Firms aren’t doing enough to attract Asian business

by Samantha Woodhill20 Feb 2015
New Zealand law firms need to do more to invest in relationships with Asia, says Andrew Sayers, managing principal at Crowe Horwath and president of the Hong Kong Business Association.

As a growing area of the New Zealand economy, firms need to take the time to learn more about Asian business culture.

“It’s very apparent that Asia plays a significant part in our economy now. That is forecast to continue and grow in the future,” he said.  “If they don’t invest in understanding the culture, they’ll never get to leverage those opportunities.”

Sayers said that traditional approaches to winning business though networking will not work with the Asian market.

“We need to be investing more in developing that business development capability.  In this case, the business development capability is the Asian market so we need to be bringing in people who already have connections that understand the culture and obviously have the language capability,” he said.

Crowe Horwath has recently appointed Asian business experts Kenneth Leong and Yan Zhang as ‘relationship brokers’ between Asian and New Zealand businesses.  Zhang has years of experience in international trade and investment, while Leong has a long track record of facilitating business across cultures, from deal origination to execution.

“The way that business is conducted in most Asian countries, particularly china, is very different to New Zealand,” he said.  “To ignore the market would be to ignore a significant part of the New Zealand economy.”