Before you start doing any international planning; or start looking at setting up a new office in Asia; STOP. As we often say in Chinese (and also in English), “Helps are always coming from unexpected places”
In this case, I will highly recommend you to start digging into your local networks. If you live in highly diverse markets such as US, Canada, Australia or United Kingdom, you can almost tap into immediate opportunities.
Here are several ways you can start:
1) In Universities; there are a lot of Multicultural Student Associations and Clubs; believe it or not; even though I have graduated for over 15 years now; the old contacts from these associations remain very useful.
2) Join the local Asian Chamber of Commerce or other similar events to start your connection and networks
3) In some places; there are Chinatown Business Associations which you can become a member of
4) In many US, Australian and Canadian cities; you can obtain or list yourself on the local Chinese Yellow-Pages or equivalent directories; this is usually very cost-effective way to reach out to the Chinese communities.
Local Functions are very good starting points; I had a quick look of the Multicultural Marketing Events in United States for instance; and there are no fewer than 200 a year each year; many of them are related to Hispanic market; but increasing number of them relate to Asian markets as well.
I did a presentation in Australia and United States in October and November 2009 as a keynote speaker in Multicultural Marketing Associations; and there were over 200 attendees altogether; it shows that people are genuinely interested in Multicultural Online Marketing strategies these days.
Additionally; I will highly recommend you to visit the local business consulate or Embassies; there are usually Business Directories available from these consulates; inside the Directory; there is often a list of Asian Business entrepreneurs seeking for business partnerships with local business operators.
One of my University friends runs an import-export business; he can hardly speak any English; he is very keen in exporting agricultural products to Taiwan and Hong Kong. They commenced their business 10 years ago by listing their names on a Business Directory with a local consulate; this has generated significant number of leads for them in the first 2 years. In the directory; they have listed down their numbers and products required.
From the sellers’ end; it is a pre-screened process for them to identify buyers.