FINDING COMMON GROUND IN A REGION OF DIFFERENCE
19 November 2012, Written by James Perkins
AN ACADEMIC who is an expert in Asian relations says trust is the cornerstone of strong relationships in Asian markets.
Common sense goes a long way towards successfully doing business with foreign investors, says Griffith University professor Leong Liew.
Dr Liew, head of the university’s business school and one of the country’s foremost experts on Asia, says doing research and working hard to make guests feel welcome is the cornerstone of developing strong relationships in Asian markets.
Ensuring an interpreter is available and understanding dietary requirements are the sorts of “common sense” practices which can seal a deal, he advises.
“It will make them feel good if you speak to them in their language. If you understand a culture and the language, it puts people at ease.”
Liew says establishing a business relationship is all about developing trust.
“Trust is very important in business and the thing about trust is that it can only be built when you find common ground to relate on. Language and culture is important."
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate (pictured) was born in Laos and is fluent in a number of languages. He recently uploaded a video on YouTube in which he declared the city "open for business" in Thai, which he learned from his mother.
Liew says Tate’s attempt to reach out to Asian investors is a step in the right direction, but it must go further.
“It is about having person-to-person dealings,” he says.