Building your Business in APAC from the EU or US

Building your Business in APAC from the EU or US

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Building your Business in APAC from the EU or US

Fri 14, 07 2023

Liming Fu, Chief Representative for APAC, IABM

Asia used to be called the Far East by some Europeans, but that was largely referring to the northern part of APAC. APAC actually refers to about one third of the world’s land mass if we include all the Pacific countries, which are around eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (UK), and China, Singapore, South Korea and Japan (nine hours ahead) – and more for Australia and New Zealand. Of course, the differences are not only represented in the time zones, but much more importantly in those between peoples and cultures.

Culture, language and religion:

APAC is very diverse; religions range from Buddhist, Muslem and Hindu to Christianity via many others – and there is a vast range of languages spoken. Further, the cultural differences across the region are striking. To do business successfully, you will need to understand these differences and respect and treat people in accordance with their local customs – localization is the key to success in APAC. In general, compared with western culture, doing business in most Asian countries is based on trust and long-term friendships; Asians also tend to be more risk averse. So, you need patience and perseverance to build relationships and friendships. And that is why many westerners will have difficulty if they’re looking for short-term success; business in APAC is about understanding local cultures and building trust by developing a deep understanding of local cultures, and cultivating partners and friends. In terms of population, more than half of people in the world live in APAC – so there is a huge potential market for the consumer or Pro-AV market, as well as on-line shopping and, of course, the streaming market.

Different languages are still one of the big barriers, as many countries do not  often use English as their main communication tool during daily life. To improve understanding and communication, local partners and channels are very helpful.


Economy and technology in APAC

For EU or US companies looking to build business in APAC, the first consideration is where your investment would make sense in terms of what is the potential market for your products/services. The USA, EU and APAC are the main engines for GDP in the world: the USA is still number one in this measure with around one quarter of the world’s GDP, while APAC is one of faster developing and growing regions compared with other developed regions in recently years – especially India with an 8% increase in 2022. To increase our understanding of the differences across the region, we could divide APAC into Northeast Asia (Great China, Japan and S. Korea); SEA (11 countries – known as ASENA); South Asia (SAAS; mostly India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri. Lanka); Oceania (ANZ) and Middle East (west Asia); and Central Asia (former USSR countries – the ‘5 Stans’ – including Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan etc.). It is worth noting that the Middle East is included within EMEA by many companies, and Central Asia by Russian-speaking teams.

Within APAC, Great China is clearly the largest market, followed by Japan. It is also worth noting that six of the G20 countries are within APAC. In general, if we look at the Northeast Asia regions together (Great China, Japan and S. Korea) then that market should be absolutely first priority. Even though our broadcast and media industry potential in the region is slightly different from pure GDP values, it still makes sense to mostly focus on these regions. From a manufacturing and services point of view, while not the same as EMEA of the USA, the Northeast region is still  strong: it uses 12G SDI or 4x3G for 4K, and has started moving to IP, with many ST2110 and NDI projects already built, and UHD moving forward too. Japan was the first to launch 8K UHD followed by China, and many 4K-related products come from there. The reason is that these are the backbone of consumer product manufacturing, from silicon chips, LED panels and set-top boxes to mobile phones, laptops, servers etc. The Chinese government are supporting the sector, while alliances such as UWA for UHD are growing to become new technical standards for our industry.

In South Asia, India is the largest democracy and the fifth largest economy in the world; it has thriving manufacturing, technology, and service sectors, and is the second largest software provider in the world behind only the USA.

 Within SEA, Indonesia is the largest economy in ASINA. This region is one of the world’s fast growing markets and business has expanded over the last decade. As with India, some of the SEA countries such as the Philippines are growing fast in IT and services, including software services. And technically, many countries are starting to test or install 5G networks, especially in high population areas in countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. Cloud adoption is also growing, including for broadcast and media applications. To do business in the region, companies will need more local management; without this, relationships will be difficult and the chances of succeeding much reduced.

In broadcast and media technology, many of the established manufacturers are from Japan (Sony, Panasonic, Canon), Korea (Samsung, Tvlogic) and China (Kiloview, SDMC).  India is also growing, especially in software and cloud – for example, Amagi has grown quickly.

Marketing and Brand building

To enter the APAC market, you need to build awareness of your brands and to build trust. Alongside advertising, there are a few widely used social media channels. WhatsApp is more western, while Wechat is No.1 in China (many people are also using it throughout the region), while LINE is quite popular around ASINAN. With the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, people can easily travel in the region now, and trade shows are still an effective way to reach the market. In APAC, there is a number of regional shows, some of which are supported by IABM – but local language is a must at these, and adding social media to the mix will reinforce your reach in these markets/countries (again in local language).

IABM supported trade shows:

BIRTV (August) and CCBN (March) are both in Beijing, China;

KOBA, (May, Seoul, Korea);

InterBEE: (November, Tokyo, Japan);

Broadcast Asia (June, Singapore);

Broadcast India (October, Mumbai).


Ways to enter the APAC market

To develop your business in the APAC market, localization is by far the most effective strategy. Do this across trade shows, industry conferences, road shows with customer visits, alongside using local media for advertising and editorial content. Also consider social events – based on industry connections and friends.

Having said this, many overseas companies took many years to establish themselves in the region; even a local Asian APAC representative has to address significant cultural differences across this vast region; the differences between, for example, Chinese, Korean and Japanese people, attitudes and cultures are striking – one size will not fit all! So when I say localization, I mean this in a country-specific sense.



You will need an experienced, senior and respected person to lead your sales efforts – someone who is plugged into the local industry and is aware of upcoming projects and potential business opportunities. Building a better mousetrap alone will not have potential customers in APAC beating a path to your door; you need to be well and truly embedded in the local market to succeed, doing things the right way, with the right people and the right connections. Then success will follow. As a first step, you could be well-advised to speak with one of the members of the IABM APAC Members’ Council.

IABM’s chief representative for APAC is Liming Fu.  Liming has more than 30 years of experience in broadcast and media in APAC markets and supports members in the region. You can contact him by email:


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