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Asian markets tough nuts to crack, say biz bosses

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , Dec. 12

GROWING at a rapid pace lately, several Asian markets have shown that they are extremely tough nuts to crack, opine experts at the Leadership Summit hosted by the Indian School of Business. One cannot venture out with set templates and successful models and seek to replicate their success in matured markets, they unanimously cautioned.

The Managing Director of Honeywell International, Mr Ashwani Gupta, speaking on Market Leadership in Asia, said Asian economies provide opportunities for growth and also pose challenges for a multinational seeking to leverage it. There cannot be one simple strategy to enter such market. Therefore, the best way to enter such markets is to cautiously build the network and grow.

"One cannot simply apply the GDP (gross domestic product) and population parameter and arrive at the market potential. This will not work as the past developments show. For many MNCs, the Asian markets account for less than 5 per cent and therefore, the interest they show is directly related to this opportunity," he said.

The Regional Director and Senior Vice-President of GlaxoSmithKline, Mr V. Thyagarajan, said that the only way a multinational could possibly succeed in a new economy is by addressing the issues through local approach. The approach to the market has to be by being a resident and taking a long-term view. That means more reliance on the local leadership. Therefore, the strategy bogs down to thinking locally, acting locally while harnessing the global knowledge.

The general perception that post-WTO regime, the cost of drugs would spiral upwards was not true, said Mr Thyagarajan. Over the next few years, the rules of the game will change. Day is not far off when there is an Indian molecule that will be leased out to global corporations.

The Managing Director, Corporate Bank, Citigroup (India), Mr Sanjiv Vohra, said out of the 2,50,000 employees spread over globally, the Asian staff accounts for 20,000 and of them 90 per cent are local residents. After a long association with the local market, we are now in a position to design products that suit the local market like Suvidha.

The Managing Director of India LifeHewitt (Singapore), Mr Manish Sabharwal, said as a group, Hewitt has made rapid strides after its entry into India. Asia is a very small part of the global business for many MNCs and this will initially get the importance it deserves. Thereafter, as business demands go up, these companies will seek to grow either organically or through acquisitions.

The Chairman of NIIT Ltd, Mr Rajendra Pawar, said NIIT after about nearly 20 years of steady growth had to face two years of challenge. The sheen on the IT sector is gone now and it has become rational. ``This called for a different approach to the way we handled business. Having a base of about 1.6 million learners, we are constantly seeking to innovate and be competitive.''

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