Things to Know

About the ASEAN Countries

The prerequisites for success in the ASEAN countries::

Throughout Asia, anyone wishing to develop and build business relationships in these regions must learn about these rules, traditions, cults, religions, history and characters of each country

Especially with Asians you can very quickly lose “your face” and thus catapult yourself out of a planned business.

Although Germans are very respected and welcome (Made in Germany has a very high status), the typical “German” mentalities should be used with caution.

With the idea of flying “just” into this region to conclude a “fast” deal, one experiences a painful crash landing.

If you do not take the time to prepare yourself in these countries, if you think you have the “hoppla, now I’m coming” attitude towards Asean, you should not dream of starting a business.

Intercultural Communication

If you want to do business in the ASEAN states, you should be concerned with the prevailing culture. That’s a truism, but mistakes are made again and again.

In the worst case, a kick in the bucket can lead to the sudden failure of a business relationship in which a lot has already been invested. To prevent this from happening, we prepare our business partners for the decisive situations.

In peace lies strength

Europeans and Asians sometimes differ greatly in their culturally determined ways of working.

In general, Asian culture is a culture of feeling. This means that good relationships bring far more than arguments and intellectual discussions. The personal relationship between two business partners is often decisive for whether they become or remain business partners at all. A characteristic feature of the Asian business world is that private life and business often merge. As a result, Asians often find it unfriendly of Europeans to talk exclusively about their profession and not to include anything personal.

The communication style also differs between Europeans and Asians. Asians find that Germans in particular are very direct and open. They say immediately and straight out if they are not satisfied with something or how they want a certain job done. In Asian culture, however, it is normal to communicate more indirectly. Conflicts are not resolved through confrontation and criticism is not expressed openly.

Asians are very reserved and refer to their sense of honour. For example, if they cannot answer a question, they would be more likely to remain silent, avoid it, or give a wrong answer than to admit that they do not know the answer.

Europeans and Germans, respectively, are known for their accuracy, planning and long-term perspective. Asians, on the other hand, tend to find it difficult to plan for longer periods of time. Short-term agreements often work better than signing off on a long-term project plan and expecting everything to be settled that way.

This brings us to the subject of understanding time: Why do Asians often come to appointments later than agreed?

Time dimension

In Asia, time plays virtually no role. There are many reasons for this:

  1. The great heat and climatic conditions such as heavy rain or typhoons often force you to work slowly or to perform a task
  2. The inadequate infrastructure leads to traffic chaos and congestion both in rural and urban areas. Do not hold more than 2 – 3 meetings per day. Even for short distances you sometimes need 2 hours by taxi. You need a lot of patience and should bring along a generous appointment calendar.
  3. Unfortunately, Asian companies work very administratively, which means bureaucracy, bureaucracy and more bureaucracy. You will have to wait a very long time to make a decision, not because they do not like you or your offer is bad, but because the decision-making process takes so long. For important decisions, expect a time span of 3 – 9 months. The only thing that goes faster is in production plants. These are usually also faster by the sales compulsion – they get your container therefore also sooner. Here is usually the problem of forwarding and transport companies. For freight shipments to and from Asia, you should always schedule a buffer of 3 weeks due to freight delays, delays due to customs or other formalities.