As part of our first step into global expansion, Codebots participated in the Australian Landing Pad in Singapore. We had 90 days to work and network in Singapore, which has provided us with hands-on experience and insight into the wider business world.
It is important to understand that despite Singapore's English-speaking market, there are major structural differences to the Australian market.
With an open economy that is centrally located to the rest of Asia, Singapore allows companies worldwide to participate in its local economy, with minimal barriers to entry. To date, Singapore is home to over 37,400 international companies, which include 7,000 multinational corporations.
The level of competition in Singapore had a unique intensity, stimulated by the buzz of multiple enterprises from a range of cultures uniting in one place. Our Landing Pad experience gave us the opportunity to reassess Codebots' market position and ensure we are providing a unique solution to common business problems.
Singapore practises certain work norms that are culturally different from us in Australia. Prior to all presentations and introductions, most, if not all meetings commence with an exchange of business cards.
A term frequently thrown around to describe the Singapore work culture is "kiasu
"(of a person) having a grasping or selfish attitude arising from a fear of missing out on something."
Most Singaporeans typically spend the majority of their day at work, usually leaving the office at 7 or 8pm. There is a common fear that leaving punctually, or before their superiors, will have a negative impact on one's position within the company.
The Singapore Government's contribution and encouragement toward innovation trickles down and impacts the behaviour of people and the industry.
Singapore's current focus is on cyber security and Smart Nation. There has been a major business focus on ensuring adequate security systems are in place, and that internal capabilities undergo continuous improvement.
It is quite difficult to imagine entering a foreign market and building the initial networks alone. Austrade and the Australian Landing Pad program were a big support in this regard. The program assists with providing a space to work, and assistance with defining our target partners. SGTech
, Singapore's trade association for the tech industry, is a fantastic platform for creating alliances and finding potential customers. SGTech organise regular events for networking and knowledge sharing across the scope of IT.
Codebots' time in Singapore taught us some valuable lessons that we're bringing home to our base in Brisbane. SGTech and Austrade's landing pad program have been invaluable resources for us, and organisations worldwide, to widen their networks, grow their businesses, and mature their products.