specific region. How do they negotiate and how is business handled there? What are the laws and who can help you with that? What’s the correct level of schmoozing? Where can you find a local guide? What’s trending and popular in the region? What should you not talk about in business meetings?

Finally, the logistics. If your office in Australia runs on Google Suite, for example, you’ll need to adjust to mainland China’s block. If you need to export your products over, how do you that safely and efficiently? If you need to hire locals, how do you go about that?

Each country will have its own benefits and caveats but setting up responsibly and for the long run begins with good research. Local guides and businesses who have expanded into those regions are the best sources of advice.

What do you think is worth researching when you expand into new countries?

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