Partners International Celebrates 25 Years of Marketing in Asia

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One of the few firms in the world specializing in marketing in Asia is celebrating 25 years of successful deal-making in that most difficult of regions.

We were doing business in Asia before it was considered fashionable

    "Asia is still run by personal relationships," said Bill Decker, founder of Colorado-based Partners International, Inc. "The government will still be involved in most deals. Asian negotiations are different from American. And Asia still isn't fast. As a matter of fact, the main cultural difference between Asians and Americans is 'time.'"

"We were doing business in Asia before it was considered fashionable," Decker said. A quarter-century ago, he stayed in government-approved hotels, followed constantly. Strangers on the street asked for his autograph, and uncounted pairs of eyes have watched him eat in restaurants, as he was one of the few Occidentals most had ever seen in person.

Anecdotes aside, however, doing business in Asia requires skills and connections. The questions from American clients haven't altered over the years: what is the best mode of entry to Asia, where do we start, and how much does it cost?

Decker cautions there are no simple answers. "Marketing in Asia requires strategizing. Without a strategy, firms are simply playing 'marketing poker,' and gambling on the odd business trip to develop a market presence."

When businesses turn their attention to the Asian market, Decker advises that companies can gain faster traction in places like India or the Philippines, where Western business is more admired and imitated than in China. "Japan has the highest initial cost of entry, as its market is more mature in nearly every sector," Decker said.

Partners International, Inc. has brought consumer products, high tech, aerospace, business services and media to Asian clients from American businesses.

About Partners International

After 25 years doing business in Asia, Partners International, Inc. has the right personal relationships to succeed where others can't. And our experience with U.S. firms allows us to anticipate obstacles to success in advance. Partners International is the successor to Connect International, with 60 offices worldwide, about half of them in Asia. For more information, call 303-871-1998 or visit

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Lee Ann Fleming
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