Business English / Деловой английский язык
Discovering a new market
Tortuga Toys is a Spanish toy manufacturer which would like to expand into South-East Asia. The owner has travelled to the area to assess the market for his company's latest product. This lesson examines finance, investment, business forecasting, the stock markets and market research. It also looks at how to make travel arrangements.
|Ramon Figueras||is the owner of Tortuga Toys. He is Spanish.|
|Jack Lytton||is a teacher at UCLA. He is American.|
|Receptionist||at Thaipro Consultants. She is Thai.|
|Supa||is a marketing consultant at Thaipro Consultants. She is Thai.|
|Travel agent||works for Executive Travel. He is British.|
|Fred Hagendahl||is Director of Marketing at Tumblehome Inc. He is American.|
|Vocabulary||Stock markets; business forecasting; market research; air travel.|
|Skills||Getting information from press cuttings and reports; making travel arrangements.|
|Documents||Press cuttings; a market analysis report; a booking form; a credit card.|
Doing some desk research
11.1 Document study
Ramon Figueras works for Tortuga, in Madrid. Tortuga makes toys, and Ramon is looking at the possibility of expanding into South-East Asia. He finds some press cuttings. Read through them, and make a list of 'Good news' and 'Bad news'.
11.2 Reading for key words
Find the words or phrases in 11.1 that tell you the following:
|1||Prices will soon rise more quickly.
|2||Share prices are expected to fall.
|3||Highly-trained workers are difficult to find.
|4||People with money to invest in new business tend to invest it abroad.
|5||This company intends to go on growing.
|6||The countries around the edge of this ocean will soon be the most productive in the world.
11.3 Document study
Ramon finds another article. Read through it. You will need it for 11.4.
11.4 Listen and read
A month after the article in 11.3 appeared, Ramon's father died and Ramon took over the company. Ramon receives a telephone call from Jack Lytton. Listen to what they say. Who is Jack Lytton? Why has he phoned?
|JACK||Ramon? Jack Lytton here - from UCLA.|
|RAMON||Jack! Hi, how are you? Are you in Spain?|
|JACK||No, but I'll get around to it sooner or later, don't you worry. The reason I'm calling is I keep picking up rumours about Tortuga. How are things over there in Madrid?|
|RAMON||Well - it's what in your marketing seminars you used to call 'a very interesting situation'.|
|JACK||Oh boy! As bad as that, is it?|
|RAMON||No, it's not all bad. In fact I did this fantastic deal last time I was in California. Let me tell you about it...|
11.5 Listen and read
Ramon continues his telephone conversation with Jack Lytton. Listen to what they say. What arrangements does Ramon already have with countries in South-East Asia?
|RAMON||So, anyway, I'm planning to go to Bangkok in about three weeks to start investigating the market for the Dolphin Commando merchandise in Asia.|
|JACK||Good thinking. I'm glad you learnt something in my classes. Dolphin Commando looks set to take off here. Those toy whales look like being the big craze for kids this fall.|
|RAMON||Yes, I know. We're going flat out here to meet the orders from the big retailers. We've contracted outa lot of the manufacturing work to firms in Taiwan and the Philippines, and all the packaging and distribution is being done in Cleveland, Ohio. But when the Asian countries get the programmes beamed to them by satellite in the new year, the market's likely to explode overnight.|
|JACK||In that case I'd better get off the line and let you get on with it! I have one or two contacts in Bangkok you might find useful, by the way - I'll dig out their addresses for you.|
|RAMON||Thanks, I'd really appreciate it if you could do that. Well, it's been good talking to you, Jack. I'll speak to you again soon.|
|JACK||Surely. Take care now. Goodbye!|
11.6 Document study: an interview
Read this interview about the economy, and then answer the questions that follow.
|INTERVIEWER||It seems that the economy has struck a bad patch. How do you see the situation developing?|
|MAN||Well, the most serious threat is that of high interest rates plus rising inflation.|
|INTERVIEWER||How do you think companies will cope with this, if they can't afford to borrow?|
|MAN||They simply won't invest. They'll go on using old machinery and equipment. They won't train new labour.|
|INTERVIEWER||But a lot of companies are already lagging behind on capital investment, and the venture capital is going abroad.|
|MAN||In that case, when the upturn in the economy does come, they won't be ready for it. They won't be able to meet the increased demand for goods.|
|INTERVIEWER||And if they're not competitive?|
|MAN||The companies will simply go into liquidation.|
|1||Why can't companies afford to borrow?
|2||Why won't companies be able to meet the increased demand for goods?
|3||Why will companies go into liquidation?
11.7 Writing practice
Ramon makes brief notes of things he has read and things he has heard in his conversations which might be useful to him. Read the articles in 11.1 and 11.3 again, and listen to 11.5. Now write notes for Ramon. Start with your list from 11.1.
Commissioning a market study
11.8 Listen and read
Ramon telephones a firm of market consultants in Bangkok. Listen to the way that Ramon says only enough to make sure that he is talking to the right person. Notice also how the people in the firm explain exactly what tney can do to help him.
|RECEPTIONIST||Good afternoon, Thaipro Consultants, can I help you?|
|RAMON||Ah! Hello. I'm thinking of commissioning your companyto do some market research for me in Thailand. I shall be coming to Bangkok in a week or so, but I wonder if there's someone I could have a word with now?|
|RECEPTIONIST||Yes, I think so. We have several departments here which specialise in different market sectors. Can you give me some idea of what type of business you're in?|
|RAMON||Yes, we manufacture and distribute toys. All kinds of toys!|
|RECEPTIONIST||Oh yes. Hold on, I'll put you through to someone who can help you. Oh! What name shall I say?|
|RAMON||Figueras - Ramon Figueras.
|WOMAN||Good afternoon, Mr Figrash? How can I help you?|
|RAMON||Oh, good afternoon! My name is Ramon Figueras, I am chairman of...|
11.9 Listen and read
The telephone conversation continues. Notice how the woman and Ramon show that they have finished the conversation.
|WOMAN||Right, Mr Figueras, I look forward to meeting you when you come to Bangkok. If you telephone me a bit nearer the time, we'll make an appointment to meet at my office; we're quite central.|
|RAMON||Good. And meanwhile I'm looking forward to getting that investment fact-sheet you mentioned. Thank you for your help. Oh! I don't think I have your name.|
|WOMAN||Just ask for Supa - S-U-P-A. If by any chance I'm not in the office, my colleague will make the appointment.|
|RAMON||Right, thank you very much indeed, Supa.|
11.10 Document study
The following is part of the leaflet on the economy and investment prospects that the consultant, Supa, sent to Ramon. Read through it carefully. Make a list of things that Ramon might think are 'Good', and a list of things he might think are 'Bad', for his company.
The Foreign Investment Outlook in Thailand, 1992-96
Targets and Forecasts for the Sixth and Seventh Plans
(based on official figures and Thaipro research)
Trade deficit*Average per year**
As percentage of GDP
Exports: goodsValue (%)
Average annual value**
Earnings from tourism*Value (%)
Imports: goodsValue (%)
Average annual value**
Expenditure growth***Private consumption
Tax revenue and other
income as % of GDP
Population growth (%)
* 1987 prices
** Million baht
*** % annual increase; 1987 prices
Source (1986-91 figures): Thai Government Board of Investment
This strong demand-led growth is projected to continue at least throughout the 1990s and offers outstanding medium-term market prospects to overseas suppliers and investors.
On the manufacturing side, we are conducting a research programme to assess the long-term outlook for overseas companies willing to set up joint ventures
A crucial factor will be the speed with which Thai manufacturers can meet the increasing demand for good design and durability as well as volume of goods. Interim findings of this project suggest that large-scale investment will be required and that overseas companies may need to be prepared to take risks and to move fast to exploit windows of opportunity.
11.11 Reading for key words: formal and informal language
In her written report, Supa uses more formal language than when she talks to Ramon on the telephone. The phrases below are taken from the report. Write what Supa might say to Ramon to express the same meanings.
|1||rapidly-expanding young urban population
|2||This strong demand-led growth is projected to continue
|3||[it] offers outstanding medium-term market prospects
|4||Interim findings ... suggest that large-scale investment will be required
Making a business trip
11.12 Listen and read
Ramon is now in London, booking his flight on to Bangkok. Listen to what he says to the travel agent.
|AGENT||Right, Mr Figueras - if I can just check the details again: that's a single ticket for one person, club class, from Heathrow to Bangkok, Thai Airways flight TG917, departing Friday 22 May at 1000 hours, reporting at Terminal 3 not later than 0830. And in Bangkok we've made a reservation for you at the Oriental Hotel. This is the total amount payable.|
|RAMON||Right. You take Visa?|
|AGENT||Yes, no problem. It will just take a moment for the machine to check the details. While we're waiting, can I ask you if you need to take out any travel insurance?|
|RAMON||Thanks, I took out a policy before I came to Britain.|
|AGENT||Covering the whole world?|
|AGENT||Ah! Right. If you'd just like to sign here.|
11.13 Listen and read
Ramon has to change his plans and postpone his flight to Bangkok. The travel agent telephones Ramon to tell him the new details. First read through the dialogue below. Then listen to what they say, and write your answers.
|RAMON||Splendid!What's the airline and the flight number?|
|AGENT||Philippine Airways, (a) .|
|RAMON||Leaving Heathrow what time?|
|RAMON||From Terminal 4?|
|AGENT||No. (c) .|
|RAMON||When does it arrive in Bangkok?|
|AGENT||(d) next morning, local time.|
|RAMON||I see. Am I still in the same hotel?|
|AGENT||No, the Oriental was full, so I booked you into the (e) .|
|RAMON||Oh, right. I may need to ring them. Do you have the phone number? With the dialling code, please.|
|RAMON||Thanks. Now, suppose I need to call you again. Is there a booking number I should quote?|
|AGENT||Your booking number is (g) .|
11.14 Speaking practice: checking the details
Ramon continues his conversation with the travel agent. First read through the dialogue below. Then listen to what they say. Listen again, and speak the part of Ramon.
|AGENT||Is that all right, Mr Figueras?|
|RAMON||Fine, thank you. One other thing. I gave you my personal credit card yesterday, and I should have given you my business Visa card.|
|AGENT||Right, that's easy. I can charge that to your business card if you will give me, first, your card number.|
|AGENT||Right. And the expiry date.|
|AGENT||Also I need to know the exact name on the card, please.|
|AGENT||Right, that's it then. Your ticket will be ready for collection tomorrow. Thank you, Mr Figueras! Goodbye!|
11.15 Listen and read
Ramon is now on his journey from London to Bangkok. Listen to these statements and conversations. Where do you think Ramon is when each voice speaks?
|VOICE 1||Your attention please - passengers for flight PR731 to Bangkok, please proceed at once
to the Departure Lounge. PR731 passengers, boarding now at Gate 4. Please have your boarding cards ready.|
|VOICE 2||We shall be cruising at thirty-five thousand feet at a speed of four hundred and thirty miles an hour. On behalf of Philippine Airways, may I wish you a pleasant flight.
|VOICE 3||Good morning, sir. Would you like a newspaper?|
|RAMON||Er, yes. If you've got a 'Financial Times', I'll take that.
|VOICE 4||Ladies and gentlemen, we are now approaching Bangkok and we shall touch down
in approximately ten minutes. Please fasten your seatbelts and extinguish all cigarettes. The weather on the ground is cloudy and wet, air temperature twenty-nine degrees. We may encounter a little turbulence on our approach , but nothing to worry about.|
|VOICE 5||Good morning, sir. You are travelling from London?|
|RAMON||Yes, that's right.|
|VOICE 5||Do you have anything to declare?|
|VOICE 5||Go straight through to passport control and immigration, please.|
11.16 Listen and read
While he is waiting for a taxi, Ramon is approached by someone. Listen carefully to what they say. Listen to how Ramon cannot at first remember the other person.
|MAN||Excuse me - aren't you Ramon Figueras?|
|RAMON||Yes, but I'm afraid ...|
|MAN||I knew it. I remember you from college - we were at UCLA together.|
|RAMON||Well yes. I was at UCLA but...|
|MAN||Hagendahl. Fred Hagendahl. I was reading Management Science - you were on the MBA.|
|RAMON||Ah, right! Didn't you have something to do with that IBM thing?|
|FRED||No, that was Johnson. I was the one who tried to organise the monkeys.|
|RAMON||Of course, I remember. You wanted them to write Shakespeare.|
|FRED||That's me. You do remember! You staying in Bangkok?|
|RAMON||Yes. At the Shangri-la.|
|FRED||Great. I'm at the Oriental. They're real close to each other. You want to share a taxi?|
11.17 Writing practice
Ramon decides to add to the notes he made in 11.7, by writing details of what has happened to him since then. Write the details for him in note form.