Business: Going International–The Critical “How To”

There are all kinds of challenges that a small or medium-sized business faces when contemplating a move into a new market overseas: problems with payment, shipping, customs & duties, cultural barriers, distribution and marketing nightmares, taxes, local management/partner problems, customer service, language barriers, corruption possibilities, different methods/style of doing business, and on and on.  For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, these challenges can be so daunting that the business is frozen and stagnates within its smaller domestic market.

Richard Swanson Director, Pacific South Region U.S. Commercial Service

Richard Swanson
Director, Pacific South Region
U.S. Commercial Service

It does not have to be this way. The trick is to understand the tools available for free or very little cost to the entrepreneur and small/medium sized business through the U.S. Commercial Service.  An enterprise entering new business mileu needs both business market intel as well as front-line, “on the dirt” experience in the new, target market,  both in initially putting the deal together and later in assisting on the back end should problems or misunderstandings develop.

Hosted by Asia in Review’s David Day, here is a candid and educational conversation with Richard Swanson, the Director for the Pacific South Region of the U.S. Commercial Service, which includes not only Hawaii and the Pacific Islands (Guam, American Samoa, Saipan, etc), but also the Southwestern states of California, Nevada, and Arizona.

During the course of this discussion, Mr. Swanson walks the business owner through the “how to” steps of using the U.S. Commercial Service to get underway successfully in new markets overseas. He discusses how to prepare for and then set up the “face-to-face” approach with USCS pre-vetted potential partners/dealers/distributors. In addition, Mr. Swanson talks about the “trade show” approach, and how to effectively tackle both the international and domestic trade shows with the assistance of the USCS.

Finally, Mr. Swanson and David Day talk about an example of a successful Hawaii company, Oils of Aloha, that partnered with the USCS several years ago and has been breaking into new market after new market ever since.

This show was broadcast on radio and television throughout the Hawaiian & Pacific Islands and then streamed globally.

 

 

 

 

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China’s Trial of the Century: The Real Bo Xi Lai–A Tiger By the Tail

This show is a fascinating, in-depth conversation about the collapse of one of China’s key

Michael Sacharski, CEO Pacific Enterprise Capital

Michael Sacharski, CEO
Pacific Enterprise Capital

Princelings, Mr. Bo Xi Lai. What is different about this program is that the guest, Mr. Michael Sacharski, is a 3+decade American China Hand who has met and spent time with Mr. Bo on several occasions.

The conversation probes Bo’s extraordinary revolutionary pedigree, his rise as a charismatic, anti-corruption mayor of Dalian, moving to other key political positions before his final post as the crime-busting mayor of the huge city of Chongqing. The program includes a conversation about how Mr. Bo departed from the consensus style of the typical senior, Chinese leadership and his political differences with members of the senior leadership.  Interestingly, this discussion includes warnings  to Bo from the Party about his wife, Gu Kai Lai (who is also a Princeling). The conversation includes a discussion of how this trial came about, why the Party is conducting the trial, and the relationship of Mr. Bo’s courtroom defiance to his own father’s conduct during his persecution by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution. This interview with Mr. Sacharski examines the interesting quanxi relationship that exists running from Bo Xi Lai’s father, Bo Yi Bo, to Jiang Zemin (Zhang Zemin) to a number of Politboro members, including Xi Jin Ping, and back to Bo Xi Lai, the son.

 

Hosted by David Day, Mr. Sacharski draws upon his extraordinary meetings with the charismatic Mr. Bo and his knowledge of the history and inner workings of the Party to give the viewer a far more complete picture of this, China’s trial of the 21th century. The discussion concludes with a  look towards Mr. Bo’s future and the likelihood that his opera is not over…down, but not out.

 

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Taiwan (Republic of China) at a Dangerous Crossroads

 

America’s relationship with Taiwan has waxed and waned since 1949, when Nationalist forces fled there following defeat by the Communists on mainland China in a lengthy and bloody civil war. 

Kerry Gershaneck, former US Marine Officer stationed in Taiwan

Kerry Gershaneck, former US Marine Officer stationed in Taiwan

Following this disastrous defeat and retreat, the US provided the security umbrella and economic incentives that helped propel the Taiwan into one of Asia’s leading economic “Tigers”.  Taipei, in turn, supported US foreign policy and military policies.  In recent years, however, a number of factors have caused that once-close relationship to drift.  Some analysts say that actions by Taiwan and the US have placed Taiwan on a trajectory towards absorption by the PRC. 

 As one analyst noted, “Taipei is doing more damage to its own ability to deter mainland coercion and military attack than any weapon the People’s Liberation Army could conceive. This damage represents a serious threat to Taiwan’s national security, and by extension to the national security of the U.S. and Japan.” And the U.S., for its part, appears increasingly ready to sacrifice its national security and regional stability–and its fundamental beliefs as a nation–by refusing to reverse this drift.

David Day hosts this illuminating conversation with Kerry Gershaneck, a former US government official previously responsible for both “front line defense” of Taiwan and for developing key security cooperation programs with its military forces.

 

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The Cheonan Sinking: Wounded Tiger vs. Crippled Child “

 

North Korea: “The Cheonan Sinking: Wounded Tiger vs. Crippled Child “

 

May 22, 2010.

On the receiving end of any spanking from Seoul and the U.S., North Korea actually has a split personality disorder. On the military side, it is like a wounded tiger. On the economic side, with an economy stumbling at roughly the Zimbawe level, North Korea is akin to a crippled, little child. Depending upon where you decide to spank, the policy types in Washington and Seoul get to choose between slapping the wounded tiger or kicking the already crippled, young child. They must understand clearly, if they choose to hit–the “where” and “how” have very different consequences and, like many North Korea issues, the correct strategy is not always obvious.  

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North Korea: “The Cheonan Was Bait for an Internal Propaganda Frenzy “

The Cheonan sinking is an important internal propaganda victory that Pyongyang  created. With the loss of 46 South Korean sailors, Washington and Seoul had no choice. They took the bait.  In so doing, they have predictably teed up the opportunity now for Kim Jong Il to do a little defense of the homeland frenzy. This internal, “Defense of the DPRK” propaganda barrage that now follows the Washington Seoul “spanking” is  extremely valuable to the regime to enhance its stability at this delicate and difficult time of transition. The Dear Leader and his elite, inner circle know full well that, given Kim Jong Il’s 2008 stoke, his clock is already in overtime.

While we may never know for sure, the sinking of the Cheonan appears to be part of a deliberate teasing to coax a limited military response out of Seoul and Washington. Given the sophisticated, Kasparov-like chessmaster moves made by Pyongyang (typically outgunning U.S. negotiators concentrating on their checkers board), the Cheonan incident is just one of several moves coming up. Brinksmanship?  Hardly.  Pyongyang knows full well that at worst it faces a limited spanking response like perhaps joint military exercises (for show) or perhaps beefed up security between U.S and ROK forces on the peninsula combined with some rhetoric. Nothing more. Should Seoul engage in even the most benign cross-border military skirmish, Kim Jong Il can  then get away with his slash back and propagandize that as blocking the aggressor from the South, no matter how minimal the “deterrent” response is from Washington and Seoul.

There is another piece to this already complicated puzzle. Kim Jong Il needs a leadership-anointing opportunity to assist his youngest son, the Swiss-educated  Jong-Eun, to obtain some kind of military leadership, albeit limited, in defense of the fatherland. He also needs to cinch down the military power base for Jong-Eun. So how would this work? Whip the country and the KPA into a war frenzy, organize rallies in Pyongyang, put the KPA on alert, cut off trade and communications with the South. Perhaps even give “Brilliant Comrade ” (Jong-Eun) a military leadership role in the slash back exercise which can then be internally propagandized and then jerk him back to safety once the slash back has been undertaken. Military anointment completed and the internal film and propaganda machinery can then be unleashed. But before “Brilliant Comrade” is placed in the limited line of fire, the Dear Leader needed to test the waters and set up the U.S. an South Korean response. Hence, the Cheonan incident. The timing of this Cheonan chess move is not coincidental—the DPRK Party Congress is set to meet in a few weeks and it is likely that Kim Jong il will confirm then that the baton will pass to Jong-Eun.

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A Different Focus on North Korea – Business Reunification Out Over the Horizon

 

A Different Focus on North Korea – Business Reunification Out Over the Horizon

May 31, 2009 by davidfday

Negotiating table for the 6 Party talks.

Negotiating table for the 6 Party talks.

 

This is what the real Six Party Talks looked like.

The recent nuclear and missile tests combined with threats bandied about by Pyongyang present an ominous, threatening view of attention-grabbing brinksmanship. It is worrisome, to be sure. Negotiations to handle North Korea, or get them back to the table at least, will be a new and different challenge for Special Envoy, Stephen Bosworth, who is no stranger to difficult negotiations—after all, as the America Ambassador in Manila in 1986, he was one of the principal players in successfully negotiating the Marcoses out of Malacanang Palace and eventually out of the country. Remember, the Philippine situation in the mid-1980’s was still a very touchy matter. There were a million people exposed in the streets sandwiched between the armed forces of Juan Ponce Enrile and General Ver. North Korea will be an entirely different ballgame for many reasons.

To be sure, there will be plenty of commentary about North Korea, its threats, and the destabilizing prospect it exhibits for Northeast Asia.

One thing is for sure. Beyond the nuclear tests, bellicose threats and serious potential for a regime implosion with its humanitarian crisis to follow, there are prospects for a stabilized and developing future for the country out over the horizon. We never hear much about this possibility. It is just that very few people focus on the opportunities that are coming as the country eventually stabilizes and begins to open up.

DHL is.

DHL Vans in service in Pyongyang

DHL Vans in Pyongyang

Given the current deteriorating health of the Dear Leader, we are now entering the transition period for the regime.

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Vietnam Looking to Elbow a Place with China and India with Foreign Investors

Vietnam Looking to Elbow a Place with China and India with Foreign Investors

By David Day. August 2010

For Vietnam, stepping onto the world stage in recent years has meant admission to the WTO, a Nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council, launching the country’s first telecommunications satellite (Vinasat 1 built by Lockeed Martin) and hosting the APEC Summit in Hanoi.

Lockeed-Martin’s Vinasat 1

Vietnam continues to weather the global recession in reasonably well with foreign investment possibly doubling to $15 billion this year. Its largest export market is now the U.S. with over $12 billion last year. This Fall will see Intel’s new $1 billion chip assembly plant open outside Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam is now poised for yet another breakthrough. Political tensions in Thailand are helping Vietnam to get onto contingent plan target lists of foreign investors seeking political stability. Political stability is one factor working in Vietnam’s favor now. Another is labor costs. Vietnam is attempting to capitalize on the 30 to 40% labor differential with manufacturing plants in China. This is a huge incentive for China-based operations to begin looking to the south. The labor cost differential with China has been compounded by other problems nagging China operations: labor strikes and shortages.

Outside of the tech industry, where Vietnam has done very well in terms of attracting foreign investment, its aging colonial infrastructure has been a hindrance to all kinds of foreign investment.

There are two recent developments in Vietnam that will catapult the country forward in terms of attracting foreign investment at this critical juncture during the global recession. The first is the development of a number of major superhighway systems north of Hanoi that will link into highway systems in southern China. These new highways will allow a supply chain linkage between Chinese and Vietnamese manufacturing operations.

The second is a proposed Shinkansen-like bullet train between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. The proposed bullet train, which would be completed by 2035, would travel the 1,600 km from Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City in the south in less than six hours. Vietnam’s current charming but woefully outdated trains take more than two days to make the trip. While this $56 billion project has recently been rejected by the National Assembly, Japan’s Transport Ministry continues to voice support for the project and has promised assistance should the Vietnamese government ultimately decide to proceed with the project once concerns of National Assembly members are adequately addressed (we believe that this is likely to occur despite the current clamor). Vietnam Railways Corp. was planning to use Japanese technology to build the high-speed train line. Sumitomo Corp. had teamed with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to bid on the project. Itochu Corp. was heading a competing group with Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd.

Proposed Vietnamese “Shinkansen” Linking Hanoi & HCMC

Given the importance of a high-speed rail link between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and the challenges Vietnam Airlines, and its related carriers have in meeting the staggering business traffic demands between the two cities, a Vietnamese “Shinkansen” would be an enormous contribution to the national infrastructure. No question that Vietnamese officials are eyeing the success of the Tokyo-Osaka Shinkansen as a precedent for a sorely needed rail upgrade in their own country.

Financing the north-south linkage is another matter.

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New Business Models, IP & Corruption

New Business Models, IP & Corruption

April 18, 2009 by davidfday

These two Videos, both dated April  17, 2009, illustrate the broad ends of the intellectual property spectrum vis.a.vis copyright infringement.  Google setting up free downloads in China in concert with music labels in effort to capture part of share of advertising revenue.  Essentially, this  is the “Free” business model developing in the digital world.

http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/showbiz/2009/04/17/chang.china.google.w.music.cnn

On the very same date, contrast Google’s new tactic in China with the 2nd video which is the conviction of 4 persons involved in the Pirate Bay website in Sweden for the crime of copyright violations. This is the “classic” intellectual property prosecution which may become a thing of the past if the Google model in China really takes hold.

http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2009/04/17/curry.pirate.bay.verdict.cnn

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