Trying to crack the asian market is a tough one. On one hand it is easier as the agencies in this region i.e India, Singapore and China are more welcoming and will allow you to put your foot in the door without the usual hoops to jump through. Every agency around the world is always looking for new talent and a different perspective to offer their clients. On the other hand, here in Sri Lanka it is a small industry with a handful of photographers who know what they are really doing. Unfortunately, it then comes down to the individual rates of the photographer. You can be the best hands down but if they know some chap who has taken up photography recently and will do it for far less than you, regardless of skill, then they will get the job. There are no rate cards for photographers or film makers and the more kit and lights you bring it just feels like it's just too much hassle.
I once did a job in Sri Lanka about 3 years ago for a swimwear brand. They did the usual and showed me a reference photo of huge well known company that spend $ millions on their campaigns. I asked what kind of budget we were looking at? It ended up he was paying for the 1 model, travel, accommodation and my fee. He said I couldn't have any assistants this time as he couldn't afford it. I have no idea why I took the job? When I got picked up in the morning and he looked at my kit he said I couldn't take it. I know, I know, I should have just said no right there. I did say we are taking holiday snaps then? Which went down as well as a cup of cold sick. I did the job, the pictures were very average and I let this one guy bring out the worst in me as far as being a photographer. It didn't happen again and if I didn't know this guy before the shoot it wouldn't have happened then either.
Lesson to learn very early on is to spread your wings wide. Don't rely on the local market to supply you work. Look to other countries close by and go for it.