Opportunities Of Business Globalization | OCBC Business Banking SG
Now reading:

Bringing Your Business To The World: Insights Into Overseas Expansion

Bringing Your Business To The World: Insights Into Overseas Expansion

  • 21 April 2020
  • By OCBC Business Banking
  • 3 mins read

In this post, we show you how your business can find opportunities on the international stage, together with insights from our panel of successful business owners and leading business experts.


While Singapore is a First World economy, there is a limit to the size of our domestic market. This means that at some point, many businesses will look to international opportunities to further their growth.

In looking to expand to overseas markets, there's bound to be many questions on your mind: What should you watch out for? What are some of the best practices and what are the pitfalls?

We're here to help you answer those questions and more. In this article, we shed light on the topic, with unique insights from our panel of successful business owners and leading subject matter experts. If you're ready to get started, let's jump in.


Look Before You Leap

There are two common ways of doing this. You can either set up your own overseas company or go the franchise route.

Setting up a company overseas requires knowledge of the intricacies in registering your business, performing banking transactions, and various laws in licencing, hiring, marketing and so on. Given the complexities, Enterprise Singapore’s SME Centres should be your first stop for business advisory, market research and business partner matching, which is provided to Singapore SMEs free-of-charge. Enterprise Singapore also frequently organises talks on international expansion, which are also great opportunities for networking.

Since no one knows the local market better than locals and those who have already gone there, many business owners set up joint ventures to improve their chances of succeeding. In doing so, you must ensure your interests are protected. Francis Chan, Deputy Head (Disputes) of Rajah & Tann Legal Basix Practice Group shared his expertise:

“If you’re partnering with another party overseas, you should formalise the partnership in writing. Taking into account the corporate vehicle for your venture, your agreements should include important terms such as the governing law, dispute resolution mechanism, and the assignment of rights to any intellectual property developed during your partnership.”

For details on how to safely navigate legal and regulatory minefields in overseas expansion, check out Francis’ article here.


Franchising

Another way of expanding overseas—that has grown in popularity in recent years—is franchising.

In a franchise relationship, you will assign another party rights to use your trademark, and to produce, market and distribute goods and services, amongst others.

Ms. Kellin Koh, founder of Gordon Max & Co., shared that franchising was instrumental in their business expansion: “We had many overseas customers telling us that our diamonds will be very popular in their country. The business opportunity is there, but it is impossible for us to set up so many shops by ourselves. So, we decided to franchise – this is how we manage to be in 9 countries.”



"We had many overseas customers telling us that our diamonds will be very popular in their country. The business opportunity is there, but it is impossible for us to set up so many shops by ourselves. So, we decided to franchise – this is how we manage to be in 9 countries.

— Ms. Kellin Koh / Founder and Executive Director of Gordon Max & Co. Pte Ltd



Money Matters

Be it setting up a production facility, a new distribution office or retail outlet, you likely will need a considerable amount of financial resources.

If you do not have excess funds to divert overseas, have a chat with your bank on leveraging the strength of your existing business to finance the new one.

Another thing you need to look into is making the actual transfer of funds to your overseas bank account. This can be done easily through Velocity, OCBC’s Internet banking platform, which offers 23 currencies to choose from. If the amount you are planning to transfer is a considerable amount, you can also call OCBC’s business banking hotline to enquire about preferential rates.


Rounding Things Up

With the size restrictions of Singapore’s domestic market, many businesses will need to look overseas to grow.

According to the SBF ASEAN Outlook Survey 2017/2018, the top 3 overseas markets that Singapore companies are interested to expand into are Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. If this is where you are looking to go, you may be pleased to know that OCBC has a strong network in these countries to support you. Mr Roy Tan, Managing Director of Global Enterprise Banking at OCBC spoke of his experience in helping local companies make the leap overseas.



"We have customers who have never been to countries like Myanmar, but they have heard that these are places with many opportunities. Visiting those countries as a tourist does not allow one to truly understand what doing business there is like, so we organise trade missions for them to meet the local business owners, to learn about the market and identify areas for collaboration.

— Mr. Roy Tan / Managing Director of Global Enterprise Banking, OCBC



In short, going overseas is exciting but comes with its set of risks so you have to do your homework carefully. Know and reach out to the resources available to you, and you will find helping hands on the other side of the border.

Disclaimer

You may be directed to third party websites. OCBC Bank shall not be liable for any loss suffered or incurred by any party for accessing such third party websites or in relation to any product and/or service provided by any provider under such third party websites.

Any opinions or views of third parties expressed in this article are those of the third parties identified, and not those of OCBC Bank. The information provided herein is intended for general circulation and/or discussion purposes only. Before making any decision, please seek independent advice from professional advisors.

No representation or warranty whatsoever in respect of any information provided herein is given by OCBC Bank and it should not be relied upon as such. OCBC Bank does not undertake an obligation to update the information or to correct any inaccuracy that may become apparent at a later time. All information presented is subject to change without notice. OCBC Bank shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising directly or indirectly howsoever in connection with or as a result of any person acting on any information provided herein. Any reference to any specific company, financial product or asset class in whatever way is used for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation on the same.


OUR PANEL OF EXPERTS

Francis Chan — Deputy Head (Disputes)
Rajah & Tann Legal Basix Practice Group

Francis Chan — Deputy Head (Disputes)
Rajah & Tann Legal Basix Practice Group

Francis is a leader of Rajah & Tann’s Legal Basix practice which provides growth-stage legal advice, representation and documentation to emerging enterprises, start-ups, SMEs and high growth companies. Francis advises clients in respect of commercial disputes involving shareholders / directors, tenancy, contract and debt recovery. Francis specialises in employment law and has advised institutional employers and C-suite/management level employees including conducting investigations and disciplinary proceedings, litigating employment disputes, and engaging with and resolving disputes with the MOM / CPF Board / TADM / TAFEP and union representatives.

Kellin Koh — Founder and Executive Director
Gordon Max & Co. Pte Ltd

Kellin Koh — Founder and Executive Director
Gordon Max & Co. Pte Ltd

A dedicated mother, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Kellin’s mantra is that the celebration of beauty comes with responsibility. Guided by this philosophy, Kellin set up Gordon Max— a socially responsible jewellery and fashion line which pushes the boundaries of technology to produce high-quality synthetic diamonds. After more than 20 years in business, Gordon Max is now an internationally known brand with presence in 9 countries.

Roy Tan — Managing Director, Global Enterprise Banking
OCBC Bank

Roy Tan — Managing Director, Global Enterprise Banking
OCBC Bank

Roy has over 2 decades of experience in commercial banking, corporate banking and corporate workout, including a 5-year stint in China as head of corporate banking. In his present capacity as head of Enterprise Banking International, he leads a team to advise and facilitate businesses in their overseas expansion plans, as well as link those in the same industry value chain across key markets to add value in their business venture.

Marc Goh — Founder
Design Prodigy

Marc Goh — Founder
Design Prodigy

"Technology can be used to effect a quantum jump" is a key learning from Marc's 8 years of service in the army. With that, he started Design Prodigy, a data-driven marketing agency that turns best-in-class marketing and advertising technology into solutions for companies. Over the years, he has helped many brands to digitise their business and serviced multiple MNC clients with an APAC presence.

GET STARTED WITH US

Kickstart your journey with our Business Starter Kit

Gain insights and tips for your business