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Special Report on Mip Asia: Working the Asian Market – Sport International sees Asia on the horizon

Hector Figueroa, chairman and founder of Puerto Rico-based Sport International, has been doing big business in Asia, and sees the region as being on the brink of becoming even more prosperous....
December 1, 1997

Hector Figueroa, chairman and founder of Puerto Rico-based Sport International, has been doing big business in Asia, and sees the region as being on the brink of becoming even more prosperous.

‘Asia is on the verge of rolling out the red carpet,’ he says and points to statistics to back his claim. Currently, the u.s. controls 40% of the world’s television production and distribution, with Europe and Asia at 25% each. Global trade figures, however, show the Asian market with the lion’s share of transactions: 40% is Asian, with the u.s. and Europe at 25% each.

It’s only a matter of time before the television world meets the world of trade, warns Figueroa. ‘You can’t wait for them to come to you,’ he states. ‘They won’t.’ Therefore, Figueroa has gone to Asia. Sport International’s This Day In Sports, 366 x 30 second historical sports briefs, has sold into every Asian territory. Figueroa has gained an intimate understanding of the market, and offers this advice:

-Learn the market and the people. A knowledgeable businessperson knows to hand his or her card to an Asian buyer with both hands as a sign of respect, and that shaking hands or kissing a woman is an insult in Thailand. Rules of trade and personal conduct differ from region to region. ‘In Asia,’ points out Figueroa, ‘you can be the sweetest person, and still be rough and insulting in their perception unless you take the time to learn and respect their culture.’ The first step in that process is taking the time to learn the language.

-Sales people should travel the market extensively to lose their misconceptions. ‘Asia is not underdeveloped any more,’ he observes. ‘There is business to be conducted in every region.’

-Ensure that advertising, one-sheets, glossies and promotional material are all available in the language of your prospective clients. No foreign distributor would go to Germany or France and expect to conduct business strictly in English.

Sport International has ambitious plans for the region. Rather than trying to sell foreign material into the market, they plan to develop sports events with Asian partners which will have global appeal. They can then target buyers in Asia as well the rest of the world. The events themselves might take the form of a global sumo, cricket or tennis tournament. As Figueroa observes, ‘They deserve a major tournament of their own. It has to happen. They are almost half the population of the earth.’

With the global market booming, Figueroa believes even companies seeking to do business in the East on their own (foreign) terms will find a place in the Asian market, but after everyone else.

In this report:

- Mip Market Maneuvers

-Country Profiles: From China to Thailand, what to expect

-Distributor Profiles: Examples from distribs who’ve made the sale

-The Buck Stops here: How low can you go?

-Bon Mots: Words to sell by in the Korean Market

-Working the Asian Market: Sport International sees Asia on the horizon

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

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