Going Global 2017: UK-ASEAN Business Council

As part of our buildup to the next Going Global at ExCel, London on May 17-18, we’ve interviewed some of the brilliant speakers who will be on the show’s roster. In the second of four interviews, we talk to the UK-ASEAN Business Council who are speaking on ‘Cracking the code of exporting to Southeast Asia’.

Going Global Live is Europe’s premier event for anyone who is looking to extend their business overseas or increase their foothold in the international market.

What does the UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC) do?

The UKABC helps UK businesses export to the ten countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This involves promoting Southeast Asia as a tremendous export destination and signposting practical advice and guidance on how to do business in ASEAN.  

The UKABC has created an extensive UK-ASEAN network of contacts in both governmental and business sectors, linking UK innovation and expertise to ASEAN’s commercial opportunities.  

What appetite is there for UK exports in the region?

The UK enjoys shared histories with some of ASEAN’s markets, but this is no guarantee of future commercial success. ASEAN customers want innovative, quality products and this is where UK companies can excel. ‘Brand Britain’ has never been stronger in ASEAN, with the Union Flag seen as a mark of excellence on products ranging from fashion accessories to cars.

UK companies are winning business all across the region; for example, UK construction firms are working on what will be the tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and Somerdale have recently started exporting quality cheeses to the Philippines.

Going Global Max Coleman

Max Coleman will be speaking for the UK ASEAN Business Council at Going Global.

What are the main challenges for selling into the region?

The main challenge is understanding the region. It is an economy made of 10 distinct export markets. Other challenges are similar to more familiar export destinations such as finding the right partner/distributor/agent, but distance to the markets, time difference and cultural nuances are further considerations.  

Exporting to Southeast Asia requires a significant investment of a company’s time.  Companies in Southeast Asia prefer to build a strong relationship over several meetings before entering a deal. Dining with potential business partners will form part of any successful business relationship, often around some of the amazing regional cuisine!

What tips would you give first-time exporters looking to sell into the ASEAN region?

Don’t do it alone! There is so much help available to exporters. In a nutshell; do your research, visit the market, and develop and sustain a network of relationships.

Use the UKABC as a gateway to ASEAN. There is a wealth of information available at www.ukabc.org.uk and the UKABC has two ASEAN Export Specialists to help companies on their ASEAN journey.  These specialists work with a company to understand their international aspirations and determine if there is a market for their product/service in Southeast Asia. Companies will then be matched to ASEAN markets and to UKABC’s in-market partners – the uniquely placed British Chambers of Commerce in ASEAN (known collectively as BISEA), who will deliver business support services to the UK company.

Going Global – an unmissable event

Going Global is an absolutely unmissable event for those working or trading overseas. If you are thinking about taking your business overseas, or are looking to expand your foothold internationally, then you need to be at Going Global. In this current economic climate, it has never been more relevant or important to take control and advantage of trading in an international market. What makes this event even more spectacular? It is free to attend! To register for tickets visit, www.goinggloballive.co.uk.

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