Asian Etiquette Tips

General Mideastern Tips

Friday is their day of rest, not Sunday. Social drinking is actually rare, but business drinking is never done and seriously unacceptable. You certainly would not want to bring a bottle of wine to someone’s house, for example. For food, pork is also forbidden. Point with an open hand, not a single finger. Eat and give your business card with your right hand, never your left. Arabian wives are never supposed to be gift recipients, and if you do give a man a gift, an expensive gift is actually quite acceptable. Unlike in Scandinavia, touching is common and accepted. If you happen to admire an object, it may be given to you. Punctuality is very important throughout the Persian Gulf region. Not many places are still happy when someone is more than a few minutes late, you understand.

Israel – More formal than Americans, but less formal than Europeans, Israelis like to talk about culture and history. Of course, it’s always advisable to avoid topics that are more sensitive to Israelis.

General Pacific and Central Asian Tips

People are very polite and patient. They don’t think much of being embarrassed. Style and manner of a presentation is often more important than the gift itself. Thank you notes are vitally important.

Russia and the Commonwealth – Pens, books, and jeans are great gifts. Strong hugs and kisses on the cheek are quite common. Yes, denim jeans are quite popular there, especially for gifts. They don’t even have to be designer ones.

China – Nod and bow, in case the host does not shake hands, although those in Hong Kong do shake hands. Seniority and rank are both highly important during a hosted event. Chinese and English business cards are well-used. That means business cards written in both English and Chinese. The Chinese are not known for touching, but they are known for toasting and giving gifts in soft colours, never black and white, and never red and white flowers.

India – Only men shake hands; women bow. Use your right hand for eating and shaking hands, as well as passing food.

Japan – Business cards are exchanged before bowing or shaking hands, which are traditionally much weaker than the typical American strong hold. First names are rarely used. Gift-giving, in pastel wrappings and never black and white, is quite important. They rarely say “no” because they believe so strongly in harmony.

Top 5 Global Industries That Need Translation Services the Most

When considering the global community and the thousands of different languages used worldwide, we often forget the importance of translation services to facilitate understanding and communication. The language service industry is not a high profile industry. It quietly acts in the background for all the other local and global industries that utilize their services.

However, the industry is actually a huge one, which is estimated to be worth about $33 billion a year, with most of the revenue coming from Europe, North America and other parts of the world. In itself, its annual growth is 12 percent, while the job growth is already in the high 40’s percentile. So which industries are in most need of translations services? Check out the top 5 below:

  1. Information and Communication Technology

Information and communication technology is one of the backbones of international commerce. This industry sector is regularly involved in a variety of projects globally. The ICT industry needs their multiple technical documents translated into various languages to cater to global customers. Technical documents require subject matter experts (SMEs), as technical information has its own set of jargons and terminologies.

  1. Legal Industry

The legal sector is a heavy user of translation services. Whether you’re conducting business globally or locally, if you’re dealing with an international audience, you’ll need to have proposals and contracts written in a language that can be understood by other parties.

The legal industry isn’t just about proposals and contracts, though. It also pertains to civil and court cases and other legal matters that must be explicitly understood by all parties involved.

The translation service provider must ensure the accuracy of legal translation, as even the smallest error could involve not only huge amounts of time and money, but delayed proceedings, lost revenues and broken partnerships.

  1. Travel and Tourism

Travel and tourism are enjoying a healthy rise in revenues, as more travel services providers are able to provide information in many languages due to translation services. Many types of documents require translation, including terms and conditions, promos and special offers, brochures, leaflets, and travel documents. Thanks to translation providers, they are able to diversify and offer their services to local and international clients.

  1. Banking and Finance

When trading globally, international customers and clients normally prefer to have documents translated in their own language. There is a need for a higher level of consistency, and translation services are required to make every piece of communication and every transaction item clear and precise. Trust is a key component in strengthening business relationships, and one of the ways to ensure client confidence and trust in their partners is to have accurately translated documents.

  1. Medical and Life Science

Accuracy in the medical and life sciences industry is imperative. This sector includes the translation of prescription information, medical instructions, medical reports, leaflets, patient records and doctor manuals.

It can even be extended to the translation of medical books, medical journals, research materials, and other paraphernalia used by healthcare companies, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and other companies that are involved in the medical, scientific and life science industries. Health insurance, which is a hot issue that belongs to this industry, is another business that relies heavily on medical translation.

As with all of the other industries listed here, most require the services of translators who are also subject matter experts, with many years of experience and thorough knowledge of the particular field. Each of these industries has its own lexicon, jargons and terminologies that are understood by practitioners in each sector.

Of course, plenty of other industries, including government and private sector require translation services, and they must make sure to work only with expert vendors, to avoid costly errors. Translation services are an invaluable tool to help companies conquer existing markets and enter new ones, and the outlook for this industry is bright.

International Significance of Efficient Embroidery Digitizing Services

According to a common estimate, digitizing has become the most influential form of modern art in the existing era of machine embroidery. The global popularity of this miraculous form of computerized designing has impressed a large number of folks residing in different renowned countries of the world in terms of fulfilling their diverse designing needs.

Role of digital technology:

As a matter of fact, digital technology has been revolutionized in the modern time period to assist uncountable digitizing artists in terms of acquiring their required designing outcomes under varying comforts and conveniences at the same time. For instance:

The efficiency of time:

The digitizing artist can avail the ease of efficient designing processing in a limited period of time as most of the work is done by the specially designed machinery ranging from highly smart embroidery software programs as well as embroidery machines. This is the main reason that the worldly people prefer to acquire these individualized services in order to save their precious time to be spent in varying other busy chores of their daily life.

The acquisition of well-refined designing outcomes:

It is also one of the significant facts that most of the people living in UK, USA or many other regions of the world always focus on the special services of computerized embroidery designing as this is the only way to acquire the best embroidery digitizing facilities as compared to any other traditional embroidery methods. Likely, there was a huge difference in quality and crispness in various manual and computerized designing methods as manual processes usually involve an element of error, whereas, the machinery proceeds with efficiently set commands in a set sequence and organization with an initial support of the associated professionals.

Saving of manual efforts and energies

As most of the work is done by the machines and computerized software programs themselves, then it becomes a must that there are no chances of wastage of exceeding human energies and efforts. This is the main reason that people from all over the globe can easily do their part-time jobs for the sake of fulfilling their diverse tasks related to their exceeding responsibilities.

Thus, it is truly right to say that the amazing and highly convenient services achieved from the embroidery digitizing phenomenon have become the prime preference of uncounted personnel at the worldly level as they can easily fulfill their variety of different designing needs under their suitable and desirable situations.

Laurie Lee is the marketing manager of digitizingzone and manages the Embroidery digitizing services and custom logo digitizing services. She has the vast experience in marketing and trading industries and has been helping the customer support.

Why & How to Invest in Colombia

Why Invest in Colombia?

Thanks to the overall growth of the economy in Latin America and a diminishing gap in social inequality, investing in Colombia has become very attractive to international investors over the recent years. To add to this phenomenon of investor confidence, Colombia has improved its public image since it has focused on eliminating its internal conflicts. This has further enhanced the perception of the country as a stable business opportunity and given investors yet another reason to invest in Colombia.

On a global scale, here are some of the reasons why it is worth investing in Colombia sooner than later:

-Economic stability: The Colombian economy has maintained an average 4.8% growth over the past five years, also GDP growth above the estimated average for Latin America.

-Investor trust: In 2014, Colombia went from Baa3 to Baa2 on Moody’s rating system which has also been endorsed by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch.

-Investor protection: According to Doing Business 2015 published by the World Bank, Colombia ranked tenth worldwide and the first in Latin America in terms of investor protection. The same report recognizes the country to be the friendliest destination in Latin America to do business in.

-International market: Colombia currently has 10 free trade agreements and 3 pending agreements in the making, which give preferential access to over 45 countries and about 1,500,000,000 consumers in markets located in the United States, European Union, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Peru; and soon to be with Costa Rica and Korea, nations with which Colombia is currently negotiating.

-Qualified Workers: According to the IMD 2014 ranking, Colombia has most skilled work in all of South America. Colombia surpasses countries such as Brazil, Chile, Peru, Argentina and Venezuela.

-Competitive legal structures: Colombia is a reference point in Latin America for the reforms it has put in place for business development. Since 2005, the country has implemented 29 reforms supported by the Doing Business 2015 publication from the World Bank.

So Now, How to Establish a Company in Colombia?

There are a number of company types available to suit every business type and need, but the most popular is an SAS company, which is a “Simplified Stock Corporation”. Establishing this type of company in Colombia is relatively simple, fast and well suited to most business needs. Whereby only one person is needed to register the company, albeit a legal representative must be appointed that is either a Colombian national or a foreigner with an appropriate visa. This type of company allows free operation, with no currency controls or restrictions. Also with a SAS company, shareholders are only liable personally if there has been proof of fraud, as such there is no personal liability for corporate actions, including labor disputes, tax issues or other litigations that might arise with company operation.

The complete process to establish a SAS normally takes between two to three weeks (plus a further week to open a company bank account), but is also dependent on the complexity of the company, the availability of relevant personal documents and that of the founding owners. With a SAS, the founder members may also be eligible to apply for a visa in Colombia, allowing them to stay in Colombia whilst there businesses are operating, assuming that they make a sufficient investment aligning to a minimum of 100 time the legal minimum Colombian Salary (as at the time of writing, equating to approximately USD$21,000). A SAS company in most cases is the best commercial vehicle for business operations in Colombia, offering maximum flexibility, limited personal liability and a way to secure a visa to stay in Colombia.

If you want further information about this company type and its process, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team is willing to solve all your doubts and assist you in the constitution of your company and the setup of your business.

Starting a Business in Mexico

Market Entry – Mexico?

America’s southern neighbour is a great place to start a business. If you are looking for a place to grow, starting a business in Mexico is an ideal location. Mexico has more free trade agreements than any other nation in the world. In recent years, new amendments to the Mexican foreign investment law have simplified procedures and made it easier to invest in Mexico. These amendments have not only made the administrative process easier but it has helped promote foreign investment and give a sense of security to foreign investors.

But before you go rushing in and starting a business in Mexico, here are a few things you need to know:

Ask around. As much as the single information source you are asking might seem legitimate, it’s best you get a second opinion. Procedures and processes can vary and not everyone is aware of the latest requirements.
Get well acquainted with your accountant. As a foreigner doing business in Mexico, you will have plenty of paperwork and administrative procedures to follow, especially as regulations change from year-to-year. It is important you find a trustworthy accountant to help you along the way.

Patience is a virtue. Like in most South American countries, time is relative and two days might turn into a week, a week into a month, and so on and so forth. It’s important to be patient and follow up closely with the people you have set deadlines with.

Play by the rules. Regulations change frequently. Although nationals may get away with certain things, as a foreigner, it’s advisable to play by the book. This reinforces the idea of having a good accountant who can assist you with the tricky legal landscape of starting and running a business in Mexico.

Establish good relationships. A good business is built on solid relationships. To do this, it is important you establish trust and get to know your vendors and clients well. Take the time to go out to lunch, share personal information, and accept invitations to social gatherings. Mexicans do business with their friends and people they trust.

Legal Landscape for Foreign Investment?

Mexico, the prosperous southern neighbour of the United States, is considered one of the most attractive destinations for foreign investment thanks to its strategic location. Recent legislative reforms, as well as modifications made to the Law of Foreign Investment, now allow both locals and foreigners to participate in activities that were previously restricted.

But despite the niche opportunities that have been brought upon by these legislative changes, what should you keep in mind if you want to start a company in Mexico as a foreign investor?

The first and most important step is to identify and define the social objective of the company. This means defining the activities for which you will be responsible, beyond marketing goods or services.

Despite sectors opening up to international investment in accordance with The Foreign Investment Law, there are still limits and restrictions regarding certain economic activities. Within the restricted activities, there are a few in which only the State can participate. This includes activities in the national electric system, radioactive minerals, nuclear power generation and ticketing. There are also activities reserved for Mexicans only, including development banking institutions as well as providing professional and technical (public notaries, brokers, customs brokers) services.

Lastly, there are also activities in which foreign investment cannot exceed a certain percentage. The National Commission of Foreign Investment (FIC) allows up to 10% of foreign investment in production cooperatives; up to 25% in domestic air transport and other specialized air transport; up to 49% in broadcasting, national newspapers, manufacturing and marketing of explosives and firearms as well as freshwater fishing, to name a few.

Activities that allow foreign investment exceeding 49% include: concessionnaires or companies that provide aerodromes services to the public; legal services; private services for preschool, primary, secondary, high school and higher education; shipping companies and provision of public rail transport services.

If your company falls within one of the activities mentioned above, you must file a CNIE application that will authorize you to invest up to 100% of the share capital. The application should have a general description of the project, share capital budget, projected growth for the coming years, as well as a detailed summary explaining the type of employee training provided. Should the CNIE deem necessary, additional information can be requested. Upon receiving the request, you have a maximum of 15 labor days to respond before your application is closed.

If your application is in order and was well received, the Mexican government will issue their decision within 40 working days.

BLH is market leader in helping both local and foreign companies to successfully do business in Latin America, by providing a full suite of back office services, in English, Spanish and French. With offices in Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Panama we have an unparalleled reach across the region and are well positioned to help companies to enter and operate within the Latin American market-place, through providing multi-lingual services that are Reliable, Economic and Tailored to meet the clients needs.

Master Franchise Agreements And International Supply Chains

With the recent election of Donald Trump those of us who don’t know much about free and fair trade are learning about it from our nightly cable TV news. Trump explains that it is unfair when we allow products into US markets with no duty or tax, but then those same countries like China or Mexico put a 45% tariff on our goods. No one probably understand this better than an International Franchisor – someone who sells franchises or master franchise license agreements globally. I can remember when I was negotiation the sale of a master franchise for my company in Mexico. My franchise buyer was in Monterrey, Mexico. The family was well-connected with the government there and had many distributorships and license agreements with major US companies already – Auto Dealers, Truck Dealers, Tractor Dealers, Soda Pop, etc.

It seemed perfect, however as we got to talking about the cost of the master franchise and the requirement to operate at least one actual unit – for training purposes, etc. – I quickly learned that I would have to pay the import duties or charge those to the buyer. This immediately added costs. It became an additional burden for the master franchise because, each time he sold a franchise, the franchisee would have to get their equipment from the US, also at a 45% import duty, drastically raising the price of the franchise and hurting their chances for a quick positive ROI.

We therefore had to come up with some sort of manufacturing there in Mexico to sell into that market, but in doing so, I risked giving away all the technical plans of the equipment which made it unique to our franchise company – and that’s a lot of hard won intellectual capital, not in the sense of patents mind you, but in real terms, trial and error, development and weeding out what didn’t work in the evolutionary changes and upgrades along the way.

Interestingly enough, now 20-years later, the 2016 December issue of Global had a brilliant article; “The Fourteen Questions a Master Franchisee Needs to Ask.”

The article questioned; “Where is the product to be sold coming from?” and stated; “The franchisor will mandate that the quality standards established in its domestic country be properly maintained by the master franchisee and sub-franchisees. That requires a protocol for the franchise system in every Territory to obtain access to the same products and/or services being sold to retail customers. The franchisor may supply product to the master franchisee or sub-franchisees but, more likely, the obligation will be on you, the master franchisee, in the foreign country to access local distributors and get the distributors approved by the franchisor.”

Indeed, it was about quality, intellectual capital, and availability of supply. It turned out at the time, I wasn’t willing to adjust my master franchise agreement to accommodate such changes, it wasn’t until I was more well established some 5-years later that I took the risk and worked through the trade issues and figured out how to deal with our supply chain. Please consider all this and think on it.