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France determined to reconquer Southeast Asia

Sophie Lelarge
Sophie Lelarge
Chief Revenue Officer

In my view, the 10th edition of the ASEAN forum organized in Malaysia (27 – 29 November) stood out in terms of quality and business perspectives which could ensue.Around 300 business people attended the forum, among which the Minister of Transport, Mr. MARIANI Thierry, the French ambassadors in Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, representatives of large French companies in Asia (EADS, Alstom, Total, etc.), representatives of CCIFE (French Chambers of Commerce and Industry Abroad), French top level foreign trade advisers, heads of economics departments in ASEAN countries, companies from all sectors willing to develop their businesses in Southeast Asia, and, of course, about thirty SME under the umbrella of UbiFrance, Pentalog (IT services company) being a member thereof. This was really representative for the presence of French companies in the area.The forum was held over 3 days and it consisted of discussion panels on different topics regarding development in Southeast Asia (economic context, legal matters, investment funds, experience sharing, etc.), B2B meetings along with the first encounter with Malaysian companies.I must admit that, even if Pentalog has been present in Vietnam for 3 years already, we still have to gain more insight into the market from companies with more than 10 years of experience in Southeast Asia and having extremely valuable market know-how. Their willingness to share information has enabled us to enhance our understanding and shorten the research process on our target markets (Malaysia, Singapore, or even Indonesia and the Philippines).The general conclusion of this forum comes as no surprise: at present, the Southeast Asian market has the highest potential in the world. France abandoned it a little too soon during the 1997 crisis, and yet, one of the key success factors here are endurance and long-term perspective. Consequently, those who stayed and believed in it have been very successful. The others are always welcome to come back, but they should avoid making the same mistake again. Determination is really important and the participants of this forum were very convincing in this respect. Moreover, France seems to be aware that exporting is one of the solutions for overcoming the crisis in France, and it also seems ready to implement several measures to support companies.At the same time, our opportunity to meet so many interesting business people could turn into real business opportunities in the near future. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed; it is going to be a challenging 2012. icon_smileSeveral photos:poza_1poza_2poza_3poza_4poza_5

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