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The ABC of doing business in Asia

Zafar Anjum | May 14, 2014
To be an Asia Business Champion (ABC) in a turbulent business environment, companies need to have the right sets of business and financial strategies in place, says Nathan Bell, Director of Marketing, Product, and Pricing, Telstra Global.

Closely related to adoption of key technologies is the general improvement in infrastructure in many emerging markets like India, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Indonesia for example. With better physical infrastructure, comparatively more skilled labour force than before, and friendlier government regulations, the business climate is becoming more conducive to succeed if companies play their cards right.

What have been the key findings of your company's Connecting Countries' study? What are the top 2-3 points that you would like to share with CEOs and CIOs of Asia?

There are several key points we would like to share with CEOs, CIOs, and other C-level executives and decision makers based in Asia. As I mentioned above, Asia has been a focus for many of the global MNCs today in light of the financial doldrums gripping the West. The objective of Connecting Countries - the pan-Asian research undertaken by Telstra Global - was an attempt to understand how companies and executives are maximising growth opportunities in Asia as well as identify some of the best practices undertaken by successful companies operating in the region.

The report identified a new breed of companies (approx. 5% of the overall respondents) who have been successfully operating in Asia over the last three years, despite the global financial situation rocking other markets in Europe and the US. We call them Asia Business Champions (ABC). They are defined as companies who have been extremely successful in the last three years in meeting their financial and strategic objectives in Asia and expect to exceed those objectives in the next three.

To be an ABC in a turbulent business environment, both in Asia and across the globe, companies need to have the right sets of business and financial strategies in place. For example, ABCs are more likely to be companies with a global footprint with 82% operating both in Asia and in countries outside Asia. The majority of the ABCs hail from the US (32%), India (9%), China (8%), and the UK (8%) while 7% hailed from Singapore.

While ABCs come from a broad cross-section of industry sectors, the two stand-out sectors with the most ABCs are ICT (23%) and financial services and insurance (12%). Seeing ICT firms do well in general is not surprising, given the rising demand for technology in the business landscape. Moreover, rapid growth in key Asian markets like China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam, among others, is contributing to a growing middle class population in the region - in fact, analysts predict by 2030, Asia will host 64% of the global middle class and account for over 40% of global middle-class consumption. This explains why the financial services and insurance sector is doing equally well next to ICT. The findings, of course, do not discount the growth potential of other sectors, all of which have the ability to grow due to the comparatively favourable economic climate in Asia.


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