While reaching out to a larger pool of prospects certainly plays a part in exporter’s success, the survey confirms that having a presence in the same country as clients or customers carries a number of benefits. Specifically, 89% of Hong Kong businesses say they have a better understanding of customers and markets when physically near. Being close to clients also means businesses can boost sales (88%) and improve customer retention rates (86%).
But foreign expansion is a big step for businesses to take and a difficult one if support is lacking. In particular, Hong Kong firms report that aside from making customer introductions, government trade delegations can most usefully help them expand abroad by providing advice on legal and regulatory matters (66%).
Other findings from the survey show that Hong Kong firms say that:
Being close to customers means businesses can improve customer satisfaction (85%);
85% of firms say a location close to their customers helps in dealing more effectively with customer problems and improves marketing effectiveness (78%);
Government introductions to local business organisation and associations (41%) and advice on taxation (50%) would also help businesses planning foreign expansion;
Almosta quarter of businesses (24%) would benefit from a directory of places to network.
“People always talk about ‘getting close to the customer’, but in export markets that can be literally true. Our survey respondents told us that having a physical presence close to their customers brings about a number of benefits. In particular, businesses report that better customer retention, faster problem resolution and greater satisfaction can be achieved by setting up a location in proximity to their customers or clients,” said John Henderson, Chief Financial Officer, Regus Asia-Pacific.
“On the other hand, setting up a presence abroad is a challenging task even with support from your home government. Businesses globally report that the best help they could expect from their government trade delegation when expanding, aside from client introductions, is getting legal and regulatory advice, taxation and local custom information and tips on where to network and meet local businesses. Where this information is not made available or is incomplete, businesses would do best to partner with firms such as Regus that understand the world of business and that can provide local know-how and connections,”
Regus is the global workplace provider.
Its network of more than 2,000 business centres in 102 countries provides convenient, high-quality, fully serviced spaces for people to work, whether for a few minutes or a few years. Companies like Google, Toshiba and GlaxoSmithKline choose Regus so that they can work flexibly and make their businesses more successful.
The key to flexible working is convenience and so Regus is opening wherever its 1.5million members want support - city centres, suburban districts, shopping centres and retail outlets, railway stations,motorway service stations and even community centres.
Founded in Brussels, Belgium, in 1989, Regus is based in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange.