An Agribusinessman’s Strategy In Preparation For Asean Integration: Learning Foreign Languages

An agri-businessman friend surprised us recently when he told us that he was taking up lessons in Thai and Vietnamese languages. Why? It is in preparation for the Asean Integration which starts in 2015, which means there will be more or less free flow of goods among the Asean member nations. He explained that if you are going to do business in the Asean region, you have to be able to speak the native language of the persons you are going to do business with.

In the meantime, he is most interested to learn to speak the Thai and Vietnamese languages because the Thais and Vietnamese are the main people he will be doing business with. He and two of his sons are taking the language lessons with him as he expects to do a lot of agri-related businesses in the two countries.

He has also assigned one son to study and learn to speak the Korean language. Why? If he can speak Korean, he could more easily establish business relationships with Korean agri entrepreneurs and businessmen.The first target is to be able to sell Super Napier and corn silage to Korea. Right now, he says, he knows of only one Korean who is exporting corn silage from the Philippines to Korea for feeding cattle.

Our friend cited that a lawyer who studied Japanese has become a highly paid consultant of several Japanese businessmen in the Philippines. He got the consultancy jobs not only because of his mastery of the laws but also because he could talk to the Japanese businessmen in their own language.


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