In this third of an occasional series, Focus International president Trevor Rahill, an expert in advising new businesses in the flavor and fragrance and food ingredients sectors, provides his insights into the Chinese and North American markets and thoughts on the execution of international expansion.
Western companies should now start to seriously consider what their international strategies are for Asia, and in particular China. It is definitely not too late. While many small and medium enterprise (SME) companies may not yet be thinking about China or Asia, there is an excellent chance that their customers are, as well as the potential customers they are looking to win business with in the future. The SME sector of the industry has built its business model on excellent customer service, responsiveness and product innovation as the largest competitors increasingly turn their resources towards their largest customers. My question for anyone at an SME is: What do you say to your customers when they tell you they are expanding overseas and need your support?
Food Ingredients China (FIC; www.chinafoodadditives.com) is the largest show of its kind in Asia, and while it continues to grow, it has been hampered by lack of space, which anyone who has attended FIC can attest to—especially exhibitors. Next year, for the fi rst time in its seven years of existence, FIC will be held under one roof in the new exhibition center at the former site of the 2010 World Expo site in Pudong.b (To provide a sense of scale, the World Expo has welcomed more than 77 million visitors over a six-month period.)