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What Is ASEAN And What Does It Mean For Your Business?

ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a political and economic organization made up of 10 nations in Southeast Asia. Member countries include Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei. Representing a population of more than 625 million people with a GDP valued at upwards of $2.4 trillion annually, ASEAN ranks as the 8th largest economy in the world. When the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) goes into effect later this year, it will become one of the largest single...


Atlanta ESL Programs

A growing number of international students seeking to improve their English language skills and advance their academic careers are coming to Atlanta to enroll in one of the area’s numerous English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.

ESL programs help students who are not native English speakers enhance their skills before they enter college (or when they first enroll at a U.S. university).The scope of ESL programs vary among the schools, with a range of opportunities geared toward the needs and abilities of individual students. Some...


Southern Craft Breweries Booming

The market for American craft beers is booming, and the Southeastern United States is leading much of that growth as unique beer flavors and styles explode throughout the region and around the world.

Craft beer is attracting customers who -- tired of the multinational pilsner brands -- are looking for exciting beer styles that often incorporate locally-grown fruits like grapefruit and cherries. From 2007 to 2012, annual sales of U.S. craft beers doubled from $5.7 billion to $12 billion, and should reach $18 billion by 2017. Craft beers...


Momentous Days for US-China Ties

November 2014 may be seen some day as a month to remember for US-China relations, as the two countries announced multiple important, even if somewhat symbolic, agreements related to trade, tourism and the environment.

With President Barack Obama in Beijing as part of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, leaders from East and West engaged in talks and photo ops galore, but also managed to slip in several interesting and unprecedented policy developments.

Highlighting the summit takeaways—from a popular media...


Georgia’s Top High Schools

Photo Credit: Hyosub Shin

With Georgia’s long history of providing quality education to students of all ages, the Peach State offers a wide variety of high-performing public and private institutions that appeal to all types of needs.

But which Georgia high school is the best of the best? There are a number of ways to evaluate competing schools, from SAT scores to graduation rates – and a vast array of surveys and studies that attempt to answer that question.

Perhaps the best known ranking is produced by U.S. News & World Report, which...


Introducing JMG Asia, a Kindred Spirit

The Atlanta Pacific Group is always searching for ways to promote and stimulate foreign trade, education and investment.

With this sentiment in mind, we’d like to introduce a new strategic partner that we’ll be working with in the coming days, JMG Asia.

JMG Asia specializes in helping students and professionals gain work experience and invaluable exposure to foreign cultures through business internships, study abroad opportunities and other travel experiences.

But JMG Asia is more than just a provider of helpful programs.

It is a full...


Five Tips for Success When Doing Business in Korea

Launching a business in a foreign country can be confusing and a little scary for many business owners. I founded the Atlanta Pacific Group to help businesses in the metro Atlanta area and foreign businesses in Asia and Latin America build reciprocal relationships. The KORUS FTA has made doing business with Korea easier than ever and we’re happy to help companies understand the unique nature of doing business in, and with, Korea. Here are my top 5 tips for doing business in Korea:

1. Understand the Culture

Travel to the Asia Pacific...


Georgia Beckons Golfers Year-Round

Photo Credit: ChicagoReader

With its rich golfing history, panoramic views of mountains and seashores, and hundreds of open courses, Georgia is home to some of the most exciting golf experiences in the world.

Georgia boasts 523 golf courses – many of which are open to the public. The largest concentration is centered on the metropolitan Atlanta area and the coastal regions of Savannah. With temperate weather throughout the year, golfers can usually pick up a few rounds in Georgia during any season. Most courses are open 12 months a year...


Atlanta Emerging as Thriving Music Industry Center

One of Georgia’s best kept secrets is its thriving music industry. The city of Atlanta is known as the “center of gravity” for hip-hop music and the state has produced a flood of recent country music chart-toppers. The area also boasts a variety of recording and production facilities, a wide range of performance venues and numerous opportunities to study music.

Georgia has a long history of musical innovation, dating back more than 100 years. But since the late 1980s, Atlanta has taken center stage as a focal point of urban music. That...


Asian Businesses Power Fast Growing County in Georgia

Photo Credit: The Blissful Glutton

Forty years ago, Gwinnett County, Georgia, was largely a sleepy rural area dominated by farmlands and pastures. Today it is a thriving, diverse suburban hub that helps power Atlanta’s business and cultural growth. And during those years of growth, Asian businesses and residents have played a key role in developing the quality of life and business infrastructure that continues to power the region.

Gwinnett is the second-largest county in Georgia and the most racially diverse, with the largest Asian and...


“Classic” Athens Blends Campus Life, Indie Music

Photo Credit: Georgia Theatre

Athens, Georgia, the historic Southern city with a hip college town vibe, blends the traditional amenities of a world-class learning center with the cutting-edge energy of a major cultural center.

Nestled some 70 miles north of Atlanta in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Athens is an energetic blend of old and new. Victorian-era buildings line historic downtown streets teaming with funky shops, contemporary art galleries, classic record stores, progressive culinary experiences and eclectic...


Georgia Universities, Colleges Offer Something for Everyone

International students are flocking to Atlanta and Georgia schools in record numbers, coming to study at some of the world’s top colleges and universities while enjoying the unique cosmopolitan environment of a truly global city.

Georgia, like many U.S. states, has a wide variety of public and private colleges and universities offering numerous degree options. Students can obtain four-year and advanced degrees from universities; bachelor-level degrees from the colleges; and associates degrees from the two-year colleges. In addition, many...


Outdoor Adventures Await in the Atlanta Area

Photo credit: destination360

The name “Atlanta” brings to mind a bustling cosmopolitan city that is home to Coca-Cola, CNN and “Gone with the Wind”. But don’t be fooled by the big city: there are hundreds of exciting outdoor adventures and quaint small town treasures within a few hours’ drive of the metropolitan area.

Outdoor enthusiasts can find white water rafting, zip lining, mountain hiking and biking, snow skiing, kayaking, horseback riding and boating – all less than four hours from Atlanta in northern Georgia, or neighboring...


Georgia Film Industry Reaches New Height—“Hollywood of the South” Fuels Creative Economy, Culture

Photo Credit: Jaunted

Georgia’s film, television, music and entertainment industry has grown by more than 1,000 percent over the past five years, helping build the metropolitan Atlanta area into a vibrant center for creative professionals from around the world.

The Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office reported for the entertainment industry spent a record $879.8 million in the Peach State during fiscal 2012 (which ended on June 30). The entertainment sector had a $3.1 billion economic impact in Georgia, a 29 percent...


Port of Savannah Drives Overseas Trade, Economic Growth

Photo credit: The Augusta Chronicle

The Port of Savannah – long one of Georgia’s best-kept secrets for facilitating international trade – is getting new attention as a long-overdue project to deepen its harbor access moves closer to reality.

Savannah boasts one of the busiest ports in the country, but it is also the shallowest on the East Coast. Final federal approval is expected later this year for a $652 million project that would deepen the harbor to handle larger ships. However, the project still faces political and legal challenges.... more

Latin America: A New Frontier for Your Products

Photo credit: Victor San Martin, Wikitravel

Latin America’s economy continues to forge ahead while America and Europe slumber. The first of a three-part series.

At APG, we are obsessed with staying informed, and nothing satisfies our hunger more than trying to answer the age old question: “What’s going on in the world?” At a quick glance, the state of the world is colored by impending European economic disaster, a slowing China, an ever-unstable Middle East and the ongoing malaise of the American marketplace. But there are bright spots...


How Much Home Will $55,000 Buy You in Atlanta?


Opportunities for residential real estate investment in the Atlanta metro area have never been better.  Home prices have fallen to levels not seen in almost 20 years.  While this brings pain to many homeowners in the area, it presents a modern day gold rush for savvy investors seeking multi-unit rentals.  Buyers outside the area, especially international residents from Asia, are shocked to learn what a relatively modest sum of money in Atlanta can get them. 

Speaking at “The Bridge to China” seminar at the Georgia Association of...


AmericasMart Brings Retail Buyers, Exhibitors Together

Manufacturers, dealers and suppliers of consumer goods from around the globe are flocking to the AmericasMart in downtown Atlanta – the world’s largest permanent wholesale marketplace.

The facility provides both permanent showrooms and temporary exhibit space where exhibitors can display their products for retailers and buyers from across the United States and Latin America. Exhibitors come from Asia, Europe, and the Americas to take part in the largest single product collection in the U.S. “As the leading international source for...


US Tackles Visa Reform for High-Skilled Workers

The U.S. Congress is considering several bills to encourage foreign students to remain in the United States after completing their college education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The proposed legislation – with names like the “STEM Visa Act” and the “BRAIN Act” – would provide temporary visas for foreign students who obtain employment in the United States, or “entrepreneur visas” for foreign nationals who start U.S. companies that hire local workers.

While STEM-related immigration reforms have had little...


Atlanta Residential Real Estate Offers Buyer Opportunities

Photo credit: ERA Sunrise Realty

Prices in the battered Atlanta residential real estate market have fallen to levels not seen in almost 20 years. While this is certainly bad news for local landowners, it also provides great opportunities for buyers seeking to enter the market at its low point.

And the fourth quarter of 2011 could be that low point in the metro area, experts say. After plummeting for several years, prices should stabilize over the winter, start slowly climbing next year, and move towards more normal levels by 2013.

... more

South Korean General Assembly Ratifies KORUS

South Korea’s General Assembly approved the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) this week in a party-line vote, sidestepping political squabbles and a Congressional stalemate in a closed-door session on November 22.

The ratification came some 50 days after the U.S. Senate ratified the trade agreement (with Republicans backing the pact introduced by President Barack Obama, a Democrat). The U.S. and Korea have been working towards approval since 2006. Korea’s ratification means the new trade agreement will become effective...


EB-5 Program Provides Investors Fast Track to U.S. Citizenship

Photo Credit: guamevents

A federal program that allows international investors to gain permanent residence in the United States is expected to continue growing as more international businesspeople take advantage of the financial and personal opportunities it presents. In fact, the success of the EB-5 program has sparked a proposal to grant temporary residential visas to certain investors who purchase homes in the country.

The Immigrant Investor Program, also called “EB-5”, is administered by the U.S. government’s Citizenship and...


KORUS Ratification Campaign Moves to Seoul

The battle to ratify the long-awaited Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) moved back to Seoul this week as the U.S. Congress approved the treaty on Wednesday. South Korean leaders will now push for approval of the agreement in October by the South Korean National Assembly in hopes of a January 2012 effective date.

The KORUS ratification came amid a formal state visit by Lee Myung-bak, the president of South Korea. The U.S. Senate also ratified the nomination of a new ambassador to South Korea, Sung Kim, on Thursday – just...


Korea-US Free Trade Agreement—Will the Korean President’s Visit to the White House Close the Deal?

After years of political maneuvering and renegotiation, the long-awaited Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) could finally be moving towards ratification – providing ample new opportunities in Georgia for expanded trade between the two nations.

Lee Myung-bak, the president of South Korea, will make a state visit October 13 to Washington and meet with U.S. President Barack Obama. The White House is only saying the two leaders will “review progress” towards legislative approval of KORUS. However, the meeting is sparking...


Asia’s Growing Consumerism Driving Demand for US Specialty Foods

Photo Credit: Dean & Deluca Japan

Could growing crops and producing food actually become cool again – not to mention lucrative?

Experts say the growing middle class populations in developing countries around the world are driving up demand for meat, vegetables and prepared food products from the United States. Rising demand and the resulting higher prices are drawing people back to the farm in record numbers. After decades of declining profits and fewer family farms, producing food is starting to become the “in” thing again.



US Colleges Look to Foreign Students

Photo Credit: Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images AsiaPac

Many Georgia universities and colleges are stepping up their efforts to lure foreign students to their campuses. But they are not alone: while the number of foreigners studying in the U.S. continues to climb, more domestic educational institutions are also looking overseas to increase their revenues.

The number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 3% to 690,923 during the 2009/2010 academic year, according to the Open Doors report,...


Mexico’s Challenges and Opportunities

Mexico is plagued by a public perception problem due to media coverage of drug cartel violence. But the bad publicity belies the economic strength and growing cultural influence of our neighbors to the south.

For many of us in the United States it is difficult these days to find positive news about our neighbor to the south. With seemingly daily coverage of drug cartels and murders raging across Mexico, a casual observer of news and foreign affairs cannot help but view the country in a negative light. These stories infuse images of...


The Middle Class Revolution in Emerging Markets—Antidote for America’s Sick Economy?

Photo Credit: China Mike

Let’s face it—our economy is sick.  With official unemployment hovering close to 10% and GDP growth of around 2%, the United States is barely creating enough jobs for new entrants into the job market.  And let’s not forget about the 8 million jobs that were lost during the Great Recession.  Those jobs have evaporated.  The casualties can be found in almost every neighborhood across the United States, from shuttered factories in Ohio to the eerie silence of abandoned construction lots in Nevada.

As we further...


Coming to America—How about Atlanta?

So you want to expand your business outside of Asia and setup shop in the United States to further develop your export business.  Have you considered Atlanta as your headquarters for the Americas?  Here are the top 5 reasons why Atlanta should be on your shortlist:


Atlanta is located in one of the fastest-growing regions of the United States.  Located in the Southeast, the region has experienced tremendous economic growth and prosperity over the last several decades.  Atlanta is now home to more than 5.4 million people and...