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Translation Services with Spotlight in Asia

spotlight asia

Last updated on September 27th, 2022 at 11:59 am

Today, the spotlight shines on Asia.  We shine light on the area’s growing market potential, and illuminate the factors and characteristics that make the world’s largest continent a rising star.

Population Figures
Asia boasts a population of approximately 4 billion people- accounting for 60% of the world population, making it the most highly populated continent in the world.  Over half of the 4 billion people are 35 years of age and younger, which makes Asia an interesting market to watch.

Countries and Languages
There are 48 countries in Asia.  The largest country by population is the People’s Republic of China.   Below are the top 3 largest Asian countries based on population and percentage of world population.
asian languages distribution

Asia is home to over 2,000 different spoken languages, and most countries have more than one language that is spoken as the native tongue.  Less than 7% of the Asian population communicates in English.

The culture of Asia is influenced by a long history featuring a vast variety of ethnicities, religions and events.  This has resulted in a culture rich with different forms of art, cuisine, and festive traditions.  The shaping of Asian culture involves Indian, Arab, Turkish and many other cultures.

 Here are just a few important cultural tips for companies looking to do business in Asia:

  • Business card etiquette- Always have ready bilingual business cards prior to attending a meeting.  Present the business cards with two hands with the translated side facing up and your name facing forward.
  • Initial meetings- Clients in Asia may bow or shake hands upon meeting.  New personnel may be greeted with applause in a group setting.  That person is expected to applaud back.
  • Respect for seniors – When greeting business personnel in Asia, be sure to greet the oldest person first.  In meal settings, it is polite to wait for the eldest person to begin eating before everyone else.
  • Body language- Always point or gesture to another person with an open hand, never point with the index finger.  Do not make body contact such as back patting or hugging, it is unsettling especially for the Chinese.
  • Saving face- try not to be too direct when addressing the mistakes of your Asian counterparts or declining a business proposal.  

Business Opportunities
The Asian market is growing at a rapid rate.   The best opportunities for business success lie in Korea, Japan and China.

  • Current GDP for China is $10 trillion, making it the second largest economy in the world.  Japan ranks third with $5.3 trillion.  (Bergmann, Andrew.  “World’s largest economies.”  CNNMoney)
  • By 2015, China is forecasted to have 15 cities populated with about 25 million residents, and 10 million more residing in a total of 22 other cities.   (“Why You Need to Be in Asia.”  RTMAsia)
  • Korea is one of the heaviest users of the Internet in the world, and Japan is the 2nd largest IT market.(“Why You Need to Be in Asia.”  RTMAsia)

Language and Business
The more time a potential customer spends on a website, the more likely he is to make a purchase. From that statement it makes good business sense to translate your website to your customer’s language.  The data below reveal that various Asian groups are unlikely to spend much or any time at all on sites not in their native language: [Statistics are based on consumer polls conducted by Common Sense Advisory]
asian groups on english language websites

asian groups purchasing on english language websites


Companies that sell internationally or have offices around the world are likely to serve customers of different nationalities.  Asian languages are important for businesses because of their significant online presence and Asian population.  [Statistics based on data collected in 2013 by Common Sense Advisory]

Online language                                        % of Websites                        % of online population
Chinese Simplified                                                32.62%                                   22.383%
Japanese                                                                  26.44%                                   4.209%
Chinese Traditional                                             17.47%                                      0.944%
Korean                                                                      15.32%                                    1.677%
All of these findings confirm the trend that we are currently witnessing in the language industry- the interest in the Asian market is growing steadily and for this reason, demand for translations from English into Asian languages is also growing.  We hope that these findings will encourage those of you in the corporate world to remember the importance of Asian languages in your multilingual marketing mix.

Flora Yu
Flora Yu
Flora was born and raised in New York to parents from Hong Kong and Taiwan. She has a degree in Accounting. She is fluent in Mandarin, and contributes a unique perspective as someone who was raised in 2 different cultures. She finds humor and opportunities to learn as she constantly searches for the balance between the East and West.