Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: How To Enter Asian Markets

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: How To Enter Asian Markets

On November 24, the Center for Global IT Cooperation together with FANAP Iranian fintech holding, Singapore Fintech Association and Innopolis University held a "Trusted Partners: Entering Far Abroad IT Markets" webinar dedicated to interaction with high-tech companies in Southeast Asia (SEA) and Iran.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: How To Enter Asian Markets

The workshop speakers were Ruben Lim, Chief Operating Officer of the Singapore Fintech Association, Mohammad Parsa, Director of Market Development at FANAP, Andrey Kondratyev, Consultant at the Trade Mission of Russia in the Republic of Singapore, and Anastasia Efremova, Head of Development Department in Southeast Asia at Innopolis University.

During the webinar, the audience got a comprehensive view of the IT markets of Iran and South-East Asia, the peculiarities of doing business with Eastern partners, as well as learnt about the demands of those markets in the field of high technology and promising niches for Russian companies.

In particular, Andrey Kondratyev said that the best way to get acquainted with business communities in Singapore (and the region) and find partners for your project is to participate in IT conferences and exhibitions, which are held a lot during the year in the city-state, because Singapore is actually the financial and technological capital of Southeast Asia. He named fintech, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence as promising areas for exporting Russian solutions. Although Singapore is on the list of "unfriendly countries", IT communities are still in favor of cooperation and joint projects with Russian companies.

The fact that Singapore is an entry point to the SEA and ASEAN market was also confirmed by Ruben Lim. Multinational corporations often open their headquarters in Singapore as it is the easiest place to attract investment; moreover, many of Southeast Asia's unicorn companies hail from here. "One thing to keep in mind is that startups' technical teams are rarely based entirely or at all in Singapore. They are often all outsourced and can be physically based anywhere in the world, including Russia. So, Singapore is an excellent place for legal registration of a project so that it can be promoted quickly," he said. Ruben Lim also spoke about the peculiarities of the ASEAN fintech market and why this region is the most attractive for the development and export of fintech solutions: fast-growing and young population, stable GDP growth, boom of startups and rapid urbanization.

In turn, Anastasia Efremova shared her personal experience of Innopolis University entering the market of another ASEAN country - Indonesia. As the peculiarities of this country, she noted the need to know the local language, as this not only opens many doors, but also creates a friendly attitude of Indonesians towards you. To successfully enter this market, it is also desirable to have at least one representative of the company physically in Indonesia, otherwise there is a chance of losing partners. At the end she added that Innopolis University always prepares many interesting projects and events both in Russia and abroad and will be glad to share its experience in their implementation.

The webinar also touched upon the peculiarities of the IT sphere in West Asia. Mohammad Parsa, a representative of Iranian fintech, spoke about how Iran managed to build a competitive IT market under sanctions. "In fact, many products - from social networks to payment system - had to be created from scratch, as analogues were not available. Yes, we lack some things, and IT companies in Russia, as one of the world's technology leaders, could help us fill these gaps, because we are always ready to co-operate," he added.

Any projects in Iran should be launched through technoparks and special economic zones, he said. Many technoparks are located in Tehran itself, and the cost of entry is quite low when compared to prices in other world markets, but the return is high, so the investment is fully paid back in a fairly short period of time.
He named as promising areas for Russian IT companies in the Iranian market: introduction of digital identity cards, information security, creation of a cross-border payment system, digitalization of public administration, and digital document management.

At the end of the event, Artem Panchenko, Head of the Key Department at Skillbox, answering the audience's question about where to build skills to create a competitive IT product for the foreign market, said that the main paradox is that there are few quality courses and industry solutions. Therefore, the best solution is to create such courses for corporate clusters, as it can solve the specific needs of each company wishing to enter the international market and pump up the skills of employees in the necessary area.

The Competence Centre for Global IT Cooperation regularly holds IT events in a hybrid format, and also prepares business missions for IT companies to South-East Asian countries. Follow updates and announcements in our social networks: Vkontakte group and Telegram channel "From the World to Digital".

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