Damien Honan, CEO of Honan Insurance Group, told Insurance Business that the burgeoning markets throughout Asia Pacific offer a great opportunity to grow business for those willing to take it.
“As the region is getting smaller, and if we take China and India out, the population of Asia is 650 million to 660 million and it is growing,” Honan said.
“That, if you like, is two America’s and those countries are developing quickly.
“The middle class is developing rapidly, and there is still poverty and basic living but it is changing quickly, and I think that many companies whatever industry they are in, in five, ten twenty years’ time they are going to say we should have gone there now how do we get there?”
“It is a slow build but as this region, not by actual land mass moving but in the sense of communication and obviously business, is getting smaller daily and I think if you want to be a player in the region you’ve got to start to have operations and ability to transact business in countries around South East Asia or else your clients are going to find someone who can.”
Honan backed following existing clients, as more businesses expand overseas, as a safer way of growing an international business.
“To go into any foreign country and start from scratch and try and build a new business, recruit the right local people and start to develop local relationships to get business, particularly with the pricing there which is very cheap, I won’t say impossible but it takes a lot of capital and a lot of time,” Honan said.
“Doing that on the back of existing business that is opening up there is a better way to go.
“We are not looking to build massive profit revenues but certainly as a holistic approach to our business, it really provides a solution for our clients as they expand that we can deliver on a solution that they are looking for.
“We have a huge number of clients that operate in the region, certainly more than 200 Australian accounts that operate up in Asia and that gives us a competitive edge to be able to service and attract accounts.”
Honan singled out several markets in South East Asia that offer opportunities for those looking to expand their businesses.
“We are looking at how an agency business might operate in Vietnam,” Honan revealed.
“Then if you talk about some of the emerging countries, like Cambodia and Laos, the capital gain there is largely based around infrastructure, energy and power that is being built there and we are seeing opportunities there.
“Again, we are being driven by clients that we are dealing with now as they are expanding and taking advantage of the opportunity.
“Really, we are going in on the back of the demand for the relationships that we have as opposed to going in and looking at an organic ground up business.”
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