[Thelma Dumpit Murillo’s Thursday Thanks column arrived too late for yesterday’s issue.]
While PNoy and his economic managers were attending the APEC and Asean meets in Beijing and Myanmar, Ramon S. Ang, president of San Miguel Corporation, was busy doing his own campaign in Japan to attract foreign direct investments and to woo investors to the country.
Speaking before an audience of Japanese CEOs at the 16th Annual Nikkei Global Management Forum in cooperation with the Harvard Business School, RSA shared his own formula for success when investing in unfamiliar terrain.
1. Prepare and leverage on the power of business intelligence. The Philippines can sometimes be tricky when it comes to the business landscape and even the best-laid plans can be adversely affected by external factors beyond your control. Look for hidden risks. You will need to know how to tap and mine the right data. Hire and consult local professional experts. Regularly consult with potential stakeholders, identify your allies and your competitors. Never underestimate the power of media.
2. Once you have all the important information, choose the right partner. Partnering with the right people will determine your success or failure. You should look for these corporate qualities when choosing the right local partner – honest with good track record, transparent, bold and socially responsible.
3. Invest in building goodwill. In the Philippines, relationships mean a lot. Make sure you know who your key stakeholders are and invest time, effort and resources in knowing them and connecting with them. There is always a bigger picture.
4. Learn how to adjust. In a crowded market, for example, the premium-brand strategy may not work. To break into fast-growing Asian markets, I believe Japanese businesses need to find the right mix in terms of quality and price.
5. Lastly, take calculated risks. As a motorcycle rider, I have learned these practical lessons that have become my guidepost in life:
Anticipate the unexpected. In emerging markets, you have to be on the lookout for challenges and opportunities. Never miss out on any of those to be able to have a chance at taking the upper hand. Be sure to stay the course.
Always innovate. It is only a matter of time till someone better comes along. Do not be afraid to try new things.
Teamwork and communication are very important. In business you have to develop an efficient communication strategy to know what is happening and how to plan ahead.
RSA minces no words. He need not say further. While he is no Harvard graduate, one only has to look at how San Miguel Corporation has evolved over the years under his leadership to support his proposition.
For the past six years, San Miguel has been working to transform itself into a highly diversified company. Today, San Miguel is the largest and most diversified conglomerate in the Philippines with assets of about $27 billion and revenues of $20 billion accounting for 6.5% of the Philippines’ GDP in 2013.
It continues to invest in projects that can bring positive social and structural change and provide long-lasting solutions to the challenge of growing the Philippine economy. To date, San Miguel has invested almost $4 billion to finance projects that will help address the Philippines’ infrastructure deficit, decongest Metro Manila roads and encourage foreign investments. In the power sector, it is building 3,000 MW of additional capacity using CFB technology to address the power shortage.
San Miguel also owns and operates the largest oil refinery and petrochemical manufacturer in the Philippines. It just completed a $3 billion Refinery Upgrade, transforming this refinery into one of the region’s best and the most modern.
Recently, it submitted a proposal to government for a new, modern and high-capacity US$10 billion airport that can serve as Manila’s new gateway to economic growth and provide a long-term solution to the single runway congestion problem. Too bad it has been embroiled in controversy albeit temporarily.
San Miguel enjoys the best of both worlds. It has a stable traditional market for its leading businesses such as its beer company which owns 95 percent of the industry. Its hard liquor company which produces whisky and gin is also a market leader. In food, which includes processed meats, poultry, cattle, piggeries, flour mills, dairy products, it also is a leading player. In packaging, it has the dominant market share in the glass, plastics, flexibles, paper, metal, aluminum segments. These industries continue to benefit from strong consumer spending.
But it also sees value in partnerships benefiting from the expertise of long-time strategic partners including Kirin Brewery Company and Nihon Yamamura.
With these partnerships, its core businesses can aggressively pursue global expansion while allowing it to free up resources and focus on its role as a catalyst for our country’s growth and development.
The Japanese are known for their technology and infrastructure and this is where RSA finds his window to pitch before the Japanese businessmen to help accelerate growth in infrastructure in the Philippines.
God is Great!