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The How-To: Growth Hacking For Success In International Markets Five pointers to keep in mind when expanding your enterprise into new markets.

By Gene Jiao

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You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Once you have secured genuine profits and consistent growth, expanding to new markets comes as the next obvious route to keep your business growing. While it is an exciting quest, there are challenges aplenty as well, from language and cultural barriers, to local competition, and finding reliable teams and partners. How can one overcome these challenges, and embrace opportunities in efforts to succeed in international markets? Here are five pointers based on our experience at Huawei:

1. There is no substitute for research
When strategizing an enterprise's growth, one needs to take several factors into account- there is a lot to consider, research, and learn to combat expansion hurdles. A thorough study of your market, business regulations, competitive landscape, and target audience helps you set a solid foundation, even before you start operations. When Huawei was launched in 1987, it was considered a startup bound to face stumbling blocks. Huawei has since beaten all odds, and surpassed many hurdles to grow into a giant tech empire. As Huawei established itself as the leading smartphone brands in China, it also set sights on international market. During 2002 and 2003, the company increasingly focused on R&D, and established a talent pool to tap into the challenging overseas markets. Indeed, R&D has been one of the biggest contributors to Huawei's unwavering success. So never underestimate the power of research- it will push you to understand your market and consumers thoroughly, and push boundaries for product and service innovations.

2. Develop a local mindset
How one defines the strategy for local competition goes a long way in charting out a successful roadmap. Be ready to adapt by localizing, and at the same time, differentiating your product or service from the one existing in the market. Let your experience guide you to your goals, as despite geographical differences that impact customer preferences, their needs are fundamentally similar all over the world.

3. Harness trusted partnerships
Building long-term associations and partnerships with local organizations is vital to success in international markets. Since Huawei set its foot in the Middle East and Africa, we have been relentlessly investing in partnerships with key government entities across the region to support the same vision they have: creating the future with innovative technology as a main catalyst. In the UAE, Huawei has an established partnership with The Executive Council of Dubai to reflect the city's culture of innovation by featuring Dubai Font on Huawei smartphones. We have also worked with Dubai Smart Government to implement the happiness meter in its service centers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Most recently, we have collaborated with Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) to unite their efforts to create awareness of Dubai's local culture and heritage and position Dubai as the destination of choice for tourists from the Middle East, Africa, and China.

4. Build a winning team
Finding the right team is crucial in your pursuit to success, more so for startups and smaller businesses. Teams that advocate openness, collaboration, shared success, and commitment to the core values of staying customer-centric, inspiring dedication, perseverance, and growing by self-reflection are key assets in your winning formula.

5. Listen to your customers
In 2011, Huawei began operations in the Middle East and Africa. Driven by innovation and perseverance, Huawei grew rapidly and reinforced its presence to become one of the fastest growing smartphone brand in the region. Huawei continues to grow because it never stops listening to its customers. Huawei's vision is to become a global iconic tech brand. With customer centricity being one of Huawei's founding principles, the company is dedicated to innovation and providing customers with the latest technological solutions that enrich and make their lives comfortable. Today's discerning consumers are looking for groundbreaking products and services that offer them compelling experiences. New market challenges can be turned into new opportunities, when we start thinking from the perspective of our customers.

Related: Five Tips For Building Businesses Equipped For The Future

Gene Jiao

President at Huawei Consumer Business Group, Middle East & Africa

Gene Jiao is President, Huawei Consumer Business Group, Middle East & Africa.
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