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Public Affairs Insights from the Centre

14 Sep 2010

Doing business in Asia

George Onisiforou

The Centre and the US Public Affairs Council held their annual Roundtable for regional heads of function and senior public affairs/public relations practitioners on September 3 in Hong Kong. The Roundtable provides an opportunity for practitioners to meet and discuss challenges, issues and opportunities in the practice of public affairs across the Asia region.

This year much of the discussion focused on government relations.

Practitioners acknowledged that governments in the region are increasingly introducing new regulations. This creates an uncertain environment for public affairs practitioners that need to be able to anticipate and communicate changes to their business leaders.

To develop better relations with governments, companies need to consider more than their economic impact and be prepared to provide evidence and figures for their claims. Regional governments are concerned increasingly about the social and environmental impact of corporate actions. The public and the media are pressuring also for increased security in consumer goods and work conditions.

The Chinese government, in particular, is seen to be more assured and self confident, and has gained a more powerful negotiation position with external entities. Furthermore, homegrown companies in China are more influential and have secure relations with the local government. These developments provide challenges for foreign companies that wish to be part of the future development in China.

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