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BLOG: Understanding the Confucian business culture

Andrew Milroy | Feb. 26, 2013
How to market IT services in the diverse Asia Pacific region

A lot of American and European firms are particularly interested in countries in which the cost of labour is high, the influence of the Confucian business culture is high and there is also some Anglo Saxon influence seeping into the business culture. Perhaps the best example of such a country is South Korea. South Korea is Asia's fourth largest economy and offers significant opportunities to foreign firms. However, selling services in South Korea is proving to be a highly vexing challenge to many US-based IT firms which have the Anglo Saxon business culture in their DNA.

So how should a US-based IT firm market its services offerings in South Korea? Firstly it must recognise that South Korean customers will expect services to be free, and will show little willingness to pay for them. Thus it makes sense to describe services offerings as products. Perhaps, services offerings could be described as 'value enhancement products'. Maybe, if service is bundled with a product, the combined offering could be described as a 'premium or platinum product'.

Basically, services marketers must consider the Confucian influence on buying behaviour in South Korea and act accordingly. How does the convergence of Anglo Saxon business culture, Confucian business culture and the cost of labour, impact the propensity to buy IT services in China, India and Japan?

Andrew Milroy is vice president, ICT Practice, Asia Pacific, Frost & Sullivan



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