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Challenges in Asia

Asia is a very different environment to New Zealand, and there is always a great deal to learn. Regardless of how much knowledge the company currently has about Asian markets, there are continual learning curves to face each day.

Augen Director/CEO standing next to a street full of people on motorcycles and scooters.

Asia is a huge and diverse collection of markets, and so what works in some countries will not necessarily work in others. Often it is essential to partner with local organisations to do business. This in itself can be a challenge to work through the issues of operating in a way that mutually benefits one another.

'Augen constantly evolves! We have to keep abreast of changes and seize new opportunities. Expanding into Asia took us to the next level – opening doors for both Augen and the organisations that we work with!'

Mitchell Pham - Co-founder, International Development Director

It is Augen’s experience that there will always be plenty of trial and error along the way. A key message for success is to ensure to prioritise spending time in the market and getting to know and understand the culture as well as the local partners. New Zealand businesses have a tendency to think about Asian customers only in terms of being in a different place. However, the invisible wall between Eastern and Western cultures means it is absolutely critical to invest time in these markets to build relationships and trust in order to gain the necessary depth of cultural understanding. In this way, the eventual gains will justify the investment.

New Zealand is a small market that has an opportunity in Asia to present itself as a very strong value proposition around being unique and innovative.

Augen director with Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam.

In a huge market such as Asia, differentiation is important, almost as important as the emphasis placed on relationships. In Asia it is not difficult to find a company who can make a good product or provide a good service. However, it is only through spending more time in the market building relationships, and building influence, that a business will grow.

Advantages for New Zealand

As Asia moves forward in the process of modernising and internationalising itself, the expertise of western countries such as New Zealand is highly valued.

A company such as Augen has connections to western markets that local Asian companies are unlikely to have. The business knowledge, expertise, and technology solutions brought by New Zealand companies into new and fast growing industries in Asia (such as banking, finance, insurance, among many others) provide these companies with a big advantage; as such, IP has been gained from sophisticated models within a developed country.

Augen now have a well-developed understanding of the requirements of local industries, and together with a local operation, have a competitive advantage to work within Vietnam and the surrounding markets in Asia. While local economies will always have the advantage of lower pricing, companies such as Augen will be stronger on knowledge and expertise.

Like some, and unlike others, the world recession has impacted positively on Augen, as their business has been positioned to offer competitive solutions to the work undertaken for other software product companies. Aspects such as the cost-effectiveness of a highly skilled labour force, together with the ability to work across time zones for product development and support, have attracted several high profile companies to work with them.

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