International trade missions are a long-held tradition used to promote trade between two or more countries. They often involve large delegations of government officials and businesspeople traveling abroad, visiting factories and innovation centres to learn about how business is done in other parts of the world. Trade missions have always been critical to governments and businesses alike to explore new markets, develop new networks and get new business deals done. The question we pose – is now time to rethink and reinvent trade missions?
Government funded Trade Missions - Are they still relevant?
Reinventing the Trade Mission
Does No travel = the death of the trade mission?
Over the past year, with global COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, international travel has been made almost impossible, causing cancellation or postponement of any trade missions overseas. With the likelihood of certain international travel restrictions staying, the future of the international trade mission may be at risk.
If the trade mission was previously a big part of a nation’s export strategy – What does that mean for Trade Agencies?
Working with some of the best and most innovative trade agencies has given us some insight into this conundrum. Limited travel makes the job of a Government trade agency or Promotion Board even more important as they are based in-market and able to make business connections that can be difficult to build remotely.
Our New Approach
Having team members with experience working within the trade agency space, we put out heads together to come up with an alternative to the trade mission and that’s how Asia Market Entry’s Horizons program was born.
"International trade agencies have had to scramble, rethinking how they execute their strategy after a long-held reliance on facilitating multiple trade missions"
Firstly we looked at the core pain points around trade missions. The high cost of travel and time to attend huge events overseas, where companies must compete with hundreds of other participants in an exhibition hall for airtime of potential buyers – often not necessarily well matched to your solution. This effort is often just to gauge the opportunity for your business in the market.
In addition to this we know that a large amount of time and resource goes into making stands or pavilions as eye catching, innovative an interesting as possible.
To combat this outlay of cost on scoping exercises we ascertained that more tailored advisory about opportunities and challenges in the market a business is targetting, details on competitors and potential customer profiles – are a much more valuable way to spend budget. We know that business want opportunities in new markets and they value profiles of real viable customers that they can pitch to in the future once they are ready to expand.
More than a temporary replacement for the traditional international trade mission, we want Asia Market Entry Horizon’s programme will continue to be a viable option, even after travel resumes (which we all hope is sooner rather than later!) As a more efficient, more cost-effective option, it will give companies the knowledge and international footprint, so that when your plane finally does touch down, you can maximise the opportunities and business meetings that have already been lined up for you in the programme.