The customer is ALWAYS first. This is the first thing that any marketing/PR/advertising class will teach you.
Regardless of what industry you are in, the start of any lucrative product or service starts with knowing who your customers are. Since companies are expanding to other countries, they need to take an extra step with research. That extra step is to make sure that their products are going to be translated properly while being cognizant of foreign cultural and social norms.
For example, in Japanese, the word “four” sounds like the word death. There is a golf ball manufacturer that decided that they wanted to sell their golf balls in packs of four in Japan, which did not take off because it is considered unlucky to buy. (click here for more examples of brand culture failures)
The same goes for Cantonese, because when I was getting lunch with friends in Hong Kong, I observed that there was not a button for the fourth floor. I only noticed this because the two rows of buttons had a mix of even and odd numbers. I was a little confused and my friends said that not many buildings have a fourth floor because the word is very similar to death. They even made a term for people that are scared of the number four called tetraphobia. (source)
I understand that little details like avoiding the number four in products used in Asia is quite specific, but this is why research is timely and expensive. In a highly competitive business environment, having the right marketing/PR/advertising team with high cultural awareness is key to going global, because customers are the key to success.