Quape expands overseas in line with government push for internationalisation

June 19, 2017 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
Quape expands overseas in line with government push for internationalisation

Internationalisation serves as a catalyst for growth for Singapore small- and medium enterprises (SMEs) looking to adopt a long-term business strategy. Embracing the move for a globalised business, Quape Pte Ltd, a boutique IT service provider and mobile application developer made its overseas debut when it opened an office in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2016.,

Like many local SMEs that have successfully expanded beyond the domestic market, access to a foreign market means Quape enjoys better growth prospects and greater accessibility to resources. It joins many local SMEs that have gone global by spreading their wings into coveted markets like China, Indonesia and Vietnam, in order of popularity.

Vietnam as an ideal foreign market for IT businesses to flourish
International Enterprise (IE) Singapore is a government agency that promotes international trade and partnering in Singapore. In a survey conducted by IE Singapore, overseas revenue among local companies grew at 4.2% year-on-year in 2016, exceeding total revenue year-on-year growth of 1.3%. This demonstrates the upside potential of engaging foreign markets the opportunity to enjoy increased revenue streams.

Incepted in 2006, Quape was one of 450 local companies that responded to the government's call for internationalisation last year, by establishing in-market presence in foreign markets under one of IE Singapore's schemes.

Fuelled by stronger economic prospects and an improving regulatory environment, business confidence and sentiment in Vietnam's business climate is high. As a fact, Singapore emerged as the third largest foreign investor in the country, and the top investor among ASEAN countries in 2015.

Managing director of Quape, Eddie Cheng, expresses confidence in Vietnam as he recognises key opportunities in one of Southeast Asia's fastest growing markets.

"An attractive labour force, stable political scene, good demographics and rising gross domestic product are just some reasons why Vietnam is quickly becoming an attractive emerging economy with tremendous growth potential. In recent times, economic reforms and public-private partnerships are clear signals from the government for increased integration with global partners. Now more than ever, foreign companies are approaching Vietnam with renewed optimism. Singapore companies in particular, can benefit from a favourable investment landscape forged through strong Singapore-Vietnam ties," says Cheng.

With very few IT companies more than a decade ago, Vietnam's IT sector is now a key contributor to economic growth in the country. During the last ten years, the IT sector has been recording stellar annual growth rate of 25-30% each year. To add vibrancy to the growing tech scene, the government is developing Saigon Silicon City as an incubator for tech start-ups in the country to stimulate tech developments.

Apart from investing in infrastructure and passing new economic policies, the government will be introducing more initiatives to hone the industry. Among other plans, the government has devised a Master Plan on Information Technology to bring the nation up to speed in terms of IT human resources and digital infrastructure.

Already, Vietnam is home to a pool of young, ambitious and talented professionals, many of whom are engineers and programmers. The fact that the country offers skilled workforce at competitive wages, even when benchmarked against China's wages, serves as an impetus for more than 14,000 IT companies to move into Vietnam in the past decade. More recently, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai has even committed to help train about 1,400 Vietnamese IT engineers after meeting Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

Like many overseas IT companies that have chosen to take root in Vietnam, Quape hopes to leverage on the nation's IT-centric talent pipeline and large population to grow its overseas reach. Access to skilled workforce in Vietnam also allows Quape the flexibility to scale its business in Singapore and Vietnam.

Government schemes help companies make their first step overseas
In an increasingly globalised economy, Singapore's government encourages local companies to take active steps towards internationalisation. Some schemes that have been rolled out over the years include the Market Reading Assistance (MRA) Grant initiated by IE Singapore.

Under the scheme, companies get to enjoy attractive grants to cover activities such as overseas market set-up, pairing up with foreign business partners and overseas market promotion.

To better facilitate this move, IE Singapore provides market research insights and expertise to help companies better navigate overseas expansion opportunities and prospects. Many companies use this chance to transform their business, diversify or seek mergers and acquisitions.

Apart from grants, SMEs can seek assistance through finance schemes and tax incentives if they are venturing overseas.

IT a rising industry that presents unlimited growth opportunities
IT innovations are spearheading the new economy. Quape now seeks new channels to expand its portfolio and seals its position in the industry.

Boasting its own IT infrastructure, Quape offers web hosting at the core of its extended suite of services. And through services like web design and development, Quape implements ecommerce solutions for businesses setting up digital platforms to cater to a burgeoning online population. Some notable clients include Pines Garden, Cash Converter and CLP International.

As IT solutions grow in sophistication, Quape is always adopting new innovations and technologies. In recent years, the company has explored technologies such as virtual reality and augment reality. But its focus gravitates towards mobile applications as more are embracing the proliferation of a digital lifestyle.

This is aligned with the global direction of rising mobile phone users. Globally, there are more than 4.9 billion mobile users, representing a 66% penetration of total global population in 2016. This is a noticeable increment from about 3.8 billion mobile users in the preceding year.

In Asia Pacific, Singapore has the highest smartphone penetration at 86%, with many users in possession of more than one smartphone. And in Vietnam, smartphone penetration and ecommerce activities have been growing exponentially. Even though Vietnam has a population of only 90.9 million, it has 128.6 million mobile subscriptions. And from 2005 to 2015, mobile subscriptions increased by a staggering eight times.

As technology surrounding smartphone ecosystems grows and evolves, the company builds its competency in developing mobile applications in both ionic and react native (RN) to provide clients the flexibility of wider solutions. The result is custom solutions that are quicker to deploy, better performing, richer in user experience, as well as shorter development cycles based on a client's needs.

Seeking sustainable growth in multi-faceted ways
Stiff competition in the IT industry creates a landscape where different set of challenges present itself at each time. Pursuing an overseas market reach is instrumental in ensuring business longevity and relevancy in the new market. Moving forward, Quape is expected to ramp up its presence in Vietnam. But that alone is not sufficient.

As the world grows in interconnectivity, technology adoption is just as important as companies strive for progression in the IT industry. Companies have to look out for new ways to grow its competency in an industry that is ever-changing. To do so, Quape conducts in-house training for employees to deepen their knowledge in new technology and innovation. The company endorses a culture of peer-to-peer learning to help employees grow their skillsets. Employees become subject matter expert in various areas and coach their peers in specific domains. Such training ensures that all employees receive continual up-skilling.

According to Cheng, "Through continual training and up-skilling, we can better attract and retain talent as we build our capacity to deal with newer and bigger challenges posed by global clients. It is essential that we create value at all levels within Quape to harness opportunities to compete in a global marketplace."

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