Grow Your Presence in the Asia-Pacific Region

Expand in Apac

We are a business consultancy focused on market diversification in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Through first-hand insight into the market, we help businesses formulate realistic strategies for the region and see them through to implementation. Whether you are a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) looking at market entry or an international company looking to expand your presence in the APAC region, we are here to help you achieve full potential in your target market.

Our consultants have worked in Asia and Europe as both manufacturer and distributor. We therefore adopt a comprehensive and objective approach in providing our clients practical advice and invaluable insight. We place particular emphasis on regional business processes, value chain as well as local/regional geopolitical influences in formulating our approach. In particular, de-risking and supply chain independence have become important issues to consider in post-COVID corporate growth strategies.

In building up profitable and sustainable businesses in the APAC region, we help our clients navigate socio-political uncertainties and overcome intercultural business communication barriers. Whether you are looking to invest or trade in the APAC region, let us be your bridge to a region of promising, robust growth.

  • Cambodia

  • Laos
  • Vietnam
  • Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Myanmar
  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • Brunei
  • Malaysia
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • China
  • Hong Kong SAR
  • Macao SAR
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Taiwan


We focus on, but are not limited to, the following industries:

  • Life sciences and biotech

  • Healthcare and medical

  • Pharmaceutical ingredients

  • Health and beauty (consumer goods)

  • Food and nutrition, food ingredients

  • Agriculture

  • Veterinary

  • Chemicals

  • Automotive


We offer the following modules within the scope of our three main services.
These can be flexibly combined according to your needs.

Market Entry and Sales Channels

ME1: Programming

  • Initial market survey and analysis
  • Initial business planning

ME2: Conceptualisation

  • Review of current business activities in target country
  • Goal definition for target market

ME3: Master Planning

  • Market-driven specification of requirements for potential business partners
  • Evaluation of potential business partner(s)

ME4: Implementation

  • Preparation of both parties (distributor and manufacturer) on business and cultural expectations
  • Introduction between both parties
  • Support negotiation process and mutual agreement for cooperation – conclusion with official appointment and contract

MEO1: Handover

  • Optional: organize and lead in-person introductory meeting between client and business partner

MEO2: Handover

  • Optional: extended support to lead kickoff meeting in person with local partner (if necessary in local language) for training and further cooperation
Strategy Planning and Implementation

ST1: Programming

  • Comprehensive market analysis by country or region (eg. North Asia, ASEAN) – industry, environment
  • Examination of geopolitical factors and their effect on business in target country or region
  • Analysis of competitors and complementors

ST2: Conceptualisation

  • Review of current business activities and profitability in target country
  • Appraisal of company resources and capabilities
  • Value chain analysis
  • Goal definition for target market

ST3: Master Planning

Formulate market entry and expansion strategies based on internal and external analyses (ST1, ST2):

  • Commitment level for market entry
  • Supply chain
  • Sales channels

ST4: Implementation

  • Alignment of supply chain with corporate strategy
  • Implementation of market entry and expansion strategies in business activities eg. production, marketing, sales, logistics
Trainings and Workshops

TR1: Seminar

  • Day seminar “Business in the APAC region” – overview of business climate in the APAC region and how geopolitical factors affect regional business

TR2: Workshop

  • Workshop – understanding the APAC region, sales channels, dealing with distributors, logistics and import/export requirements

TR3: Training

  • Intensive training for manufacturer’s sales team according to market segment
  • Product pricing, project approach and proposals
  • Support team training
  • Assessment of individual team members

TR4: Training

  • Intensive training for distributors/business partner’s sales team

The following are some examples of our package combinations.
Please contact us for customized arrangements according to your needs.

Expanding in the APAC region

Capitalise on Regional Trade Agreements

You have identified a potential market in Asia and plan to export your products there. As a European company, you benefit from bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) between the EU and countries/regions in Asia. If you want to take a step further and establish yourself closer to your target market, you may benefit from regional FTAs to competitively produce and export your products within the region.
Bilateral and regional FTAs in place include:

  • EU-Japan EPA
  • EU-Singapore FTA
  • EU-South Korea FTA
  • EU-Vietnam FTA
  • ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA)
  • Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
  • Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
  • Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA)

For businesses to export their products under these preferential trade terms, they need to be aware of the following:

  1. Harmonized System (HS) code of their products, as well as product code in Europe and the destination country where applicable
  2. Their product satisfies the Rules of Origin under the specific trade agreement

Distribution channels and choosing a distributor

In most of the Asia-Pacific region, it is wise to work through a local distributor to sell your products in the market. This helps overcome logistical challenges (especially non-tariff trade barriers during import) and breaks down existing communication barriers with local authorities and customers. An established distributor would already have a network of reliable contacts through which your products can be brought to market at the quickest time possible. For high-end products, an established distributor could even provide the necessary on-site technical assistance to service end-customers with a quick turnaround time.

The choice of a suitable distributor/business partner is of utmost importance from the outset. Time and effort needs to be invested in grooming a successful business relationship. A poor partnership can cause a big setback for businesses in their plans for market expansion. As a general rule of thumb, the basic criteria are as such:

  • Local customer network
  • Capital
  • Willingness to invest
  • Capability of commercial and supporting teams
  • Compatibility of mindset

Working with a business partner in Asia

Many European/American companies find their working relationship with local Asian partners to be complex and incomprehensible. This causes them to lose confidence in their influence over local market development strategies, resulting in conflict. Understanding and appreciating the differences in cultural business attitudes between European/American and Asian companies help avoid such scenarios.

Loyalty and sincerity are highly valued among the business community in Asia. Based on these values, business relationships are gradually groomed over time to build up trust between business partners. Transparency and accountability, an integral part of European business operations, are for Asian businesses inseparable from trust.

Going through shared experiences and surmounting challenges together help build up trust. At Expand in APAC, we advise companies to take an active role in training and guiding local teams in the acquisition of new accounts, as if they were their own employees. Doing so helps align the expectations of both parties and creates synergies for tackling market challenges together.

Number of countries/territories
EU : 27
APAC : >20 (main economies)
ASEAN : 10
EU : 448 million
APAC : 4.3 billion
ASEAN : 670 million
Top GDPs in APAC region (2022)
China : 17 963 billion USD
Japan : 4 231 billion USD
ASEAN : 3 622 billion USD
India : 3 385 billion USD

EU top trade partners
in APAC region (2022)

China : 750 billion €
ASEAN : 240 billion €
Japan : 125 billion €
South Korea : 108 billion €
India : 101 billion €
EU-China trade volume (2022)
Imports : 517 billion €

*Top imports: telecommunications equipment, automatic data processing machines, electrical machinery and apparatus

Exports : 233 billion €

*Top exports: Motor cars and motor vehicles, electronic tubes, valves and related articles, motor vehicle parts

EU-ASEAN trade volume (2022)
Imports : 158 billion €

*Top imports: Machinery and transport equipment, agricultural products, chemicals

Exports : 82 billion €

*Top exports: Machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, agricultural products

Largest ASEAN destinations for EU exports of goods (2022)
Singapore : 28.4 billion €
Malaysia : 13.3 billion €
Thailand : 12.9 billion €
EU exports of food, feed and food ingredients (2022)
China : 16.9 billion €
ASEAN : 9.0 billion €
Japan : 6.9 billion €
EU exports of medicinal, pharmaceutical and laboratory products (2022)
China : 35.4 billion €
Japan : 20.2 billion €
ASEAN : 14.3 billion €

*Source: World Bank, Eurostat

External links
European Commission Free Trade Agreements (Non-EU markets) :
EU Customs Portal – European Database for HS code, Customs Tariff Number :
German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHK) :
Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) in Asia :
European Commission South-east Asia IP SME Helpdesk :
European Commission China IP SME Helpdesk :
Eurostat international trade in goods statistics :
World Bank open data :
International Monetary Fund data portal :

Our Team

We draw on more than thirty years of combined experience in business development to help our clients expand in the APAC region. Our team of consultants boast first-hand working experience not only on the ground as distributors in Asia, but also as manufacturers in Europe. This stands us in good stead to help our clients navigate the complexities of the Asian market while placing in focus the priorities and business values central to European businesses.

We work with a strong and reliable network of agents, distributors and partners across the APAC region. Our consultants have practical, first-hand experience in market development from China to New Zealand aided by fluency in more than seven European and Asian languages and dialects at a professional level. Through our experience, we offer a comprehensive, practical and hands-on approach, combining a broad view of regional geopolitical factors, trade agreements and international logistics through to the specifics of marketing and sales channels.

Contact Person (International Businesses)
Dr. Julia Lee Xiaoyun
Dr. Julia Lee XiaoyunManaging Director
With ten years’ experience in regional key account management and business development roles, Dr. Lee has spearheaded market diversification endeavours of leading international brands in the Asia-Pacific region. She has supported companies in the biotech, automotive and mining sectors, bridging the technical and business aspects of project development. As manufacturer in Europe, Dr. Lee has led multiparty negotiations for the roll-out of both international and regional key account projects across the APAC-region, securing supply chain and coordinated multiparty logistics distribution across various APAC countries in the process. She has worked in Switzerland, Germany and Indonesia and speaks six Asian and European languages fluently. Dr. Lee has a Business Essentials Certificate from IE University (Spain) and holds a PhD degree in Biochemistry/Microbiology (Switzerland).


Besides working with a broad network of agents and distributors in the region, we also collaborate on extensive projects together with our regional partners. These may be local experts in specific industries or companies that offer complementary functions, such as local company registration, fundraising and investment, legal advice as well as training/coaching for intercultural communication. In so doing, we are able to offer more comprehensive solutions for our clients

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