Dateline: Taipei, Taiwan

Considering the The Yuan Dynasty of China was surprisingly tolerant of a number of religions. The Mongols, who declared their dynastic influence in 1271, were supportive of everything from Buddhism to Taoism to Confucianism.

In fact, the Quanzhen school of Taoism thrived under the Yuan Dynasty.

While Chinese culture had long engaged in a lot of practices way ahead of their time, it was during this era that the Chinese began absorbing outside influences on a large scale, adapting outside ideas to make them truly Chinese.

Today, this trend continues.

I’ve spent plenty of time in Mainland China over the last several years, and I’m amazed by how many examples of copy-and-pivot businesses exist. We’ve talked before about things like “MFC” and even “Obama Friend Chicken” – Chinese-adapted concepts of the highly popular American chain KFC.

I’ve asked everyone I can meet in China – from factory owners to businessmen – about the obsession with both foreign brands, and local knock-offs of foreign brands.

And almost every time, the answer is the same: the Chinese are excellent at executing business ideas quickly and with great focus. They would rather do that than come up with lots of new ideas.

Now, I’ve suggested to you many times that starting a business outside of highly competitive markets like the United States is to your advantage.  Earlier this year in Nicaragua, one long-term expat entrepreneur told me the country is “like living in a time machine”. You can literally see the opportunities no one else is picking up on.

However, I’d like to offer a twist on this idea today.

I’m here in Taipei – one of my favorite cities in Asia – while en route to Manila. I’ve been perusing several of the local newspapers while helping myself to fresh sticky buns in the excellent Eva Airlines Business Class lounge, and I can’t help but notice a trend.

On practically every page, there’s an article about the influence of Chinese consumers in some other market.

One article talks about Asian countries, such as the Philippines, working to relax visa policies for tourists from China in order to attract more visitors and more Asian cash.

Another talks about Chinese and Taiwanese investment in Australia.

Another talks about special electronics and mobile phones being tailor made for Chinese consumers.

Living in The Land of the Free or any number of other declining western nations, you would think that selling to American, or British, or Canadian consumers is the only way to make any kind of money.

Most of my friends who live here in Asia – the ones running seven- and eight-figure businesses, many online – are still caught in the web of selling “back home”. After all, it’s easy to market to American consumers if that’s what you know.

However, I believe we are on the precipice of a total explosion in the market of selling goods, services, and experiences to increasingly affluent Asian customers. Especially the Chinese.

While there are a growing number of businesses catering to the Chinese market, there are more “new rich” coming on line in China every day.

The fact that the credit market is cool isn’t impacted Chinese in the same way it would impact Americans because affluent Chinese are much more diversified internationally. Many have offshore bank accounts and already own foreign real estate (including, once again, in the Philippines).

Meanwhile, other growing markets in Asia, such as Vietnam, have few businesses around the world catering to them.

Why bother marketing to Americans and other cash poor, highly indebted western consumers when you can market to people who value your products more highly?

For example, malls here in Asia are increasingly crowded. Even in Asia’s emerging markets, you can find some of the most beautiful malls in the world. All of the high end stores you’d expect in the west – Brioni, Zegna, Prada, Patek Philippe – are selling here, and often with more foot traffic than you’d see in the United States.

This is just one example of how Asian consumers spend more and perceive more value from foreign goods based on their economic optimism. They are not scared of losing their job and being thrown out of their home the way so many westerners are. And the spending habits of the affluent here reflect it.

As I plan our next Passport to Freedom conference in Cancun for January 15-17, 2015, I’m also working on a way to hold a similar conference for Asian investors who already KNOW they need offshore strategies to protect their money. One Chinese businessman friend of mine told me that the $1,995 per person we charged for our first Passport to Freedom conference – the one with Peter Schiff – would be laughed at by his wealthy friends.

They’d rather pay MORE to attend an event, because they value top-quality information.

Now, here’s the best part: you don’t have to do as we suggest here and pack your bags for China, or the Philippines, or Kathmandu if you follow my advice and take some of the focus off of marketing to Americans.

In fact, you can stay right where you are.

For example, as Chinese tourism grows, the demand for Chinese-language tour operators grows, those who can service that market will do well. If you understand how China’s rich travel – fast and with an eye on visiting as many places as possible in two weeks – you could do well hooking up with people who could market your service in China.

Chinese consumers are purchasing more luxury tours as a percentage of sales than other nationalities, where price is often a much bigger factor. Meanwhile, businesses can charge a premium to sell tours to the Chinese market because most of their customers couldn’t take an English-speaking tour.

That’s just one example of an international business idea you could run from your current location.

If you have never left your cocoon in the west, you might think a thriving business is the province of the chosen few. Here in Asia, optimism practically smacks you in the face as soon as the plane door opens.

Andrew Henderson
Last updated: Jan 6, 2022 at 4:59PM