Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the Malaysian market

As Brexit plans progress, Irish businesses are exploring export options in sectors across the Eurozone markets, the USA and Canada and the APAC region.

Enterprise Ireland is playing a key role in supporting ambitious companies seeking opportunities in Malaysia’s IoT, telecoms and fintech sectors.

If you are considering doing business in Malaysia, please be sure to explore our tips to enter the market below and also be sure to reach out to our dedicated team.

  • When scheduling meetings in Malaysia it is best to do so at least four weeks in advance. Malaysian counterparts will want to know who they will be meeting, and you should provide such details as the titles, positions and responsibilities of all attendees in advance.
  • Due to its predominantly Muslim population, Friday is reserved for prayer and it is advised not to schedule meetings on this day.
  • Schedules are usually loose and flexible and meetings may start late. However, Malaysians generally expect foreign visitors to be punctual.
  • Developing trusting, personal relationships is fundamental to winning long-term business in Malaysia. For this reason, Irish companies must consider setting up a local presence at an early stage or engaging a local partner to manage relationships.
  • Malay-owned companies have historically been given preference in Malaysia by the Government for state contracts. Irish companies may need to consider joint venture structures in some sectors for this reason.
  • If you are planning to do business in Malaysia, it is essential to consult a lawyer. Government restrictions can hamper foreign involvement in several areas, including Government procurement contracts, financial, business and professional services and telecommunications. In most cases, it is imperative to have a local partner, usually a Bumiputera, (a local person) who has the ability to provide locally-based technical support.
  • Kuala Lumpur has the most developed financial sector in the Southeast Asia region, after Singapore. It is known as one of the world’s capitals for Islamic finance. The main opportunity for Irish companies is to deliver efficiencies and add capability to institutions in the form of payments, anti-money laundering, regulatory tech, distributed ledgers and analytics. There is also an opportunity to deliver direct financial services, such as foreign exchange and micro-lending.
  • Malaysia continues to evolve as one of the hubs for medical device manufacturing in the region with over 200 manufacturing companies based in the country. Design and construction projects for high-tech manufacturing facilities for medical instruments and devices is one of the key opportunities for Enterprise Ireland client companies in Malaysia.
  • Malaysia’s telecommunications sector is competitive with the three largest mobile networks operators – Digi, Celcom Axiata and Maxis –holding over 75% of the market. Operators are looking for vendor solutions to strengthen their digital Value Added Services (VAS) suite of services and mobile apps in order to accelerate their transformation as fully-fledged ‘Digital Service’ companies.
  • Over 130 Irish firms are already active in this market thanks to EI assistance, contact the local MA here

For more be sure to check out our Going Global Guide 

If you would like to know what to prepare ahead of your first MA call, click the graphic below

Key questions to ask at your Spanish and Portuguese Market Advisor meeting

The combined population of Spain and Portugal is more than 10 times that of Ireland, while Iberia’s landmass is 7 times larger than Ireland’s.

If you are considering doing business in Spain or Portugal, your first step should be a call with our dedicated team.

  • What do you need from me to move this forward? Enterprise Ireland works with clients who have the potential to make an impact, by connecting with buyers and finding opportunities in the market. Irish client companies play a great role in this process too. To make the most of your opportunities in the Spanish and Portuguese market, ask your MA what you can do to move the process forward and ensure success.
  • What kind of timeline are we working with? Different markets work on different timelines. Winning business in this market requires dedication over time; developing your relationship with a buyer in Spain or Portugal is as important as any business negotiation. Ask your MA what kind of timeline you should expect when entering this market. That way you can be prepared for the different steps and milestones in the process.
  • What should our buyer persona look like? Knowing who you want to sell to in this market is very important. It is essential to understand the dynamics of your target market. With the help of your MA, decipher what your buyer persona looks like and work to adapt your pitch to that persona. While this can vary within the market (especially in Spain’s autonomous regions), legitimate and specified buyer personas can be useful in identifying who to approach in market first.

Enterprise Ireland is committed to helping Irish firms succeed in global markets and have industry experts on hand, ready to help you access the Spanish market.

Our Market Advisors are always available to support you and provide business expertise and on-the-ground knowledge.

For more, download our Going Global Guide

Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the Spanis and Portuguese markets can be viewed by clicking the graphic below.

Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the Spanish and Portuguese markets

Historically pillars of trade, the Iberian nations of Spain and Portugal offer exceptional export opportunities to Irish companies

Home to the international powerhouses of Inditex, Banco Santander, BBVA, Ferrovial, and TAP (Transportes Aereos Portugueses), the purchasing power in this market, along with the cordial nature of the population, makes it a highly attractive export region. The team in Enterprise Ireland’s Madrid office are here to support you in entering this dynamic and growing market.

  • Do your research. The Spanish and Portuguese populations combined amass to more than 10 times that of Ireland, while Iberia’s landmass is 7 times larger than Ireland’s. With more people, comes more business and innovation, and thus more competition. Really get to know the market you’re entering, and who you’ll be competing with.
  • Create a great elevator pitch. Spanish and Portuguese businesses are more hierarchal in nature, and they like to work on equal terms, so make sure you are bringing your best to the table, as you can presume they are. A good elevator pitch that clearly explains who you are, what you do, and what you can offer is a great way of proving your interest and significance. First impressions and personal relationships are important here.
  • Have a summarised value proposition. This is a highly price-sensitive market. Being price competitive will open the door to a consumer base of more than 50 million. However, having a good USP and a clear value proposition will help you to find a successful gap in the market. There is great purchasing power in Spain and Portugal, but you must find a way for your company to tap into it.
  • Be aware of your distribution channel. If you intend to export to, or scale in this market, know how you will make that happen. Consider the steps that must be taken between your product/service in Ireland and your customer in Spain or Portugal. Assess the potential hurdles in providing your good or service to this market.
  • You and/or your product need to speak the local language. Overcoming language barriers can be one of the most difficult aspects of exporting to this market. English levels vary significantly geographically and by sector. Having a trusted translator may be necessary for meetings and correspondence, which EI Madrid can help you with. More practically, your product itself must be accessible to the population you are selling to; an app that functions solely in English will not succeed in the wider population.
  • Assess your resources. How can you make the most of the human and financial capital that you have? With a good business team and the backing of Enterprise Ireland, at home and in market, there is great potential for success when entering the Spanish and Portuguese market. Know your weaknesses and seek help from EI to develop them into strengths. 

Enterprise Ireland is committed to helping Irish firms succeed in global markets and have experts on hand, ready to help you access the Spanish market.

Our Market Advisors are always available to support you and provide business expertise and on-the-ground knowledge.

For more, download our Going Global Guide

If you would like to know what to prepare ahead of your first MA call, click the graphic below

Key questions to ask at your US Market Advisor meeting

Ireland would fit into the US 130 times over and as you probably know there are cultural differences between the north and south, as well as the east and west coasts. For this reason, it’s important not to treat the US as one market, instead view it as 50 markets with four time zones. 

You should keep the following questions front of mind when having your first meeting with our dedicated team. 

  • What is the awareness of Ireland in this state?
  • What are the core sectors and what sectors should I avoid in this state?
  • Will I need a local partner company?
  • What kind of obstacles should I expect when entering the market in this state?
  • What local competitors are active in this market?
  • What taxes, charges or hidden costs should I be aware of?
  • Are there any social/political instabilities in this state that could affect my business here?
  • Are there any environmental instabilities in this state that could affect my business here?
  • What social norms should I be cognizant of when engaging in meetings with local people?
  • Will I need to set up an office in the state?
  • Will I need to hire local staff?
  • Can I relocate Irish staff in this region?

Set up a call with our team in the US today 

For more be sure to check out our Going Global Guide 

Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the US market can be viewed by clicking the graphic below.

Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the US market

Ireland enjoys a unique advantage in trading with the US because of our deep historical links, in fact, it is Ireland’s second-largest export market, with almost 800 Irish companies operating across the United States.

If you are considering doing business in the US, please be sure to explore our tips to enter the market below and also be sure to reach out to our dedicated team.

  • The US is the world’s largest economy and is it the most competitive market in the world. Ensure your value proposition is differentiated before you try to acquire customers.
  • The population of the State of Alabama is the same as the entire Republic of Ireland, while Ireland’s GDP is similar to that of Colorado. It may be of benefit to take a more regional approach to your US market development, and not just gravitate to the main cities and economic centres. Spend some time understanding where the largest market opportunity and highest concentration of your customers may be.
  • Building rapport is very important in the US. Spend time developing relationships with your key target customers/buyers.
  • Attention to detail is valued in US business culture. US buyers will expect high-quality sales & marketing collateral, and it’s important that your collateral is updated with US-specific grammar and spelling.
  • Approach the market with a “customer needs” perspective not a “product” or “technology” perspective. What is the problem you are trying to solve with your product or service?

For more be sure to check out our Going Global Guide 

If you would like to know what to prepare ahead of your first MA call, click the graphic below

Key questions to ask at your Dutch Market Advisor meeting

This is an open discussion between you and one of our trusted Market Advisers, to discuss your business and the export opportunities that lie for you in the region. Below are some suggestions of questions to ask your MA, to learn more about the Dutch market, and the supports we can offer you.

  • What resources do you need? Enterprise Ireland can help entrepreneurs and businesses to scale and reach their potential, let it be from funding support, market insights, or finding the right contacts through international networks. Ask your MA what they can do to help you scale your business and enter the market prepared, confident and supported.
  • What are the opportunities in the market for your business? Ask your MA which opportunities lie within your sector, and how best to leverage these growth opportunities for your business.
  • What should the next steps be? Discuss forming a plan towards global exporting – have an open discussion and together plan objectives, goals and discuss what time frames to expect. Next steps may include further market research and discovery, funding applications or buyer introductions.

Set up a call with our team in Amsterdam and be sure to check out our Going Global Guide.

Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the Dutch market can be viewed by clicking the graphic below.

Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the Dutch market

The Netherlands is active worldwide in providing creative and sustainable solutions for global challenges relating to water, food, energy, health, environment, and security, this thriving economy welcomes foreign business and is a great starting point for clients who wish to enter the Eurozone.

If you are considering doing business in the Netherlands, please be sure to explore our tips to enter the market below and also be sure to reach out to our dedicated team.

  • Dutch is the national language of the Netherlands, but they are very open to conversing in English, with 90% of the population speaking it. Although a translator may not be crucial at first, it is considered a sign of good intent to have local people and services involved on the ground.
  • In Dutch business culture, meetings are important and famous for their traditional ‘Afspraken’, (crucial discussion opportunities.) The Netherlands has led the shift towards remote working long before the Pandemic, and are well prepared for digital meetings, something that is of increasing importance in today’s age. Come dressed relatively formally and you’ll fit right in.
  • The Dutch are masters in logistics, and home to world-class seaports, airports, and railway systems. You also have access to 170 million consumers at your fingertips, and not only that, NL is ranked no.1 in the world in digital connectivity, something that should be embraced.
  • Decide on a route to market: Joint ventures and acquisitions can be a successful route to market in the Netherlands, gaining you a foothold and bringing on board established contacts and market knowledge.
  • Like Ireland, the Netherlands relies heavily on exports. As a result, they are naturally more open to international trade, making it very possible to sell directly. That being said, export strategies that include a local partner are usually more successful and foster a consistent presence.
  • Trust the Process and embrace the economic and cultural benefits that the Netherlands has to offer. A global pioneer in several markets this is an ideal location to step into Europe.
  • Understand that sustainability is key: At present, the Corporate Tax rate is 20% on the taxable amount up to €200,000 and 25% on excess, worldwide. The environment is important to the Dutch, and reliefs are provided for companies who value sustainability.
  • Be prepared and know your competition: It is important to do your market research. This is a highly competitive landscape, with 15,000 foreign companies competing in a country smaller than Ireland. Luckily, our world-class Market Research Centre can assist you with valuable market intelligence to help shape your strategy.
  • Be innovative: in the Netherlands, it is important to be forward-thinking and competitive. Make sure you have a strong value proposition and stand out from the rest.
  • Finally, do your research! Explore the different resources available from Enterprise Ireland to delve deep into the market and really understand the opportunities and challenges that will arise. Our world-class Market Research Centre provides countless market reports, and MA’s are happy to help with market-related requests.

For more be sure to check out our Going Global Guide 

If you would like to know what to prepare ahead of your first MA call, click the graphic below

Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the Chinese market

The ambitions of both the Chinese government and the private sector to improve competitiveness is driving demand for foreign technology and expertise, which in turn is increasing opportunities for Irish firms in the region.

If you are considering doing business in China, please be sure to explore our tips to enter the market below and also be sure to reach out to our dedicated team. 

  • Make a strategy to protect your intellectual property before you enter the Chinese market.
  • Treating China as one large market is difficult, narrow down your target cities
  • Second- and third-tier cities might be a better option for many products since there may be fewer competitors, more demand from consumers and local governments willing to facilitate market access.
  • Best practices show that investing some time in China to meet people, experience the market, and test prices and consumer behaviour is critical before making the decision to invest.
  • Having a physical presence in China can be part of a long-term strategy to enter the country.
  • Firms should carefully weigh all the available options against their business needs before deciding on a legal structure in China.
  • In China, there are certification, registration and labelling schemes that are often complex.
  • Labour costs in China are rising quickly. High turnover is also becoming a concern.
  • Finding the right importer/distributor in China is critical for success. Guanxi (people to people relationship) is important as reliable contact can help you understand the negotiating habits of the Chinese that would otherwise require months of on-the-ground presence in China to understand.
  • Companies need 6-9 months of preparatory work to enter China, which is longer than other markets;
  • In Greater China, Enterprise Ireland have three offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, servicing key sectors for Irish companies.

If you are considering doing business in China be sure to reach out to our team and read our Going Global Guide for more information.

 

If you would like to know what to prepare ahead of your first MA call, click the graphic below

Key questions to ask at your Chinese Market Advisor meeting

China is one of the most diverse and exciting countries to do business in the world today and the opportunities for Irish enterprises in the region are ever on the increase.

To help you prepare for your Market Advisor meeting, take a look at our suggestions of questions below.

    • Is there a market for my product in China?
    • If I can sell my products in Europe, can I automatically sell them in China?
    • What level of competition will I be faced with in China?
    • What cities should I be targeting?
    • Outline the possible legal structures in China?
    • Should I visit China to meet potential partners and clients?
    • What distribution channels are utilised in China?
    • How can I protect my intellectual property in China?
    • how much should I expect to invest upfront?
    • What taxes, charges or hidden costs should I be aware of?
    • How do I perform preliminary due diligence in China?
    • How do I find the legal/technical requirements for my product?

    Our Market Advisors are always available to support you and provide business expertise and on-the-ground knowledge.

    For more, download our Going Global Guide

    Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the Italian market can be viewed by clicking the graphic below.

    Key questions to ask at your Italian Market Advisor meeting

    Italy is the third-largest economy in the Eurozone and the fifth largest market in Europe for Irish exports.

    To help you prepare, take a look at our suggestions of questions to ask your Market Advisor.

      • What is the awareness of Ireland in Italy and how is Ireland perceived?
      • What are the core sectors and what sectors should I avoid?
      • Will I need a local partner company?
      • Will I need one or more distributors/dealers if I want to cover the whole of Italy?
      • What kind of obstacles should I expect when entering this market?
      • What is the business culture in Italy? Is it different from Ireland and if so, in what ways?
      • How easy is it to communicate in English? Do I need to speak/understand Italian?  Do I need to have an Italian speaker in the company?
      • What local competitors are active in this market?
      • What social norms should I be cognizant of when engaging in meetings with local people?
      • Will I need to set up an office in the region? Will I need the help of a local expert to follow all the procedures?
      • Will I need to hire local staff? If so, how flexible is the labour market?
      • Can I relocate Irish staff in this region?

      Our Market Advisors are always available to support you and provide business expertise and on-the-ground knowledge.

      For more, download our Going Global Guide

      Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the Italian market can be viewed by clicking the graphic below.

      Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the Italian market

      Italy is the third-largest economy in the Eurozone and the fifth largest market in Europe for Irish exports

      If you are considering doing business in Italy, please be sure to explore our tips to enter the market below and also be sure to reach out to our team in Milan.

      • Expect a longer timeline for market penetration in this region than in other European markets. Building a relationship with a potential customer can take time, and it’s a lot about trust. Once you’ve gained it, the Italian customer is very loyal.
      • Being introduced by an Italian company or by an institution can facilitate initial contact.
      • Costs for shipping goods to Italy are quite high, which can affect the final price of goods and therefore their competitiveness.
      • Market research and competitor analysis are vital if you want to approach the Italian market. You may find out that the local competition is extremely strong.
      • The perception of Ireland and Irish people is generally very positive, so build on it.
      • Be aware that the level of bureaucracy you find in Italy can be difficult to understand and frustrating at times.
      • If you intend to hire local staff, be aware of the fact that labour law is extremely rigid in Italy, definitely more rigid than in most European countries.
      • Meeting in person is very important in Italy, contact by email or phone is not enough. If you have a distributor, make sure you visit him/her on a regular basis. Meetings can happen over lunch or dinner – the eating element is very important in Italian culture and involves more than a simple sandwich.
      • Dress code during meetings is important. The first impression is made also on the basis of what you wear.
      • Don’t assume that everybody speaks English in Italy. It is quite often not the case. Making the effort of saying a few words in Italian is always appreciated
      • Be aware that the business culture in Italy is much more formal than in Ireland: don’t call people by their first name at the first meetings. Titles and hierarchy are important but the formal approach can vary according to the sector.

      If you are considering doing business in Italy be sure to reach out to our team and read our Going Global Guide for more information.

       

      If you would like to know what to prepare ahead of your first MA call, click the graphic below

      Key questions to ask at your French Market Advisor meeting

      Your International Markets Week meeting with an Enterprise Ireland Market Advisor is the perfect opportunity to get all the information you need about the French market and how to develop your market entry strategy.

      To help you prepare, take a look at our suggestions of questions to ask your Market Advisor.

       

      • Should I target the French market?

      What opportunities are present for your product in France? What benefits are there for your business in terms of exporting to the Eurozone over the UK? Are there other markets you should consider before focusing on the French market?

      • What specific information do I need to know about the market? What do you know about our competitors?

      Ask your Market Advisor for their insights into the market for your product and service in France, and find out what Market Research reports you should access from Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre.

      • What should I be prepared for when doing business in France? Are there any cultural differences?

      Your Market Advisor is an expert both in their sector and the specifics of how that sector does business in France. It is important to note that these differences are more pronounced in certain sectors (such as the Agri-tech industry) than others (such as Digital Technologies).

      • What route to market would you recommend for my product or service?

      Consider whether you should enter the French market via a distributor, an agent, a partnership, or sell directly via your website. Your Market Advisor can talk you through the advantages and disadvantages of all options.

      • Are there barriers to entry? Are there any legal issues or regulations that I need to consider?

      While France and Ireland are both members of the European Single Market, there remain some regulatory differences in certain sectors. Your Market Advisor is the best person to advise on the steps you need to take to insure your product or service is compliant and ready for sale in the French market.

      • What determines success in the market? Can you think of any examples of companies who have done well in the market and why?

      Capitalise on the learnings of companies who have come before you (and learn from their mistakes!).

      • Are there any specific opportunities for us in France with regards to the recently announced French Recovery Plan and the post-Covid19 business climate?

      In the words of French president, Emmanuel Macron, “2020 has been a year like no other”. The French team’s Market Advisors have been on the ground and are well placed to advise you on what challenges and opportunities this year presents for your business.

      • Are there any large investment projects planned relevant for my sector?

      Market advisors constantly monitor in-market investment announcements. Did you know that France ranks first in the list of European Foreign Direct Investment destinations?   

      Our Market Advisors are always available to support you and provide business expertise and on-the-ground knowledge.

      For more, download our Going Global Guide

      Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the French market can be viewed by clicking the graphic below.