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Got South Asia?

With big populations and wealth, South Asia does a business good.

This story appears in the August 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you're looking for one billion new customers, consider South Asia. Such countries as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have long been overlooked by U.S. entrepreneurs. Besides having huge populations themselves, these countries also have substantial, and often extremely affluent, expatriate bases around the world (for example, South Asians in the United States have the highest median income of any U.S. minority)-an affluence that trickles back to the expats' countries of origin.

Those more than 1 million expatriates living in the United States are already familiar with Western products, and are a key to breaking into the South Asian market. By marketing to this group, you'll likely reach indigenous countries at the same time. "If someone in a particular ethnic or national group finds out about you, 20 of their friends will as well," says Pakistan-born Umair Khan, 30, who has started a series of companies, the latest of which is Clickmarks.com, a multilanguage Web portal; or, as he describes it, "MyYahoo! on steroids."

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