With a booming economy, young demographic and masses of investment in infrastructure, it’s no surprise that APAC is becoming ever more important in the business world. Reference programmes would be well advised to make the most of the strong brand loyalty and enthusiastic customers the region has to offer.

There are obvious challenges when it comes to running a reference programme in APAC.  More than half the world’s languages, around 3,200, are spoken across the region. Plus, a diverse range of cultures need to be considered when doing business. In Japan, our experience tells us, photographs of everybody interviewed are included in each case study. In China it is common for meetings to have long pauses – and it’s considered rude to interrupt. In India, people enter a meeting room in order of hierarchy, and no-one can sit down until the most senior person does.

Some things to remember when doing business in APAC:

  1. Speak the language (or find someone who can). Failing that, use an interpreter. It will open doors
  2. Hierarchy is important; address everything to the most senior person in the room
  3. Politeness is imperative; never be confrontational or aggressive
  4. Meetings can take a lot longer than you’d expect; don’t rush them
  5. Be sensitive to the fact that there is not a 1:1 correlation of words or phrases between languages, nor a universal narrative format that works for all countries and regions. The US or UK way is not right or wrong compared to the Chinese or Japanese way, it’s just different

Jocelyn has successfully supported a  range of blue-chip technology businesses in APAC for over ten years, including Cisco, HP, Philips and Symantec. She speaks both English and Chinese.