In February I took part in a seminar in Osaka organised by Alibaba.com, which is one of the biggest BtoB business matching companies. Alibaba.com is an international company based in China. So besides we Japanese, it was mostly people from other Asian countries that participated.
I exchanged business cards with a Chinese woman sitting next to me. She worked for a trading company and spoke Japanese and English fluently.
We have received a lot of inquiries from various countries since we registered with the Alibaba.com site in 2006: The United Kingdom, China, Iran, Cameroon, Nigeria, Brazil, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Ghana, Mexico, Jordan, Singapore, South Korea, etc.
But, in the beginning, the content of the inquiries and quality of the business information were a jumble of good and bad. Nowadays, however, the bad information is gradually decreasing with Alibaba.com's help. Alibaba.com is a pure business matching company now, but in the near future it might begin to manage payments and provide a shipping service as well.
Anyway, we are entering a period in time in which individuals and small businesses can act freely, without undue government interference, in a similar manner to big companies. Information technology has made it possible. However, catching business chances worldwide requires creative power and information-gathering capacity, together with superb language abilities like those of the woman who sat next to me at the seminar.