Without solid relationships, it can be a frustrating place. Even companies that have established a firm footing in the Far East, such as News Corp with Star TV in India and Hearst with Cosmopolitan in China, have only succeeded after years of determined, patient relationship building.
So it is something of a relief that international media businesses seem to be winning favour with Asian audiences. The results from the first Asian version of Media Brand Values, a qualitative international media survey that debuted in Europe a year ago, show Asia's business community places more trust in international TV and print brands than in local media (as Mark Johnson discovers on page 31).
But, of course, trust is not always enough - a number of brands that once featured in the Pan-Asia-Pacific Cross-Media Survey (also on page 31) have long since met their end. Time Inc's Asiaweek closed in 2001, while Dow Jones' Far Eastern Economic Review published its last weekly issue (it still exists as a monthly) last year. Both were highly respected, trusted brands.
But the sob stories and cultural obstacles are quickly lost in the headiness of Asia's market appeal. ZenithOptimedia's latest adspend figures show the 5.2 per cent growth expected of the global advertising market this year will largely be driven by the countries opposite, with the exception of South Korea. In this order: China, India, the Middle East, Indonesia (an incredible story of resilience) and Australia (often lumped in with the Asia region) all figure in the top ten countries driving global adspend growth in 2005.