International companies face more challenges than ever – particularly when looking to expand into the burgeoning markets of Asia Pacific.
These markets are experiencing a period of rapid growth, with four of the world’s five fastest-growing markets – China, the Philippines, India and Indonesia – located in the region. Asia Pacific also remains the world’s go-to destination for offshoring, again with four of the world’s top five outsourcing locations in India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia providing enterprises with low-cost, skilled labour resources.
Consumer culture is also accelerating rapidly throughout Asia Pacific, as evidenced by annual consumption in the world’s emerging markets being forecast to hit $30 trillion by 2025, up $18 trillion on 2010. India is set to be the fastest-growing market in the region in 2016, with a 7.6 percent expansion, with two of the other major economies in Asia Pacific, China and South Korea, growing at 6.5 percent and 2.9 percent respectively. As such, enterprises which want to hit the ground running in this fast-growing new territory and get their products and services to market quickly, need to do so with as little disruption and upheaval as possible.
New territories, new challenges
Expanding into Asia Pacific means addressing different challenges than those enterprises may be used to in their home markets. Bureaucracy, regulations, licenses, availability of skilled workers at local level and other issues regularly create barriers to getting up and running swiftly. In China, where overseas companies often struggle with laws and regulations, 31 percent of MNCs say bureaucracy and obtaining the required licenses and permits is their number one concern when expanding operations.
Technology can be the enabler
Expanding into new and unfamiliar territories is a complex enough undertaking without worrying about your communications and IT infrastructure and systems. Since many nations throughout Asia Pacific are still relatively immature technologically, enterprises need to know that their ICT can be relied upon to support their business, no matter what the industry - Aurecon, a global leader in engineering, has used a hybrid VPN to transform its global communications infrastructure to support its worldwide customer base and will reap major benefits in future.
Eighty-one percent of companies consider technological progress the main factor of change for the next 5 years, while 50 percent of the world’s leading manufacturing companies invest in IT applications and infrastructure to help them be more flexible and agile. Compare this with just 20 percent of their non-leading competitors and the difference is clear. So it is to technology that enterprises must turn to help them overcome the challenges of expanding in new markets.
Take local practices and apply them globally
There are several key technologies that can help MNCs get new operations in Asia Pacific up and running smoothly.
1. Cloud computing. Cloud is the core enabler to today’s agile, flexible business, bridging boundaries and making workforces more mobile and productive no matter where they may be. For organizations expanding globally, cloud brings the key benefits of not actually needing local resources and its scalable nature means organizations can ramp operations up or down as quickly as the new location needs - ESA, the European Space Agency, is one organization which has leveraged private cloud technology to great benefit.
2. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Skype for Business. The mobile workforce needs the right tools to help it get the job done as effectively and efficiently as possible, and UCaaS gives them access to the same corporate tools and apps as their colleagues anywhere in the world.
3. A secure VPN. Reliable operations and an ability to expand new locations quickly and smoothly can be assisted by a virtual private network (VPN) that supports all the required IP services like IP telephony, video, cloud, IPv5 migration and enables access to core business tools like Salesforce.
4. Accelerated internet. Increasingly, enterprises are procuring their applications from the public cloud and thus rely upon internet connectivity. However, the further the user is from the data center hosting their key apps, the more like the user experience will suffer. An optimized internet connection can reduce the number of hops the user data takes, thereby improving the overall experience and quality fo service. It will allow users in emerging markets to have the same experience as their colleagues in other parts of the word.
5. Mobile working. Remote and mobile working are major elements of doing business in Asia Pacific, where geographical disparity remains a factor and mobile proliferation continues apace. Asia’s end-users continue to set the global pace when it comes to mobile habits, as evidenced by the recent ‘mobile first’ trend, and the practice extends to the workplace. You need more than attractive salaries to recruit the best staff. You also need to offer a mobile-centric workstyle which complements their mobile-centric lifestyle.
Hit the ground running
The most important aspect to successful global expansion is getting new, local operations up and running as quickly, efficiently and smoothly as possible. Thanks to technology, it has never been easier to set up regional offices and manage the many various barriers that come with each new territory.
To achieve this, choose a technology partner that understands local challenges and with real experience of overcoming them. Organizations must take a global-local approach and establish a consistent global strategy that can be executed in any location. The quicker you get set up, the quicker you can begin reaping the rewards.
Discover how our 50 years of experience in global markets can help your organization seamlessly integrate new locations into your infrastructure: http://www.orange-business.com/en/international-growth
I’ve been writing about technology for around 15 years and today focus mainly on all things telecoms - next generation networks, mobile, cloud computing and plenty more. For Futurity Media I am based in the Asia-Pacific region and keep a close eye on all things tech happening in that exciting part of the world.