'Look to the East' tech firms are urged

UK tech companies are being urged to look to the Far East for business opportunities at a time when much of the world is in lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Gregory Sutch, CEO of Intralink, an international business development consultancy, says it is understandable many firms are "battening down their hatches", furloughing staff and focusing on their most important customers.But that, he writes in an article on the techUK website, is unlikely to be a successful survival strategy if a company's most important customers, and the markets they are in, are in lockdown because of the pandemic."One of the answers could well be to look to the regions that have been affected less by the pandemic, or have already come through the worst of it. And East Asia – specifically mainland China, Taiwan and South Korea – is exactly one of those," he says."In China ...businesses are returning to work, factories are restarting production and the country is on the move again, with all internal travel restrictions having been lifted."In Taiwan and South Korea, the governments managed to get a handle on the outbreak from the outset. And, while practices such as social distancing are still encouraged, their economies have not been impacted to the extent of those in the west."

China's economy likely to rebound faster than the West

Mr Sutch says that many economists expect China’s economy to rebound faster than Western ones and that there are already signs of pent-up consumer demand being released and driving sales of all manner of goods and services."The months of lockdown have also inevitably taken their toll on Chinese companies’ internal development programmes, forcing many to seek external solutions to catch up lost ground."This has created avenues for Western companies which can supply ‘missing components’ – such as advanced hardware or software – to enable Chinese developers to complete their projects."

Exports to Asia: supply and demand

Mr Sutch says that Intralink, which is headquartered in the UK but with offices in Poznan, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei as well as Boston, LA, Silicon Valley and Paris, has already helped clients do lucrative deals to fill precisely these gaps."Exports to Asia won’t be the answer for every Western business impacted by the coronavirus. But it may be for many," he adds."As China, Korea and the rest of the region pull through the COVID-19 crisis, demand for the most advanced products and technologies – many of which exist only in the West – is growing robustly, with many possibilities to be had."And with Western markets for many businesses temporarily shutting down, your best bet to survive — and perhaps even grow — may well be to devote your attention for the next few months at East Asia."

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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