Business Advice from those who have been there, done that

In this business tv show, Ian Coleman, Partner, Head of emerging markets, PricewaterhouseCoopers UK, Tony Dickel, CEO, MRI China, and Oliver Massmann, Partner at Duane Morris Vietnam LLC, recount instances in which businesses were saved from making terrible mistakes. These stories are a clear illustration of the issues you must be aware of when doing business in emerging economies.

Ian Coleman: We were approached by a client that wished to enter a food market in the food industry in a particular emerging market. Had done a huge amount of work to understand the market segmentation, what were the buying characteristics, what were the income points, was this something that could be targeted at high income people or was it a mass market proposition or so on. Were about to make the investment but had not addressed the fundamental question, do you need a licence to actually do this? Turned out we did and it was a two year process to actually get approval and saved themselves about 15 million in advertising launch costs which would have been wholly ineffective because they wouldn"t have been able to supply demand for two years anyway and that is where a little bit of care can have a really big pay off.

Oliver Massmann: So what are the dangers? You as a foreign investor have to look out for if you want to come to Vietnam. Let me tell you a war story here. One day at an official function I met one of my clients and he told me just by chance that he had the intention to buy a machine park owned by a Vietnamese domestic company and the whole building to establish a 100% foreign owned company and I told him also have you checked whether this machine park and the buildings are free from any encumbrance and he didn"t know. So two days later he came to my office and instructed me to check this. I checked this and found out that the whole machine park and buildings had been mortgaged so he was shocked. If he wouldn"t have known this he would have paid to the seller and lost millions.

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