Friday, November 10, 2006

SMEs Collaboration EU - Asia

On Wednesday, November 8, 2006, I participated in a seminar “Hong Kong – Guangdong Your partners for success in China – 8 November 2006 Helsinki.” The Scandic Hotel ball room was full of people. Couldn’t count them all, but I guess several hundred participants and maybe one hundred Chinese and Hong Kong business development officials, entrepreneurs and businessmen / women.

Rapid economic development in China has created major opportunities in two areas: a fast expanding market for goods and services, and a sophisticated production base for manufacturers and retailers. Successful companies realise that China is not one market, but a series of regional markets. Currently, most foreign companies concentrate to the Pearl River Delta region (PRD) on the southern tip of the Chinese mainland, closely connected to Hong Kong.

Why focus on the Greater Pearl River Delta?

This region offers the combined advantages of Hong Kong, with its international services and ease of business, and the PRD, which offers quality low-cost manufacturing and a growing consumer market. The PRD is also home to the Chinese mainland’s wealthiest consumers and highest spenders. Per Capita GDP and retail sales in the Greater Pearl River Delta are significantly higher than the Chinese mainland’s other regions, including the Yangtze River Delta region around Shanghai, and the Bohai region around Beijing.

What has this to do with Web 2.0?

The Asian businesses can be regarded as a threat or opportunity from an European point of view. We’ve been building bridges and contact networks to China, India, Bangladesh, Korea and Japan during the past years. It just struck me that the markets and opportunities for collaborative projects are so huge that it will take European wide efforts to be competitive in comparison with US companies playing a very active role there. The Asian market has been a playground for very large corporations. Finland is strongly represented through Nokia and its R&D and manufacturing partnership companies. But I will concentrate on what EU based SMEs could dot to enhance business relationships with the Asian SMEs.

New Business Models for SMEs
  • Collaborative efforts to create knowledge based offerings
  • Collective Networking Mashups with Asian SMEs
  • European SMEs are often more international than smaller SMEs in US
  • This applies most probably to the Web 2.0 environment as well (our national home markets are smaller than for the US SMEs and we have to start exporting in an earlier stage)
  • We’re better equipped to handle multi-lingual operations and to understand cross-cultural differences
  • We’ve a definitive lead in the Mobile Phone manufacturing and application areas in Europe compared to US but have to do some catch-up with DoCoMo in Japan, Hongong, South-Korea.

What do you think?
Best Regards
Helge Keitel
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