Why you should be sourcing internationally and in particular in Asia

As you begin to grow and expand your business, discovering new and innovative ways to cut costs and improve the quality of your organization’s processes becomes an essentiality. If you are to grow beyond a certain point and begin out-performing many of your competitors, it may be worth looking beyond sourcing domestically and venturing further afield.

In this article, we’re going to talk about why you should be sourcing internationally (in Asia in particular), and how doing so can benefit your business.

What is global sourcing and why is it so important?

So, what is global sourcing and why is it so important? Global sourcing is quite simply a procurement strategy that businesses use in order to source goods and services from the global market.

The goal of any business seeking out global sourcing is to lower their production costs whilst simultaneously maintaining the exacting and ever evolving quality standards required for products and services on an international scale.

That said, global sourcing involves so much more than simply searching for products on a global scale. It’s also an effort to improve a variety of different aspects in the manufacturing process, for example:

  • Supplier selection and their performances
  • The overall speed to market
  • Estimation of product and service costs
  • Meeting trade compliance
  • Auditing

Why would an organization prefer international sourcing?

Now that you have a better understanding of what global sourcing is, why would an organization prefer international sourcing over local/domestic?

While domestic sourcing would typically allow for quicker and more convenient logistics, international sourcing more often than not provides an organization with greater production control, quicker time to market, and more importantly: a potentially cheaper rate. Global Sourcing Agents can help organisations navigate this process and you can learn about how we do it here.

What are the benefits of international sourcing?

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of international sourcing:


  • When working with overseas suppliers there’s an opportunity to innovate all of your existing product lines – this is particularly beneficial for those in the food and beverage sector. For example: introducing new flavours and formats to your market. Just look at the way the spice trade transformed the ancient world: Civilizations in Asia and Northeast Africa introduced spices such as cinnamon, cassia, cardamom, ginger, pepper, nutmeg, star anise, clove and turmeric to the rest of the known world through an antiquated version of “international sourcing”.
  • It can be difficult if not impossible for some domestic suppliers and manufacturers to deliver specific materials and ingredients, making international sourcing highly attractive.
  • Another ideal benefit in terms of innovation is being able to white-label products from overseas and market them as your own.
  • Additionally, you will be able to leverage emerging product trends that may yet not have entered your domestic market yet.

Gaining a competitive edge

  • When you source products from a supplier from overseas, if they are an innovative manufacturer who frequently stays on top of the emerging industry trends, you will be able to gain a serous competitive advantage over your rivals by bringing something new and exciting to the market.
  • When you are the first organization to bring some new product or service to your domestic consumers it will go a long way toward bolstering your brand image and customer loyalty.

Cost to quality balance

  • Being able to maintain a healthy cost-quality balance is an essentiality for any international brand working with a supplier from overseas. There are many ways in which you can leverage these benefits, such as partnering with manufacturers in countries with weaker currencies.
  • In addition, you can look for manufacturers that are based in countries whose production costs are significantly lower than those in your own country. E.g., South-East Asia, Eastern Europe, etc.
  • Being able to source premium quality products for significantly less, you can establish a far greater cost to quality balance whilst similarly keeping your logistics costs down to a minimum as well.

Cheaper duties and taxes

  • Seeking out the ideal overseas supplier for you can often provide you with additional benefits like affordable duties and taxes.

Gain improved business practices

  • As the saying goes: “variety is the spice of life”. And by looking further afield and working with new partners from different cultures and markets – it can only benefit your business in the long-run as you gain new skills and improved business practices. This coupled with the financial and quality control benefits make international sourcing highly attractive.
  • And indeed, having greater cross-border communication and negotiation can aid you in finding more effective supply chain options whilst developing lucrative business relationships all over the world.

Let’s take a look at Asia’s top export countries

When exploring international sourcing, why should you be looking at Asia specifically? Let’s take a look at some of Asia’s top export countries:

  • Thailand
  • Saudi Arabia
  • UAE
  • India
  • Taipei
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • China

We’re going to focus on Thailand in particular. The Kingdom of Thailand is renowned the world over as being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the World. Of course, the country is arguably one of the most naturally beautiful locations, and whilst it certainly does make a significant amount of money through tourism, it’s exports were valued at over US $249 Billion in 2018 alone!

Here are Thailand’s major exports:

  • Machinery (17.18%),
  • Electronics (14.01%),
  • Vehicles (12.19%),
  • Rubber (6.2%),
  • Plastics (5.81%),
  • Pearls & precious stones (4.78%),
  • Mineral fuels & oils (4.23%),
  • Preparations of meat (2.63%),
  • Organic chemicals (2.45%).

Countries like the United States, Australia, China, Japan, and Vietnam are some of Thailand’s biggest export partners. This is because they recognise the great advantages that sourcing internationally from a country like Thailand can bring!


In honesty, international sourcing may not necessarily be the right move for you. There are a number of factors that you need to consider and it really depends on the industry that you are in and what level of growth you are trying to achieve. However, one thing is for certain: in business, it always pays to regularly shake things up and look at what’s available to you. With some research and by reaching out to some new and potential partners overseas, it could well be the making of your business and end up fuelling your trajectory to unimaginable heights.

At the very least, it’s worth a consideration, no? Here at UCT (Asia) we would love to invite you for a no-obligation strategy call. Simply contact us and we can explore this further, together.

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