2017 was a terrific year for global business expansion. Companies in a variety of industries took their operations to new countries around the world. Below were the top 10 countries for global business expansion last year, plus an interesting fact about doing business in each country.
Interesting fact: Like many Asian countries, Indonesian culture is centered around the group rather than the individual. As a result, businesses tend to be hierarchical and the concept of “face” is very important. Communication tends to be indirect, and the word “yes” often actually means no; it is frequently cited that the Indonesian language even has 12 words for yes which actually mean no.
Interesting fact: Indian companies are hierarchical and decision making is top-down. Negotiations can be very slow, especially if a relationship has not already been established. While Indians appreciate data and statistics, they also use their intuition and faith, and they value patience. Indians tend to have an indirect communication style. They try not to say “no,” so you need to watch for euphemisms such as “perhaps” or “possibly.” When trying to establish a rapport, feel free to talk about the latest news or cricket, but avoid personal subjects.
Interesting fact: While Australians are known for being laid back, this isn’t really true in business. Punctuality and meeting deadlines are extremely important, and you will need an appointment if you intend to meet with someone.
7. Hong Kong
Interesting fact: It is important in Hong Kong to address people in the proper manner. Many people adopt an English first name or nickname. It is polite and easier to ask your contact what they prefer to be called. Another important note is that similar to mainland China, married women usually retain their maiden name and will not use their husband’s name at all.
Interesting fact: The concept of “face” is highly important in Chinese culture. Face refers to the concepts of honor, reputation, and respect. Take care to not lessen a counterpart’s face in public through reprimands or exposure of mistakes. Giving public compliments and showing respect can increase face. Avoid jokes, which can easily be misunderstood when translated and can result in loss of face, damaging your relationship. Exchanging business cards is important in China and one should be sure to take the time to read the card before putting it away.
Interesting fact: In Mexico, relationships are critical as trust can matter more to getting business done than experience or ability. Agreements usually are reached in person, not over the phone, and you will want to get any agreement in writing as oral promises are not always followed through on.
Interesting fact: Effective 1 April 2017, there are strict laws in place in Germany about employment secondment. Companies hiring people to work on behalf of other companies in Germany, as part of a global PEO solution, are legally required to have an AUG or temporary agency license.
Interesting fact: Although directness is valued, Singaporeans also do not like giving an outright “no” to a question so you may hear ‘maybe’ or ‘that would be difficult’ instead. If your counterpart sucks in air through his/her teeth when asked a question, it’s a sure sign the answer is no.
Interesting fact: Labor negotiations can be onerous in Canada. Assuming that the process for hiring and setting up a payroll will be fairly straightforward, many organizations quickly discover that the labor legislation creates a series of complications that aren’t easy to overcome.
1. United Kingdom
Interesting fact: Non-compete legislation favors the employee over the employer in the UK, and language pertaining to non-compete clauses in employment contracts should be managed carefully