Our Doing Business in Asia e-book series aim to reveal the under-tapped opportunities as well as time-tested recipe for overcoming common challenges of doing business in Asian countries through insightful interviews with twelve business leaders in each country.
Please take a look at the main points we compiled together from our interviews with some of the most prominent and successful business leaders in Mongolia below.
To highlight, there are many pitfalls to navigate in Mongolia and we believe that it is important to find the right Mongolian partner. Together with your partner and with some planning and effort, you will be able to overcome many of the challenges and claim your prize.
You Cannot Do It Alone
Unlike some other economies that sit securely on a bedrock of long-established laws and operate using customs that are rooted in international practice, Mongolia has a distinct culture and way of life that informs how they approach business. One cannot rely on the written laws and rules, which are in Mongolian, a language that is only used by just over 5 million people worldwide and expect to make headway. Almost everyone has emphasized the importance of finding the right Mongolian partner to do business in Mongolia. Several foreign interviewees have described how they ended up partnering with Mongolians and networking plays a critical part of the process.
Once you are in, partnering with other companies and government organisations to do business is also a necessity. This is exemplified by the way some businesses are addressing marketplace issues through communal organizations such as the Business Council of Mongolia. Likewise local Mongolian entrepreneurs have recognised the need for foreign partners so that they can meet international standards and access international markets.
Mongolia Is A Young Market Economy
Being a young market economy permeate every aspect of business. Public institutions such as the government and the regulators have had little time to solidify their regulatory regime which provide opportunities for anyone to really "make a difference" in a meaningful and quantifiable way. More heavy lifting is required by entrepreneurs and business people to develop nascent industries and come to agreement on standards. Consequently Mongolia is considered by some to be "The Best Business School in the World."
Being young also plays a role when working with Mongolians themselves. Their way of life, formed by their cultural and historical heritage, has not yet been tamed by international expectations. There are obvious business opportunities that cater to Mongolian preferences and one must be prepared to invest more time and effort to match expectations between all parties, especially when it comes to employment and career issues.
Mongolia Wants To Go International
The Mongolian market is so small that local entrepreneurs have to have accelerated export plans, if they want to achieve financial success. The country is also surrounded by seemingly prosperous economic giants, China and Russia next door with Japan and South Korea just nearby, which is inspiring local entrepreneurs to get some of the action.
Skilled and experienced foreigners have a wide range of opportunities to address the many gaps in the Mongolian market. These include accessing underused segments of the labor market, being first movers in unknown industries and working with traditional Mongolian tropes to make authentic products that will sell to a world that is becoming more homogeneous.
Please do take a look through the interviews and discover Mongolia for yourself.