I mentioned some time ago that the OpenWeb Asia event, in Seoul, Korea 2008, was to focus on the social web.

The program incorporated four streams:

  • Insights and Best Practices
  • Innovations in Asia
  • Collaboration – An Introduction to Asia’s Social Web
  • East Meets West – The challenges of Internationalization To and From Asia

OpenWeb Asia '08 Today I noticed, on the asiajin site, a very interesting report on OpenWeb Asia ’08, with the title of the post declaring that the next web services innovations would be from Asia. The post was by Japanese blogger Hiroumi Mitani.

The report incorporates a set of tables, supplied apparently by speaker George Godula, founder of Web2Asia, to illustrate the point that it is difficult for Western web services companies to expand into Asia because of domestic services available.

The tables, one each for Japan, Korea and China, list web services in those countries and their “global” counterparts, e.g. in the China table, Baidu – Google,  Xaionei – Facebook. There are obvious challenges with this kind of table and I assume that there was no intention to present the various services as exact counterparts between the Asian country services and the “global” ones. The tables are certainly interesting and I will find them a useful reference.

I was also very interested to read the eight points offered by Mr Godula on why it is difficult for companies to move into Asia:

1. No formal internationalization/Asia entry strategy
2. Entered Asia too late/ too slow
3. Local HQ has no full decision power
4. Incomplete localization, Translation, Content, Pricing, Branding (name, colours, etc.), Features, Business model
5. No Local technical development team (Slower time to market, More expensive)
6. Domestic players sometimes simply have the superior technology/business model
7. Global corporate guidelines
8. Local legislation

No doubt some companies could find that list discouraging and I don’t know how it was received by the audience in Seoul. But in the absence of an alternative list I see it as providing a handy checklist for any company contemplating a move into Asian markets.

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