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Monday, August 14, 2006

Managing Asia Pacific

Asian cultures, business and economic environments are very different and can be quite paradoxical - some of the best developed cities/countries -in terms of hard infrastructure may be the most difficult places to navigate through the business ecosystem and get business done effectively. In some developing nations, the pace of business/ mechansim of decision making can be back breaking. In some countries in Asia, government linked entitities may have the upper say/act as key influencers.. You have to realign your decision parameters for doing business for every country/every opportunity. Understanding and working in Asia Pacific markets, are quite tough, demanding and more of an art. Chris Traub rightly points out that Asia is now largest end market for semiconductors and other electronics manufacturing services. For any software that supports manufacturing, Asia is arguably one of the two most important markets in the world (along with the US).Some of the complexities that Asia brings out, as Chris rightly point out centered around geographical, cultural diversities - There are more than a dozen primary languages spoken in the region with numerous dialects and myriad regulations are in force varying from country to country besides logistical and infrastructural concerns. I wish someone had said this earlier – Chris is spot on - managing Asia Pacific is much more difficult than managing the U.S. as one market. Each nation is different from selling to managing to marketing - it is very complex. It is a unique skill to be an Asia Pacific manager. On a regional basis, the Asian manager needs to be above all else, a human "cultural systems integrator". This person must integrate the needs and vagaries of all of Asia's diverse markets. They must integrate the wide-ranging capabilities of professionals and managers with capabilities that are frequently immature relative to U.S. standards. Software vendors must assume that the regulatory environment in most Asian countries is complex (with the exception of Hong Kong and Singapore.) Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and India all create very confusing circumstances with their diversity. There is significant favoritism which encourages local dominant players. I have not so far met him, but I understand from his profile that he has stayed for long in china - so read his views about china and its potential as a market and its other capabilities more closely – I can say that its definitely insightful . One point where, I disagree with chris is his view of open source in china but he is correct in his assessment of limited adoption of on-demand in Asia. I would also loved if he had included his perspective about the type of people including their background (could be from other industries as well), joining the technology industry, besides additional coverage of the indian ecosystem. Read more of his well thought out views on must-haves for leading in Asia.

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"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"