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Challenges, rewards in expanding business to the US

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- With globalization, successful companies are increasingly thinking about entering new markets. For many Taiwanese companies, expansion in the U.S. is a logical first step.

Jessica Liu, a KaiJet Technology representative, said: “the U.S. market is very important. [It] is very big and you can really grow your business in the U.S.” KaiJet Technology is a technology company offering a range of products including docking stations, adapters, and Android accessories. She continued, “the U.S. is our first step and maybe next we will go to Europe and China.”

KaiJet Technology commenced U.S. operations in 2010 and now has 10 employees based there; the head of the office is Taiwanese, but most employees are local U.S. hires. Liu said they selected Atlanta, Georgia because of established family connections there. Being located next to Kennesaw State University provides KaiJet Technology with a qualified base of candidates from which to hire knowledgeable employees.

US Domestic Consumption Market

Ralph Wu, Senior Vice President and Branch General Manager at CTBC Bank Co., Ltd., New York, said: “you can talk about the potential in China, but in regards to domestic consumption, the U.S. is still number one in the world.” According to World Bank data, U.S. GDP reached US$16.2 trillion in 2012, which was almost double that of the next-highest country, China.

CTBC has had operations in New York since 1998 and now has approximately 40 employees there, 10 percent of whom are Taiwanese. CTBC New York provides wholesale banking — commercial and industrial banking services — as well as middle market syndication loans. They also have a representative office in Los Angeles, which produces regular call reports and provides customer service to West Coast clients. Talking about their New York branch, Wu said: “New York is the hub of global capital markets and there will be more opportunities if we have an office in the States.”

A Bridge between the US and Asia

For both CTBC and KaiJet Technology, the main purpose of their U.S. operations is to better serve clients. A majority of CTBC's clients in the U.S. have Asian connections; many are Asia-based companies with U.S. operations. Wu said, “over the years, some of our traditional clients in Taiwan, and Southeast Asia have become bigger and bigger and opened sales and/or manufacturing offices in the U.S. We can cover them from Asia, but the time zone difference is still a barrier for Asian banks.”

Liu said, “we opened our U.S. operations because the most important thing for branding is to service our customers; including sales, technical services, marketing and advertising so we chose to open an office to cover the U.S. To cover more of the market and to increase the margin and revenues.”

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Jessica Liu, a representative from KaiJet Technology, showcases a product. KaiJet, which commenced U.S. operations in 2010, now has 10 employees based in the country. Liu stated that the U.S. is the company's first stop before it considers expansion to Europe or China.

(Courtesy of Josh Bateman)

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