Singapore Consumer Business Industry
Consumer businesses seeking to expand their footprint in Asia can use Singapore as the gateway. With a central location within Asia, strong scientific and brand management capabilities, as well as conducive business environment, Singapore is the ideal location for consumer businesses to innovate and drive regional growth strategies. Consumer businesses can also tap on Singapore’s consumer insights capabilities to enhance their competitive edge through a better understanding of the similarities and differences among Asian consumers. These insights can be translated into brand and product innovations which cater to the unique needs and preferences of Asian consumers.
RISE OF ASIAN CONSUMERISM
Asia’s stellar economic growth has created a burgeoning consumer market which will see 3.2 billion people in the middle-class segment by 2030, up from 525 million in 2009. Asia will account for more than 80 per cent of the growth in global middle-class spending, which amounts to US$55 trillion from US$21 trillion in 2009. These affluent Asian consumers increasingly demand more sophisticated products and services that cater to their needs and preferences. Repackaging products created for Western markets and selling them in Asia will no longer suffice. To effectively capture a slice of the Asian market, consumer businesses need to understand differences between Western and Asian consumers, as well as the similarities and differences among the latter
DRIVING GROWTH IN ASIA
Nestled in the heart of Asia with a conducive business environment, Singapore is the ideal location for consumer businesses to manage operations and drive growth strategies regionally.
Consumer businesses can centralise key shared services functions such as finance, human resources and supply chain management in Singapore to enhance efficiency and productivity, and lower operating costs. They will be supported by a strong base of professional services comprising logistics firms, accounting firms, legal firms, human resource firms and business consultancies.
Consumer businesses can also consolidate consumer research and brand charter management activities to be close to important, high-growth markets while also deploying a greater proportion of leadership in Asia to gain a deeper understanding of the region. Rated by the World Bank as the easiest place to do business in 2013, Singapore possesses excellent global connectivity and a multi-ethnic culture, which provide consumer businesses with the pan-Asian perspective required for business growth in Asia. Tapping on Singapore’s consumer insights capabilities, companies can strike a balance between the need for global brand consistency and catering to the diverse needs across the Asian markets.
INNOVATING FOR ASIA IN SINGAPORE
Singapore’s base of integrative research capabilities, ranging from chemistry to food sciences and biomedical sciences to engineering has grown in scope over recent years. Coupled with a strong talent base built up from the local universities and polytechnics, consumer businesses can synergise the wide-ranging capabilities across 14 national research institutes and conduct in-depth scientific R&D for nutrition, as well as skin and hair care.
Building upon this is the push to establish Singapore as the region’s consumer insights hub. To this end, the S$77 million Institute on Asian Consumer Insight was officially launched in March 2012 with the aim of being the thought-leader in understanding pan-Asian consumer needs and preferences. It will conduct research and education programmes that will help consumer businesses innovate brands and products that meet the aspirations of consumers across Asia.
The presence of key partners such as the strong base of the top five flavours and fragrances houses also play an integral role in formulating and perfecting the next product for Asia. Recognising the need for Asia-specific innovations, multi-national corporations (MNCs) such as Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, and Johnson & Johnson, have set up R&D centres in Singapore.
PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Today, Singapore offers the best intellectual property protection in Asia (The Global Competitiveness Report 2012, World Economic Forum) and is also a signatory to major Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) conventions and treaties. Recognising this favourable environment, World Sport Group, Asia’s leading sports management company has its global headquarters in Singapore managing key sports rights of all Asian Football Confederation events.
Companies can access, recruit, develop and deploy the requisite talent in Singapore to helm and run operations in Asia. The established ecosystem of local and international business schools provides a constant supply of managerial talent that companies can utilise. Additionally, companies can use Singapore as a home for talent development, developing in-house executive courses or training programmes for employees. Singapore’s Human Capital Leadership Institute can facilitate the process by providing insights into Asian organisational cultures and bringing together the best-in-class faculty members to lead the programmes. In 2013, for example, Unilever established Four Acres Singapore, its first global leadership development centre outside of the UK. Through Four Acres Singapore, Unilever will work with human capital consultancies, other companies and top academics from local and foreign Institutes of higher learning (e.g. INSEAD and Singapore Management University) to develop and conduct programs in Singapore that will train 900 participants annually, and build a pipeline of global leaders with a pan-Asian perspective.
1. Growing Consumer Market
2. Protecting intellectual capital
3. Draw for more talent and creativity
4. Gaining consumer insight
5. Growing consumer market
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