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Technology the main complexity for businesses to untangle, survey finds


TECHNOLOGY, either through disruption or the need for innovation, is the leading complexity facing Asian businesses today, according to a survey of 150 Asia Pacific-based business leaders by and Mergermarket.

The respondents reported that almost half (44 per cent) of the respondents are either based or do business in Thailand.
In the Asia Pacific Business Complexities Survey 2017, the number one complexity identified by companies across the region was the need to drive innovation by adopting new technologies, followed by cost pressures/shrinking margins, and technological disruption from competitors.
An even wider body of respondents (84 per cent) predicted that disruptors would likely challenge their businesses within just two years. This rose to 97 per cent among financial institutions and 96 per cent among consumer and retail companies.
Meanwhile, geopolitical complexities were also a major concern, with the demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership set to impact 79 per cent of respondents. The geopolitical trends were also reflected in the survey, with an overwhelming 95 per cent of respondents predicting Indian economic influence in the region would grow in the coming five years, compared with 77 per cent who saw China's influence as continuing to expand.
Conversely, US influence appears on the decline in Asia Pacific. Just 16 per cent see an increase in US economic influence in the region over the next five years, compared with almost half of business leaders (48 per cent) who predict a decline.
Commenting on the research, Baker McKenzie Asia Pacific chairman Gary Seib said: “The world of business is more complex than ever. Identifying where companies and industries see predicted complexities emerging can help both governments and businesses themselves better prepare for this rapidly changing environment.
“That technology is at the top of the list is probably not a surprise to many, but the number of companies that expect disruption by competitive technology in just the next two years should give pause to any corporates that see themselves as immune to these forces.”
Several other key trends were drawn out of the research, including a strong prediction of increased mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity across the region (94 per cent of respondents saw a rise), while litigation was also seen as on the increase by two-thirds of businesses.
The three key areas of focus for corporates operating in Asia Pacific in terms of solving immediate complexities are: regulatory change, optimising tax structures and business systems innovation.
Baker McKenzie Thailand managing partner Thinawat Bukhamana said: “Thailand is becoming more active in fintech with many large organisations supporting start-ups. M&A activities in Thailand in 2016 have been strong, particularly in the manufacturing, retail, food, financial and insurance sectors.
“The level of activity is expected to be sustained in 2017, with major M&A deals from Thai businesses reaching out to the AEC (Asean Economic Community) as well as foreign companies investing in Thailand.”

Published : March 29, 2017

By : The Nation