While here in Singapore the massive rental hikes would make one believe times are booming, I do feel that this property-based bubble seen in HK, Singapore and parts of China is being driven by emotional factors outside of normal market forces.
But disregarding my gloomy rental prospects next year, the notion of exposure to Asia’s fast growth markets is an underutilised tool in assessing longer term competitive positioning. I’m not a huge fan of long term scenario planning for CI purposes (I am a huge fanboy of Sales Intelligence), but this is one analysis tool that I feel makes a lot of sense to conduct on a regular basis if you’re operating in the region.
Some things to consider:
- How many markets are your competitors exposed? You would think the greater the number, the more risk is avoided through diversity. Not the case as we saw during the East Asian Economic Crisis in the late 90’s.
- How embedded are your competitors in these markets? A sales office and 10 staff, or hundreds, if not thousands in Sales, Marketing and R&D?
- Is your competitor centrally organised or decentralised? A head office where the majority of regional branches are sales or partner management may ride out economic difficulty better than one that has a replicated business in each country, replete with Marketing, Management, etc.
- How dependent is your competitors on partners and from what country? In many cases there is much interaction between local systems integrators and ISV’s. Does the loss or degradation of one partner base effect other countries disproportionately?
These are but a few examples of the analysis you could undertake, but all centre around the concept Gartner uses in its Magic Quadrants, “the ability to execute”. Execution in APAC speaks louder than strategic positioning. Use that concept to show how your competitors execution tactics may be effected by adverse economic strife here in Asia.