Continuing on from last week’s Becky’s Affiliated: Understanding the Asian Market Part 1 with Patrick Jay, this week we’ll cover relationships with brokers and partners, two things you will need as a Western company entering the East.
Same as with Jay, at the iGaming Super Show in June, I spoke with David Jung who has worked within the Asian poker market since 2007 and is currently serving as the CEO of Hero Poker. Jung is an expert in how to manage broker and partner relationships in Asia and during our interview he revealed methods for Westerners on how to identify and build such relationships.
Entering Asia from the West- First Steps
Before attempting to work with brokers, its important to know exactly what you wish to accomplish in the Asian market and to have done as much research as possible in advance. Its also important to know in advance how committed your organization is to penetrating the Asian market.
“I think [companies looking to enter Asia] already need to have sign-off with their board as to how much commitment they really want to engage into Asia. I mean this is not, how do I say, there are no low hanging fruits in Asia. The local population has a hold on it”, said Jung.
He continued, “If there’s something that’s doing well in the West, the Asians are probably doing it on a much lower level so what you’re looking for in a really good project is bringing to bear your international or your know-how capabilities, so you need board approval for that.
And you have to have a clear idea of which markets you really want to address, you can’t just be a general feasibility project. You really need to do that research beforehand and find the right broker that will get you in touch with the real decision makers”.
Role of the Broker- How Big or How Small?
So now we know a broker is necessary, but how deep of a relationship should we be building with that broker?
“It depends”, said Jung. “If the broker is just someone to give the introduction and then they pass it off, its very clear, but if the broker is someone who does business with the partner group, or they are already sourcing projects in a long term, then you really need to work with that broker.
That broker can also help maintain that relationship afterwards and again, the key word is relationship. But you should never get rid of your broker unless your partners tell you to get rid of him”.
Choosing your Partner
Establishing a local partner in the Asian market is essential for success and its up to you as an organization to win them over.
“You don’t really choose your partner, the partner is the one who can actually make the project really happen. So whether it’s a political support, or whether it’s an understanding of the business environment, or whether they hold the distribution line, the partner will be pretty much one of two partners that you are to work with, so its whether they accept you rather than you choosing them”, explained Jung.
Building & Maintaining a Relationship with your Partner
Once you have a partner, its important to build and maintain that relationship in every way possible. Asian culture is different than Western culture when it comes to business relationships, so its essential to understand the local practices and to follow them without fail.
“I think the biggest thing is you really need to meet with them, you need to literally almost become friends with them and you need to bring your heavy hitters”, Jung explained.
“Another thing too in terms of expectations, do not look towards the low hanging fruit. If that partner is already in that industry, they’re already eating the low hanging fruit. They want you to come in to bring something substantial.
I guess the last thing is the relationship, relationship, relationship – keep that open, keep the dialogue open and even if their demands seem a little bit outlandish, buy some time. Buy some time and just work it out with them because if that trust is there, they are always willing to work it out with you”.