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A question of characters

When we started scoutAsia we deliberately did so in English, since it is the global language of business and the one language that all our customers were likely to be comfortable with -- at least to an extent.

Since then, however, many users, particularly in Asia, have told us they would like us to develop some local language capabilities. I am pleased to say that we have taken our first step on this road.

As of now, you can search for companies in Chinese (including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau), Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and more. Using your local language keyboard, you can input characters in, say, Kanji (such as 日本) or in Hangul (for example, 한국) into the scoutAsia search bar. In the former case, this will return all companies with "Japan" in their name, in the second case, all companies containing the word "Korea".

The companies will still be listed by their official English names, but the ability to input local characters should allow you to disambiguate between companies that have very similar names in English but clearly different ones in their original language. We believe this will be especially helpful for users searching through scoutAsia's more than 300,000 Chinese companies, many of which are small, private firms. But even for bigger and better known ones, it should make our search function more accurate. Take Huawei: typing "Huawei" in English into our search bar will return company names containing both 華為 and 華威 in the underlying Chinese characters, even though it is only the former that identifies the giant telecoms company and its affiliates.

Furthermore, when Japanese or Chinese organisations use the same characters (eg. 新聞 which means "news" in Japanese and "news" or "information" in Mandarin), the search will find both Japanese and Chinese companies. But when the characters are unique to the one or other language, the search will match only one (eg. 経済 means "economy" in Japanese and inputting that returns only Japanese companies).

There is one important caveat: right now, our local language search capability only works for the private companies in our database (that's 95% of them, so the vast majority); we are still working to extend it to listed companies but for boring technical reasons this will take some more time.

In due course, we will do more to localise our service, including the introduction of local language media sources to deepen our news coverage. For now, however, we hope you will take advantage of this new search feature in order to get the most out of scoutAsia. Thank you, as always, for your business.


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