Last week the Asian Financial Forum (AFF) was held in Hong Kong – where pre-eminent business leaders from around the world gathered to discuss current developments and future prospects for the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.  Among the topics discussed was an overview of foreign investment flows into the region broken down by country.  The AFF found that Vietnam led the region in investor confidence, followed by Singapore and Indonesia. 

Any law firm in Asia can capitalize upon the continued year-on-year growth in inward investment into the region by utilizing some or all of the (partial list of) strategies below in order to attract foreign investor clients:

  1. Research and identify the sources of foreign investment into your economy — Like any country, there will be primary national and regional sources of foreign investment into your national economy.  Before embarking upon any effort to develop a new client base around foreign investment – first identify where that investment is coming from, digging deeper into the sources including which industry sectors and regions — and the companies, trade associations and professional services firms and other foreign intermediaries — that are the conduit to that investment.
  2. Publish articles about foreign investment opportunities in your jurisdiction — Publishing regular updates on opportunities (and potential pitfalls) for foreign investors seeking opportunity in your country – is an excellent means by which to develop an interest in your firm by foreign investors and their advisors.
  3. Become active on key social media channels – Effective engagement on LinkedIn, Twitter and other key social media channels is imperative as a means to promote your newly developed content strategy focused on gaining the attention of foreign investors.  This engagement is essential to maximizing circulation of your custom content written with the foreign investor in mind.
  4. Conduct outreach to foreign trade associations – Among the prime national sources of investment into your country will be a number of trade associations representing those investors.  Take a long-term view of building relationships with these groups with an aim to ultimately representing their members in their efforts to establish operations and/or expand in your country.
  5. Become active with the commercial staff at local diplomatic missions — Local embassies of the national sources of most foreign investment into your country are an excellent way to facilitate introductions to foreign companies seeking to do business locally – as many will seek assistance in some way from commercial staff in their countries overseas embassies.
  6. Seek to provide commentary to major news outlets on your country’s investment climate — Exposure of your expertise on major international news magazines, cable and television channels (BBC, CNN, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and many others) can go a long way in establishing you as an expert in foreign investment in your country.  This effort takes good planning, some period of time — and patience, however.

Beyond these 6 efforts I’ve listed are more detailed and nuanced efforts that can also significantly enhance your firms ability to attract and retain foreign investor clients.  Key, however, is to begin and then consistently advance these efforts on a regular basis.

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal. An independent writer & editor, he's the author of: A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets (Ark Group 2014).

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