Business development in Asia


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Language : English

Key2Compliance Excecutive Series Part 1


The cross-cultural differences between the Nordic and Asian countries are substantial, but there are also large differences between the countries in the region. Covid-19 restrictions add more challenges and hurdles, such as difficulties to arrange face to face meetings, which are so important in these business regions.

Course outline

Half day with four sessions:
I.              08:30 – 09:00 General + India
II.            09:15 – 10.00  Japan
III.           10:15 – 11.00  China
IV.           11:15 – 12.00  Korea + Summary and Q&A


Picture this:

You have been contacted by an Asian company interested to take your drug candidate / drug product / vaccine / medical device to the local / regional market. The Asian company would like to enter into a licensing or co-development / option deal for the region or for each country by starting discussing details under an NDA and then go forward with a Term Sheet if everything is satisfactory after the review of the confidential material.

Or the Board of Directors and CEO are formulating plans to reach out to potential partners in China, Japan, Korea and India, but you have limited information of which companies would be suitable and are attractive as partners. Furthermore, how to get through the noise and reach the right person, get response in a timely fashion and negotiate a potential deal?

Perhaps you are already aware that meeting in real life is so important, but how to establish and build a relationship now when it is difficult to travel and meet face-to-face?

Addressing and adapting to the challenges, as well as understanding the “markets”:

China, Japan, Korea and India may look like attractive markets on paper for your products or projects under development. There are funds to be gained by upfront fees and access to patients to speed up clinical trials and time to approval or just expand market and value of your company. However, there are vast differences between these countries. China is very diverse between provinces and mega-cities to 2nd and 3rd tier cities. Very few local companies is even able to cover the whole country. China Custom control, Regulatory handling and reimbursement differs between provinces and even cities. At the same time prices for medical treatments and diagnostic tests are much lower and with steep local competition than in the West, while there is plenty of money for project funding and innovative companies churning out interesting projects. Where to go and with whom?

Chinese companies are more risk takers and very dynamic. There is  often an “Emperor” on top making all the decisions with even SVPs having limited and no influence. However, with the right connection, decisions can swiftly be made if mutual trust is gained. How to get there when you can’t meet eat and drink together?

Japan and Korea are coherent markets with country wide regulatory authorities and reimbursement with prices matching Europe. Japanese are much more risk averse than Chinese with Koreans are somewhere in between. Japanese decision making is similar to Swedish with consensus team decisions. Language barriers are often greater than in China with less English spoken among top managers.

In India you have at least English, but building mutual trust and getting paid can be a challenge unless you utilise local connections and carefully selects whom you work with. A highly unequally country in terms of wealth distribution, with 10% holding >80% of all wealth, which are willing to pay for first class medical treatments.

Finding the right partner and having the correct objective in mind requires some homework especially if you cannot meet the potential partner in real life.

The lessons will provide advice and recommendations with examples from various case studies as well as an overview of addressable markets and what realistic pricing one could expect.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the half day course participants should have better understanding of the business cultural differences between the Nordic and some important Asian countries (China, Japan, Korea and India) as well as between them. Attendees should gain insight what strategies are available to handle business development in Covid-19/travel restricted times in a time-efficient way.

  • “Know what you don’t know” – Accepting what you don’t know about target but mitigating the asymmetric access to trustworthy information and local knowledge.
  •  Importance of building personal relationship.
  • Importance of patience and courtesy.
  • Risk mitigation strategies to overcome some of challenge of BD-work in high context cultures and their use of in-direct communication minimising risks of misunderstandings and miscommunications.
  • What addressable markets are there really for western medical and life science products in China, Japan, Korea and India.

Who Should Attend

  • CEO and Board of Directors in start-up, SME and listed companies.
  • Head of Business Development, Head of Marketing & Sales
  •  Project Managers (Tech Transfer, Sourcing, Global clinical development with Asia included, etc.)